Expired cake mix!

Callers often ask about the safety of using an expired cake mix. This weekend, I discovered first hand just how an expired cake mix performs. I needed to bake a birthday cake for my grandson and remembered that I recently bought a cake mix for another grandson to bake while visiting. I thought I had grabbed that mix and quickly prepared and baked it. When I poured it into the pan, it looked a bit thin and runny but I have not used a cake mix for several years, so I thought I might not be remembering it correctly. When I took the cake out of the oven, I was disappointed in the volume but I was expecting a daughter’s arrival so did not think about it much after that. When I showed her the cake and we looked at the poor volume, she looked for the empty box in my wastebasket. The cake mix had expired in October of 2017. We had just enough time to locate and mix up the actual mix that I had bought in February. The volume difference between the two mixes was surprising. This difference was even easier to see in person. If you look at the back of the pans, you will notice how poorly the expired cake rose.

We tell callers that  while it is not unsafe to use an expired mix; you may experience other problems with the cake. The leavening may not work well and if there are any fats already in the mix, they may be rancid. The texture of the cake was not what I expected, I thought it was very coarse and the cake was not tender when I tore a section out to examine.

After looking at the results of my expired cake mix and the fresh cake, I would recommend tossing an expired mix. I wasted four eggs and a half-cup of oil on the failed cake.

Moral of the story, always glance at the expiration date of a mix before adding other costly ingredients.  

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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6 thoughts on “Expired cake mix!

  1. I would like to eat an angel food cake. I m along. Can’t go to the store but when I see my box of cake mix is expired for 2 yr and 8 month’s. It’s wrong to make it?

  2. Hi, it won’t be unsafe to use it but the quality of the cake may not be good. It may not raise very well or be more dense than you would like but it should not be unsafe to use it.

  3. I just had this happen to me and I was looking for reasons. Sure enough my mix expired 2-1/2 months ago. The cake rose beautifully in the oven and fell almost flat 5 minutes later. This hasn’t happened to me for decades so I knew there had to be a reason! Thank you for posting.

  4. Linda, thank you for the positive feedback. Besides the mix being expired, the cake may also have been slightly underdone which would contribute to the deflating and falling. We all live and learn and aren’t we glad that some redos are possible.

  5. Sooo…In my pantry I have a Pillsbury box cake Expired 2009. A can of Baking Powder expired 2012. Three eggs, fresh! Cup of water, tap, freshly filtered. I realize its 2021. I don’t care. Let’s do this.

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