NBC News: “Cupcake Conundrum: Cake mixes shrinking”

Many months ago, I shared my recipe for “upsizing” cake mixes that had been downsized by three ounces. Cake mixes used to contain 18.25 ounces of mix, and last summer, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury began downsizing their mixes by three ounces, yet claiming that the mixes still made “24 cupcakes.” Not so. After experimenting with a couple of from-scratch cake recipes, I developed a mix that I could keep in a quart mason jar. I add six tablespoons of the upsizer mix to bring the dry ingredients in a boxed cake mix back to 18.75 ounces. This helps it fill the pan fully, and get you a full batch of cupcakes too.

In February of this year, I shared the recipe for my cake mix upsizer in my syndicated “Super-Couponing Tips” column, and since that time, it’s apparently spread all over the internet! You can find it on numerous blogs, recipe and baking sites too. NBC News reached out earlier this week to discuss my cake upsizing recipe, as well as the larger trend of companies shrinking products while keeping the prices the same:

There are few things that irk home bakers more than six sad, empty little cups in a cupcake tin.

That was Jill Cataldo’s conundrum after her favorite cake mix boxes, which used to measure 18.25 ounces, suddenly shrunk to 15.25 ounces — yielding only 18 cupcakes in her standard batch of two 12-cake tins.

“You should be able to get 24 cupcakes out of cake mix,” said Cataldo, 39, a coupon advice columnist and savings workshop instructor from Illinois.

Her solution: stretch the recipe with her own homemade batch of “cake mix upsizer” — a flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda combo.

Cataldo’s cupcakes are victim of an ongoing trend. Consumer packaged-goods makers have gotten creative with how they pass on rising costs and maintain bottom lines — from offering fewer ounces in cake mixes to replacing some of the cream in ice cream with air to punching a hidden “dimple” in the bottom of peanut butter jars to decrease capacity. Often, the price stays the same, and the package looks the same on the shelf, but it contains less product.

Read the entire article at NBC News: Cupcake conundrum: Cake mixes shrinking along with other favorite products


  1. Bearska says

    This is great that you figured this out. However, I wouldn’t waste my time with either of these brands of cake mixes. Duncan Hines is far superior and makes 24 cupcakes everytime. This brand is more dense and flavorful then the other brands – most people think it is a homemade recipe