Canadians / Europeans : The Scratch/mix Question

Decorating By atari97 Updated 1 Apr 2008 , 6:21pm by minkiemoo

atari97 Posted 20 Mar 2008 , 8:01pm
post #1 of 21

Hi all!
I have been checking out a lot of previous threads regarding the scratch vs. boxed mix question, and was curious about the perspective from those outside of the US.
I am in Canada, and i find it less common for people to use mixes than it seems to be in the States. I make my cakes and everything from scratch, and it seems to be the expectation for those people i have spoken to. Is this perhaps just where i am, or does anyone else find this?
Just a question icon_smile.gif

20 replies
Bonnie151 Posted 20 Mar 2008 , 8:05pm
post #2 of 21

I don't know anyone over here who uses a box mix. In my local supermarket which is huge, there's maybe 3-4 cake box mixes for sale (am going out shopping shortly- will go and count!) plus a number of kid's cupcake/cookie mixes. I'm sure some people do use box mixes here, but I've never heard of anyone doing so.

tracey1970 Posted 21 Mar 2008 , 12:30am
post #3 of 21

I am in Canada, and while I am bu no means a professional caker, I do a fair bit of baking. I will make a cake from scratch from time to time when I see a recipe I find really interesting (like the chocolate stout cake that was being discussed on here a few weeks ago - yum!). But I use box mixes most of the time. I also recently made the switch from DH to Betty Crocker mixes, which I like much better.

cakesondemand Posted 21 Mar 2008 , 1:03am
post #4 of 21

I can bake scratch if there is a recipe I want to try but almost always I use a mix and just add to it and I'm in Canada. I have a showroom and commercial kitchen and buy my mix from 2 different suppliers. My clients like a moist dense cake so thats what I offer them. I think in the 3 yrs I'v been doing this I have been asked only once if I would scratch bake. My BC icing and fillings are all from scratch.

Bonnie151 Posted 21 Mar 2008 , 5:01am
post #5 of 21

I had a look in my supermarket last night & I was just about right in my guess. There's 5 box cakes for sale: 2 Betty Crocker (carrot & a chocolate swirl) and 3 Asda own brand (chocolate, passion fruit and plain sponge).

So I think I'm safe in saying box mixes aren't used here. icon_lol.gif

banba Posted 21 Mar 2008 , 9:10am
post #6 of 21

We don't have a big selection of cake mixes here really. We can get Betty Crocker which is expensive and you would need quiet a few of them. Some supermarkets do have their own brand mixes which are ok. We mostly bake from scratch and it works out cheaper in the long run!

A lot of box mixes call for adding oil which is something we don't generally use in baking cakes.

mezzaluna Posted 21 Mar 2008 , 9:24am
post #7 of 21

I don't live in the States and I bake from scratch. Even when I did live in the US I baked from scratch.

I will always bake from scratch.

Sofide Posted 21 Mar 2008 , 9:57am
post #8 of 21

I live in the Netherlands and I bake from scratch only.
In the bigger supermarkets around here they sell american box mixes and they do sell dutch and german brand cake mixes but they always end up tasting like cardboard to me....(the dutch ones)

I find baking from scratch more 'rewarding' in a way because people eat and taste something I made myself not something someone in a factory invented, if you know what I mean....

kris_813 Posted 21 Mar 2008 , 10:42am
post #9 of 21

Sofide, what is there to do in Eindhoven? I went a few weeks ago and was excited to see what we Americans call (the mall).

miss_sweetstory Posted 21 Mar 2008 , 10:51am
post #10 of 21

I have access to a commissary (grocery store) on our Air Force base, so I use mostly mixes which I doctor. I am constantly surprised how much all my English friends rave about these cakes (even the undoctored ones). I would have expected them to strongly prefer scratch cakes as that is what most are accustomed to. At first I thought people were just being nice, but they swiftly corrected me and talked about the wonderful moistness and the variety of flavors.

So...there is definitely room for both. (and I make a darned good from scratch maderia if I do say so myself!)

