Cake Mix Or Cake Recipe?

Decorating By googies Updated 4 Jun 2009 , 7:07pm by googies

googies Posted 31 May 2009 , 5:46am
post #1 of 17

Hi i'm Sandra and I'm new to cake central. Ive been making cakes since my three year old was born. Last year I moved on from using store cake mix to using Swans Cake Flour and making cakes from "scratch" icon_smile.gif Kids means lots of cakes so i decided to join cake central since i'll be making many in the years to come.

I'm wondering do cake pros/you ladies use cake mix from store bought boxes or cake flour or regular flour?

Just not sure my cakes are turning out fluffy/moist enough when using swans cake flour. I thought they would be fluffier.

p.s. i use butter. should i be using oil?

16 replies
-K8memphis Posted 31 May 2009 , 5:54am
post #2 of 17

I use all of those depending on what I'm doing so I can't vote icon_smile.gif

Welcome to CC!

chouxchoux Posted 31 May 2009 , 6:02am
post #3 of 17

well, i think that people are so used to cake mix cakes, that they think scratch cakes are not fluffy and moist. however, the taste cannot be compared. scratch with cake flour is so much better. try brushing the layers with sugar syrup before frosting, they will be moist. if you are using fondant and tiers, you want it more firm, not too fluffy because of the weight.


JanH Posted 31 May 2009 , 7:46am
post #4 of 17

Hi and Welcome to CC, googies. icon_smile.gif

Decoding CC acronyms:

As a newbie, you can't know that this topic comes up again and again....

Here are some previous threads on cake mix/doctored cake mix/scratch baking preferences:

To address why your cakes aren't as fluffy or moist as you thought they'd be....

How are you measuring your flour and mixing your batter?

When measuring flour, do you use the "scoop and drag" method and then shake to level.... You should be aerating the flour prior to gently spooning it into the measuring cup and using a straight edge to level.

If using a stand mixer, use the "blade" attachment when mixing your batter and don't go above a low/med. low speed (unless you're making pound cake or the motor starts to strain).

If using an electric hand mixer, use the beaters but don't go above medium (unless the motor starts to strain).

When it comes to mixing, MORE (as in more speed or longer mixing time) is not BETTER. Overmixing will develop the gluten and result in a tough cake.

Also when it comes to flour, ALL cake flour is BLEACHED, NOT all AP is - you have to check the label. Bleached AP is better for cakes, especially pound (it keeps the butter in better suspension).

A recipe that uses cake flour will result in a cake with a finer crumb. (Some people like this, some don't.)

Here's a comprehensive list of CC member contributed scratch cake recipes:
(There's even a category for "moist".)

There's also a category of doctored cake mixes:
(Tastes more homemade and extends the amount of batter yield.)

Here's a thread you might find handy....

Everything you need to know to make, decorate and assemble tiered/stacked/layer cakes:

Above thread also has popular CC recipes for: American buttercreams using Crisco or hi-ratio shortening, fondant and WASC cakes (with and without oil) and SO MUCH MORE!

(When I make any of the WASC cake recipes, I sift all the dry ingredients together into a large bowl, and mix all the wet ingredients in a second larger bowl.

Then I add the dry to the wet and beat for 2 mins. using a hand mixer at medium speed.

If using a stand mixer, I would mix at the lowest speed for 2 mins. or less.)

If you're serious about learning to scratch bake, and want to learn proper techniques and/or the science of baking:

Common substitutions for baking:

Nifty cake troubleshooting charts:


bejewelled Posted 31 May 2009 , 8:13am
post #5 of 17

Where would we be without JanH - you're simply the best!

Elise87 Posted 31 May 2009 , 8:22am
post #6 of 17
Originally Posted by bejewelled

Where would we be without JanH - you're simply the best!

i totally agree icon_biggrin.gif JanH: You are like the encyclopedia for cake central icon_lol.gif Always helpful thumbs_up.gif

Oh and welcome to CC googies!

mclaren Posted 31 May 2009 , 8:32am
post #7 of 17

urmm i bake from scratch only, but use either cake flour or all purpose, depending on the recipe. i voted for all purpose as we can only choose one option.

also, i had just started using cake flour since last year, because prior to that, coincidently all the recipe i had called for all purpose.

Andy383240 Posted 31 May 2009 , 3:06pm
post #8 of 17

I'm new at this, VERY new. I mostly use cake mix and doll it up with flavorings, pudding and other stuff. I have baked from scratch with Swan's Down cake flower and it worked out very nicely. Perhaps I have a jaded palate, but I think cake mix makes just as tasty a cake as going to all the trouble of a scratch cake(except for Red Velvet Cake mix which has an awful bitter taste to me). None of my clients have complained.

chouxchoux Posted 31 May 2009 , 9:08pm
post #9 of 17

my point exactly... MOST people do not know any better. i think if you are serious about cake baking, it should be done the best way. icon_wink.gif

googies Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 3:28am
post #10 of 17

Oh thank you! This gives me more insight as to what people are using. Jan, wow! you provided so much info and it will be so helpful to me! thank you. i did some searches before asking, but was not as successful as you icon_smile.gif

I def. need to improve on how i am preparing the ingredients when using cake flour, (scooping, measuring properly, not mixing too much).

Perhaps that is it.

I will practice practice practice, but i think my husband is all caked out by now LOL. I have to find excuses to bake some more like playdates i suppose :

icer101 Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 3:41am
post #11 of 17

hey, googies. i do all three also.. thank you janH for your input.. and fefe57, please read all those post also, since you are new to all this too. thank you.

chouxchoux Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 3:01pm
post #12 of 17

not that new honey... i've been an executive chef for many years and worked with pastry chefs closley, just new to this site...thank you

PinkZiab Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 3:28pm
post #13 of 17

I don't use any mixes, but which type of flour I use depends on the recipe (although my most commonly used recipes all use cake flour). Also, whether you use butter or oil, again, depends on the recipe. You have to try different types of recipes to find what you like.

PattyLen Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 11:28pm
post #14 of 17

I don't want to vote because I do all three. I just want to say...

I love Jan. I'm always looking for her posts because I know I'll learn something. Jan is awesome!!!


indydebi Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 3:47am
post #15 of 17
Originally Posted by fefe57

if you are using fondant and tiers, you want it more firm, not too fluffy because of the weight.

It may depend on how thick you roll your fondant. I've used mixes for 30 years, just started doing fondant this year and I've had no problem with the cakes holding up under the fondant. I roll my fondant really thin as I don't like the play-doh look of thick fondant.

As far as tiers or stacking, the texture of the cake really doesn't matter since the cakes are supported by the support system (dowels, straws, hidden pillars, SPS system, etc.) YOu can make a tier out of Cool Whip and the upper tiers will sit just fine becuase the upper tiers are sitting on the dowels, not on the cake.

neelycharmed Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 10:08am
post #16 of 17

I use only scratch cake, but it also depends on the customer.
They will often ask for a BC or DH mix because thats their favorite.

googies Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 7:07pm
post #17 of 17

thank you all once again. ok so now i know that most use a variety icon_smile.gif and not just one.

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