Our home economist, Fiona Mair, assessed the chocolate and vanilla cake mixes looking for these quality characteristics and a panel of five CHOICE staff members tasted each cake, but their ratings don’t form part of the overall score.
As expected, all the cake mixes on test use sugar as one of their first three ingredients and get the red light for this nutritional element.
They’re generally OK across the board for total fat, saturated fat and sodium, with the five low-fat alternatives getting the green light for total and saturated fat.
According to Retail World, the cake mix market has seen:
- 8.7% Growth in the cake mix market in the past 12 months and
- The cake mix market is worth $55m.
During our preliminary research we also purchased all the chocolate and vanilla cupcakes available in supermarkets. However we didn't include these into our taste test.
A separate compare table has been compiled with the nutritional information for the cupcake mixes.
- Pre-heat your oven before baking (make sure you don’t confuse fan-forced temperature with conventional.
- Grease and line your baking pan.
- Follow the recommended mixing times – under-beating can result in a cake that doesn’t rise well and may have ingredients that aren’t mixed through properly.
What’s in the box?
We’ve checked the ingredients list of each cake mix and all use a mixture of additives that play a role in enhancing enhance the colour, flavour or texture of the cake. Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) carries out safety checks on food additives before they can be used however making a cake from scratch can avoid these hidden extras.
- Acids assist in taste and keep a balanced acid level in the cake. Acids aren’t commonly used in cake mixes; we only found two to use them.
- Antioxidants prevent the deterioration of food and the development of rancid flavours that’s caused by oxidation when chemicals in the food are exposed to oxygen.
- Colourings aim to make the cakes more attractive. Only some of the cake mixes used added colours, generally caramel (150d) in chocolate cakes and annatto (160b) in vanilla ones.
- Emulsifiers stop oil and water from separating into layers and prevent the oil forming a layer on top of the cake. Almost all the cake mixes we looked at use emulsifiers.
- Raising agents are used in all cake mixes to increase volume.
- Thickeners are used to increase the viscosity of the cake and give it a desirable consistency.
Brands and cake mixes tested
- Green's Essentials Chocolate Cake
- Green's Chocolate Cake
- White Wings 97% Fat Free Our Famous Choc on Choc Cake
- Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil's Food Cake Mix
- Green's Classic Chocolate Cake
- IGA Signature Chocolate Cake Mix
- White Wings Chocolate Heaven Cake
- Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Devil's Food Premium Cake Mix
- Coles Chocolate Cake with Icing
- White Wings Milk Chocolate Dream Cake
- White Wings Our Favourite Moist Chocolate Cake
- White Mill (ALDI) Traditional Chocolate Cake Mix
- Betty Crocker Super Moist Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
- Macro Wholefoods Market Chocolate Cake Mix
- Basco Gluten Free Foods Chocolate Cake
- Coles 97% Fat Free Chocolate Cake with Icing
- Coles Smart Buy Chocolate Cake Mix
- Black & Gold Chocolate Flavoured Cake Mix
- Orgran Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
- Black & Gold Vanilla Flavoured Cake Mix
- Green's Essentials Vanilla Cake
- Green's Moist Vanilla Cake
- White Wings Angelic Vanilla Cake
- Coles Smart Buy Vanilla Flavoured Cake Mix
- Betty Crocker Super Moist Vanilla Cake Mix
- Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe French Vanilla Premium Cake Mix
- Orgran Gluten Free Vanilla Cake
Note: these weren't included in our taste test - we have only reviewed the nutritional information for the cupcake mixes.
- Basco Gluten Free Foods Vanilla Cupcakes
- Betty Crocker Chocolate Cupcakes
- Betty Crocker Vanilla Cupcakes
- Donna Hay Chocolate Cupcakes
- Donna Hay Vanilla Cupcakes
- Green's Chocolate Cupcakes
- Green's Pink Cupcakes
- Green's Vanilla Cupcakes
- IGA Signature Chocolate Baby Cake Mix
- Macro Wholefoods Market Gluten Free Cupcake Mix
- Well & Good Cupcake Mix
- White Mill (ALDI) Vanilla Cupcake Mix
- White Wings Delicious Chocolate Cupcakes
- White Wings Dreamy Vanilla Cupcakes
How we test
CHOICE reviewed chocolate and vanilla cake mixes.
Nutritional assessment We analysed the nutritional panels of each applying our traffic light labelling criteria. The criteria is based on the latest nutrition recommendations and dietary guidelines established by government health experts in Australia and internationally.
Taste test Our home economist, Fiona Mair, baked each cake according to the instructions on the packet. She assessed each cake for:
- Height increase
- Texture and mouth feel
- Moistness and
We also asked a panel of five CHOICE staff members to taste each cake, but their ratings don't form part of the overall score.