CCU Undercover: Adriano Zumbo Mirror Cake

IMG_0121‘Covert’ is her middle name.

CCU slid through the aisles, the trench coat collar sticking up high, as she pretended to gaze at ingredients thoughtfully.

Sauces.

Canned goods.

Baking aisle.

She was so close, a bead of sweat trickling down from her temple. She wiped it away, as if swatting a fly, trying to appear inconsequential.

A man with a moustache looked at her. They knew. She quickened her pace, her heart beating erratically, and she pushed past busty ladies balancing their babies to get to the area.

The cake mix area.

Like a venus flytrap, her hand snaked out and grabbed the mix, before being stuffed into the inside of her coat.

Look left.

Look right.

And so, she fled Coles.

*Disclaimer: This story is for humorous purposes only, no foods were stolen in the making.

**Also, I don’t know if Coles is worldwide, but here down under, it is one our major supermarkets. No they did not pay me to use their name specifically, it could have been Woolworths for all its worth, whatever suits your imagination :)

review title

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Ok, now see here, this story is all what you would call, an example of, ‘artistic licence’ – taking an event and twisting it because I have the right to do so as someone who regards themselves as published. No sorry, actually, it can be done by anyone.

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Ever heard of Chinese whispers? Exactly.

ANYWAY, not to get off track here, I received this cake mix not by stealing as I may give the impression above, and not by active buying, because… I might have a teensy-tiny thing against using cake mixes. Yes, I admit, I am a snob. Using cake mixes gives me the impression of sawdust coming out of the oven and icing that could be chewing gum on the bottom of your shoe.

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True story since the only cake mix I tried had these results. And from then on, I never used cake mix again.

UNTIL NOW!

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You see, a sweet friend gave me Adriano Zumbo’s Mirror Cake Mix. And I was like, ‘Yeah, wow, I got to use this despite my history’ because, well, if you know me at all, you would know my obsession with Adriano Zumbo’s macarons and dessert train :D
So I was totally going to make it! Cross my heart!

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BUT… then I forgot about it. Oops. Year 12 started, life grew hectic, and I may or may not have spaced. But here I was, cleaning out my baking pantry like the good child I am and BAM. The expiration date of September 13th hit my face with a nice big slap! :P

Oh dear. Must resolve it. And that is how I found myself beginning to bake this cake-mix cake this weekend.

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I hope by now, the photos have given you the impression that I rather enjoyed this cake. Rather enjoyed as in, FREAKING LOVED IT!  I know, I know, what happened to the cake mix hater, but you MUST give me and it some credit ok?

The cake was:

  • Rich
  • Chocolate
  • Dark
  • Moist
  • Chocolatey (it is worth repeating)

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  • Looks exactly like the picture on the cover – Don’t giggle, this is important! What if you were expecting Betty Crocker muffins and instead, came out with muffins which had no muffin top?
  • Glazed with magic. Really.

What was so commendable about this cake, more than its incredible texture or flavour equivalent to my made-from-scratch go to mudcake recipe, was the fact that when it said ‘mirror glaze’, it most certainly did come out with the ability to see the lights and even the box itself reflecting off it.

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It just really added to the whole experience of eating a cake by seeing my face in it. Yeah, I am pretty darn delicious ;)

Also, since I decided to review this cake, I had to make sure I wasn’t looking at it from a somewhat amateur baker’s point of view, but from the perspective of a person who may not even have baked cookies before and now needed a dessert for a party they completely forgot about. Yep, it does happen to those non-bakers, the poor darlings!

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I found that in general, the instructions were very clear, though I tweaked them a little as you shall see below. Of course the ingredient/nutrition list was fine as usual and I think the idea of having video instructions available – after, 1 in 3 people find it easier to learn by visuals. Yes I made that statistic up but it IS probably true. Don’t question me yeah? :P

In no way does the flavour need improving. Seriously, look at the photos, read my points, if I tried to improve this, it would not be possible. Unless of course you added a swirl of Nutella. Though you may just perish from chocolate overload, a very real possibility.

