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

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

3GCakes Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 6:04pm
post #211 of 267

Another gray area might be if you use "Rose's Heavenly Cakes" boxed mixes....no preservatives, still a box.

onceuponacake Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 6:05pm
post #212 of 267

i do both scratch and mixes..although im having a hard time finding more scratch recipes that come out right...id ohave the cake bible and the few recipes ive tried have come out dry..the one great one is from the buttercup bakery book..LOVE IT...

ive had cakes that have been scratch that were awful (like some of the ones ive made lol) and cakes that are from mix that were awful too... so i guess to some extent it depends on the person making the cake lol

as far as the question: i tell them i do both..what is your preference?

Shakti Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 6:30pm
post #213 of 267

"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? "


I think K8 just summed up the entire argument for mixes in that single post. Awesome!

Mike, it's not just that chick who went to culinary school who worked on the recipes with me...it was her AND my lead baker who's had more than 10 years experience.
AND I never said our cakes came out dry, or crumbly, or bad. They just simply didn't come out AS GOOD as the ones from the mix OR the ones using fluid flex and other added grossness. And what I mean by AS GOOD is everything K8 just wrote in that post a few posts back.

Our bakery right now does over 100 custom cakes per weekend, and more and more of those are 3D's, cut outs, tiered cakes and other architecturally challenged peices of work. That means whatever cake I end up using HAS to be able to pass SEVERAL tests, not just whether or not it tastes good or whether or not it has a 'melt in your mouth' feel (which, by the way, a lot of times translates into crumbly messy cake that won't sculpt right or hold up...tastes great but not a lot you can do with it more than sheet cakes and stand-alone rounds).

I'm not offended by any comments people have made regarding my posts, I just don't think they've read them well enough to assess my intentions. As I said, scratch cakes aren't bad, they just don't live up to what the mixes can do. That's why the mixes were invented in the first place.

jessieb578 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 6:33pm
post #214 of 267

Ha! Mike I highly doubt we'll ever catch up to that cupcake thread, unless we start talking about politics or maybe abortion icon_lol.gif
onceuponacake I actually do both...I really love Hershey's Cake recipe, it's pretty much no fail and from scratch. I even add differen liquors to it to make it chocolate hazelnut, etc....but I don't do that for wedding cakes, etc., mostly b-day cakes. I have other scratch recipes like carrot cake that is great, but my basic yellow and white cakes, I don't really have any luck with unless it's a doctored mix.

jessieb578 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 6:39pm
post #215 of 267

peacockplace - I forgot to ask you before, you had mentioned that in this health conscious time, people want whole foods - in your experience, are the people eating cake really caring about their health, or do they want a good piece of cake?? icon_lol.gif

jessieb578 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 6:39pm
post #216 of 267

peacockplace - I forgot to ask you before, you had mentioned that in this health conscious time, people want whole foods - in your experience, are the people eating cake really caring about their health, or do they want a good piece of cake?? icon_lol.gif
Just kidding...I certainly know what you were saying. icon_biggrin.gif

dandelion56602 Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 6:44pm
post #217 of 267

I've got a question for all box bakers...

Have any of you tried starting out w/ the recipe that is suppose to be equivalent to a box mix? And I can't find it to save my life! It has flour, sugar, leveling agents, etc that are suppost to be equivalent to what's in a box.

I would like to try it to see how it holds up, but wondering if anyone here has done it already?

Shakti Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 6:47pm
post #218 of 267

I have one if you want it; it's for bulk quantities, though, and it uses grams and whatnot, not cups. I'll pm it if you're interested

peacockplace Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 6:52pm
post #219 of 267

Yea... I know it's weird wanting a "healthy piece of cake" LOL icon_biggrin.gif
You are right... most customers don't care what's in their food as long as it tastes good. (all the fast food chains are evidence of that) thumbs_up.gif

onceuponacake Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 7:02pm
post #220 of 267

jessieb- thanks for the heads up on the hershey cake ill look for it. i also have a scratch carrot cake....yummy...my search continues for a great white scratch cake..until then its a doctored BC for me lol

FromScratch Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 7:20pm
post #221 of 267

It's not so much about a "healthy" piece of cake so much as wanting to know what is in things. I don't eat a lot of processed foods and if I was to go to a baker to order a cake I'd want a cake without propylene glycol and transfats and all that jazz.

coldtropics Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 9:15pm
post #222 of 267

I really really wish that the "mix' bakers woud stop saying that a box offers what a scratch cake cant. And that scratch cake taste heavy or like jiffy. NO thats how YOUR cake taste. You can achieve superior results from scratch if you know what the heck youre doing. It just takes some presision.

KoryAK Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 9:28pm
post #223 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by coldtropics

I really really wish that the "mix' bakers woud stop saying that a box offers what a scratch cake cant. And that scratch cake taste heavy or like jiffy. NO thats how YOUR cake taste. You can achieve superior results from scratch if you know what the heck youre doing. It just takes some presision.




amen!

