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This week my step dad turned seventy. Naturally, my mom wanted to have a party. My mom loves throwing parties. She may not admit it out loud, and I’m sure part of her hates parties because they’re a lot of work… but when a party is mentioned, she’s in go-mode.

Growing up, mine and my sister’s kid parties were always unique. There’d be creative and different birthday cakes and all kinds of fun games no one has ever heard of. For my sixteenth birthday, a surprise party for me wasn’t enough – she had to plan the event as a surprise for all my friends, too. So she reached out to all the parents, everyone showed up and we piled in cars having no idea where we were going. The creative excitement for this party was no different.

My step dad decided to change the party from a house party to a dinner at his best friend’s restaurant, to save in preparations for everyone. Little did he know, that would not stop my mom. She planned everything out, even as far as finding a shirt for my step dad to wear that said “it took me 70 years to look this good”. There were centerpieces for every table. One filled with gumballs labeled “70 blows”, one with pop rocks and rock candy saying “70 rocks”, a sucker filled jar tagged “70 sucks”. There was balloons, 70th birthday stickers on mini Hershey’s bars, all the works. So when my mom asked if I wanted to do the cake, I knew it had to be something good.

I decided to do a photo strip cake. My mom secretly went through a box of my step dad’s pictures and picked out 30 images from all different parts of my his life. From when he was little to when he became a cop to just a few months ago. We sent them over to Sweet Nothings Images Etsy shop, and they arrive printed on edible paper just a few days later.

I made everyone’s favorite doctored up cake mix recipe, whipped up some homemade whipped cream, and made Italian buttercream. Let me tell you – doctored up cake is the way to go! Less ingredients to measure, quick and easy to throw together, and everyone loves it. I’ve made all kinds of homemade cakes from scratch, and none of them have been as well liked as this doctored up box mix recipe. People grow up eating box mix cake, it’s what they’re used to. Hand them a piece of scratch cake and it’s an entire new experience. So I took what people are used to and made it better.

I traded in high quality pictures and fancy recipes to deliver you an easy recipe that people don’t say no to second helpings of. Time to unleash the secret!

Doctored-Up Cake Mix

From at

Prep: Cook: Total:

You'll Need...

  • Ingredients on the box, plus:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 box dry pudding mix
  • 1 oz extra oil


  1. Prepare as directed on box, adding pudding mix in with the dries.

It’s that simple!

Different combinations to try:

  • Lemon pudding mix with white cake mix
  • Pistachio pudding mix with yellow cake mix
  • Candy cane or mint pudding mix with chocolate cake mix


It’s super moist and perfect for cake, cupcakes, and even cake balls. You can even fill it with whipped cream mixed with caramel, because caramel goes good with everything dessert! The options are endless.

So yeah, I think you want a piece of me 😉


P.S. We love using parchment cake circles at the bottom of our cake pans for easy removal. Never break another cake again! Seriously… try them!

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