brittanydear Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 8:18am
post #1 of

Hi,
It seems that I am always reading about cake mixes and doctoring cake mixes. I am an avid home cook and decorator, but always make cakes from scratch. I guess I am just wondering why people prefer cake mix cakes, especially when they take the effort to alter them. I guess I naively thought that most professionals and people who were really into cakes made them from scratch. To me, there is no comparison in taste between a homemade cake and a box mix. So, I guess I am just curious to see what people do and why (not trying to be rude, just to understand, because maybe I am missing something?) So, do you use home made or box, or both, and why??? Is it price? taste? something else?

130 replies
MikeRowesHunny Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 8:55am
post #2 of

Uh-oh! You're about to wake the big angry beast of the debate between scratch and cake-mix users! People will always do what's best for them, what their skills can cope with and what they feel more comfortable doing. It's a personal choice, no right or wrong, and so long as the customer is satisfied then that's all that matters. But FYI I'm a total scratch baker too, as that's what I prefer to offer to customers because I have the ability to make great scratch cakes, but again, just because that's right for me does not make it right for someone else! thumbs_up.gif

lovely Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 9:22am
post #3 of

Hey ya,

I am a home cook and do both. Make packet and sometimes do scratch. Can't do packet mix or ready made cookies for the life of me.

Anyhoo thought I'd add the home and makes scratch and box.

Cheers

Leigh

arwa Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 9:24am
post #4 of

Im a scratch baker too.thts wht makes my cakes taste different from the other bakeries. U can surely make out the difference. Its a little extra effort but i think its worth it. I did fail tht first few times but now ive got the hang of it.....

Its gonna b a very interesting debate... cant wait to read more posts!

shanasweets Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 9:39am
post #5 of

I also have done both, but honestly maybe some people can tell. But I have yet to have someone ask me if it was from a box. they all assume it was from scratch, even when it wasn't. I guess sometimes, it just depends on your clients. If they are use to eating plan cake out of a box and you fix up your box even a little, they assume it was scratch. But opions will be fun to see.

LeeAnn Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 10:03am
post #6 of

I can tell a box from a scratch. I to am a scratch person!!! This is an endless discussion on this forum. Look around, my kids are scratch eaters and not box eaters! I did a test on them and did not tell them. Threw it away. Beautifully moist and incredibly soft unlike a scratch but with that specific taste.!

Lyn4uk Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 10:19am
post #7 of

Scratch here too.
I have tried box/ready mix, but, I never had much success.
I like to start from scratch as I often experiment with different flavours/ingredients. Mind you I've thrown quite a few in the bin! icon_lol.gif
I love to read the recipes here, especially the ones which add "pudding", they sound yummy. Living in the UK I'm not really sure which sort of "pudding" mix I could add? icon_confused.gif
I would love to try the "frostings" too, but, there is no way I'd use white vegetable fat and we don't have "crisco"...so it's all butter for me icon_wink.gif

MikeRowesHunny Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 12:53pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyn4uk

Scratch here too.
I have tried box/ready mix, but, I never had much success.
I like to start from scratch as I often experiment with different flavours/ingredients. Mind you I've thrown quite a few in the bin! icon_lol.gif
I love to read the recipes here, especially the ones which add "pudding", they sound yummy. Living in the UK I'm not really sure which sort of "pudding" mix I could add? icon_confused.gif
I would love to try the "frostings" too, but, there is no way I'd use white vegetable fat and we don't have "crisco"...so it's all butter for me icon_wink.gif




'Pudding' is akin to Angel Delight (or the generic equivalent) in the UK, hope that helps!