-K8memphis Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 9:37pm
post #224 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessieb578

k8....wait, cakes release gas?? icon_surprised.gif




Cake farts.

I mean that sounds comical and it is but y'know the bubbles we get under icing & stuff that's air escaping from the structure of the cake and collecting in one place. Air is a gas of course.

Shakti Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 10:18pm
post #225 of 267

Yeah well, the actual intent of the original post was how to avoid judgement from others when you use a mix instead of baking from scratch.
The original post had to do with the judgement coming from customers, but there's a stigma from other bakers, too, it seems.

Personally, I'm into raw foods, I don't eat refined sugar (unless I'm testing recipes in which case, I have to build up to it or I get sick), and I try to eat as whole and natural as possible. And yet, I feel like the hippocrite of the century selling cake at all, much less selling artificially enhanced mix-cakes. *le sigh*.

The good part is, in January when I start my personal cake business, I'll be really low volume, which will be a welcome break from the 100 cakes we crap out per weekend at the bakery, which means I can spend more time putting together worthwhile, wholesome cakes that may not be healthy, but are at least REAL FOOD. I'm completely in agreement with you all about that. And that's why I'm excited to try out some of the recipes some of you have pm'd me. I really want my cake shop to be 100% in line with my ideals, and I'm kinda pissed that it isn't yet. I mean with the mixes and all.

As someone said, there's totally a market for slow food, organic cakes. People want that. I hope to be able to deliver.

onceuponacake Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 11:23pm
post #226 of 267

i hope no one takes this the wrong way, but i dont think its right to lump all *mix* bakers or *scratch* bakers as having one thought. icon_eek.gif
its like saying all scratch bakers have a superiority complex. not true not true

i don't think that mixes offer something that scratch can't. i have a few scratch recipes that I love, but am still searching for others because I have tried some that just did not come out right. Was it me? Maybe. But if I have followed the recipe to the T and it comes out blech and other scratch recipes come out great, then maybe its not me.

i have a friend who does only scratch and 9 times out of 10 the cake is dry, but she prides herself on baking from scratch.

Again, I make both types. I'm not partial. I just LOVE a great tasting cake. icon_biggrin.gif

indydebi Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 11:34pm
post #227 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by onceuponacake

i have a friend who does only scratch and 9 times out of 10 the cake is dry, but she prides herself on baking from scratch.




icon_lol.gif
Can we all have a big convention sometime so I can sample some of the great scratch-baking talent on here? PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FromScratch Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 11:39pm
post #228 of 267

Anytime you're up in my neck of the woods I'll gladly make you some cakes Debi.. if you make me some of your chicken lasagna and chocolate chip cookies. Sound fair to you?? icon_wink.gif

indydebi Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 11:49pm
post #229 of 267

jkalman, you gotta deal!! I'll bring lunch ... you bring dessert!

onceuponacake Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 2:36am
post #230 of 267

can i come too? 'cept i won't bring anything...cause i hate cooking! lol

FromScratch Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 2:57am
post #231 of 267

You're on Debi.. icon_wink.gif

moreCakePlz Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 1:31pm
post #232 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaisieBake

Quote:
Quote:

Which ingredient in the box mix gives it a noticeable chemical taste?



Try posting the ingredient list for a box of cake mix instead if you're going to argue from ingredient lists.

Here's one: http://www.generalmills.com/corporate/brands/product_image.aspx?catID=24401&itemID=2072

Propylene glycol monoesters of fatty acids? Distilled monoglycerides? What ARE those?




Wow, I was offline for a day and I missed 5 pages of debate.
Anyway, as requested here is a list of the ingredients in a box cake mix as compared to the scratch mix. Iâve also included my very uneducated analysis of each ingredient (I dug up some interesting stuff that some people might be interested in).

Betty Crocker Super Moist White Cake
Sugar
Enriched Flour Bleached (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid),
Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil,
Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Dicalcium Phosphate)
Propylene Glycol Monoesters of Fatty Acids
Nonfat Milk
Corn Starch, Modified Corn Starch
Salt
Distilled Mono and Diglycerides
Dextrose
Soy Lecithin
Xanthan Gum
Datem
Artificial Flavor
Add: Water, eggs, oil


White Sugar - both the box mix and the scratch version have sugar in abundance. (BTW: Sugar is very, very bad for the human body. Read âSugar Shockâ if you want to get scared out of your wits.)

Flour â Looks like the box mix is using AP flour and my scratch recipe calls for Cake Flour. To make the AP flour act like cake flour, certain emulsifiers (see below) need to be added that inhibit the formation of gluten. Why doesnât Betty just use cake flour? Well in the US Cake Flour is produced using chlorine and benzoyl peroxide and chlorinated flour has been banned in Europe. I guess Betty doesnât want one mix for the US and another for Europe, so they went the AP flour + Xanthan Gum route. (Just my opinion, though.)

Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil â This is in the box mix and not the scratch, but the scratch version uses butter. Both the oil and the butter and moistness and tenderness to the final baked product, but the butter (creamed with sugar) adds volume which the oil does not. Because the oil does not add volume, other emulsifiers are added to the box mix (see below).

Leavening â same in both â Baking Powder ( Cornstarch, Bicarbonate of Soda, Sodium Aluminum Sulfate, Monocalcium Phosphate)

Propylene Glycol Monoesters of Fatty Acids - Ykees. Sounds really nasty, but it is an additive that protects the mix against mites and microbial damage during storage.

Milk â non fat milk in the box mix vs whole milk in the scratch. Milk also contains glutathione, a reducing agent that softens dough.

Corn Starch â again the AP vs Cake flour thing. Because of the soft wheat used in cake flour production, cake flour has more natural starch than AP. Corn Starch is added to the box mix to compensate.

Salt â present in both versions

Distilled Mono and Diglycerides â Just in the box mix. This is a type of fat or emulsifier that helps produce a softer cake crumb. Again the AP vs Cake Flour thing. Cake flour uses soft wheat that is bleached with both chlorine and benzoyl peroxide. The bleaching of cake flour weakens its gluten and increases the ability of the starch to absorb water (yielding a softer cake crumb). The box mix is using hard wheat and no chlorination so it needs more fat/emulsifiers to inhibit gluten production and produce a soft crumb similar to cake flour.

Dextrose (aka corn sugar/grape sugar/glucose) â Just in the box mix. This is another type of sweetener (naturally occurring form of glucose). The dextrose provides the same properties as granulated sugar (bulk, browning, caramelized baked flavor, moistness, tenderizes ,etc) but without as much sweetness. Dextrose also improves the shelf life of baked goods because it inhibits microbial growth better than granulated sugar.

Soy Lecithin â Just in the box mix. This is an emulsifier to help provide a consistent texture to the cake. It makes dough less sticky and helps it rise. Also a great dietary supplement (I take it every day). It is a free-radical scavenger, boost âgoodâ cholesterol, and helps stabilize blood sugar. Lecithin is also part of a brain longevity regiment and is being used to help treat dementia patients.

Xanthan Gum (aka Corn Sugar) â Just in the box mix. Leavening agent. Xanthan Gum thickens without feeling thick and heavy and helps batters hold in gases. Xanthan is also being considered (along with heat and enzymes) as an alterative to chlorination in Cake Flour production.

Datem â Just in the box mix. It is another emulsifier used to make baked products rise to greater heights. Because the box mix doesnât use creamed butter/sugar, other methods are needed to achieve the same height.

Artificial Flavor â Iâm assuming this is artificial vanilla flavoring, but there is no way of telling. I guess it is Bettyâs secret formula. I did find this blurb about Artificial Flavors: The FDA does not require companies to disclose ingredients of color or flavor additives so long as all the chemicals in them are considered by the agency to be GRAS (Generally recognized as safe) enabling companies to maintain secrecy of formulas.


So nothing in this list has scared me off (except the chlorination of cake flour). Iâll still use doctored box mixes for my regular cakes and scratch for the special ones.

-K8memphis Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 2:11pm
post #233 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by moreCakePlz

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaisieBake

Quote:
Quote:

Which ingredient in the box mix gives it a noticeable chemical taste?



Try posting the ingredient list for a box of cake mix instead if you're going to argue from ingredient lists.

Here's one: http://www.generalmills.com/corporate/brands/product_image.aspx?catID=24401&itemID=2072

Propylene glycol monoesters of fatty acids? Distilled monoglycerides? What ARE those?



Wow, I was offline for a day and I missed 5 pages of debate.
Anyway, as requested here is a list of the ingredients in a box cake mix as compared to the scratch mix. Iâve also included my very uneducated analysis of each ingredient (I dug up some interesting stuff that some people might be interested in).

Betty Crocker Super Moist White Cake
Sugar
Enriched Flour Bleached (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid),
Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil,
Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Dicalcium Phosphate)
Propylene Glycol Monoesters of Fatty Acids
Nonfat Milk
Corn Starch, Modified Corn Starch
Salt
Distilled Mono and Diglycerides
Dextrose
Soy Lecithin
Xanthan Gum
Datem
Artificial Flavor
Add: Water, eggs, oil
...




You have provided an excellent analysis. I mean for sure if someone is all health enthused and health conscious one of thee first things to go is freaking sugar.

I appreciate you posting this. Not because of your conclusion though I support that as well it's because of the clear headed analysis of the ingredients.

