Do You Scratch Or Box?????

Business By liapsim Updated 9 Oct 2008 , 4:46am by CarolAnn

liapsim Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 2:27pm
post #1 of 26

So I have a friend that owns a bakery. I just found out a couple of days ago that she doesn't bake from scratch. She uses Betty Crocker box mixes. She says it's because it's easier and more cost effective. Now I should say that she does make all her icings from scratch.

I do all my cakes as a hobby and I bake from scratch. So, I had previously assumed that someone who owns a bakery, would bake from scratch as well.

Are their any professionals on here that use box mixes? Is this a common practice I didn't know about? Do you tell your customers that you bake from a box? I'm just curious as to what people's thoughts are on this......Thanks!

25 replies
kelleym Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 5:28pm
post #2 of 26

This subject has been discussed frequently. Check out page 2 of this thread for JanH's post with links to other discussions. icon_smile.gif

http://forum.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=596517&postdays=0&postorder=asc&&start=0

CarolAnn Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 6:10pm
post #3 of 26
Quote:
Quote:

Do you tell your customers that you bake from a box? I'm just curious as to what people's thoughts are on this......




I don't recall a client ever asking me if my cakes are scratch or not. Last week a lady who'd recently had some of my cake a an anniv celebration asked if I made my cakes from scratch. I told her some are scratch and some start with a cake mix. She said "oh that doesn't matter to me because your cakes are always wonderful." I've never asked at a bakery whether they do it strictly from scratch or use some kind of mix or base. If I like the cakes I'll go back (until I started making them myself that is), if not I won't. I'm sure there are plenty of bakeries that use a basic starter mix and add to them as many of us do. Tomorrow I'm going to bake a cake using the enhanced cake mix formula. I got this order from the anniversary cake I mentioned earlier. The lady (a friend/neighbor down the road) wants me to make a 9x13 b-day cake with HB on top to have for a gathering after the football game Friday. Sure she could mix up a cake in the pan and put frosting on top, but she knows it'll just be a cake in the pan with frosting on top. She's willing to have me do it for her for $25. Works for me!

marmalade1687 Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 6:21pm
post #4 of 26

My standard cakes are from a mix, and my upgraded cakes are scratch. All of my fillings are scratch - I tell clients this all the time. I add things to my basic mixes to get different flavors - it keeps the cost down so that I can have a "standard menu"and an "upgraded menu". I don't use "boxes"...I buy my mix in 20lb. bags! icon_biggrin.gif

nickshalfpint Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 7:54pm
post #5 of 26

My DH and I were just watching UFC and we were talking about the girls fighting. And I said I like when the box not scratch.....so when I saw this I thought wow, someone was watching UFC too. Then I read her question.............DUH dunce.gif .....It's CAKEcentral

johnniekake Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 8:34pm
post #6 of 26

I bake from scratch,cake ,filling,frosting............some people like scratch cake................some people like box cake..................some people just want the cool looking cake even if it taste like DIRT!!

KoryAK Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 9:58pm
post #7 of 26

scratch here. very heated debate here. and NO I would say most large bakeries do not bake from scratch.

Mike1394 Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 10:39pm
post #8 of 26

Anyone doing any production at all more than likely is using a mix. It's just to cost effective. Add water, portion, and bake. If you do it right you can have 100 cakes in an hour The price of those are pretty cheap.

Mike

loriemoms Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 1:07am
post #9 of 26

I was recently in the back room of one of the best bakeries in our area and they had bags of cake mix sitting there, ready to be made. Just like everyone said, most big bakeries just find it much more effective, not only cost but in training people to bake cakes, to use mixes. This bakery I was at beefed up the basic cake with amazing mousses and fresh fruit and such. And beautiful beautiful cakes.

I personally am like everyone else has said...depends on the cake. I have yet to find a good red velvet cake mix, I tried all kinds of recipes and mixtures and nothing beats scratch. But white cake? I can't beat WASC..man, that is good stuff!! So yeah, there will be heated arguments on this very subject, but shoot latey there has been arguments over if the background of this very post is white or off white or if the colors here are really pink or rose...its nuts, I don't know what is wrong with people lately...But back to the subject, it really is your own preference, whatever makes it easier for you. But do big bakeries bake from mix? Sure...and they also freeze thier cakes!

nickshalfpint Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 4:15am
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by loriemoms

I was recently in the back room of one of the best bakeries in our area and they had bags of cake mix sitting there, ready to be made. Just like everyone said, most big bakeries just find it much more effective, not only cost but in training people to bake cakes, to use mixes. This bakery I was at beefed up the basic cake with amazing mousses and fresh fruit and such. And beautiful beautiful cakes.

