Almond Cream Cheese Pound Cake


The email came from Tricia, but it was similar to many I have received in the last month. How to prepare a favorite Cake Mix Doctor recipe – in this case, the Almond Cream Cheese Pound Cake – with the smaller cake mixes now on store shelves?

“Do I need to cut back on any of the ingredients or baking time?” Tricia writes with a noticeably irritated tone.

Don’t get me started on the frustration I feel as products are downsized right before our eyes. The ice cream, the bacon, and now the cake mix is shrinking. Let’s just hope we still count 12 eggs to a dozen and 32 ounces in a quart of milk at the end of the week.

No doubt, these smaller cake mixes do bake up smaller in the pan if you follow their package directions. But the good thing about my recipes is that since other ingredients are added to the bowl along with the mix, the resulting cake doesn’t look like it has been placed on a diet.

I baked the Almond Cream Cheese Pound Cake this week with a 16.5-ounce Duncan Hines butter recipe yellow cake mix. The recipe worked fine. However, the cake did not bake up as high in the pan as it did with the 18.25-ounce mix. I thought it was heavier than usual, too.

So I tested the recipe again with the addition of 6 tablespoons Gold Medal flour (about 1.75 ounces). The cake baked up taller in the pan, and the cake had a decidedly more from-scratch flavor. I have used this trick on other cake mix recipes, too. So with all your favorite Cake Mix Doctor recipes using the smaller cake mixes, here is my new rule of thumb:

• If you are finicky about baking and have a kitchen scale, weigh out 1.75 ounces of flour and add it to the bowl.
• No scale? Measure 6 tablespoons flour and add it to the bowl.
• Not so picky? Add somewhere between 1/3 and ½ cup flour to the cake mix before adding other ingredients.
• No flour? Bake the smaller mixes in 8-inch instead of 9-inch layers and you will have taller layers.

We can boycott the new smaller mixes or we can learn to bake with them. As Almond Cream Cheese Pound Cake is a beloved recipe to Tricia and many of you, I hope this revised recipe brings you perfect results every time.

Here is the recipe

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Showing 15 comments
  • Sandra Hammons

    I have found that if I beat the batter a little longer, up to 5 minutes, that the cake will be as high and as light.

    • Anne

      Sandra, this is an interesting idea. I will give it a try. I have found by beating that long sometimes tunnels develop in the cake. But I will try your idea!

  • Karen

    I would rather pay the extra money than see these mixes shrinking. I get frustrated when my cake isn’t as high as I would like. Thanks for the tip, using a little more flour!

  • Carol

    Hi Anne-I too am very frustrated about the shrinking cake mixes. Bad enough some of the soda companies are only putting 20 cans of soda in their “Case” now as opposed to 24-but the price hasn’t changed one bit. Saw that in the grocery store flier and just had to shake my head and think-add one more item to the shrink down list.

    Quick question…how do you think cake flour would work adding it to the cake mix? Hard to say what these companies use in the first place. Good to know all-purpose flour works in them-that I always have on hand.

    What infuriates me is both companies that have downsized their cake mixes say the cakes bake up…virtually the same. I wasn’t great with math in school but even I can figure this one out…less mix WILL NOT bake up the same. I’ve seen more and more people telling them this on forums, Facebook and such and they just seem to turn a deaf ear.

    Thank you so much for doing the “reformulation” and finding a solution that will work-sad it had to come to this…it’s just not right…

    • Anne

      Carol, Cake flour would work just fine. You can measure out 1.75 ounces, which will be anywhere from 6 to 7 tablespoons. Use what you have on hand, and whisk it into the mix before adding the rest of the ingredients. The smaller mixes do not bake up the same if you follow package directions; they are smaller. Sad we have to supplement them!

  • T. Martin

    Nice to know in spite of all the corporate cost cutting I can still make my all-time favorite CMD cake and get a good result.

