Do I avoid the "do you use a mix" question??

Business By jessieb578 Updated 2 Jul 2008 , 3:07pm by FromScratch

Petit-four Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 1:53pm
post #181 of 267

Thanks, jkalman, for confirming that there's Yellows #5&6 in yellow cake mix. It is also listed in DH boxes. Jessie, it is my understanding from our licensing system here in NYS that we have to disclose the full ingredients we use -- espeically those colors -- they cannot listed as simply "coloring" or "additives."

It's good to know states/countries vary -- but, at least for us, yup, we gotta list it all. icon_rolleyes.gif
Hope that helps with your original question! icon_smile.gif

dandelion56602 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 2:04pm
post #182 of 267

I believe TN is suppose to list all ingredients as well. My question is how you do that on a cake you deliver? I don't plan (in the future) to sell my cakes boxed like Walmart. I understand for allergies why to list, but I've can't really say I've ever looked at the ingredients list of something I buy from a bakery section (be it Walmart, Kroger, Sam's, etc). Maybe I'll stop to take a look next time just to see what's in the food.

FromScratch Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 2:08pm
post #183 of 267

Good Lord K8... can you take a joke? icon_wink.gif
But honestly.. if I was to get a cake that claimed to be a scratch cake and it was a mix I'd be upset as a customer. Not going to happen because I bake cakes and I'm not going to pay someone to do what I can do myself, but speaking in hypotheticals here and all.

The whole point of this thread was to be honest about what you are doing. If you do that.. then there's no harm in it. Just don't be deceitful.. maybe I sound a bit snobbish, but I don't consider anything that is started with a mix from scratch. I'm not saying that can't be yummy.. just that they are not scratch.

I do make things with helpers.. I have made a casserole with cream of mushroom soup from a can.. I have also made it from scratch. I don't call the can my own and I let people know what's in there. I'm not saying that mixes are bad on the whole. I did state my preference to not eat them and that is my right. Just like it would be someone's right to say they don't like to eat scratch cakes.

Bad cake is bad cake no matter how it started, and there are some bad scratch recipes out there.. they have little flavor and are nothing special, but you can tweak them or find a new one.

It comes down to personal choice.. until that choice is clouded by elusive terms. If you trick your customers you take away that choice for them. That I don't agree with.

Shakti Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 2:09pm
post #184 of 267

'no wonder your from scratch cakes were bad, there's nothing real in them!'

No, those were the scratch cakes the bakery used before they changed to a mix.

The scratch recipes I tested were all real ingredients: eggs, milk, butter, etc.

Bakeries started using fluid flex and emulsifiers and whatnot for a reason; they didn't say 'hey let's start passing off crappier product and make more money.' Back when all this stuff first came out (my bakery's been open since 1929), it was considered new and cutting edge technology that makes cakes softer, firmer and better mouthfeel, not 'fake' as it's considered today.

Honestly, I think it's the fluid flex that makes the difference. It creates that soft, moist cake texture people are so used to nowadays that you don't get from from scratch cakes, while still maintaining it's firmness.

Personally, I prefer to use real ingredients but if it doesn't work like the mix, I can't do it that way. People complain. I mean, personally, I don't even eat refined sugar (yes, I'm a hippocrite!), but I sell it every day!

Shakti Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 2:20pm
post #185 of 267

By the way let me state just exactly what was wrong with the scratch recipes I tried, because maybe someone knows something I don't (as I said, I really want to start using scratch recipes when I start my bakery in January).
I tried them with one of the girls who works there who's a graduate from the patisserie program at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago and our lead baker. She said they tasted different than what Americans are used to because of the fluid flex; it's in most american processed recipes and figured into most cake mixes. *sigh* it's like getting people used to Kraft Singles to like fine cheeses. Can I get an Amen??

So anyways, we tried a few recipes from the Cake Bible, like White Chocolate Whisper cake, Butter Yellow Cake, Chocolate cake, etc, and we tried a red velvet cake from online, we tried basic yellow cake recipe from Better Homes and Gardens (that classic cook book), and we tried a couple recipes from the CHIC textbook (which, by the way, were full of fake ingredients like the bakery's old recipes used to be).

All the ones without fluid flex had a drier texture. They weren't bad at all, in fact the flavors were wonderful, they were just...more 'bready' than our current mix. I mean it tastes like the stuff my aunts bring to family reunions. Definitely not bad in flavor, passable in consistancy, but either too soft to sculpt or not soft enough. It was hard to find that 'firm enough to sculpt, yet still maintaining it's velvety mouthfeel' without the artificial stuff.

Any tips anyone? All y'all scratch bakers, what do you use?