I personally am like everyone else has said...depends on the cake. I have yet to find a good red velvet cake mix, I tried all kinds of recipes and mixtures and nothing beats scratch. But white cake? I can't beat WASC..man, that is good stuff!! So yeah, there will be heated arguments on this very subject, but shoot latey there has been arguments over if the background of this very post is white or off white or if the colors here are really pink or rose...its nuts, I don't know what is wrong with people lately...But back to the subject, it really is your own preference, whatever makes it easier for you. But do big bakeries bake from mix? Sure...and they also freeze thier cakes!




What? Are you saying it's pink and not rose? WTH?!?!?! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif I'm just kidding icon_lol.gif

loriemoms Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 12:28pm
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickshalfpint



What? Are you saying it's pink and not rose? WTH?!?!?! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif I'm just kidding icon_lol.gif




hehehe!!

kilikina_24 Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 1:32pm
post #12 of 26

I'm just now starting our with cake decorating as a hobby and have wondered about this too. I've been using cake mixes...sometimes doctored up. For example, I used a strawberry cake mix for my one year old's b-day but I added some lemon zest--it was so good!

I know that the lady who did my wedding cake years ago used doctored up cake mixes. I also thought that our wedding cake was one of the best tasting wedding cakes I ever had! I was never a big fan of wedding cakes before mine--I always thought that's the way wedding cakes were--beautiful but tasteless. I'm glad mine wasn't that way. I guess that's why I don't have a problem using a mix.

I love to try new recipes though so I'll probably do some scratch baking myself and try to find some good ones!!

missmeg Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 3:20pm
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by marmalade1687

My standard cakes are from a mix, and my upgraded cakes are scratch. All of my fillings are scratch - I tell clients this all the time. I add things to my basic mixes to get different flavors - it keeps the cost down so that I can have a "standard menu"and an "upgraded menu".



This is me completely. No one has ever questioned me how I bake my cakes. My "to die for" scratch recipe is a carrot cake - I've never found anything close to compare from starting with a box.

On another forum once a few years ago, a bunch of non-decorators looked down their nose at someone who sold a cake that started from a box. The exact line was "I'd never pay money to someone for a cake that started it's life as a Betty Crocker mix." I find that arrogance upsetting. It's a balance between what the cake tastes like, and the talent we put in as artists to create the look the client is looking for.

In the end, a straight or doctored cake mix cake with homemade icing can taste divine, while the best scratch recipe with canned icing tastes...well, canned.

cakelady15 Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 3:38pm
post #14 of 26

I use doctored box mixes for my basic flavors; yellow, white, and chocolate (which is what the majority of my customers order), and I have scratch recipes for my other flavors. Most people just want a white or chocolate cake though from what I've found, at least in my area. I have had a few people ask me and I tell them the truth and the response has always been your cakes taste so good so I guess it doesn't matter. I have known people that can completely screw up a box mix cake though so I know they would rather pay someone else to do it even if it was something they could do themselvesicon_smile.gif

FromScratch Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 4:42pm
post #15 of 26

I am sure some will say that I am arrogant, but I wouldn't buy a cake that started its life as a mix either. That's not to say I wouldn't eat a cake that started is life as a mix if it was presented to me, but scratch baking is important to me on a personal level.

BUT.. on the business end of it all.. if you and your customers are happy with whatever you do, be it straight mixes, doctored mixes, or scratch, then I see nothing wrong with any of it. You have to do what works for you. I would go so far as to say if you are selling cakes you should at the very least make your icings, but after that it's totally up to you and what you want to do.

I am a cake snob.. if I am going to invest in a cake I want a scratch cake with a meringue based buttercream because if I am not making the cake I would like it to resemble a cake I would make. Chances are I am not buying a cake since I am the cake maker.. icon_lol.gif.. but that would be my requirements anyway on teh off chance I did buy a cake.

FromScratch Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 4:43pm
post #16 of 26

Oh an yes.. you should definitely tell your customers if they ask. Most aren't going to ask.. but if they do be honest.

CrazyCakes13 Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 4:52pm
post #17 of 26

I doctor mixes. I have a hard enough time explaining why my cakes cost what they cost. If I baked from scratch I'd never sell a cake (I'm mostly a family/friends baker). Some people know, some people don't. Most don't really ask. I'd tell them if they did. I get rave reviews about the moistness, the flavour etc. It works, why change it. I do make icings, fillings etc. from scratch.

frstech Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 4:57pm
post #18 of 26

Mostly I "scratch open a box mix", but depending on what flavors others want I will definately make a scratch cake any time. So I guess you could say I do both. Never had complaints either way!!

missmeg Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 5:00pm
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkalman

I am sure some will say that I am arrogant, but I wouldn't buy a cake that started its life as a mix either. That's not to say I wouldn't eat a cake that started is life as a mix if it was presented to me, but scratch baking is important to me on a personal level.