I like scratch cakes. I can bake a stunner white cake. I can not contort it as much as I can a mix. I bake my yummy white cake for family. I use scratch cake and mixes in my profession.

Just for the record, I tell clients what I use and I protect myself from the prejudice at the same time. My moral temperature regarding disclosure is not a part of this discussion.

I really appreciate your input, MoCake thumbs_up.gif

MichelleM77 Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 2:13pm
post #234 of 267

I don't know, I'm still hesitant about all the chemicals. Just because I know what a chemical does, doesn't mean it's okay to put in my body. It's a touchy subject and I thank you for taking the time to look into the ingredients. I know that sometimes things sound more dangerous than they are. Take titanium dioxide for example (Wilton Icing White). It's mined in the earth and is in everything that is white (like toothpaste), but it sounds like some nasty chemical.

Pookie59 Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 2:23pm
post #235 of 267

I've know some anti-cake mix snobs and they generally don't know what the heck they are talking about. For example, at work our office manager orders cakes for birthday and other celebrations. She refuses to pay for "cake mix cakes" (this from a woman who doesn't cook anything ever), but most of the "scratch" bakery cakes she gets look good but taste blah.

The cakes I make taste much, much better (and get rave reviews) and (except for certain flavors) they generally start with a mix. Why feel guilty about that???? What the customer wants is something that tastes good - why they heck should they dictate how you achieve that goal?

-K8memphis Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 2:23pm
post #236 of 267

Michelle, titanium dioxide can bring about a horrible allergic reaction in some people.

But I know we think of sugar and flour as righteous ingredients but they are chemicals too. We are just more used to them so they are more friendly to us. Sugar and flour are massively refined. I mean try to take a beet or a length of sugar cane into being sugar--it becomes a chemical made from those natural products. Our flour we use has vitamins added. Those are all chemicals. There's lots of crazy stuff in there. We are just more used to a majority of it.

Shoot if gums are off limits how yah gonna justify using fondant?

NikkiDoc Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 2:57pm
post #237 of 267

Cake is fun. Cake is a luxury, it is an indulgence. If you want health food, you are not going to find it in any type of cake. Period.

You can go flourless if you need to, use Splenda if you need to, use scratch instead of mix to avoid allergies if you need to. Cake is versatile.

But we see that scratch doesn't really mean better for you. (Thanks for the break down, MoCakePlz.) What about the hormones in the milk and eggs from cows and chickens. Please. We are kidding ourselves if we try to justify one way of making cake as better than the other. Practically everything we eat nowdays is not healthy. Sad but true. Organic everthing is so expensive!

gottabakenow Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 2:59pm
post #238 of 267

I bake from scratch. That's basically because the boxes are SO disgustingly filled with chemicals and artificial junk. Also my cakes are good.

There is a brand that I use- rarely, because why bother?- called Dr. Oetkers. It's organic. It doesn't have that chemically artificially disgustingly gross stuff in it. It's good. But it's expensive. So I bake from scratch. Everyone loves it. Like Debi says, don't fix what ain't broken.

I would NEVER bash anyone who uses a mix. I just don't happen to want to eat floor wax and shoe polish or whatever the equivalent of the junk in them is.

*stepping off my soapbox now...*

-K8memphis Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 3:14pm
post #239 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by gottabakenow

I bake from scratch. That's basically because the boxes are SO disgustingly filled with chemicals and artificial junk. Also my cakes are good.

There is a brand that I use- rarely, because why bother?- called Dr. Oetkers. It's organic. It doesn't have that chemically artificially disgustingly gross stuff in it. It's good. But it's expensive. So I bake from scratch. Everyone loves it. Like Debi says, don't fix what ain't broken.

I would NEVER bash anyone who uses a mix. I just don't happen to want to eat floor wax and shoe polish or whatever the equivalent of the junk in them is.

*stepping off my soapbox now...*




Priceless. No bashing. No disgusting floor wax.

MichelleM77 Posted 1 Jul 2008 , 3:16pm
post #240 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

Michelle, titanium dioxide can bring about a horrible allergic reaction in some people.

But I know we think of sugar and flour as righteous ingredients but they are chemicals too. We are just more used to them so they are more friendly to us. Sugar and flour are massively refined. I mean try to take a beet or a length of sugar cane into being sugar--it becomes a chemical made from those natural products. Our flour we use has vitamins added. Those are all chemicals. There's lots of crazy stuff in there. We are just more used to a majority of it.

Shoot if gums are off limits how yah gonna justify using fondant?




Sure, but so do most vegetables and fruits, as far as allergies go.

I see your point and agree, so if we can eliminate them in any way, then we should. Now I was a box-mix-extender baker until I found a recipe that I loved. I probably would still be a box-mix-extender baker if I hadn't. I'm not against them, just found something that I like better.

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