Crack cake is decadent, addictive and ever so delicious. This is the ultimate box cake mix hack with pudding. In addition wine is added to create sheer edible bliss.
A fluffy rich cake with ribbons of fudginess. Who would have thought that using a vanilla box cake mix, instant pudding, and rosé wine would end up so gloriously?
This recipe is something a little different for me. I tend to make cakes from scratch, especially for the blog.
Yes I am human and have the odd box cake mix in the cupboard for those days I am feeling lazy and craving cake. Hacking box cake mixes is something I don't do, it is rather American.
Please, my beautiful American readers, don't take offence. It's simply not a thing we tend to do down under. I read with interest cookie and cake hacks using cake mixes.
Part of me wonders why? The other part praises these recipes for their creativity and experimentation.
I always felt why go to all the trouble of hacking a packet of cake mix with all those other ingredients? You may as well have created something from scratch.
That was pre pandemic pantry Sara.
While there has been an incredible shortage of flour on Australian supermarket shelves, the odd cake mix can still be found. And instant pudding mix obviously isn't highly coveted at all.
What is Crack Cake?
Crack cake is a white cake mix hack where you add pudding to the cake mix. The original recipe used a yellow cake mix, I don't.
In addition to the cake and pudding mix, wine is added. All sounds pretty horrendous, doesn't it?
The result will leave you gobsmacked. You will end up with a cake that is rather light in texture, with a crunchy caramelised exterior. It also has fudgy pockets of flavour from the buttery wine syrup poured over the top..
Origins of Crack Cake
I have no idea who the original creator of crack cake was. I have delved down that rabbit hole and the earliest recipe I can find on Google is from The Sarcastic Blonde back in 2012.
There are a few recipes floating around the internet. They all use Duncan Hines yellow cake mix, instant vanilla pudding, wine, and other key ingredients.
There is also another version of the cake called wine cake.
Hacking the ingredients
As Duncan Hines isn't readily available in Australia, and the pudding mix description was simply one packet of pudding mix, I decided to hack the hack.
I pulled a few of the crack cake recipes circling the internet, had a play, tweak, and made it my own. Also creating a recipe that Australian readers would be able to easily make.
I've also reduced the amount of sugar added. The original recipes added a ridiculous amount of sugar. Considering you were adding this to premade products already high sugar.
Rose Wine Crack Cake
The original recipes all used white wine. Instead I use a crisp dry rosé. This also adds to the final colour of the cake, deepening the hue. Creating a delicious rose wine cake.
Another little tweak
I also do something that others don't, I decorate it. A simple sprinkle of snow sugar makes all the difference.
Snow sugar does not melt, like confectioner's or icing sugar does. This is important as the cake is moist due to the syrup. If you don't have snow sugar leave the cake plain, or maybe add some edible flowers or a sprinkle of coconut?
Making Crack Cake
I found the recipes gracing the internet lacking the finer details of the cake making process. The success, I believe, of this cake is in the finer details.
Use either hand beaters or a stand mixer, do not beat by hand. Hand beating will result in a denser cake. The idea is to incorporate as much air into the batter as we can. Beat until the batter thickens and ribbons are left by the beaters.
When making the wine syrup, it isn't just a case of melting the butter and sugar with the wine, then bingo there you go.
Slowly melt the butter and let the sugar dissolve into the wine. Bring the mixture to a slow boil. The butter will froth and bubble to start, it will eventually calm down. The mixture needs to reduce and thicken to create a golden syrup.
Once the cake is out of the oven poke it really well with a skewer. Channel your inner psycho. The cake forms a beautiful crunchy crust, but we need to make a way for the syrup to penetrate and get into the cake.
If you find that the wine syrup is pooling around the centre of your bundt tin you will need to redistribute the syrup. Pick the tin up (careful it will be hot) and tilt the tin to move the syrup to absorb into the top of the cake.
Come on, does this cake really work?
Surprisingly it does. You would think with all the ingredients, especially the pudding, and the added sugar syrup, that you would end up with a stodgy dense cake.
The result could not be further from that description.
Why the name crack cake? After one slice it will be very obvious, you will be going back for slice, after slice, after slice.
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Crack Cake Recipe
- 1 550 g box vanilla cake mix I used Betty Crocker
- 1 100 g packet vanilla pudding mix
- 60 grams ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 190 mls ¾ cup water
- 170 mls ⅔ cup oil, use an oil light in flavour like canola
- 125 mls ½ cup rosé wine, dry not sweet
Wine Syrup Ingrdients
- 100 grams butter
- 160 grams ¾ cup golden caster sugar, superfine sugar
- 65 mls ¼ cup rosé wine
- 1 teaspooon vanilla extract
- Pre-heat oven 170°C/340°F
- Grease and flour a 21 cm (8.27 inches) bundt tin. I use spray oil and a light dusting of plain flour. Shake out any excess flour.
- Place all cake ingredients in a large bowl (or stand mixer bowl). Using stand mixer or hand beaters beat ingredients the batter thickens, and the beaters leave ripples. This will take around 10 minutes with hand beaters, slightly less time with a stand mixer.
- Pour the cake batter into your prepared bundt tin.
- Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 1 hour.
- Test the cake with a skewer in the middle of the cake. If the skewer comes out clean the cake is ready.
- While the cake is still in tin stab it multiple times with the skewer all over. This is to allow the glaze to penetrate. Feel free to have an Alfred Hitchcock Psycho moment, but don't over do it, we do want the cake to hold together.
- Once stabbed (and still in tin) pour the hot wine syrup all over the cake. If you find the syrup pooling around the whole in the centre of the bundt tin, pick the tin up with a teatowel and tilt so the glaze is distributed to other areas.
- Leave the cake sit in the bundt tin for 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from the tin and allow to cool on a cake rack. Do not leave the cake in the tin any longer than 10 minutes or you run the risk of it sticking.
- The cake can be decorated with snow sugar. If you use normal icing sugar/powdered sugar it may "melt" due to the moisture from the wine syrup.
Wine Syrup Instructions
- Prepare the glaze during the final 15 minutes of the cake baking.
- In a medium saucepan place butter, sugar and wine.
- Over a low heat stir mixture until butter has melted and sugar disolved.
- Bring mixture up to a slow boil stirring continuously. The mixture will bubble and foam up and if not watched may spill over the saucepan lip.
- Increase heat and continue to stir for another 2 minutes. The mixture will be golden and thicken slightly. It is now ready to pour over the cake.