Lyn4uk Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 1:13pm
post #9 of

Thanks for your help.
I just happen to have some Angel Delight in the cupboard.
I'll try it later. thumbs_up.gif..after we've eaten the raspberry & white chocolate cheesecake I've just baked icon_lol.gif
I wonder why I'm putting weight on icon_surprised.gif

shooterstrigger Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 1:29pm

I alway ue scratch cakes. The box cakes from the store were really hard to decorate when I first started. They were just tooo soft and would fall apart. I think that is something my customers come to me for as well. Our grocery store cakes locally are always dry dry dry. There are some good cakeries but you really pay for their services. Besides I love to cook and really want to know what is going into anything I create.

dolfin Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 1:40pm

I do both, depending on what type of cake I want. Most are boxed and doctored. Some only taste good from scratch such as carrot cake, pineapple upside down cake etc. Takes just about the same time to make either.

2sdae Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 1:45pm

I use both. If I offer a flavor in scratch and I find a good scratch recipe I use it. BUT there have been times when I just haven't found a recipe I like so I doctor the heck out of it and viola!
People always seem to think all my cakes are scratch, I have even fooled my culinary school snob cousin who says she can smell a box mix a mile away..... icon_lol.gif what she did not know didn't hurt her.
Mind you I told no one else I did it, I just wanted to see if she really knew the difference.

Alot of the scratch cakes I try come out dry, so I am trying to delve into the exact mechanics of what makes a good recipe what every thing init does ya know. Then I figure I can play with the recipes and make them better hopefully!


OOOOOH, ALTON WHERE ARE YOU WHEN I NEED YOU???? icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

snarkybaker Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 1:48pm

As the folks in the US wake up, I think you'll start to get more boxed cake makers. I am a professional, and I only bake from scratch, but I am a trained pastry chef. should say that having lived in Hong Kong, UK and france, that there is a much wider array cake mixes in the US than elsewhere, and most people like cakes from a box. They have a very specific texture due to the sugar alchohols and other chemicals in mix that simply aren't available to home bakers.

They provide a consistent product and have been designed to be abused...eh, I mean, doctored. meaning you can change the ingredients, underbeat, overbeat, etc and not ruin a boxed cake. The same is not true with many scratch recipes.

moxey2000 Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 1:48pm

Scratch, scratch, scratch, and nothing but the scratch! icon_biggrin.gif I agree, no comparison, and I feel like I'm shortchanging my customers if I use a mix. I started out using mixes, but they were just too unreliable. I've never had a failure with a scratch cake and I have the flexibility of making the amount of batter I need....and get an opportunity to prove to my kids that learning fractions is really necessary icon_lol.gif ! Since I have to use fractions all the time in baking thumbs_up.gif .

terrylee Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 1:49pm

I mostly do box - DH - mostly because I can rely on how they turn out. I do have a few tried and true scratch cakes but they are not always good for stacking.....Thru this site I have picked up on doctoring the mixes and the results have been mmmmmmmm good....thanks to CC.

berryblondeboys Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 1:54pm

I can taste the difference between scratch and mix too. The MAIN reason though that I do scratch is that I can CONTROL the quality of ingredients. I have to admit, I was a bit grossed out and appalled at the Wilton course - imitation vanilla, popcorn salt to cut sweetness, fake this and fake that. Isn't the WHOLE POINT (in my opinion only) of doing it at home is to make it taste better? But if you are using the same aritificial ingredients, how is it better? (again, just my thoughts...)

I guess I always thought the main reason I cooked at home was to have it be more wholesome. Which is why I use organic milk, eggs, butter and flour in my cakes. I use real vanilla and while it SLIGHTLY colors my icing, no one would call it not white and I use all butter icing even though it does tend to get soft in my hands while piping. I just FEEL better about eating it and serving it.

I know several people have said, and I understand this, that cakes are once in awhile, but are they really? Count up how many baked goods you eat in a week that is fro the store or bakery - all those muffins, danishes, donuts, cupcakes, cakes, etc. and now think how many of these items KIDS eat.... It's just too much, imo...

