What To Do

Decorating By Chefperl Updated 9 Nov 2008 , 11:52pm by -K8memphis

Chefperl Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 1:35am
post #1 of 40

ok, so i am making cupcakes and a small cake for a women who is a food editor. She has been driving me crazy about dry cakes, so i finally gave her a cupcake for free to try so she can relax. (my most popular cake is a WASC with some alterations) so this is the email she sent me. what should i say?

"The cupcake was really very good. I'm thinking the flavors I chose will be even better. I want to be able to tell everyone that your cakes and icings are all "made from scratch", correct? No doctoring up cake/frosting mixes, correct? Ilene (Because I am a food writer, they all expect the very best and I hope you understand.)"

39 replies
-K8memphis Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 1:45am
post #2 of 40

Tell her that you use the finest pre-measured ingredients.

kakeladi Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 1:50am
post #3 of 40

I agree w/K8 icon_wink.gif

TC123 Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 2:01am
post #4 of 40

.... Oh goodness. icon_surprised.gif I'd be scrambling to find an awesome scratch cupcake recipe right now. But I know, I know, this whole "scratch vs cake mix" topic's been battled over in various threads, and we all feel differently about it. On the occasions that I have started with a mix and "altered" it to my satisfaction, if anyone says the cake is good, I always tell them I started with a cake mix. But anyway, that's just me, and only you can decide how to handle your situation... I do like k8memphis response. I would never think of it! icon_biggrin.gif

kelleym Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 2:07am
post #5 of 40

I wouldn't double-talk it ("pre-measured ingredients" is a cop-out, IMO). Either tell her the cupcakes started with a mix, or find a scratch recipe you're comfortable feeding her.

dailey Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 2:31am
post #6 of 40

find a scratch recipe...

snowboarder Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 3:59am
post #7 of 40

Find a scratch recipe.

Chefperl Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 4:07am
post #8 of 40

OK, so anyone have an amazing scratch cupcake recipe for a white almond sour cream cake?

I know someone on here had a recipe that starts from making your own "mix"

7yyrt Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 5:05pm
post #9 of 40

She's been driving you crazy for a small cake and a few cupcakes?
Is the size of this order, (or potential business from this woman) worth your time hunting around and spending money trying out new recipes?

If so, carry on; if not, tell her it's an altered recipe and let her decide. She liked it after all.

Chefperl Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 6:47pm
post #10 of 40

7yyrt- i do care about her opinion, she wants to write an article about me in a local paper.
thats my dilemma

dailey Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 7:14pm
post #11 of 40

try the yellow cake by judy rosenburg (owner of "rosie's bakery"), they call for sour cream and are *very* good. i think the key to making scratch cupcakes is to not overbake them! you have to watch them like a hawk...i left one batch in a bit too long and the difference in taste AND texture was huge. also, try using a simple syrup on the top of them after you pull them out of the oven, those tops are notorious for drying out.

hmmm, it sounds to me that she suspected the WASC cupcakes you gave her were from a box?


http://www.recipesource.com/baked-goods/desserts/cakes/34/rec3436.html

ShayShay Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 7:38pm
post #12 of 40

If people expect the very best from her and she thinks your cupcakes are the best, what is so wrong with them being a doctored recipe?

all4cake Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 7:40pm
post #13 of 40

I would tell her the truth or tell her nothing. "You like the cake, right? What does it matter how I get it to that point as long as I get it there?"

"I love that silk blouse!!!! It's perfect! Please, tell me it was handwoven....my people would think so much more highly of me if I could tell them it was!"

snowboarder Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 8:28pm
post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefperl

OK, so anyone have an amazing scratch cupcake recipe for a white almond sour cream cake?

I know someone on here had a recipe that starts from making your own "mix"




I don't have a favorite sour cream white cake recipe, but I just did a search for you. I remember that scratch "mix" thread but couldn't find it. But take a look at these 2 threads:

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-132261-scratch.html


http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-365233-scratch.html

-K8memphis Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 8:36pm
post #15 of 40

I firmly believe it is to my advantage to protect my business from trouble. Declaring scratch or mix means trouble of some kind or another. This is an especially egregious situation because she's writing about you.

I would say something to the effect that she's asking for trade secrets and you don't share your formulas.

Did she interview you? Why is she being so patronizing with this?

This happened to me once and all it is is a ploy to get you to say one way or the other. I said, "What makes you think it's scratch?" I just left it hanging. It was a free cake.

Even when I had the tea room I did not declare. It's like splitting the baby. My fanciest recipe used Campbell's soup. You think I'm gonna tell somebody they are eating freaking Campbell's soup?

It's like asking a musician is all their music original?