FromScratch Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 2:23pm
post #186 of 267

The fliud flex is liquid shortening right? It has the emusifiers in it that would give you the texture you are talking about.. but to me that's the same as using a mix. If you are going to add all the fakey fake stuff that gives a mix it's properties to your scratch cakes you might as well just start with a mix and call it a day.. less work. icon_smile.gif

FromScratch Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 2:31pm
post #187 of 267

Shakti.. I PM'd you. icon_biggrin.gif

jessieb578 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 2:46pm
post #188 of 267

Well to all who thought that this thread that I started was about disclosure and honesty - you are all WAY off on my intent with my question. My intent on asking this question was a matter of being looked down upon because I use a mix. The stigma of a "mix baker" vs. scratch. People who make me feel less of a baker and a decorator because of how I start my recipes. I am a new business in my area and in a small town like mine I don't need wildfire to spread amongst people who haven't had my cake and those who aren't avid "cakers" like we are will judge without even tasting.

I am in NO WAY going to lie to people who need to know for nutritional information, health, etc. I have read here that in NYS requires full disclosure. What exactly is that?? When I got married, I didn't get a nutritional information sheet.

So, no the whole point of this thread was not about honesty....it was about the integrity of my product and not being judged by people in the community. Although, I never for one second thought I'd be judged here.

Petit-four Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 2:52pm
post #189 of 267

Jessie --

I am truly sorry if I wrote something that was offensive or judgemental. So sorry -- please, as I wrote in the PM -- go by your inspector's requirements.

I guess I thought requirements were the same throughout the state...NYS can be a confusing place! icon_rolleyes.gif
All best -- icon_smile.gif
Petit-four

peacockplace Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 2:55pm
post #190 of 267

I personally don't think anyone here is looking down on people who use mix. I think the negative feelings are about people who use a mix but are dishonest about it. "pre mixed ingredients" and all that stuff.

There is a place for both. With the health centered society we live in it is very important to some people to have "whole foods" Other than that, it's what's best for your business. thumbs_up.gif

Mike1394 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 2:57pm
post #191 of 267

Shakti,
There is my recipe for yellow/butter cake. Honestly if your lead baker can't figure out how to make a soft, melt in your mouth cake. She needs to go back to school.

Mike

http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-593015.html

jessieb578 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 3:03pm
post #192 of 267

Mike icon_smile.gif
If you can't say anything nice don't say it at all.....really. Giving a recipe and then making a nasty comment isn't what this site is about. Sharing and teaching is what makes this place great - condescending attitudes aren't.

-K8memphis Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 3:06pm
post #193 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessieb578

Mike icon_smile.gif
If you can't say anything nice don't say it at all.....really. Giving a recipe and then making a nasty comment isn't what this site is about. Sharing and teaching is what makes this place great - condescending attitudes aren't.




For sure.

FromScratch Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 3:14pm
post #194 of 267

Jessie.. your post got WAY off topic. Don't read into everything as if it is directed at you personally.

Most of the comments about being honest are directed at the people who suggested to bend the truth and not you personally. Is there anyway you can access bulk mixes? Just put them in lexan container and call it a day? No one is saying that you were or ever planned on lying to your customers. I say be proud of what you do.. be upfront about it.. be confident.. and that will get you customers.

Mike1394 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 3:16pm
post #195 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessieb578

Mike icon_smile.gif
If you can't say anything nice don't say it at all.....really. Giving a recipe and then making a nasty comment isn't what this site is about. Sharing and teaching is what makes this place great - condescending attitudes aren't.




I'm sorry it came across that way. It's the truth though. It wasn't meant as nasty.

Mike

jessieb578 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 3:21pm
post #196 of 267

jkalman - thanks for clarifying. icon_smile.gif

ziggytarheel Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 3:28pm
post #197 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394

Quote:
Originally Posted by jessieb578

Mike icon_smile.gif
If you can't say anything nice don't say it at all.....really. Giving a recipe and then making a nasty comment isn't what this site is about. Sharing and teaching is what makes this place great - condescending attitudes aren't.



I'm sorry it came across that way. It's the truth though. It wasn't meant as nasty.

Mike




Oooh. When I read what Mike wrote, I laughed. I thought he was merely stating how wonderful and fool proof his recipe is, and used humor to do so.

icon_smile.gif

jessieb578 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 3:45pm
post #198 of 267

really?? I didn't see how telling someone that they should fire their head baker is funny.

ziggytarheel Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 3:50pm
post #199 of 267

I guess it is just because I don't have anything invested in this debate so it isn't personal to me in the least. Because of that, I read this thread and see the good points that everyone makes and don't get upset about any of it, except when I thought someone was being purposefully rude. It just didn't come across that way. I get his point though. If there is a tried and true recipe and someone can't make it work, there might be a problem. However, if the problem is simply acquired taste, then whatever about what he said.

