Mix Or Scratch?

Decorating By Puckett Updated 10 Aug 2005 , 10:29am by stephanie214

Puckett Posted 6 Aug 2005 , 5:20am
post #1 of 23

I was just wondering if most of you wonderfully talented decoraters use cake mixes or do it all by scratch? If you do some of both, do you charge more for cakes from scratch?

22 replies
gdixoncakes Posted 6 Aug 2005 , 5:25am
post #2 of 23

I have been contemplating that question lately too. So many people prefer mix cakes. Plus, there are so many great ways to doctor them to make them as good, if not better, than scratch cakes. Somehow, though, I always feel like I'm cheating if I use a mix. I will use mixes from time to time because they are convenient and do taste great. I just want to be able to make great scratch cakes too. I guess it's just a personal preference. From what I've read on the site, it just depends on the decorator.

ntertayneme Posted 6 Aug 2005 , 5:27am
post #3 of 23

I do both .. I charge more if from scratch and sometimes more for cake mix cakes too... an example of the one I have for tomorrow.. It's an Italian cream cake with cream cheese icing ... It is a cake mix cake but this cake used loads of pecans!! One cup of pecans per cake mix and also, the groom's mother wanted sugared pecans all around the base of the cake, at the base of the top tier and also in the center of the top tier ... so lots and lots of pecans which are about $7 a pound shelled here ... I bought 4 lbs and I had about 3 lbs in the freezer .. I used about 6 pounds of pecans all together on this cake .. thus why all the extra charge ... so really, it depends on what goes into the cakes icon_smile.gif

kalikw Posted 6 Aug 2005 , 5:41am
post #4 of 23

I generally use cake mix but they are always doctored. I will add other ingredients such as chocolate chips or liquors to the cake mix to give it additional flavors. Most of the people for whom I have made cakes for can't believe it is not a scratch cake. I like cake mixes because they are convenient and cheaper.

edencakes Posted 6 Aug 2005 , 5:41am
post #5 of 23

I only bake from scratch, mostly because that's how I got started in the first place, rather than starting through being interested in the decorating side. I don't see anything wrong with mixes, although I am allergic to many preservatives used in them! The additions you can make to mixes can just as easily be made to scratch cakes, and I find I have a lot more control over the finished product than if I used a mix. Good question though, I'm interested to read the rest of the answers!

gma1956 Posted 6 Aug 2005 , 5:47am
post #6 of 23

I have used both. I was given a recipe by a bakery owner for a cake mix batter that I use almost all the time. I have however changed it a bit over time. I also use scratch for specialty cakes. My clients and taste testers always say, my cakes taste as good as they look and I mostly use this cake mix batter.

littlebubbieschocolates Posted 6 Aug 2005 , 2:19pm
post #7 of 23

it depends i let them choose.. i charge extra tho if its made from scratch than a mix.

Puckett Posted 6 Aug 2005 , 4:47pm
post #8 of 23

Thanks for all the feedback. If anyone wants to give up some of their favorite doctoring techniques that would also be great.

amberlicious Posted 6 Aug 2005 , 10:03pm
post #9 of 23
Originally Posted by gma1956

I have used both. I was given a recipe by a bakery owner for a cake mix batter that I use almost all the time. I have however changed it a bit over time. I also use scratch for specialty cakes. My clients and taste testers always say, my cakes taste as good as they look and I mostly use this cake mix batter.

Wanna share? I use mixes

AgentCakeBaker Posted 7 Aug 2005 , 12:00am
post #10 of 23

I use cake mixes but I doctor them up using the Cake Mix Doctor recipe book. I feel like I'm cheating at times but they taste soooo good. Most of my customers don't ask so I try not to worry about it as much. I use a scratch recipe from time to time too.

Mitzynva Posted 7 Aug 2005 , 3:03am
post #11 of 23

For some of the specialty cakes such as Red Velvet, Carrot, ect..I do scratch but I personally LOVE the Pillsbury Golden Butter cake mix...with a couple added touches. It is so moist...and no one ever knows. I am so glad to know that I am not the only one who sometimes uses box. If there is a scratch recipe for a butter cake that can top it...please email it to me at mitzynva@aol.com.

melissablack Posted 7 Aug 2005 , 3:36am
post #12 of 23

I mostly use a doctored mix recipe, except for specialty cakes like carrot, etc... I have tried scratch recipes but honestly haven't found any I like better than my dr'd mix recipe. Everyone LOVES my cakes too, I haven't had a complaint yet. I don't feel like it's just using a cake mix, the cake mix is merely one ingredient in the recipe, since there is so much other stuff added in there.

