A few weeks ago, I was idly searching through ‘vegan life hacks’ on various websites, and was quite surprised that I kept encountering this one trick – that by simply combining a box of cake mix and a 330ml fizzy drink, and baking according to instructions, you can make yourself a nice, moist cake. I was genuinely sceptical about this at first, but it kept coming up again and again, so I thought that I would have to put it to the test. After all, if it were really possible to make a cake so quickly and easily, my life as a student cooking fanatic might get that little bit easier.
I went to Sainsbury’s and picked out some ingredients: a box of Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake Mix, a tub of Chocolate Fudge Icing, and a can of Coca-Cola. Altogether, this came to £4.15. Not only was the icing completely optional, but it is possible to make this even more cheaply by using non-branded products. Furthermore, all of these items are completely free from dairy and animal products, and the only common allergen they contain is wheat – all in all, it seemed too good to be true.
The next morning, I got a mixing bowl and poured in the cake mix. I then tentatively added the can of coke – I’ll admit I was a little scared when it fizzed up violently, but when I stirred it through, it took on the consistency of a nice, wet cake mix. I then divided the mixture up into 24 cupcakes (I thought cupcakes would be easier for the purposes of letting people try them), and put them in the oven at 180 degrees. One batch took 18 minutes and the other took 20. I noticed they were a little crumbly when I took them out of the oven, so I left them to cool completely before removing them from their cases. I then iced each of them, laid them out on plates, and invited my friends to come and try them.
These were a really great success – out of the seven people I asked, all seemed to really enjoy them. The texture, we agreed, could be described as “fudgy” – a lot more so than a classic cupcake. I think if anything it would remind me of a nice gooey brownie. People were also really surprised that the recipe was so simple. And my greatest fear of all was allayed – the taste of coke was not evident whatsoever in the final product.
I’ve definitely been a “life hack” sceptic, but I’m really glad that I tried this out. The price works out at about 17p per cupcake – I don’t think it gets much cheaper and easier than that. In my opinion, these would be really great for a movie night, as a snack at a house party, or just when you’re having some friends over for a cup of tea. It’s also so much fun that these supposedly work with any cake mix and any fizzy drink – I can tell you that I’ll absolutely be trying lemon and lime sponge, or cherry chocolate cake. I would recommend these as a quick baking fix that any cake-loving student will surely appreciate.