I'm sorry if I offended you by saying I wasn't offended! I'm really not taking sides at all. I'm learning lots as I'm reading this thread.

jessieb578 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 3:53pm
post #200 of 267

no, no, not offended at all by what you said...I just didn't see the humor in what he said at all and it wasn't even directed at me. Guess I'm just ready to have my cc buddies back icon_lol.gif

mrsg1111 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 3:56pm
post #201 of 267

Going back to the original question.. i agree that baking from scratch is more expensive.. so when i am asked to bake a cake i tell them from that the cheaper way is to use box cake, but i can do from scratch if they don't mind spending a little more. I leave it up to them.. of course they don't care if it's box or not so they go with the cheaper.

-K8memphis Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 3:59pm
post #202 of 267

It's one thing to make a great scratch cake.

Making a tier cake for sale takes more consideration than the choice of ingredients, a whirl in the mixer bowl and a few minutes in the oven.

It must fit with your flow. It need to be easy enough to not consume you in planning and execution. It's a small fraction of the work.

It needs to handle and torte well.

It needs to be like a helicopter able to hover in quality and performance at every stage of preparation.

It needs to exist several days in advance of the event in the frige, or in the freezer and still be great tasting with great texture. Or hold at room temp and still be great.

Needs to take icing well. Needs to hold up under fondant.

Needs to sit pretty while it's decorated. Releasing the least amount of gas so it stays the same as long as possible.

Needs to travel well.

Needs to slice and serve with pinpoint accuracy and freshness. No glopping, no excess of crumbs, no crumbling.

It needs to not go stale and not grow a crust while sitting out on the plate for an hour or more.

Emusifiers and gums anyone?

jessieb578 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 3:59pm
post #203 of 267

frankieb - really?? that's a great angle to take - and ya know, I was thinking that if people ask me I can have them come down for a taste if they doubt my cakes.

donvi Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 4:33pm
post #204 of 267

I tell my customers my cake are modified . . .

So I don't come out and say I use box mixes and I am telling the truth because I do add meringue and cinna. and other flavorings when called for...

Mike1394 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 4:41pm
post #205 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessieb578

really?? I didn't see how telling someone that they should fire their head baker is funny.




Jessie, I'm sorry if you found what I sad offensive, or anyone else for that matter. As a Lead Baker you should know how to combine different ingredients to get the texture, mouthfeel, and taste you desire. IMO if you can't do that then your not a lead Baker. 99% of all baked goods have flour, sugar, eggs, and some sort of fat. It's how you combine them that defines you as a baker.

Maybe I should've explained it better

Mike

gateaux Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 4:42pm
post #206 of 267

I have not read the whole tread yet, but here is my bit.
6 years ago I would never bake from a box. Now I prefer to start from it. Unless I make my favorite cake recipes.

So I bake from a Cake Starter and add my own fresh ingredients and that is my story.

Many bakeries do the same thing. So many places and so many of us use filling from bags or jars.

What is the difference.

We still use fresh ingredients and mix it fresh and do the work.

Good Luck.

Crazy-4-Cakes Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 4:46pm
post #207 of 267

Such an interesting debate going on here!

But to the OP, I would answer the question directly and if you are worried about losing potential clients, do your best to come up with a good scratch stand-by recipe, be sure to have a price quote ready for it if there is a diff and then give the customers the choice.

Just like so many here, there are plenty of people who like either type it's all a matter of preferences. In my past experience in food service, you can't please everyone! NO WAY, NO HOW! Do what suits you and your biz best and offer the clients a choice.

I have found good recipes for yellow and choc cakes from scratch but I'm still searching for a good white cake recipe, so until I do I use cake mixes that I doctor up. AND I'm proud of it! People love my cakes so if it ain't broke don't fix it! Right?

jessieb578 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 5:15pm
post #208 of 267

k8....wait, cakes release gas?? icon_surprised.gif
Mike - thanks for clarifying,, sometimes it's tough to get a "mood" from typing words.

Craziladi - good point that I can't make everyone happy - plus there's nobody around who does what I do with carved cakes, etc...in fact nobody who bakes cakes besides WalMart and Price Chopper, so they can take it or leave it right??

Mike1394 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 5:24pm
post #209 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessieb578

k8....wait, cakes release gas?? icon_surprised.gif
Mike - thanks for clarifying,, sometimes it's tough to get a "mood" from typing words.

Craziladi - good point that I can't make everyone happy - plus there's nobody around who does what I do with carved cakes, etc...in fact nobody who bakes cakes besides WalMart and Price Chopper, so they can take it or leave it right??




Hey we only have about 9 million more posts to catch up with those cuppies. I want to know how can they make cuppies when all they do is type messages? Hehehe icon_biggrin.gif

Maria_Campos Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 5:30pm
post #210 of 267

You know your a CC cake decorater when you but aside booking travel for your boss to read all 14 pages of a discussion thread about box mixes vs scratch cakes

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