2cakes Posted 7 Aug 2005 , 4:05am
post #13 of 23

Hi everyone, I make most of my cakes from scratch, but I keep the cake mixes on hand in case of a last minute dessert when company arrive unexpectingly. When using cake mixes, you might want to make sure that you really doctor it up cause I went to a function and someone bought a sheet size strawberry shortcake from a bakery and how I know cause the recipt (sp) was attached to the box. It looked very pretty and the borders top and bottom and the roses on the cake were so perfectly made. But when I tasted the cake, you can actually taste that it was a box cake and not made from scratch. It tasted like Duncan Hines, I even heard people questioning who made the cake and someone said "it came from a bakery" and other said "it taste horrible, through that cake in the trash". I could not believe it and how embarassing that was. I like to all ways taste test my box cake mix before I give it away or donate it, I have to see what it all needs to make it taste like it was made from scatrch before giving it or selling it to someone. I make strawberry shortcakes all the time from scratch and I can taste the difference from the cake mixes if not well doctor up. I always like to experiement with cake mixes to see how it taste and sometimes I give away samples for people to test taste and it really help to determine what adjustment needs to be made to the recipe. This is just my experience and I would charge a little more for scratch and also for extra details on cakes. icon_smile.gif

mrsfish94 Posted 7 Aug 2005 , 4:14am
post #14 of 23

Eden Cakes & Gma1956.....

I would love to have your basic cake recipes...If you don't mind sharing them. icon_biggrin.gif

traci Posted 7 Aug 2005 , 4:44am
post #15 of 23

I mostly use mixes but like to enhance the flavor by using mexican vanilla, instant pudding, or other extracts. I will make cakes from scratch if it is requested by the customer. I like the time saving issues with using mixes...it really helps when you have several orders. I have not ever had anyone complain that they did not like the taste. Actually...I have several repeat customers!
traci icon_smile.gif

gma1956 Posted 7 Aug 2005 , 5:04am
post #16 of 23

Basic Cake Mix - given to me by an old friend -- who use to own a bakery

1 cake mix any flavor - I have tried alot of flavors they are all good
3 canned pear halves, mashed
1 cup pear juice/water - equal parts
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs
1 tsp mexico vanilla

I have modified the instructions for the steps I take:

Shift cake mix through a seive. In a blender, puree the 3 pear halves and the pear juice.

Mix all ingredients together on low speed for 3 to 5 minutes until well blended.

Bake @350* for time required for specific cake size and shape. If you are not sure the Wilton yearbooks has all the information, in a chart in the blue section.

mjones17 Posted 7 Aug 2005 , 5:28am
post #17 of 23

That is similar to using applesauce in you mix. I must be alone here because I can't stand the tast of cakes made from scratch. Especially chocolate cakes. I think it is the cocoa. I really don't like cocoa. Is their an alternative when making a chocolate cake from scratch? I just think they have a wierd taste.

gma1956 Posted 7 Aug 2005 , 6:09am
post #18 of 23

It is similar, but the pears have a special taste that applesauce does not have and after sitting for a day it gets better and better. Most people just love this cake. I have had no complaints and some have tried to guess the secret ingredient flavor... none have so far.

m0use Posted 7 Aug 2005 , 12:48pm
post #19 of 23

I use doctored up cake mixes, people think they are from scratch.
My old way of doctoring up a cake mix is to use milk in place of water, but ever since I bought the book call "The Cake Mix Doctor" I have not gone back to that way. My cakes have become much better tasting ever since I bought that book, best $15 (USD) investment I ever made.
**Sigh** Now only if I could get some cake orders to make my other "investments" in cake supplies pay off. icon_wink.gif

mrsfish94 Posted 8 Aug 2005 , 3:06pm
post #20 of 23

Thanks gma for posting your recipe!!!! And your secret shhh.gif is safe with me!!! tapedshut.gif

mommykicksbutt Posted 8 Aug 2005 , 3:15pm
post #21 of 23

I doctor a cake mix. I use "the Cake Doctor" books. Most clients don't have a preferrence per se about any specific flavor... "oh, just a white cake" but they are specific about the fillings! Most of my cakes are 3-D so I have to use a dense cake in order to carve it into a shape. I can do that with the Cake Doctor's brides cake recipe using a mix. I haven't been too happy with the carving (or taste) results of any scratch recipe. And besides, the doctored mix is just plain easier!

SarahJane Posted 10 Aug 2005 , 7:59am
post #22 of 23

I personally think that making cakes from scratch is pretty hard. It's hard to get the texture right and a lot of recipes turn out too dry or they're so moist that they're hard to decorate. Cake mixes are pretty failproof. Unfortunately, we have a lot of allergies in my family to preservatives so I've had to make the switch to homemade cakes. I'm still working out the kinks, but hopefully someday soon I'll have it down. icon_smile.gif

stephanie214 Posted 10 Aug 2005 , 10:29am
post #23 of 23

I prefer the mix over scratch. I grew up on scratch cakes and never really liked the taste. Everytime my mom makes a cake (she only make scratch) she's forever saying "don't walk to heavy by the stove...my cake might fall !" I would get so tired and still do hearing those words icon_cry.gif

I only have one recipe that I do from scratch and it is the Sour Cream Pound Cake that I make into a 2 layer cake instead.

Just love the double pudding mix and add sour cream to doctor a little and also, to cut down on a lot of the sweetness of my buttercream frosting I add about 1/2 tablespoon of salt (depending on the batch size) and people love it because it is not so sweet.

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