And all the people who want to tell the world exactly what you bake, go ahead.

snowboarder Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 9:16pm
post #16 of 40

Wait. If you don't normally do scratch baking in your business (for some reason I assumed you did both), then I wouldn't create a scratch version for this editor. K8s point about not letting others dictate how you bake is well taken. I'd be upfront with her about the WASC and then she can choose to write about you or not. Your customers like your WASC, so it's her loss if she doesn't want to do the article because it started with a mix.

kendi25 Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 9:35pm
post #17 of 40

If she is a food writer and was happy with it, her guest will be. I personally do scratch baking. But, you should not have to do what you are not used to or comfortable with for a sale.
Besides, it is no longer a box mix when you add ingredients/ alter it.
You will be fine. If you are worried, do a couple trial runs on cakes in the flavor she requested.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 9:53pm
post #18 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by kendi25


Besides, it is no longer a box mix when you add ingredients/ alter it.




But it is, Kendi, don't you think? It is a pre-measured ingredient in the formula.

Look what has just been spoken in this post alone about the fragile nature of producing scratch formulas. 'Have to get it out of the oven at just the right moment or it will suck.' Box mixes provide a wonderful security to baking, a consistency and a beautiful staying/handling capability after it's baked.

It's a viable ingredient in it's own right and at the same time has a stigma that will bite.

Win Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 10:22pm
post #19 of 40

I just know I wouldn't lie about whether it's scratch or starts with a box... simply because right there (and this is truly JMHO) I think you are compromising your integrity as a baker. I think a rose-is a rose-is a rose... whether or not someone wants to make black into grey because extra ingredients have been added to a mix just muddies the water. Alton Brown makes the statement that one cannot go much wrong with a boxed cake mix, so I figure if Alton says it, that's good enough for me.

That being said, Back-In-The Day Bakery has a white/vanilla recipe that gets awesome reviews. It's Ms. Day's recipe she is willing to share with the public, so I know you can't claim it as yours, but you could start with that, tweak it with Almond flavoring, and make it your own if you really feel you need to provide a scratch cake resembling a WASC.


Ingredients
⢠ 1 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
⢠ 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
⢠ 2 cups sugar
⢠ 1 tablespoon baking powder
⢠ 3/4 teaspoon salt
⢠ 2 sticks unsalted butter , cut into cubes
⢠ 4 large eggs
⢠ 1 cup whole milk
⢠ 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.
Combine in a bowl both flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed until combined for about 3 minutes. Add in cubed butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
Add eggs 1 at a time until combined. Slowly add milk and vanilla to batter until completely mixed scraping down the bowl as you mix.
Scoop batter into baking cups filling about 2/3 full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 10:32pm
post #20 of 40

It is far far beyond the stated question to caution anyone about lying.

Let's not go there.

all4cake Posted 7 Nov 2008 , 12:45am
post #21 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Win

I just know I wouldn't lie about whether it's scratch or starts with a box... simply because right there (and this is truly JMHO) I think you are compromising your integrity as a baker. I think a rose-is a rose-is a rose... whether or not someone wants to make black into grey because extra ingredients have been added to a mix just muddies the water. Alton Brown makes the statement that one cannot go much wrong with a boxed cake mix, so I figure if Alton says it, that's good enough for me.

That being said, Back-In-The Day Bakery has a white/vanilla recipe that gets awesome reviews. It's Ms. Day's recipe she is willing to share with the public, so I know you can't claim it as yours, but you could start with that, tweak it with Almond flavoring, and make it your own if you really feel you need to provide a scratch cake resembling a WASC.


Ingredients
⢠ 1 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
⢠ 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
⢠ 2 cups sugar
⢠ 1 tablespoon baking powder
⢠ 3/4 teaspoon salt
⢠ 2 sticks unsalted butter , cut into cubes
⢠ 4 large eggs
⢠ 1 cup whole milk
⢠ 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.
Combine in a bowl both flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed until combined for about 3 minutes. Add in cubed butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
Add eggs 1 at a time until combined. Slowly add milk and vanilla to batter until completely mixed scraping down the bowl as you mix.
Scoop batter into baking cups filling about 2/3 full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.




There's one of them in Savannah....

myheartsdesire Posted 7 Nov 2008 , 12:58am
post #22 of 40

First of all, I guess I'm dumb, I dont understand the abbreviations.
But I don't get why people are so set on scratch recipes. If it tastes the same whats the big deal????

I do understand the whole making a good impression thing, though.

Win Posted 7 Nov 2008 , 1:09am
post #23 of 40
Quote:
Quote:

There's one of them in Savannah....




Yep... that's the one. The only one. Cheryl Day own the bakery and has shared the recipe I posted with the general public. As a matter of fact, I think it is the same recipe she made with Paula Deen on a recently aired episode. She calls them "Old Fashioned Cupcakes." That's why I said you can't claim it as your own, but could tweak it with the Almond flavorings, etc. to make it close to White Almond Sour Cream.

Teresa77: link to abbreviations/ cc acronyms

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-2926.html

MaloSlatko Posted 7 Nov 2008 , 1:09am
post #24 of 40

I agree with TERESA77 about it being irrelevant where it comes from as long as you like it. However...

The woman did ask you a specific question and also stated her reason for wanting to know which is. I have family members in the foodie business and impressions are VERY important, but then again I guess that's the case in a lot of businesses.