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But how could we improve this as a product, and make this an even easier dessert to make? Simply follow my little extra tips of course :D

Instructions wise:

  • The recipe says ‘stir in chocolate’ in the first instruction, but I think ‘immediately’ is a key term missed out here – a novice may leave the butter to cool, may get distracted, and when the chocolate is stirred in in the end, the butter may not remain hot enough to allow the chocolate to easily melt into it and be stirred through to create a smooth textured mixture
  • Also, don’t worry if the butter boils in the microwave – its all good, just make sure every little bit is melted and as long as your dish is covered, the butter will be fine and your microwave will be clean :D
  • It also says to ‘add in the eggs’ straight after the chocolate has melted in the butter mixture – take it from a girl with personal experience – three eggs in a still relatively hot mixture = scrambled eggs. My advice here? Let the chocolate mixture cool for 10 minutes before adding in the egg, mixing one in at a time, for the best results :)
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  • This is also quite direct in its timing for baking – while I guess this is good to give a novice certainty, it does not accommodate for idea that people’s ovens are all different – for instance, of course the first 60 minutes of baking are fine but my cake was baked 10 minutes after instead of the 20 minutes suggested on the box – writing ’10-20 minutes’ and giving specific instructions as to how to check the cake is down (skewer inserted brings out few crumbs, lightly press down on cake and it should spring up) may have been a better idea
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  • The instructions to cool the cake got me a little – I let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes, after running a sharp knife around the edges well, before gently shaking it out onto a wire rack, not a chopping board, since otherwise, condensation would build up below and sogify your cake (just call me Shakespeare my darlings!) – By all means, once it is at room temperature and it is time to glaze, go ahead and move it to a chopping board or serving platter :D
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  • Also, I should mention that my cake rose considerably, so it was pretty fantastic BUT the instructions say to tip out the cake out onto a flat surface – if that is the case, use a large knife and level up the top, making sure you don’t be too crumby :) – Eating the cut offs was my favourite part without a doubt!

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  • This cake has a very liquidy batter – do be worried, I wasn’t used to it, but it certainly had brilliant results!

And lastly, I would really appreciate it if they would write which mix is which much clearer. I had a mini heart attack trying to distinguish between the icing mix and the cake mix. JUST saying :P

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So overall how did this cake mix go?

Adriano Zumbo Mirror Cake

A solid rating of 9/10 :D – Beautiful looking, pretty decent instructions and FAB results for the tastebuds!!!

Definitely check it out people, and if you are visiting down under, you should definitely invest :D

But do remember, you don’t know what exactly is in cake mixes (the preservatives and all!), I would not recommend only making them, NO WAY!

There will always be a little artificial flavour, even in this one with all its awesomeness, so remember, these are delicious and a simple way out only once in a while!!! :)

Need more incentive?

Need more incentive?

To see more baking mixes by the Baking God himself, visit his website!

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124 Comments

  1. I had no idea that Adriano Zumbo had his own line of cake mixes! Gasp!

    the mirror glaze looks exceptional and it does look like rich yet moist cake. I cant believe it came out of a box! I must admit that i’m a snob when it comes to cake mixes.

  2. Book Blather says:

    This cake looks amazing! Unfortunately for me we don’t have this brand of mix in the UK, we don’t even have Woolworths anymore. The world is a strange and foreign place when you come from Cumbria. :-) Hope the cake tasted as good as it looks hun! Really enjoyed your ‘story’ despite the ‘artistic license’!

  3. Hahaha! Coles was a bookstore in Canada (not sure if they are still there or not as I no live in Canada, but in the tropics), so while reading your story, I was wondering how the heck there were food isles in Coles. Haha. Your cake looks amazing – indeed a mirror cake!

  4. Becky says:

    Uru,
    I am not a fan of box cake mixes, even though I mostly grew up on them. The ganache on your ” Mirrow Cake” is OMG gorgeous, as well as the cake. I can only imagine all of the chocolaty goodness going on in your kitchen.

  5. The chocolate granache is so shiny it is almost like a mirror. Wow only 2 more weeks of school. This is a cause for some serious celebrations, I am sure there will be some chocolate involved.. LOL Take Care, BAM

  6. Zoe says:

    I remember starting baking with cake mix… Guilty! Guilty! Never like cake mix but now seeing your post, I know what to recommend if anyone ask what cake mix is good…

    Nice to know that Adriano mirror cake mix is as good as he claimed. I can really see mirror look on its glaze! – I really like your honest reviews! Keep it up!!!

  7. applec says:

    The finished cake looks amazing. The glaze topping makes my mouth water. I’m checking out those mixes. The husband will never know ;)

  8. Barbara says:

    There are times, not many, when cake mixes are a plus. On my side blog, I’ve had some tasty results using them with other ingredients. The frosting alone on yours looks divine.

  9. Sugar et al. says:

    I am not for cake mix too but everything you have written about this one makes it worth a buy, especially the mirror glaze. And of course, if its Zumbo I am always interested. Loved the review Uru!

