are all these fancy cakes baked with a special recipe? or is it ok to just use good ol' fashion box cake mix from the local grocery store?
I think there is a mix of bakers here some use scratch recipe's some use boxed cake and some use doctored up cake mixes. I use all three. As I get deeper into the business I am maturing into wanting to bake all scratch or at least change the boxed cake recipe's. In the beginning though I was just trying to practice and accomplish a gaol of a good looking cake, now I want it to be great looking and great tasting.
I use either box mix or a doctored box mix. Use what is comfortable for you and what your family/clients tell you they like. I have one customer that specifies she wants Duncan Hines cake mixes, which is what I use anyway. LOL
The Cake Mix Doctor books are good if you want some variations on basic mixes.
I learned how to make everything from scratch, but you guys know what? Timing is everything. When I have to get 8 cakes out in a weekend, I do a doctored cake mix and I live and die by the Cake Doctor book!
for me they are worth every penny I paid for them!
I also use both mixes and scratch recipes. I specialize in wedding cakes and I give each bride a list of flavours. If they want plain chocolate, vanilla, or marble cake, I use a Duncan Hines mix. If they want carrot, traditional fruit cake, pound cake, etc., I make it from scratch. Each cake flavour has a set price because obviously a fruit cake is more expensive and time consuming to make than a chocolate cake. But this way, they can pick and choose their flavours from the menu and then I'll price the cake as a whole, depending on the flavours chosen, style, fondant or buttercream, etc.
99.9% of my customers don't ask if the cakes are from scratch but if the rare one does, then I'll tell them that most of my cakes are homemade and the basic flavours such as chocolate, vanilla, marble are from a commercial base. I don't offer this information about which flavours are "mix" or "scratch", but if they ask then I will tell them.
This works quite well for me. It became much easier for me when I compiled a list of the 10 or so most popular flavours in my area to present to my customers. "Here is a list of the flavours I offer. If there is another flavour that you have in mind, then I will certainly do my best to provide it for you." You give them flavour options and it's up to each customer to decide what they want.
For some reason, we as bakers tend to feel embarassed or inadequate because we like to use mixes for some of our cakes. I personally love the Duncan Hines mixes and the results I get from my cakes and I don't want to feel defensive because I use them. But, having my list has made all the difference in making my consultations go smoothly.
Hope this makes sense! Good luck!
Box mixes taste great. I heard Pillsbury is the best because of the flower ratio. But I'm sure they all taste good. I have never had any complaints. Everyone loves my cakes.
I prefer BC, but I may give Pillsbury another shot now that I'vebeen working with BC so long that I should be able to tell a difference.
I use the WASC recipe for every cake I make, changing up cake mixes, extract flavors, using flavored yogurt instead of SC, and adding a box of pudding that complements the cake flavor (i.e., choc pudding for choc cake). For chocolate I replace 2/3 c of flour with 2/3 c cocoa.
For carved cakes I add 12 oz melted almond bark (white or chocolate).
Of course, this recipe is just as much work as a scratch recipe, but it is no-fail (unless you use DH cake mix which is just weird )
The stigma toward boxed mixes is leftover from several decades ago when boxed mixes just weren't that good. Same for frozen dinners. The industry has just made incredible strides in flavor and texture. These days, boxed mixes can be as flavorful, moist, etc. as scratch cakes and in some cases better. I made a test cake for a bride and made one layer Duncan Hines French Vanilla (followed the directions on the box) and another layer the WASC recipe on this site, also using the French Vanilla as a base. She preferred the straight box mix (I felt the other was too heavy and had a bit of an aftertaste). Her comment was "Why is wedding cake always so much more fluffy and delicious?" Others at the wedding just RAVED about the cake. I obviously didn't mention that this fabulous cake is available in the cake mix aisle of Wal-mart for less than a dollar.
If it wasn't for box mix I'd never bake cake period. I have a "black thumb" when it comes to scratch cake and pie crust. I make just about anything else from scratch except those two things.
Box mixes are wonderful, but canned icing? That's a totally different matter. Especially Strawberry flavored canned icing. BLEAH!! It's like sampling the entire periodic chart in one bite! >_<
I agee, Cee Tee. Canned icing still has a LONG way to go.