Monday, June 28, 2010

Doing the Math

Twenty four!  That's how many egg whites it would take to make 96 cupcakes from scratch... 24!  I made this recipe for confetti cupcakes last year and they were truly spectacular.

Aside for last year's attendees:  You may remember that they were a little dry, but that's because I stored them improperly.  They were quite yummy when I made them.  Because I take myself too seriously, I made them again on my birthday in January and got rave reviews. 
To make them spectacular, I used special cake flour and baking sugar.  However, our dear friend Betty (Crocker, that is) puts magic in her cake mixes and I could do roughly* the same 96 cupcakes with only 12 eggs.  And Safeway has Betty's cake mix on sale for $0.99/box.

The question is: does the savings in time really pay off in dollars? 

*I say that Betty's cupcakes are roughly the same because most people aren't foodie-wanna-be's like me so they may not even notice the difference.

Doing the Math...
  • I bought eggs on sale for $1 per dozen at QFC.  I will need $2 in eggs for the recipe or $1 in eggs for the mixes.

  • The other big expense is the fat.  The cake mixes call for vegetable oil and the scratch recipe calls for butter.  I would probably substitute butter in the mixes anyway because it tastes better.  I need 1/3 cup (~5.5 tablespoons) for each mix and 6 tablespoons for each recipe.  At $1.99/lb for butter at Costco, I'll need $1.50 in butter for the mixes and $3 in butter for the recipe. 

Cake Mixes: $3.96 for mixes, $1 for eggs, and $1.50 for butter = $6.46

Recipe from Scratch:  $1 for flour and sugar, $0.50 for other stuff (that's probably over-estimating), $2 for eggs, $3 for butter = ~$6.50

Since it costs the same, what should I do?  Are the better tasting cupcakes worth the extra work?  I have until Saturday night to decide. 

Either way, this is the frosting I'm making. 


  1. How very Tightwad Gazette of you! I love it...and it will surprise you, well, not at all to know that i vote for scratch. :) Spending the extra four cents is well worth, too, when you're using real ingredients, not terribly healthy they may be. I'll take butter, flour and sugar any day over a processed mix!

  2. Well, I don't think I had one of the cupcakes last year. :( And I really can't say what YOU should do, but what I would do is to make the box mix. I am just no good at cakes--although cupcakes may not be as bad. Less chance to get them lopsided! But you Miss Clara, I am sure can make a quite lovely cake and do not have my problem. I can make many wonderful things...except cake. I just don't go there. I think that the box mix tastes so good anyway! I hope you enjoy your party, wish we could be there!
    And just for the record...I do find it funny that it looks like you left a comment here and then deleted it yourself?