  10. Lol, I am a food snob too… I had a packet mix in my pantry… (don’t ask me why) I finally made it up just to get the space back and I apologied to everyone who wanted a piece of the cake. I had to let them know it “wasn’t from scratch” This looks amazing, so good that it has real flavour and not so much artificial taste.
    Great story and review.

  11. laurasmess says:

    I had no idea that Zumbo made box cake mixes (it’s been a long time since I’ve looked in that section of the supermarket) but I am so glad that you found the result to be high quality and a good representation of the box image!! Your cake looks divine, and yep… the mirror glaze is a good description! I do like Adriano Zumbo. I’d be interested to try his box macarons. I’ve always been skeptical about box mixes but if a baker like you likes this, I’m convinced Uru! xx

  12. I agree with you that this doesn’t look like a mix – just the texture alone is luscious. Of course I will take your word for the taste although I wish I could have helped you out on that. And what a shiny glaze! You could do your makeup in that shine.

  13. Beautiful photos, CCU. Of course, having such a gorgeous, shiny cake makes it a whole lot easier to take fun pics. Looks like Coles is only in Australia so we in the U.S. are flat out of luck. But, we can dream, and look at your pics. Maybe you can buy out Cole’s inventory of Mirror Cake Mix and we’ll order from you.

  14. pamasaurus says:

    This looks pretty delicious! I don’t use boxed mixes often, but it’s nice to have a go-to brand just in case. I wish we had this brand here in the States because it looks amazing.

  15. Good to see you out and about in your trench coat again! Fun post, and great looking cake. We never use mixes (so easy just to add the ingredients to a bowl and mix!) but maybe we’re missing out. Good stuff – thanks.

  16. I am anti cake mix too but this one doesn’t look half bad. It’s till hard to know what all is in there. Looks like you had fabulous results but thank goodness you are experienced to know and follow the directions a bit differently. Poor directions for a very amateur bake though and they should do better. We don’t have Coles here nor the Adriano Zumbo cake in the US so I guess I’ll never really have a chance to taste this! But we do get cake mixes from celebrity chefs…I’m always reluctant to try them though.

    Nazneen

    • Exactly, the preservative possibilities and all, they are the main reason I would never continually use them :P
      But definitely, for amateurs this was not too bad, not at all :D

      Cheers
      CCU

  17. navane64 says:

    The cake is driving me crazy, I mean for a person who don’t fancy cakes, its so good, has the “WOW” factors and good to goodness. Am loving it all the way. I am not sure if the cake mix is available over here but I shall try searching at the supermarkets. Definitely if I can find, I am gonna make the cake.

  18. The looks really good, as bakers we tend to turn our nose up at box mixes, mostly for good reasons like the ingredient list on some of them. But there is nothing wrong with using a mix from time to time, this cake looks delicious, glad you caught that expiration date and made it. YUMMY!

  19. bec {daisy and the fox} says:

    this looks truly delicious!! despite being cake mix it has me drooling :P
    soo moist and full of chocolately goodness :)

  20. Kim Bultman says:

    Uru, your CCU intro’s are a delight and yes, chocolate is definitely your middle name! For a mix (and for you being a well known “from scratch” baker) your review ought to skyrocket their sales — better buy stock now. ;)

  21. thehungrymum says:

    I have one of these in my cupboard, just waiting to be made! I got it in a ‘showbag’ at some food-type thing and was wary too, but after reading this I think I shall go forth & open the box & make it! Thanks for being a brave guinea pig :)

  22. I’ve been wondering what this cake mix was like after it hit the shelves, I am very impressed with how similar the icing looks to the box picture! I will definitely give this one a try the next time it’s on sale and I need caaake :D hehe

  23. Baking Tray says:

    Hello!! I have recently discovered your blog!! :) love it ^_^ and it was such a coincidence that this is the ONE zumbo packet mix cake i have NOT tried!! so thanks for reviewing it! I’m not a fan of cake mixes too but… zumbo is an exception =p his salted caramel macarons are DELICIOUS!! =] (and he has a pop up shop in melbourne this week!!! :D :D hehe im a fan as well ^^) but yeah! can’t wait to try this one out :) keep up the baking!

    • So nice to meet you too! Haha I love it when that happens, perfect coincidence :D
      I hope you enjoy it, I have the salted caramel ones left and I can’t wait to try it, especially now!

      Cheers
      CCU

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