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Friday, January 14, 2011

Frosting Mix

When I was a kid, my mom would often make frosting from a mix, especially chocolate. The mix came in a box like a cake mix and was a powder that you simply added butter and probably milk to. And the frosting was delicious. Sometime around fifth grade, my mom and I stopped by the Smith’s grocery store on the corner of 106th South and 7th East in Sandy, UT. We walked down the baking aisle and no matter how hard we looked, not a frosting mix was to be found! For some inexplicable reason, the big cake mix companies decided to stop making the frosting mixes and force us to eat their yucky canned frostings. Which we refused to do. It was homemade all the way after that. But we certainly missed those quick and delicious mixes. (P.S. For other inexplicable reasons, this memory is burned into my brain. It’s funny the stuff that sticks with you.)

Imagine my surprise and delight the other day walking down the aisles of Trader Joe’s and seeing this:

Chocolate Frosting Mix! Yes, it’s a powder! Yes, you add butter to it! Yes, it’s delicious! I called my mom that night to let her know the good news, and she was even more excited than I was. I know her well.

I had a random hankering for cupcakes the other day, which I indulged. It gave me a chance to try this stuff out. The frosting is in fact delicious. I think I needed to add a bit more hot water because it wasn’t super spreadable, so the cupcakes weren’t very pretty (my 6 year old kept insisting the cupcakes were beautiful, what a sweetie). But the frosting was great regardless.

My apologies to those of you without Trader Joe’s. I know I pretty much torture you with these posts. Good news, this mix isn’t perishable. All you have to do is convince your loving friends in Trader Joe’s markets to mail it to you. Easy peasy. πŸ˜‰


  1. So what you’re saying is that you’re happy to package up some serious TJ’s loot and mail it my way?


    • Jane Maynard

      you know, when I typed that sentence I thought, “this is almost an invitation for everyone to beg ME to mail them trader joe’s stuff” and sure enough, first comment.

      I guess we’ll see how loving I really am, eh? πŸ˜›

  2. I saw this the other day for the first time. As much as I am trying to make more things from scratch, mom-reality is that short cuts are key to my survival! Thanks for sharing this new arrival at TJs.

    • Jane Maynard

      I’m with ya…I’m all about making things from scratch…AND all about finding wonderful, delicious shortcuts when needed! πŸ˜‰

  3. 4

    that is so awesome! if youre willing to mail trader joes, im willing to take it. we have NO good stores around where I live in easter NC. just wal mart, food lion, and harris teeter 30 mins away

  4. 5

    I love this frosting mix. Puts the nasty canned stuff to shame. As a dark chocolate lover, I especially like this mix because you can taste a very subtle bittersweet flavor.

  5. 6

    p.s. the chocolate cake mix they sell next to the frosting mix is awesome too.

  6. I’m one of those Mom’s that makes the home made stuff BUT have never found a chocolate frosting mix I like. Now all I need if for a Trader Joes to set up here in Canada and I can buy a mix!
    Even the box is cute:)

  7. 8

    Could the reason this is indelibly burned on your memory be because your mother had a melt down right there in the store when they said ‘they don’t make it anymore?’ The fact that you can remember exactly what store we were in speaks volumes about the intensity of the love of packaged frosting mix in our house….

    YUMMMMMM When you said C’hocolate Frosting Mix! Yes, it’s a powder! Yes, you add butter to it! mix, butter and hot water’ – my mouth started to water. I’m off the Trader Joe’s – tonight! Thank heaven there is one in this state!

  8. 9

    I admit I am known to snap up the cake mixes, frosting mix, and pudding mixes for b-day cake. I have chocolate and a vanilla lover, so I made swirled. That frosting mix really impressed me, seems like powdered sugar and cocoa powder mixed together. Whole foods has frosting mixes in a box too, organic and such,although they weren’t as good if I recall corectly.

  9. 10

    Aaaaahh… one more reason to lure TJ to come into our town. I used to live on canned frosting until I started making my own. But sometimes a shortcut like this is appreciated! πŸ™‚

  10. 11

    I have heard great things about Trader Joe’s, however, here in Texas we are without. The frosting mix sounds wonderful. I would love to get my hands on some. However, until that day comes I will just dream about it. Now I have a serious desire for cake with frosting.