Sure, cakes are ANYTHING but healthy, but at least I feel better about it not being a DOUBLE whammy in badness when I make from scratch and use better ingredients. We don't eat American cakes at home either, so food coloring isn't even used. _IF_ I bake at home, it's usually whole grain muffins or European cakes which aren't really decorated like we consider decorated. They are usually full of nuts and eggs are are just more wholesome overall (though also chock full of butter! LOL)

Melissa

Not trying to ruffle feathers - this is just my "way".

emmascakes Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 1:54pm

In the UK there are a few box mixes available but they're grim; they taste artifical. A customer would be horrified if I'd made a box mix cake, just isn't the done thing in the UK.

oceanspitfire Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 2:01pm

For me I grew up in a house where everything was cooked/made from scratch, wholesome, fresh,natural ingredients. Just my lifestyle, growing up and as an adult, and I'm one of those anomales who never ate (briefly tried) a bowl of boxed cereal until I was 18 lol. Everything that comes out of my kitchen is from scratch. I dont buy canned soups or anything else pre-processed. I just find that icky. No harm done. Each to their own.
When the day comes I'm going pro as a baker, there is no reason for me to start using mixes either lol. Just my personal preference. Let me tell you though it does drive me crazy running into recipes that sound yummy in the title and then the recipe says 'one box of this and one can of that' - GRRRR lol

berryblondeboys Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 2:06pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanspitfire

For me I grew up in a house where everything was cooked/made from scratch, wholesome, fresh,natural ingredients. Just my lifestyle, growing up and as an adult, and I'm one of those anomales who never ate (briefly tried) a bowl of boxed cereal until I was 18 lol. Everything that comes out of my kitchen is from scratch. I dont buy canned soups or anything else pre-processed. I just find that icky. No harm done. Each to their own.
When the day comes I'm going pro as a baker, there is no reason for me to start using mixes either lol. Just my personal preference. Let me tell you though it does drive me crazy running into recipes that sound yummy in the title and then the recipe says 'one box of this and one can of that' - GRRRR lol




Oh, me too... I'm still trying to figure out how and if I can make the sour cream almond cake from scratch and I'm trying to figure out a way to make the creme bouquet flavoring from scratch... maybe if I substitute some of the water for lemon juice and still use vanilla? What about orange water?

I make all my soups from scratch too. For "emergencies" I make homemade chicken soup, cook it down (condensing it) and then freeze. When soemone gets sick, out pops the homemade chicken soup which just needs reheating and water added - SOOOOOOOOO much better tasting. I can't STAND canned soups! LOL

Melissa

P.S., I do think it depends on how you grew up. We ate mostly scratch too - a few things from a box like macaroni and cheese, but other than that, always fresh, veggies home grown and TASTY.

all4cake Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 2:14pm

I bake from scratch with the exception of

Lemon(I haven't found a lemon cake recipe that is as lemony AND moist as a mix)
and
Funfetti

I keep a few cake mixes on hand for those dump cake recipes and for the kids to mess with

2sdae Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 2:15pm

I have a rare gramma that boxes and mixes everything!!!! icon_rolleyes.gif
My mom was a phenomenal chef and cooked everything she could from the farmer's markets and locally grown products. But like I said I get so tired of trying scratch recipes that just are dry or crumbling even when I do exactly as recipe states!
So I continue to prod and poke through recipes and doctoring mixes till I can come up with enough tried and true recipes that I really like and work consistantly for me.

MSurina Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 2:16pm

I usually use boxed mixes that I docor up. I've never had a single complaint about them. My problem with the scratch cakes is that they come out dry. If any of you could help me with that, then I would probably bake from scratch as well. I just don't have the time or the money to waste on dry cakes, when the boxed mixes work out great for me.

pattycakescookies Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 2:28pm

I only bake from scratch because my customers love the fact that there are still scratch bakers available, and I've been told it reminds them of when they were young and their mother or grandmother would go into the kitchen and bake. All of my customers prefer the taste of my cakes over boxed mixes I never have dry cakes and I love the fact that I can control the quality of the ingredients that I use.

berryblondeboys Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 2:29pm

I always find it funny that people find scratch recipes dry... I think they are usually denser (which is preferable to my palate) but NEVER dry. I find box cakes too fluffy. I tried an extender recipe once and still find it "boxish".