Sofide Posted 21 Mar 2008 , 11:17am
post #11 of 21

What is there to do in Eindhoven?
Nothing much really, it's a good city to shop and we have a nice mall. There are also a million little restaurants where you can eat a good meal for a reasenable price.
But otherwise it is not great, I just live there icon_wink.gif

messyeater Posted 21 Mar 2008 , 11:21am
post #12 of 21

In Italy the cost of box mixes is about twice the price of scratch ingredients so I'd never use them. Sometimes I buy the doctored flour...not sure what's in it apart from baking powder but it gives great results for white cakes...but even thats four times the price of regular flour.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 21 Mar 2008 , 11:34am
post #13 of 21
Originally Posted by Sofide

I live in the Netherlands and I bake from scratch only.
In the bigger supermarkets around here they sell american box mixes and they do sell dutch and german brand cake mixes but they always end up tasting like cardboard to me....(the dutch ones)

I got a free ready-made cake batter (beslag) with my Albert Heijn delivery last week. I already had the oven on making a chocolate pound cake, so when that was done I baked the mix into cupcakes just to see what it was like. I took one bite and the whole lot went in the bin. It was truly the most disgusting thing I've tasted!!! Very chemically and just gross beyond belief. I am, and have always been, a scratch baker. I've yet to see or taste anything that will ever persuade me to be anything else. Scratch baking rules IMHO!!! Besides that, I pledge to offer my customers high quality products, and I just couldn't ethically do that using box mixes personally.

Iheartcake Posted 21 Mar 2008 , 11:36am
post #14 of 21

I'm in Canada.. I've only ever used doctored cake mixes. When I first started doing cakes, I would get the question a lot if it was scratch or boxed. I said it was a box base, but with added ingredients. Where I am not a professional, and decorating takes me so long, I prefer the quickness and easiness of the box mixes. Plus I've heard nothing but great things about the taste. I personally really like the taste of them too. I stock up while they're on sale. I prefer DH, but if BC is on sale, I'd use them as well.

Sofide Posted 21 Mar 2008 , 12:03pm
post #15 of 21

Box cakes for me take as much time as scratch cakes. i have a recipe for vanilla cake that takes me 5 minutes to measure the ingredients, 2 minutes to mix and then its in the oven.
Some of my cakes however take up to 20 minutes to put together but for me it's therapy icon_biggrin.gif

sasporella Posted 21 Mar 2008 , 12:18pm
post #16 of 21

I have only ever baked from scratch. I have not used the box mixers as i think it is cheaper to do it from scratch, the box mixers are quite expensive. There isn't a large range to choose from either, a few supermarket own brands and there are a couple of betty crocker ( carrot and chocolate swirl). I think everyone i know bakes from scratch. I might have to try a box mix though just to see what it turns out like and if it tastes nice or not.

tracey1970 Posted 21 Mar 2008 , 4:10pm
post #17 of 21

Isn't that interesting that in the UK there are only about 4 box mixes offered! I live in a relatively small town in Ontario, Canada, and we have maybe 3 decent-sized grocery stores. In every one, there is a good portion of the baking aisle dedicated to just cake mixes, most brand names (except Pillsbury??) and the store's own brand. There are so many to choose from. I just think it's interesting that there's such a difference.

kathyw Posted 21 Mar 2008 , 11:38pm
post #18 of 21

I used to always use a mix then one day I decided to test out a bunch a recipes to find the best tasting from scratch . From that moment on I always make a scratch cake. If I eat a mix all I can taste is a lot of chemicals. Or it tastes like cardboard. Even with doctored mixes. Scratch all the way!

atari97 Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 4:26am
post #19 of 21

Thanks everyone!
It's very interesting to hear what everyone has to say. It seems to be quite split here in Canada, but in the UK/Europe (as i expected) it's very rare to use boxed mixes.
I also find that baking from scratch takes the same amount of time as it does to do a boxed cake. Personally, I will always be a scratch baker, but it's great to hear everyone's take on it.

Chiara Posted 1 Apr 2008 , 12:07pm
post #20 of 21

I am a Canadian who is living away as they say.....

Currently in the US. Box cakes are predominant here because they are cheap! All grocery stores put them on sale for a dollar. So you pick them up in great quantities when they are on sale.

When I make a cake for donation I use a box only because I need to get it done fast and my cake is not there for quality. IE: cup cakes for class, cake walk prizes etc...
When I am being paid for a cake I make it from scratch since I find them to be hardier and firmer than a box cake. I also bake from scratch for my family. I like to know what the ingredients are and I have better control.

minkiemoo Posted 1 Apr 2008 , 6:21pm
post #21 of 21

I only ever bake from scratch. I would never bake a box mix because the box mixes here in the UK are revolting (imo) I wouldn't wish them on anyone icon_lol.gif

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