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Ad Hoc Cake Mix and Prepared Frosting

Leave it to uber-Chef Thomas Keller to create the world’s most expensive cake mix.

Just how pricey?

We’re talking $14 for either the Ad Hoc Red Velvet, Chocolate or Yellow cake mixes sold exclusively at Williams-Sonoma. Add another $19.95 for a jar of either the ready-to-spread Ad Hoc Milk Chocolate or Dark Chocolate frostings, also sold at Williams-Sonoma.

That’s $33.95 to make one cake right there. Not to mention the butter, plus 4 whole eggs AND 4 egg yolks that you mix into the yellow cake batter, which is the one I received a sample of recently to try.

Boy howdy, you could buy a quite decent bakery cake for that price and call it a day.

Ahh, but then, you wouldn’t have the Ad Hoc or Keller prestige attached to it.

The mixes and frostings are made from top-notch ingredients: Guittard cocoa and Nielsen Massey vanilla. I could smell the strong fragrance of the vanilla as the yellow cake batter came together in the bowl of my stand mixer. Unlike so many other cake recipes I’ve used, the directions on the back of this box call for using the whisk attachment for the mixer rather than the paddle. The result is a batter that is very fluffy and silky-creamy — almost as if there’s whipped cream folded into it.

Although there are directions for making cupcakes, too, I decided to make the standard layer cake. After the two layers baked and were cool enough to handle, I smeared my sample jar of the thick Dark Chocolate frosting on them.

The cake was quite buttery tasting, and the Dark Chocolate frosting was decadently rich and pleasantly none-too-sweet.

As a frequent baker, who normally makes treats from scratch, I’m not sure I’d fork over that kind of dough for prepared mixes and frostings for myself, even if they carry the Keller seal of approval.

But I do think they make great gifts, especially for folks who aren’t lucky enough to have a Bouchon Bakery in their vicinity. I’ve given the mixes to a couple of friends, both scratch-bakers and semi-homemade bakers.  And they’ve never ceased to elicit squeals of glee when unwrapped.

When’s the last time a box of cake mix did that?

More: A Cheaper Thomas Keller Cake Alternative — A Recipe for Ad Hoc’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

More: To Get Your Chocolate Fix — A Recipe for Ad Hoc’s Chocolate Chip Cookies