carflea Posted 25 May 2006 , 4:04pm
post #1 of

What do you do/use?


I use box. The time i experimented didn't turn out so well...

74 replies
Katydidz Posted 25 May 2006 , 4:07pm
post #2 of

I use box. It's easier, cheaper, and if you doctor it up a bit it tastes just as good. Also, more fool proof. I know exactly how my box cake mixes will turn out every time, some of my scratch cakes are too picky for cake making.

carflea Posted 25 May 2006 , 4:09pm
post #3 of

are you concerened w the trans fat?

KHalstead Posted 25 May 2006 , 4:09pm
post #4 of

I agree..........just abouat every scratch cake I have ever made was very inconsistent...would come out differently everytime even though I was meticulous about following mixes are very consistent...I doctor them up of course, but have gotten many compliments on them.

doofusmongerbeep Posted 25 May 2006 , 4:10pm
post #5 of

I use both. Depends on time constraints, ingredients I have on hand, what the person wants, and how ambitious I'm feeling. icon_wink.gif

Also depends on what flavor the person wants - I recently found a scratch recipe for a Chocolate-Orange Guinness Cake, which although I'm sure could be done using a box cake mix, I'll just go the scratch route on this one. icon_wink.gif

FunCakesVT Posted 25 May 2006 , 4:10pm
post #6 of

Ditto to KatyDidz...requested and received the Cake Mix Doctor for Mother's me even more ideas on enhancements!

ozzynjojo Posted 25 May 2006 , 4:12pm
post #7 of

I use box, Duncan Hines. Very consistent and moist. I too, always get lots of compliments.

tracid76 Posted 25 May 2006 , 4:17pm
post #8 of

What exactly do you guys do to "doctor up" the boxed mixes?

askarrick Posted 25 May 2006 , 4:20pm
post #9 of

I always use box mixes, usually Duncan Hines. However you have to watch. I had a cake that after we added stuff to make it strawberry pound cake it shrunk about and inch in diameter. The cake we made to replace it was better, sometimes it's the cake mix. You just never know.

Katydidz Posted 25 May 2006 , 4:21pm

Add a box of instant pudding that compliments the cake flavor, and use 4 eggs. If you want something extra dense still use the 4 eggs, and add a cup of sour cream, 1/2 cup of water and 1/3 cup of oil. I've also used things like 7up, or beer in place of the water. It depends on the flavor I'm searching for.

No, I'm not concerned with Trans Fats. I can't let myself be too concerned with things like that in this line of work icon_smile.gif.

Loucinda Posted 25 May 2006 , 4:26pm

I am the cake mix queen here! I have tried and tried the scratch cake route over the years, and it is just not worth the aggravation......they are always dry and you never know the results you are going to get. I would rather use a mix as a base and get great taste and reliabililty anyday.

There are several things I do, depending on what I have on hand to enhance the mix. Sometimes it is just an extra egg and a package of instant pudding....other times it is the enhanced cake mix formula, the mixes give you an advantage that you can play around with them and still have a wonderful product when you are done. Experiment and see what you like best!

carflea Posted 25 May 2006 , 4:43pm

Cool Thanks Ladies.... Anyone else want to chime in...

doofusmongerbeep: May i please have the recipie??? It sounds really cool.

doofusmongerbeep Posted 25 May 2006 , 4:45pm

No problem!

I just found it today, so I haven't actually tried it yet.

dailey Posted 25 May 2006 , 4:59pm

i prefer scratch cakes but, yes, they are more trouble to make. i consider myself a baker AND decorator. most people cannot make a scratch cake to save their life, plus, most people were brought up on sugary junk food like twinkies, ho ho's, etc so they're perfectly fine with a box cake.

Katydidz Posted 25 May 2006 , 5:14pm

I too consider myself a baker and decorator. I take a lot of pride in the cakes I give people. I don't believe in sacrificing flavor for looks, however, for my own sanity plus the ability to assure my clients that they will get exactly what they asked for I prefer a box. I wouldn't give them just a straightforward box cake. I make little additions to make it better and no one can tell. Can I make a delicious scratch cake? Absolutely. Do I? Rarely. If someome requested a carrot cake I would make one from scratch because I make a wonderful carrot cake and I trust its consistency. But if someone just asks for "chocolate" or "yellow" I go for the box. I have also found that when people go to a "professional" decorator they are searching out a specific look more than a specific flavor. An excellent cake is a welcome treat to them. It really all depends on the clients specific requests.