  11. 12

    Seriously, you make trader joes sound soo cool! If one ever comes my way I might just move in!! And if I ever see one on a road trip I will be loading up!

  12. 13

    Today I introduced my children to cake snobbery, when I explained, in the cake mix aisle, that we would not be buying cake mixes because they are nasty. I feel the same about frosting–I’m completely skeptical, Jane, that frosting from a mix can be good. Especially since making it from scratch is only 5 ingredients anyway. Does it really save time? Still, based solely on your recommendation, I might try this frosting if someone offers it to me. (Instead of throwing away those canned-frosting sugar cookies that someone inevitably brings over for Valentine’s Day.)

  13. 14

    Thanks for the review Jane! I bought a box of the frosting mix and the cake mix right next to it on a whim several weeks back but haven’t been brave enough to try it yet. I will admit I was skeptical but your review makes me feel pretty confident that we’ll like it!

  14. I sure do love homemade chocolate frosting (my favorite recipe is on the Hershey’s Cocoa canister). We’ve got a TJ’s here in town – I guess I have another reason to drop by!

  15. Ooooh, just found your website and this post made me so happy! Off to TJ’s to grab some frosting. Not sure if I’ll actually make any cake to go with it…

  16. 17

    Hmm, I saw the frosting mix box on the new item shelf back in the fall and did not take the bait. Now I’m going to have to try it. Even though we are a very home made family I always need stuff like that on hand for emergencies and when my teenagers need to throw something together quick…which constitutues a completely different brand of emergency.

  17. 18

    I’ll have to go check this out. When I was growing up my Mom use to use the frosting in the box by Jiffy. I loved it. Can’t wait to try this!

  18. 19

    You really have spiked a childhood memory with this post. I can remember cheesecake mix in a packet from when I was little and I haven’t thought about it in years but I can still remember the crushed biscuit base you just added butter to, the ready made cheese part and some thick syrupy fruit that went over the top. I wonder if they make it still and if it still tastes the same.

  19. 20

    I’m so jealous of all you Trader Joe shoppers! We don’t have one here. I’m throwing my son’s first birthday this weekend and would love a simple chocolate frosting mix to put on the cupcakes. Everyone will just have to be happy with the whipped cream and powdered sugar mix I make. (BTW – first attempt at it, so let’s hope it goes well!)

  20. 21

    Agree about the canned stuff. It’s nasty and I refuse to buy it. Mixing confectioner’s sugar, softened butter and cocoa together (and a little coffee sometimes) is almost as easy as the mix. I love TJ’s – you never know what you might find.

  21. 22

    The Trader Joes cake mix is also really delicious! I’ve made the chocolate a few times, and it turns out really well–not too sweet, with a really nice crumb. I’m not much of a frosting person (I’d eat a naked cake if I was making one just for me) but I’ll give the TJ frosting a try!

  22. 23

    Finley – here’s an easy recipe for buttercream frosting. This will frost one layer cake, 13 x 9″ cake or 24 cupcakes.

    Basic buttercream:
    1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
    6 Tablespoons butter, very soft
    3 to 4 tablespoons milk
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/8 teaspoon salt

    In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium or a spoon, beat all ingredients together until smooth. Add a little more milk, if necessary to get it to a good spreading consistency.

    For Chocolate Mocha Frosting: Prepare as above, but add 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, substitute 1/3 Cup hot coffee for the milk and reduce vanilla to 1/2 teaspoon.

  23. 24

    I have almost the same memory. I so miss the box frosting mix and cannot stand the canned stuff. A trip to Trader Joe’s is in order.

  24. 25

    I don’t live in a Trader Joe’s city. I’d never heard of frosting in a box. But, when I went to buy the supplies for my daughter’s birthday cake this week, I noticed that they had a Betty Crocker version at my grocery store. I gave it a try and it was delicious!

    • Jane Maynard

      what the what?!?! that’s great to hear….maybe these mixes really are coming back – will have to keep my eyes peeled! πŸ™‚

  25. 26

    BETTY CROCKER FROSTING IN A BOX MIX….. REALLY!!!??? That just has to be too good to be true…. I’m going out the internet RIGHT NOW!

  26. Just tried this on a couple of days ago and it is tasty and quick! I am trying to find a loving family to take the rest of this cake off my hands (or should I say off my plate!)