She also perhaps plans to write that you "bake from scratch using the freshest ingredients" in her article and doesn't want to be made into a liar. Remeber, she also has a reputation and a job to protect.

I am always one for honesty no matter what. If she choses not to deal from you then so be it. I am sure you will have no trouble attracting customers.

fem128 Posted 7 Nov 2008 , 1:27am
post #25 of 40

Wow, this is a tough one. It seems from her e-mail that she realized it was a doctored mix. Here's my question? Why does she want to write an article about you? I assume it's because she has heard good things about your baking, no? Since this is article is very important to you, I would be honest and let her know that you gave her a sample of your most requested flavor BUT that you have other flavors that would be more to her liking. I would experiment with a couple of different scratch recipes. Does it have to contain almonds/sour cream or are you open to other flavors? I would be happy to look through my files for some tried and true recipes if you'd like. icon_biggrin.gif

terrier Posted 7 Nov 2008 , 1:40am
post #26 of 40

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-588561-.html


Base

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 3/4 cups sugar
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 4-5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
* 1 box of vanilla pudding mix

Combine flour, sugar, vanilla pudding mix, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Now stir to combine. Add shortening, using electric mixer on medium speed to blend the shortening into the dry ingredients. Make sure it is all work in!


Added ingredients to make WASC
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 whole eggs (even for white cakes)
1 cup water
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond emulsion (stronger than flavoring)

In a bowl, mix 1st base with first 3 ingredients in added ingredients. Set aside.
Place remaining ingredients in mixer bowl then add the dry.
Mix on low (I use a KA mixer) speed for 30 seconds, until dry ingredients are incorporated; mix at medium 2 minutes.
This makes 1 & 1/2 times the usual batter than a 'straight' cake mix. It will fill one of the following pans: 8" sq; 12" round; 9x13x2; OR one 10" and 6" round.


Cheers,
ally

-K8memphis Posted 7 Nov 2008 , 1:42am
post #27 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by TERESA77

First of all, I guess I'm dumb, I dont understand the abbreviations.
But I don't get why people are so set on scratch recipes. If it tastes the same whats the big deal????

I do understand the whole making a good impression thing, though.




Which abbreviations?

I first became aware of this little mini caste system of cake baking after I had made a cake by hand--my mixer was in transit and I did a tier cake mixing the bad boy entirely and literally by hand--it was from mixes though--and somebody had the nerve to grill me and declare his Mother's cake the finest in the land. That was so mean.

It's out there. It's silly and it matters. Two things that seem to exclude each other being silly and mattering at the same time but what you gonna do?

I have a friend who is big in food in her area--she keeps her cake mix in the walk-in kid you not--to keep it out of sight. She freaks when it gets left out. Hey, it's her business.

So that's it. It's this silly passive aggressive little feud that's been quietly fomenting for eons.

And it doesn't taste the same--scratch cake is not easy in mass production--and 9 times out of 10 the box mix gets the bad rap even if it's scratch. Another silly facet of this silly thing.

Bad cake = cake mix. Regardless if it's true or not.
Good cake = scratch. Regardless if it's true or not.

It's a persistent hysteria.

Win Posted 7 Nov 2008 , 1:49am
post #28 of 40
Quote:
Quote:

Which abbreviations?




I think she's referring to JMHO (just my humble opinion) and WASC (white almond sour cream)

I pasted the link to cc acronyms above.

-K8memphis Posted 7 Nov 2008 , 2:07am
post #29 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Win

Quote:
Quote:

Which abbreviations?



I think she's referring to JMHO (just my humble opinion) and WASC (white almond sour cream)

I pasted the link to cc acronyms above.




Oh duh--I kept wondering why you underlined W A S C-- good call!

CakesByJen2 Posted 7 Nov 2008 , 2:31pm
post #30 of 40

OK, here's my take on it. Most of the time I find it a little annoying when people ask whether it's scratch or mix; if you like it isn't that all that matters?? Most of the time it's just idle curiosity, though. I use both scratch and mixes for my cakes, depending on flavor, and all my icings and fillings (except fondant) are made from scratch. When people ask, I am honest and say that I use whatever I think is best for any given flavor, sometimes that's scratch and sometimes it starts with a mix, but only high-quality mixes, not the 50lb bag of commercial mixes that you just add water. That seems to satisfy them. I don't give them specifics about any given flavor. People can then feel free to choose to believe what they want about the flavor they love.

In your situation, first of all, my suspicious, cynical side first wonders is this person REALLY doing research to write an article on you, or is she just using her position to manipulate you and try to get freebies, or on some kind of power trip? She sounds a little full of herself, to me. If the prospect of an article really is legit, then I can see why she'd want to know, because she would want to be sure that what she wrote was accurate. I would not lie or be misleading, but either be totally straightforward or just politley not answer. I would bet though, that if you tell her you use mixes, she will lose interest. You can say that you prefer not to disclose the recipes you use, but that you use only the best ingredients. Or if you do some scratch baking, you can give the same answer I do, or emphasize any homemade icings or fillings, etc.

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