heiser73 Posted 25 May 2006 , 5:30pm

Carflea, I'm so glad you posted this topic. I was very curious as to how many people actually make cakes from scratch. I have made a few cakes from scratch that have turned out nicely, but by the time I spend the extra money on cake flours and all the ingredients I have to up my prices. I live in a small town where people just usually go to walmart to buy a $27 sheetcake, so I can't charge too awful much if I want to get any business. Therefore, I stick to box mixes. I have found the Duncan Hines white cake mix is calls for three egg whites and I add that plus one yolk and some vanilla extract..and sometimes vanilla bean if I have it on hand...and it is always moist and delicious..I still haven't found my favorite chocolate cake mix. I like Duncan Hines but sometimes its not as moist as I like so I'm experimenting this weekend testing all the mixes, and even mixing them. I may try the pudding idea as well. Let me know if you have a favorite chocolate!

If a customer really wanted something specific and from scratch I would definitely deliver, but I would make sure they are willing to pay extra for both the time and the ingredients. Everything else I make is completely from scratch so I don't feel as bad and I don't think I lack talents because I use box mixes. Why do the extra work when you can buy a product for less than a $1 that tastes just as good? That is how I feel anyway! And most of my customers have tasted my cakes and like the way they taste more so than want a really nice decorated cake...I"m still trying to perfect that area..but the taste is always great!!

carflea Posted 25 May 2006 , 5:39pm

Seeing as i'm not doing this professionally i think i'll stick to the box. I'm not any less of a baker just because i do it that way. I still put a lot of work into my cakes.... since i'm new i haven't done all that much with the doctoring but i will def be doing my own flair.

dailey do you make up your own recipies or are there favorite books out there that you like to use?

Loucinda Posted 25 May 2006 , 8:00pm

I'm not any less of a baker just because i do it that way. I still put a lot of work into my cakes..

VERY well said carflea!! AND they taste great to boot! thumbs_up.gif

mrsfish94 Posted 25 May 2006 , 8:18pm

And the debate goes on!!!! LOL!!!!!! icon_lol.gif

There are many on this site who have commented on this subject. Either they are box mixers or from scratchers!!!! icon_biggrin.gif

I am currently doing box mixes with additions. I have found my perfect white scratch cake. I now am working on Italian meringue buttercream. I'm not to sure about the Swiss Buttercream. I am one who uses Crisco in my buttercream...currently...but that is only until I get my IMBC perfected. Then I will move on to Chocolate. In my area, there are very few decorators who cater to those with scratch perferences. So I am going to work at that.

I think I just depends on what your liking is. We all love to decorate...and that is why we are help and to be inspired!!!!

Just my two cents!!! P.S. My husband will only eat my box mix cakes.

ge978 Posted 25 May 2006 , 8:23pm

P.S. My husband will only eat my box mix cakes husband is the same way....every time I tell him I'm going to try a cake from scratch he groans really loud!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif This is from a man who will eat anything. I made a cake the other night & it must have been a bad recipe or maybe I didn't do something right, but my dh actually asked me if he had to eat it!

dailey Posted 26 May 2006 , 1:05am

i've tried many different cake recipes, some of my favorite are from the cake bible, great book. i've also come up with a few of my own, mostly just tweaked from other recipes.

there is no shame in using a box, i've used them many times for my customers. however, i wouldn't exactly call a person who strictly uses mixes a "baker", that doesn't mean you're not a great decorator, though.

Loucinda Posted 26 May 2006 , 4:26am

i wouldn't exactly call a person who strictly uses mixes a "baker",

So....what would you call someone who measures and adds their ingredients into a bowl and then bakes them in their oven??? I think anyone who spends valuable time to mix and bake and then decorate their own creations is indeed a BAKER/DECORATOR. Because a mix is used does NOT make them any less of a baker. It is not right that some people try to make others feel inferior because they choose to use a mix. (just my opinion)

Rodneyck Posted 26 May 2006 , 5:58am

I can always tell if a cake is a box cake. That weird sweet undertone, yes I find cake mixes overly sweet, and that crumb that just sort of dissolves is disturbing. The chocolate ones I will not even touch. They are the reason I only like sachertortes and flourless chocolate cakes today, which is actually a good thing, lol. Chocolate mixes contain that horrible brown taste and chalky on the palate. I think so many people have been raised on these mixes and consider them standard, a reference to compare from one's childhood, so they become "good" tasting to some.

