Red Velvet Cookies: A Happy Accident

By Tsz on January 26, 2011

Who knew how versatile a humble box of cake mix can be?

It was one of those days. My eyes were shot from staring at the computer all day at work, followed by a frustrating commute home… only to find out after walking in my home that I forgot to grocery shop.

In this case, it was not for dinner but rather for an art reception the next day! Yet, I’m so exhausted the thought of making a trek to the nearest store is like getting my wisdom teeth pulled. Ok, so I haven’t had them pulled yet—the big day is this Saturday—but you get the point.

So instead, I started rummaging through my cupboards, hoping for divine intervention. And it came, in a box of Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake Mix. Problem was, I couldn’t make cupcakes because the piece de la resistance at the show is an interactive cupcake piece. Le merde.

You see, I was brought on board by my old design professor at USC to mentor a few students for their upcoming show, X Marks the Spot, where every participating artist must take a letter and recreate its form in an unexpected medium.

As luck would have it, I was paired with 3 foodie designers! So, it was joy to brainstorm with them and basically have my minions, ahem, I mean students create my dream vision. Not going to give away the cow, so I can only say one of the pieces involves cupcakes and lots of them. If you’re interested in checking it out, the reception is tomorrow night (1/25) at USC’s Lindhurst Gallery from 5 to 8pm. Just say Tsz sent you!

Anyways, back to the cake mix. Competing cupcakes were out of the equation, so what else can I do? Fortunately, it turns out with a slight alternation in the eggs and butter ratio, the mix can be transformed into a cookie dough—and it’s so easy! Don’t believe me? Let me show you in 6 steps.

1. Open cake mix in a big mixing bowl.

2. Grate 1 teaspoon of orange peel and mix well. Actually, this is optional, but I rather like the taste of orange and chocolate together. So if you skip this, it’s only 5 steps.

3. Beat in 2 eggs and 6 tablespoons of melted butter. Really trippy how the tan colored cake mix turns blood red in the span of a minute…

4. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and roll them in a mixture of 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon cornstarch.

5. Baked in a 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

6. Let cool and dust with more powdered sugar.
Done and done. They’re best when fresh out of the oven cause they’re soft and chewy. Addicting.

I got a little styling-happy and busted out some patriotic napkins—would make for a festive July Fourth dessert don’t you think?

Thank you Ducan Hines!

Comments (7)

Sandra Lee better watch her back ;-) This semi-homemade creation looks lovely and patriotic!

Thanks Cathy! And yes, Sandra Lee has got some competition, muahahahaha :D

Hi, I was just reading your profile over at project sweet tooth. I was wondering if you ever did make it to Paris?

I too am a self-confessed dessert aholic and dream of going to culinary school there (2 year plan). But in the meantime I spent 10 glorious days there eating to my hearts content. I documented my eats over at my blog under travels if you're interested. Sadaharu Aoki and Hugo and Victor were unbelievable..

Hi Jen!

I was unable to travel to Paris last summer as I ended up booking a last minute freelance design project ( But, to tell the truth, I believe I chickened out too. So, this year is the year!

Saw your blog and really enjoyed your photos! Sadaharu Aoki and Laduree are on the top of my list :) So cool that you're a designer as well—do you wish to stay or switch over to cooking?


I didn't know cake mix could be cookie dough! This could get dangerous at my house!


I've always loved design and I've been doing it professionally for about 5 years, but I do think within the next couple years after I've saved up enough and with an upcoming opportunity of being able to do full-time freelance, I would LOVE to go to pastry school in Paris.

There has been no where else I have travelled to that has given me such an overwhelming feeling that I belonged there.

Btw, love your Chinatown project :)

Hi, my name is Mario and I wanted to thank you for adding me as a friend on FoodBuzz. I wanted to visit your blog. I really like your writing style. It's personal and the food comments and recipes flow so smoothly with your naratives. Awesome job. For me, it makes your posts real and genuine. (Like describing the weary, blurry eyes and long commute). I write a blog similar in style. I write about Love, people and relationships all told through the stories of food and recipes. Please visit, maybe leave a comment. Or consider following. It would be great to have you.

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