Box Cake Vs. Doctored Cake Vs. Scratch Cake

Baking By Robbbbbbin Updated 27 May 2009 , 9:17pm by Robbbbbbin

Robbbbbbin Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 3:37pm
post #1 of 8

Help! I am having a very hard time finding a cake recipe that does not sink in the middle. I live in Denver (high altitude) and it seems everything I try sinks. I LOVE the WASC but it always sinks, even with high altitude adjustments. When I make a box cake, it doesn't sink. My question is this: Is it ok to make a box cake for a client? I have only made a couple of cakes for "clients" (aka friends who pay me) but I feel that I should be making from scratch or at least doctoring up a mix to give it that more homemade taste but just can't seem to get it to work and I am getting very frustrated. Any other high altitude bakers out there willing to share a recipe or two? Or do you all use box mixes too? Thanks for any advice and for letting me vent a little!

7 replies
JanH Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 8:25pm
post #2 of 8
seeshores Posted 2 May 2009 , 7:52pm
post #3 of 8

Hi

Try getting the box THE CAKE MIX DOCTOR it talks about how to cook in High Altitude...its a really good book written by ANNE BYRN hope that helps

indydebi Posted 2 May 2009 , 8:19pm
post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbbbbbin

My question is this: Is it ok to make a box cake for a client?


My question is: Why would you think it's NOT ok? icon_confused.gif

Many CC'ers, business and hobby, use mixes. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that if you sell food commercially that it all has be "from scratch". It's just not true. Not in the baking world. Not in the restaurant world. Many commercial bakeries use a 50 lb mix and just add water. Ya just can't get more "mix" than that! icon_lol.gifthumbs_up.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbbbbbin

...but I feel that I should be making from scratch or at least doctoring up a mix to give it that more homemade taste .....




And define "homemade" taste. When I was a kid, any cake made by mom was "homemade". That meant she opened the box of Duncan Hines herself, added the eggs, oil and water and made a "homemade" cake. What made it homemade? The fact that mom made it at home and didn't buy it at the grocery store freezer section or didnt' buy it at the bakery.

Believe it or not, when I was growing up, too many people we knew thought buying your kids birthday cake was a cop-out and the moms who gathered 'round the kitchen table to sip coffee together would talk about "those mothers" who "....didn't even take the time to make their own kids cake! She BOUGHT it at a bakery!" (oh the SHAME of it all!) icon_lol.gif

Baking from scratch is a great skill. Part of the reason I'm not a scratch recipe lover is everyone I ever met who made cake/pies from scratch ... well, it was always the WORST thing I'd ever tasted in my life! So it's not the recipe that makes it ... it's the talent of the baker.

If you are comfortable with mixes, then use those while you practice and hone your scratch baking skills. Don't feel pressured into thinking you HAVE to do one or the other. Whatever works for you.

For the record .... I've been using mixes for 30 years and my cakes are good enough to enable me to open a shop.

cakeymom Posted 26 May 2009 , 9:51pm
post #5 of 8

indydebi you hit the nail on the head!!!! It is all about what you feel comfortable with and can do well. I'm on the other end of the spectrum, scratch only for me. It's what I feel comfortable with and I do it well. But, it has been a true labor. I have tried and tweaked many a cake recipe for it to fit my tastes and for me to feel good selling it. I've spent many hours of research reading library books in order to understand the science behind what I do.

So good luck and keep up the good work no matter if it's box, doctored, or scratch!!!!!!! thumbs_up.gif


cakeymom

jammjenks Posted 26 May 2009 , 10:09pm
post #6 of 8

Robin -
Have you tried using a flower nail in the center of your cakes to help them cook more quickly in the middle? When I make the WASC in an 11X15 pan it will sink if I do not use an inverted flower nail in the center. I'm certainly not an expert on high elevations though. Just a thought.

Rikki0422 Posted 26 May 2009 , 10:19pm
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbbbbbin

My question is this: Is it ok to make a box cake for a client?

My question is: Why would you think it's NOT ok? icon_confused.gif

Many CC'ers, business and hobby, use mixes. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that if you sell food commercially that it all has be "from scratch". It's just not true. Not in the baking world. Not in the restaurant world. Many commercial bakeries use a 50 lb mix and just add water. Ya just can't get more "mix" than that! icon_lol.gifthumbs_up.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbbbbbin

...but I feel that I should be making from scratch or at least doctoring up a mix to give it that more homemade taste .....



And define "homemade" taste. When I was a kid, any cake made by mom was "homemade". That meant she opened the box of Duncan Hines herself, added the eggs, oil and water and made a "homemade" cake. What made it homemade? The fact that mom made it at home and didn't buy it at the grocery store freezer section or didnt' buy it at the bakery.

Believe it or not, when I was growing up, too many people we knew thought buying your kids birthday cake was a cop-out and the moms who gathered 'round the kitchen table to sip coffee together would talk about "those mothers" who "....didn't even take the time to make their own kids cake! She BOUGHT it at a bakery!" (oh the SHAME of it all!) icon_lol.gif

Baking from scratch is a great skill. Part of the reason I'm not a scratch recipe lover is everyone I ever met who made cake/pies from scratch ... well, it was always the WORST thing I'd ever tasted in my life! So it's not the recipe that makes it ... it's the talent of the baker.

If you are comfortable with mixes, then use those while you practice and hone your scratch baking skills. Don't feel pressured into thinking you HAVE to do one or the other. Whatever works for you.

For the record .... I've been using mixes for 30 years and my cakes are good enough to enable me to open a shop.




Well said Indydebi, Well said! icon_lol.gif I always say "why sweep a rug when there's a vacuum", "why handwash dishes when there's a dishwasher", ect. LOL..... icon_biggrin.gif

Robbbbbbin Posted 27 May 2009 , 9:17pm
post #8 of 8

Thank you all for your responses! Indydebi, thanks for your honest feedback, I am fine with box mix too but I have had "friends" tell me they like scratch better so I thought I was needing to provide that. It obviously is just a matter of opinion and taste, so I will keep box mixing it until I find something else I like better! =)

Also, I have tried the high altitude recipes from those websites as well as the heating core/rose nail trick and still no luck. I guess it is just a matter of trial and error - I was just hoping for a tried and true recipe from a fellow high-altitudener!

Thanks again for all your responses...I love this website, it is such a great resource for a rookie like me!

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