We have a lot of great cooks in my family, but whenever something sweet is called for at a family gathering, it usually falls to me, which I love.
For my grandpa's 75th birthday party, he requested that I make the cake, saying that the cake I made for Easter was the best cake he had ever had (he says that about everything I make). Since I'm kind of lazy, I decided to dress up a box of cake mix, rather than make the whole cake from scratch, and I must say, it was as delicious as a homemade cake.
I started with a box of Duncan Hines devil's food cake mix. I chose devil's food because it's richer and darker than other chocolate cakes. I made the cake according to the directions, except instead of the cup of water it asked for I substituted 1/2 cup of coffee and 1/2 cup of buttermilk. I baked them in two 9-inch pans. I used my standard buttercream recipe and added 3-4 tablespoons of cocoa powder and a couple big spoonfuls of peanut butter to make a fantastic chocolate peanut butter frosting. The cake was a hit! (There wasn't even any leftover.) My cousin Dominic then asked if I would make his birthday cake.
Dominic said his favorite cake was strawberry, so I picked up a box of strawberry cake mix and mixed it according to the directions and added a teaspoon of almond extract for extra flavor. I made two 9-inch round cakes again, and used strawberry preserves instead of icing for the middle layer. I used the same buttercream recipe, but left it plain vanilla and dyed it blue, to make the pink cake less girly. Unfortunately, I dropped the cake while I was frosting it (the cake was fine, the plate protected it from the floor), and it didn't end up being so pretty, so I don't have a picture of it. It was tasty though!