Question About Cake Mixes

Decorating By vmertsock Updated 21 Apr 2008 , 10:26pm by homemaluhia

vmertsock Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 3:49pm
post #1 of 14

My best friend's wedding is August 9th and she asked me to make the cake. I'm also a bridesmaid. The design she wants is to have a 12 (5 inches tall), 10 (5 inches tall), pillars then a 6(4 inches tall) on top, with a bridge leading down to a 6 and 8 (3 inches tall each, to make total of 6 inches)on both sides. It'll have roses on the tops and stringwork around the side of each. (The single string archy things, which I'd love tips on how to do nicely!) Part of the problem is I live 7 hours away so the cake will have to travel. She really loves the flavor of grocery store cakes and really hated my scratch cake, which everyone else loves but since she never had one, she thought it was far too dense. I did some math and the materials alone for the cake she wants will be $250, on top of that much for the dress. As much as I'd like to, I can't spend 500 on her wedding, plus the cost of gas to go up and taking time off work (not paid) etc. Since she likes box mixes better anyway, I'm tempted to do that. I bought one to try, a duncin hines, but it was so soft and crumby! I'm afraid that the cake won't stand all day, I have to assemble the cake before the wedding, so it will be standing for 8-10 hours before the reception. Has anyone here used cake mixes before for a cake this large? I plan on doweling of coarse, but I'm worried I'll have to use an obscene amount of dowels to support the weight of each cake, and that it would tip over. Also, the icing she requested is american buttercream. (butter, powdered sugar and a little milk) So that will lend a little stability, but I'm also worried about icing it with that. It's such a stiff frosting, I always crumb coat, but how are cake mixes to ice? Do they get crumbs all over? Any help would be very much appreciated!

13 replies
cakedaze Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 4:02pm
post #2 of 14

I've never done a wedding cake, but always use Duncan Hines mixes - I think some people add things to it to make the cakes more dense. I use the icing tip to ice my cakes & don't get crumbs - I use thin icing.

Are you doing this as a wedding gift? If not, I think she should pay for it. She would pay a lot more just to order it from a bakery or a grocery store. To me it seems only fair that you are reimbursed for your time & costs involved in provided her with a cake she would have to buy elsewhere if you didn't bake cakes.

I bet your cake will look great! Good luck!

indydebi Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 4:05pm
post #3 of 14

Darlin', I've used nothing but Betty Crocker cake mixes for 25 years and my cakes hold up just fine.

I didn't like DH because they, to me, are too "light and fluffy". As I tell myf friends, "When I'm flipping a 14" cake, I need firm and solid, not light and fluffy!"

The cake will stand for days. Remember, the cakes are not supporting the cakes themselves..... the upper tiers are supported by your dowel or support system ... they are not actually sitting on the lower cake. So if a cake will sit in your kitchen for days, then it will sit in a reception hall for a few hours.

I bake my wedding cakes on Thursday for Sat weddings.

I use 4 dowels in each cake, no matter what size the cake. They should be placed near the outer edge of the circle (not all in the center). YOu may see a suggestion of "one dowel for every inch of cake" but I'm telling you that turns the cake into swiss cheese and damages the structural integrity of the cake. Otherwise, "overkill" that kills the cake. A 10" cake does NOT need 10 dowels in it.

If your icing is too stiff, add more milk to make it workable. (The advantage to being a "until it looks right" cook .... a recipe is just a suggestion! icon_wink.gif )

vmertsock Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 4:10pm
post #4 of 14

Do you thin your icing to do the crumb coat? Maybe it was a fluke or I did something wrong, but I had terrible crumbs on my trial cake. I usually use SMBC to trying to use a stiffer one may be the reason for all of my crumbs, I may be using too heavy a hand.

Originally we had thought it could be their wedding gift. I'd love to do it for a wedding gift, however we aren't in the position to give them a $250 gift. If I were to sell this cake here, (I'm in central NJ) I'm quite certain it would fetch at least $500--it's for 150 people. And at bakeries I've worked for in the past, close to $1,000. I'm hoping to discuss this with her today... I love her dearly but I don't think she sees cakes as art, just as something you can make for $2 or $3 which makes it hard to explain how it costs so much, hence the though, why am I bothering when she would prefer a box?

P.S. No offense at all intended to people who use/prefer boxes! I'm admittedly a bit of a cake snob, I grew up with scratch, hearing my grandmother say mixes were cheating so I'm a bit biased. There are many people who can make them taste fabulous!

indydebi Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 4:19pm
post #5 of 14

Yes, the crumb coat icing I use is thinned a bit.