Melissa

marybible Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 2:37pm

I prefer doctored up box mixes. I have made scratch cakes before and I don't like the way they turn out. I guess maybe because Im used to box mixes. I also think they take more time than I have to give. I made a scratch red velvet cake for someone and they told me it was too dense, they like fluffy better...go figure. But if someone asked me for a scratch cake, Id be more than happy do do one.

grama_j Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 2:38pm

WE ALL MAKE "HOMEMADE" cakes....... just different methods are used to achieve the end result..... icon_lol.gif

berryblondeboys Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 2:43pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by grama_j

WE ALL MAKE "HOMEMADE" cakes....... just different methods are used to achieve the end result..... icon_lol.gif




That reminds of my best friend from college. She was going home for something and she said she wanted to make a homemade rhubarb strawberry pie. So we went to the store and I thought OK, we'll buy some rhubarb, strawberries, etc.... NOPE, her HOMEMADE pie was a premade one that you just baked at home! WHAT?!?!?!? I guess our ideas of homemade were vastly different.

Over time though, she has seen how truly homemade tastes better and since her sister got chrone's, she's learned how to do more an dmore things from scratch... they take more time, but are worth the results.

Melissa

sugarbakerqueen Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 2:45pm

Well, I feel a little silly about replying to this....I only bake at home and do the occasional cake for purchase, but here goes.
My 2 cents:
I have tried scratch cakes. Many times. They ALL met their end in the bottome of the trash. I understand that it takes the right recipe and I have yet to find it (anyone want to help me out?) My mother is a scratch baker/ cook. I guess I didn't get that passed down to me. icon_sad.gif
I feel like the cake mix is the base. It is the flour, salt, b. powder, base flavour. I feel it is akin to using Bisquick mix. If I make shortbread with bisquick, I call it homemade. Am I lying? icon_eek.gif
When I use cake mixes, I ALWAYS doctor them and change the taste. I make all frosting homemade (cc friends...thank you for that) and I agree with berryblondeboys about the butter. Although it is softer, I can't imagine anyone putting a glob of shortening in their mouth...and enjoying it. tapedshut.gif

I don't think there is good or bad here. I think it is wonderful that we have all of these options available to us and we should be thankful that if needed, a cake mix is only a grocery away......and a scratch is only as far as your kitchen! icon_biggrin.gif

Honestly, if anyone could personally refer any good scratch recipes that I couldn't screw up, it would be appreciated......

oceanspitfire Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 2:57pm

Not sure about the dry thing either. Cept for a choco cake I tried and it was dry cause I wasnt 'feeling' when the cake was done, I relied on the clock lol, and my oven wasnt calibrated yet icon_rolleyes.gif I don't think I've ever had a dry cake.
Lemon cake recipe I have, would have to look into copyright issues, but in the mean time you can find it in Lisa Yockelson's Cakes By Flavor book. Every recipe I've tried in that book has been a success. Did the lemon layer cake twice so far and it was raved over. Doing it again today for that matter lol.
(so far it's a library book but I might have to keep it and pay them for it cause I've 'used' it so much lol)

all4cake Posted 24 Jun 2007 , 2:59pm

I don't think there's anything wrong with mixes. Scratch baking has become a personal conquest. I started out making cakes from mixes.

After eating Grandma's cakes(lol...found out later that her multi layered choc/choc was actually Pepperidge Farm), I became determined to overcome the fear of THE DRY SCRATCH CAKE!

Lesson learned from Grandma...make what you can...buy the rest

Hey! That woman ALWAYS had a cake though!

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