There is nothing natural in a cake mix, mostly chemicals and preservatives. Yes, they rise consistently, easy to make and cheap. Are they good? Taste is a personal thing.

Personally, I like knowing what is in my cakes, and as long as you find a good scratch recipe and stick with it, you should have no problem. Scratch cakes are fresher and better tasting, plus you get to control the sweetness factor and ingredients.

Doctored-cakes? Why not just add two more ingredients and try a scratch recipe instead? I have never understood these, sort of like the hybrid between cake mixes and scratch.

In the end, if I am paying for a good cake, I don't want to taste a cake mix. If I am going to spend so much time in decorating one, I don't want to cheat the product, myself or the customer and sacrifice taste.

Lazy_Susan Posted 26 May 2006 , 6:29am
Originally Posted by Quadcrew


i wouldn't exactly call a person who strictly uses mixes a "baker",

So....what would you call someone who measures and adds their ingredients into a bowl and then bakes them in their oven??? I think anyone who spends valuable time to mix and bake and then decorate their own creations is indeed a BAKER/DECORATOR. Because a mix is used does NOT make them any less of a baker. It is not right that some people try to make others feel inferior because they choose to use a mix. (just my opinion)

Very well said! Personally I don't do box mixes. All my cakes are from scratch. But that doesn't mean that the person who does use a box mix is any less of a baker icon_smile.gif We are all equal and try equally as hard.


Chef_Stef Posted 26 May 2006 , 6:30am

I'm scratch--mostly...I have used box mixes (especially with time constraints), but for a paying customer at $2.50+ a serving, I love to make wonderful scratch butter cakes with the freshest ingredients I can find, and it feels like they're getting their money's worth. And yes, I have had to re-bake to get them sometimes to turn out just right...

I also find the box mixes sometimes seem too fragile to hold up under the weight of fondant and decorations.

OTOH, I DO get lots of compliments either way--which makes me wonder if most folks really CAN tell the difference...they seem to rave about scratch OR box...

I think it's totally whatever you're comfortable using...

TamiAZ Posted 26 May 2006 , 6:37am

This topic is getting old.. I'm sorry, I just cringe everytime someone asks this question. It's the same responses.... Scratch cakes are too inconsistent and box mixes taste like chemicals...Yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda... People start taking it personally and everyone gets upset... I've learned my lesson not to read these posts anymore... icon_mad.gif

Rodneyck Posted 26 May 2006 , 6:54am
Originally Posted by TamiAZ

.. I've learned my lesson not to read these posts anymore... icon_mad.gif

But yet, here you are. lol.

You have a point, topics like these are subjective and there really is no right or wrong answer. It can be compared to talking about politics or religion.

Lisa Posted 26 May 2006 , 1:30pm

This topic has been discussed a great number of times in the past. Sometimes the discussions are light-hearted and helpful and other times, comments are made that can be upsetting to those on both sides of the debate.

A baker is someone who bakes. icon_smile.gif

If you don't like the taste of cake mix, do scratch.

If you don't like the results of scratch cakes, use a mix.

Using a mix does not make a cake sub-par or the decorator any less of a baker.

Baking cakes from scratch or a mix does not make your cakes better than anyone else's, it makes them better to you.

As was said in a previous post, there is no right or wrong on this issue only what's right for you thumbs_up.gif .

windoverm Posted 26 May 2006 , 1:44pm

I love to bake from scratch. I can't even stand having box mixes in my pantry. I just love to bake and cook from scratch. I have 2 daughters and they love to help measure and pour. Call me crazy, but I just prefer scratch. I think it comes from the fact that my mom always used box mixes. I actually was living on my own when bought my first recipe book and discovered that you could actually make cookies, cakes and brownies from flour, sugar and eggs etc... I had no idea. I thought you had to make these things from boxes. I just was schocked you could actually mix ingredients to bake things. Now I always try to bake from scratch and I have taught both my daughters to cook from scratch.

dky Posted 26 May 2006 , 1:47pm

There is no right or wrong just whatever works for you. We all decorate great cakes.

I think most people find box/mix cakes reliable but you can find wonderful scratch recipes and they too are also reliable if you make it the same every time.

For me personally I always had a dose of the guilts when someone asked if I made the cake and it was box/mix and also worried about not being able to tell them the exact ingredients... (I am in no way suggesting anyone should feel guilty.... that was just ME)

I use scratch now.. but only have about 6 great recipes.

A cake is best judged by taste, cost and time, not how it started

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