I need help or encouragement or something. Almost all my cakes taste like crap. The only cake I can make taste great is a yellow box cake with bc filling. I can make two more cakes from scratch that are good but they are not common (carrot, and tiramisu cake). Other than that I am turning up really short. I know I am good at decorating but I am afraid I am not getting repeat customers because I can't bake like a bakery. What do I do. I tried the doctored cakes, but they are all too dense except those made with the sour cream and then it is too moist and falling apart. I tried a chocolate rum cake yesterday and it wasn't that good. I started a business and I am licensed now, but I think I was in denial. Help me Help me Help me. I think I need to go box cake only, but I refuse to lie to someone. They all ask if its boxed or scratch. errrrrrr. I am doing a bridal show next month, and I feel like i can't compete.
I prefer a denser cake so I can't help you out with the doctored cakes or scratch cakes. The sour cream cakes should be moist but not as moist as you said that they were falling a part. I do a lot of sour cream cakes and have yet to have one crumble. Are you turning the oven down to 325, using flower nails as heat conductors and baking longer than the recipe states?
If you are looking for a lighter cake and want to use a mix (but not doctored with the box of pudding and extra egg) have you tried replacing the water with liquid coffee creamer. This changes the flavor slightly. Or you could add 1 T - 3 T of powdered creamer to the mix and change the flavor that way. (you will need to play around with the amounts of powdered to get the flavor you are looking for.) *Also when the recipe calls for water I always use milk or liquid coffee creamer. With chocolate cakes a little bit of strong coffee helps to make the cake more chocolaty. You can't taste the coffee but it helps to increase the chocolate flavor.
Your cakes look wonderful. I love you shoe one on your website. (I'm the opposite, I can bake a wonderful cake but struggle with the decorating.)
Some thoughts on cakes that fall apart:
1) removing them from the pan: I am pretty methodical about placing them on cooling racks, away from the warm over, and setting a timer for 15 minutes. I run a butter knife around the perimeter, and then very gently lift the edges with a wide plastic spatula. I make almost all sour-cream based cakes, and this helps them keep together when I decorate them. I have learned to be pretty gentle with them when warm, and find they hold together better.
2) Do you have a Kitchen Aid? I found (in the KA manual) they advise cutting down on mixing time, because KA's beat a lot more efficiently then many other brands. I have found box cakes tend to fall apart (and scratch cakes get too tough) when you follow the printed directions -- so this might be a cause.
3) For some easy filling changes, perhaps try mixing a cup of raspberry preserves into your butter-cream: ta da! Raspberry "mousse." You can grate chocolate bars over buttercream -- call it something new. As a custom cake decorator, you can do lots of special touches which will help you stand out from other bakeries.
Hope this helps! You make lovely cakes!
When people ask me if my cakes are made from scratch, I tell them, "You couldn't afford me if I baked from scratch." I then ask them, "Ever seen those 5 lb boxes of cake mix in GFS and Sam's? Do you think they are selling those to housewives? They are selling those to bakeries and restaurants all over the city."
And don't EVEN get me started on what kind of cake you'll get from that big national chain of grocery stores that has a bakery in the store! Yeah .... walk in there and ask THEM if they bake their cakes from scratch! Heck, I dare ya to ask 'em if they even bake their cakes ON SITE!