Winner: King Arthur Flour ($5.95)
While one tester thought it smelled "like fake maple syrup" and another sniffed out "carrot cake," the overall conclusion we'd want to eat this one the most. "Very tender," "moist" and the "most cake-like." We found its flavor gingery and well balanced, with strong notes of clove. Though it could have used a bigger hit of molasses, overall it had the best medley of flavors.
What You Have to Add: 1 1/4 cups hot water, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 1 egg.
Runner-Up: Trader Joe's ($2.49)
Of all the mixes, this one came out the darkest and had the strongest molasses flavor. Though a little gummy, it also had loads of spice.
What You Have to Add: 1 egg, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, and 2/3 cup water.
Runner-Up: Williams-Sonoma ($10.95)
While this one had the best ginger flavor and a great balance of spices, ultimately it was too dry and dense.
What You Have to Add: 2 eggs and 3/4 cup of water, it required 1 stick of melted butter. </p?
Betty Crocker ($2.50)
While one taster chose it as a favorite, calling it "moist and molassesy," the majority of us found it "gummy," "bland," "too sweet," and noted its "chemical aftertaste."
What You Have to Add: 1 1/4 cups of lukewarm water and 1 egg.
One major issue here was the lack of a discernible ginger flavor. The texture was also bad (too spongy) and we didn't feel good about the grayish-brownish color. This was our least favorite.
What You Have to Add: 1 cup of water and 1 egg.