Dont' apologize for preferring scratch to mix. I agree it all depends on what you grew up with. I grew up on mixes and haven't had too many scratch cakes that I like at all. But I also believe it depends on the baker .... if you have no talent for baking, it doesn't matter if you bake from scratch or a mix ... it will taste like crap no matter what! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Does gramma think cooking on an electric stove is "cheating" as opposed to cooking on a wood-burning stove? Does gramma think using an electric hammer or battery operated drill is "cheating" as opposed to using a manual hammer or a screwdriver?

My husband's grandmother was ahead of her time. He was surprised to learn that she preferred all the conveniences of today's world instead of liking "the olden days". She told him, 'The only reason we all cooked from scratch is because we didn't have any choice. We have a choice today and I see no need to measure out flour and baking powder when someone else has already done it for me!" icon_biggrin.gif

vmertsock Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 4:32pm
post #6 of 14

Lol you are very right. She definitely prefers modern with most things.

Are there any other tips you would be willing to share for a successful cake? Thanks for the doweling tip, too. I plan on driving up on Friday, and since I'm the chef at a new bakery I'll be working a lot so the cake will probably be made throughout the week and then simple syruped and iced Thursday night.
Do you make the cake according to the box directions? I think I'm probably being a bit too paranoid about it standing, I just want to do everything I can to make it special for her. Thanks so much for your great advice.

indydebi Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 4:42pm
post #7 of 14

sift the cake mix .... makes for better texture, fewer air holes (more cakey and less cornbready). Other than that, I dont' alter the directions at all.

And stop worrying about it standing. Moms and bakeries and restaurants use cake mixes every day and they are fine.

cakechica27 Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 4:42pm
post #8 of 14

I've used mixes many times for wedding cakes, just because they prefer the flavor. They work very well. I add a box of pudding mix and an extra egg to get a denser cake.

Apply a thin layer of buttercream and refrigerate the cakes for about 20 minutes, then apply your top layer. This will help with the crumbs. Good luck!

foxymomma521 Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 4:48pm
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by vmertsock

Lol you are very right. She definitely prefers modern with most things.

Are there any other tips you would be willing to share for a successful cake? Thanks for the doweling tip, too. I plan on driving up on Friday, and since I'm the chef at a new bakery I'll be working a lot so the cake will probably be made throughout the week and then simple syruped and iced Thursday night.
Do you make the cake according to the box directions? I think I'm probably being a bit too paranoid about it standing, I just want to do everything I can to make it special for her. Thanks so much for your great advice.



For every mix I add 1 cup sour cream, 4 eggs 1/2 cup oil, 1/2 cup water and a box of pudding (in the same flavor as the cake or one that will compliment it) It results in a sturdy cake with a fine crumb. I use DH and have no problems icon_smile.gif

amysue99 Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 4:50pm
post #10 of 14

I use the White Almond Sour Cream (WASC) that is posted in the recipes section. It starts with a cake mix and has additions of flaovr, sour cream, etc. It makes a quite dense cake, not as fluffy as a strait mix. I get lots of "I never eat cake but this is delicious!" comments.

mcook1670 Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 4:56pm
post #11 of 14

if you dowel the cake correctly it won't fall. They're is nothing wrong with cake mixes, they'll sand just the same as a scratch cake. cake is cake for the most part. I also use an icing tip, it works a lot faster, along with a plastic bench scraper to smooth the icing. as far as transporting the cake as you going to assemble when you get there? I would with it having pillars. Good luck I'm sure you'll do fine. If you need a good recipe for "american icing" check out sugarshack's recipe. I'e never had it but it sounds really good icon_biggrin.gif

vmertsock Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 8:37pm
post #12 of 14

Thank you all so much for the advice and luck. I'm probably being overly hesitant with cake mixes and had bad luck (or more likely just messed up lol) the one I did try. I'm definitely going to try another one, especially after hearing what results you all have had with them. Everyone here does such amazingly beautiful work! Thanks again!

loriemoms Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 9:57pm
post #13 of 14

I dont think you would have a problem with cake mix..my thing would be all that string work! Would you be able to travel with it?

homemaluhia Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 10:26pm
post #14 of 14

I agree with amysue99, I always use WASC or a derivation of it. And have had no problems. It is my "universal" recipe for carving or stacking.

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