I completely respect your decision Jean icon_smile.gif. Everyone is different in their tastes and preferences. At my office job, we get b-day cakes from a local, prestigious bakery. They exclusively use IMBC and SMBC for their cakes. Every.single.one of my coworkers comments on how they don't like the taste of SMBC/IMBC 'cause of that airy feeling in their mouth. I'm the same way. I've had it, don't like the way it tastes, and don't want to use it.

I consider every one my cakes homemade, even if they aren't "scratch". And if asked, I do tell my clients that some of my cakes start their life out as a box, while others are scratch. I don't necessarily tell them *which* cakes icon_wink.gif. And they've never asked.

pieceofcake20 Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 5:36pm
post #20 of 26

I'm a doctored up box kind of girl. Yes I understand that almost anyone can make a box cake. But my customers aren't just paying for the cake (which I get tons of compliments on BTW). They're paying for the artistry. The price I charge is for my labor and skill level.

nickshalfpint Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 5:57pm
post #21 of 26

I'm bi-cakesual, I go both ways icon_surprised.gif ! It depends who I'm making the cake for. My grandparents don't like the flavor of the box mix, but my BF loves it. She always wants chocolate cake and didn't like the taste of scratch cakes untill she tried the last one I made. It was the fudge brownie cake that ceshell posted. It's so yummy thumbs_up.gif . But for white cake, she ONLY likes BC vanilla butter cake. My grandparents had always had scratch cakes, so box cakes taste funny to them. Now frosting.........that's a whole other story! Some like SMBC, some like american buttercream and my gramma will only eat the one she makes icon_confused.gif like mine's not good enough icon_cry.gif

whimsette Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 6:50pm
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickshalfpint

I'm bi-cakesual, I go both ways icon_surprised.gif !




That made me laugh out loud!

I'm a scratch-only baker for a number of reasons. I love creating my own signature flavors and recipes. That's a big reason I chose to go into cakes in the first place. I also like to control exactly what goes into my cakes. I do a lot of cakes (diabetic, gluten-free, allergies) that require special handling and ingredients. And, well, I personally prefer scratch over boxed mixes in both taste and texture.

As for telling your clients that you use boxed mixes if they ask: absolutely, you must.

nickshalfpint Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 7:02pm
post #23 of 26

whimsette..... Can you share some of your diabetic recipes. I love trying what I make, but I can never sit down and eat a piece without giving myself the whole bottle of insulin icon_mad.gif I've made a couple of recipes, but they had no taste thumbsdown.gif Being diabetic is not so good for my taste buds icon_lol.gif

FromScratch Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 8:00pm
post #24 of 26

And of course I respect your opinion too Meg.. I would never belittle someone for making the choice to not bake from scratch. I still say that people who haven't enjoyed a meringue based butter cream just haven't had one with enough flavoring added to it.. icon_wink.gif.. but that's because I love it. And some of the prestigious bakeries around use high ratio shortening in their icings rather than butter or worse they use Bettercream and pass it off as IMBC.

I can't eat powdered sugar based icings.. they are too heavy and sweet and gritty-feeling for my tastes. I will scrape it off and eat the cake by itself. I also find it more of a pain to work with because you have to keep it covered so it won't crust in the bowl and the fact that it crusts at all is a big turn off too because you have a limited window you can work with it to get it smooth.. with SMBC I can smooth it all day if I wanted too. It's all about personal preferences.

There are so many different views on what the perfect cake is.. we will never all say that one way or the other is best.. we just do what we enjoy doing. icon_smile.gif

alvarezmom Posted 8 Oct 2008 , 8:16pm
post #25 of 26

I started with scratch, but ended up going back to box mixes. I always add in my own extra stuff and no one can ever tell it's boxed...my husband could though. He HATED scratch cakes. He thought they were good but he grew up on boxed mixes and that is what he prefers. So I started with boxed mixes and now I add in extra chocolate, strawberries, pineapples, and every one seems to love them. I have never had any one ever ask me if I bake from scratch or if it's mix. To each there own.

CarolAnn Posted 9 Oct 2008 , 4:46am
post #26 of 26

One of my dearest friends is a 78 yr old lady who has never liked cake because she says they are all dry. Two weeks ago I made a cake for a client and had enough batter left to make a 4" cake. I spooned a big spoonful of my bc on it and took it to her on her shopping day. On the way out to my car she remembered something and went back inside for it. As I was helping her into my car she said she went back for her ..... stopped to taste my cake and forgot what she went in for. She said she had to say that my cake was absolutely delicious and man that icing was something else. She went on to say "and that's coming from someone who has never ever liked cake!" She called me later to say that her daughter who also has never liked cake thought it was wonderful and that really surprised her. That's high praise as far as I'm concerned, to turn the heads of two confirmed cake haters like that.

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