  27. 28
    JoAnn K

    Oh MAN! I have looked for the powdered mix, too. I think it was Betty Crocker. It had a recipe on the side for making the mix into fudge that we always made at Christmas. My husband is asking for fudge (he’s in the hospital), and that’s the best there is… and easy too! Wonder if the mix you found will make into fudge???

  28. 29

    Yesterday was my daughters bday and since we were at Walmart we just picked up a cake there. It was so delicious. I finally realized I liked it so much bc the frosting tasted just like my bday cakes as a child. I didn’t notice those boxed frostings disappeared until I had that familiar taste back in my mouth. Then I realized all I ever see in the way of frosting are those vile tubs that forced me into making homemade ever since I had my own kids. So I got online to see what happened to it and have found many comments and threads by people also longing for this same boxed frosting. My daughter asked what’s so special about it and I told her that people always love things that they grew up with if those things are attached to fond memories. With do many of us having birthday cake after birthday cake made with this stuff it’s no wonder we want it back. TJs has it right with this product–especially if it really is good since there’s not much else out there like it at this point. But I would still hope it’d taste just like the old Betty Crocker mix.

    • Jane Maynard

      you’ll have to give this one a try! and I love that I’m not the only one out there with nostalgia for that boxed frosting! πŸ™‚

  29. 30

    I’ve been looking for this Betty Crocker Frosting Mix for years and decided to check web. I’m heading for Trader Joe’s. My mother-in-law used the box of frosting and a pint of heavy cream whipped together. Wonderful and I thought I’d never get to make again.

  30. 31
    Megan Flowers

    Have you tried the T.J’s boxed cake mix? My sons b-bay party is this weekend and he wants cupcakes. Any recommendations? I am not nessessarily looking for a box mix but easier the better right now! Thanks!

    • Jane Maynard

      awwww man…I totally didn’t responde to this in time for the party! the cake mix was yummy! boxed cake mixes are a great alternative to homemade when you are tight on time…hope the party went well!!!

  31. 32
    Megan Flowers

    I ended up making a cake from smitten kitchen. I think it was birthday cake. It was a yellow cake recipe. It turned out pretty tasty! I also made chocolate cupcakes from the TJ’s box mix. They were quick and easy. Not amazing though. I’d use them in a pinch but can’t say I they’re anything to rave about. I also used to frosting both chocolate and white. It was good. The only think I did not like was how it hardened. Im not a big frosting girl however if I’m going to go for it I like it to be silky not sandy.
    The party was a huge success!! Thank you!!!

  32. 33

    Came up to NC from Florida for the summer. Went to stock up at TJs since there isn’t one where I live. Guess what? They DISCONTINUED the chocolate frosting. I am CRUSHED. I love the stuff. Not too sweet. Great consistency. They still had the white, but it’s not the same. UGH!

    • Jane Maynard

      that is the thing I HATE about that store…you fall in love with something, and then it’s discontinued! ARGH! so sad!

  33. 34

    Had a craving for chocolate cupcakes had some chocolate frosting mix but realized we had no butter…we did however have creamy peanut butter i thought chocolate and peanut butter hey its like reese’s, so i used the peanut butter in place of the butter it was delicious my kids still beg me to make chocolate peanut butter cupcakes for them to this day

    • Jane Maynard

      as I read your comment, I was wondering what the punchline would be…good or bad? it was like reading a novel! πŸ˜‰ glad to hear it was good, will have to remember this!

  34. I just found this site because I’m looking online to see if I can still buy Trader Joes chocolate icing mix. I used to buy it all the time and now my store seems to have discontinued it. I can’t make icing this good by scratch.
    Do you know anything about that?

  35. 36
    Kim Phillips

    I have a cookbook from the 60’s (Betty Crocker’s Cake and Frosting Mix Cookbook) where the main ingredients are different cake and frosting mixes. A large number of them are no longer available so I was very pleased to see this post and know that I can try at least a few of the recipes. Thanks for sharing this!

  36. 37
    Jose Rivers

    I have read a few of your works already but this one is just brilliant.
    There aren’t a lot of stuff I would suggest for everyone. The previous time it was And that I will certainly want all my friends to
    see work as well. Thanks a lot, it was a real joy.

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