There are few things that irk home bakers more than six sad, empty little cups in a cupcake tin.
That was Jill Cataldo's conundrum after her favorite cake mix boxes, which used to measure 18.25 ounces, suddenly shrunk to 15.25 ounces -- yielding only 18 cupcakes in her standard batch of two 12-cake tins.
"You should be able to get 24 cupcakes out of cake mix," said Cataldo, 39, a coupon advice columnist and savings workshop instructor from Illinois.
Her solution: stretch the recipe with her own homemade batch of "cake mix upsizer" -- a flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda combo.
Cataldo's cupcakes are victim of an ongoing trend. Consumer packaged-goods makers have gotten creative with how they pass on rising costs and maintain bottom lines — from offering fewer ounces in cake mixes to replacing some of the cream in ice cream with air to punching a hidden "dimple" in the bottom of peanut butter jars to decrease capacity. Often, the price stays the same, and the package looks the same on the shelf, but it contains less product.
Pillsbury told NBC News it decreased the net weight of its cake last year to "align our products with other brands in the category," and said the 15.25-ounce amounts "bake the same size 13x9 inch cake, or 24 cupcakes, while retaining the quality and flavor consumers expect."