  • Dottie C

    This has been one of my “go-to” cakes – especially in the winter when a little fruit can add a LOT to a dessert. I buy strawberries when they’re cheaper in the summer, cut them up and freeze them to use as toppings all winter long. Blueberries are easy to freeze, too. People go nuts over the almond flavor of the cake and the fruity topping is so pretty. You can also use canned fruit pie fillings, but I like my home-frozen berries best. Thanks SO MUCH for the update on the cake mixes. I hadn’t paid attention to the packaging, but had wondered WHY my cakes had started to seem smaller and heavier.

  • gena

    I learned a trick to a higher and fluffier cake years ago when I was working for a Dr. in N Miami Beach, Fl. My boss was Jewish, and I decided to make him a “kosher” cake for his birthday. When you make a kosher cake it of course has no levining agent. To get their cakes to rise you use the same technique as making an angle food cake. Simply mix all ingredients of the cake accept the egg white, then whip the egg whites until stiff and then fold them gently into the rest of the mixed cake. It will rise very nicely and is much more fluffy than a regular cake. I now use this technique when baking any cake. I love the results.

  • Kathleen E

    I don’t see where you recommend adding additional baking powder along with the additional flour. Do you think this would be better, why or why not? I have seen other’s recommend adding some additional baking powder. Just for you & others I wrote a lengthy complaint to Betty Crocker to no avail. They either have people who work for them that have no extensive knowledge of baking or just don’t care (probably both) because any baker knows that baking is a science and when you change the size the outcome is never the same.

  • Helen Pless

    I discovered that the cake mixes had been downsized after making the cream cheese pound cake and having it come out smaller and definitely heavier. i can’t begin to describe how angry (yes, angry) this makes me.

    Thank you for the idea of adding flour. I will definitely try this.

    Also, I had wondered about buying a second cake mix, and measuring out 2 ounces to add to the smaller cake mix to make it the original size.

  • Lori

    Just wondering if anyone tried using an additional box of cake mix and to supplement the addional 3oz, or did they change the ingredients? I have a kitchen scale so I was hoping to measure out 18.25oz of cake mix and keep all my recipes the same. Does anyone know if this will work???

  • Me

    Here is what I do. I purchase several cake mixes and put them in a ziploc freezer bag. I measure out 18.25 ounces on my postage scale and I can make all my favorite recipes just as I always did without changes of any kind.
    But I am frustrated and angry about what the companies are doing to the American family during a time of financial need and crisis. So my final solution is that I am looking for copycat recipes for these companies cake mixes and I will be making all of them from scratch once they are found and tested, and I will never purchase anything products from these companies if I can get by not doing so. That is my response to their greed. I will stop buying from them. My great grandmother cooked from scratch and by golly so will it. And it only takes a small amount of time to whip up bulk mix and store it, and much cheaper as well.

  • Leigh

    I have been baking this one for years, and everyone loves it. It is a special request from my Vet’s office every year. FYI, I use the Kroger brand Butter yellow cake mix and it is just as good and much cheaper for me since I have to bake 24-30 cakes for Christmas time at once.

  • Lex

    I have been baking this cake for YEARS. My best friend also adopted this recipe because it is SO GOOD and it became her Dad’s favorite cake! I added thE 6 tablespooins of flour (PILLSBURY All-Purpose was fine) as you suggested and it was the lightest, fluffliest, highest cake when it came out of the oven. It shrunk a little while it cooled but, ageed, the flour just gives it more of a ‘homemade from scratch” taste. As always . . .DELISH.

  • Lisa Caulfield

    Anne-Thank you for this discussion. The other day, I went to make that Darn Good Chocolate cake with my chocolate sour cream frosting and raspberry jam filling that was always a super hit with guests. I always use the Duncan Hines cake mixes and when I went to make the cake, I noticed that the box held 3 oz. less than before. I didn’t know what to do, so I just made the chocolate cake according to box instructions. It was “OK” but not the same as your recipe that I’ve been using for years and get rave reviews. Kind of embarrassing because I’ve got a reputation of being an amazing baker, but I could tell people were thinking I was losing my touch. I also noticed that cupcakes were not yielding as many as they used to, not realizing that the greedy companies cut back on the amount of cake mix. I will try your “adding flour” trick.
    Thanks again.

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