Cakes Mixes And Frozen Cakes

Decorating By Motta Updated 1 Sep 2009 , 4:55am by Motta

Motta Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 2:47am
post #1 of 37

People who have tasted my cakes that came from a box mix base (eg. WASC) have LOVED them! The stuff I make from scratch is not always enjoyed so the box mix creations are most popular. I want to use the mixes in my business but I am aware of the public's perception that "scratch" cakes are better somehow.

Also, my cakes turn out most flavourful and moist when frozen soon after baking and kept frozen overnight (there was a thread about this a couple months ago). I know people don't want to know that their cake was ever frozen.

Any input on how to answer questions pertaining to these to 2 "hot button" topics? I was thinking of just saying my cakes are "home-made using fresh ingredients" (true). I was also thinking of saying my "cakes are made fresh for your special occasion" (also true). What do you think??

36 replies
cgm_cakes Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 2:51am
post #2 of 37

I'm curious to see people's response to this too. I did find at first that mixes always seemed moister than scratch cakes but have managed to perfect my own recipe for chocolate cake that is even better. Now if only I can perfect a vanilla cake recipe . . ..

I'm curious about the freezing as well. I know when I do this as a business down the road it would be helpful to have some cakes "ready to go" to take last minute orders and only have to decorate them, but I'm afraid that people won't want a previously frozen cake. Anytime I've personally frozen a cake I find it dries it out.

Motta Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 2:55am
post #3 of 37

Just to be clear, I don't want to actually keep frozen cakes on hand. I really do believe each order should be made fresh but I find the cakes taste better if frozen just overnight.

Lita829 Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 3:07am
post #4 of 37

I bake all of my cakes from scratch and rarely freeze them. However, about a month ago I baked 2 chocolate cakes using the same recipe and froze only one. They were gift cakes and went to 2 different places. To my surprise, several comments were made on how moist the frozed cake was. I had only heard of bakers freezing cakes but had never tried to compare previously frozen cakes to never frozen cakes.

Hmmmm...sounds like an experiment to me icon_wink.gif

mommy2remi Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 3:19am
post #5 of 37

i also found that the boxed mixes are liked better than scratch. and i also always freeze my cakes overnight too, as much as 2 days ahead but never longer, and people say the same thing. they always love the taste and comment on how moist and yummy they are. when i tell them it's just a boxed mix and scatch icing they are blown away and want to know how i made a boxed mix taste so good... lol i guess the freezing retains the moisture. i wrap my cakes in 2 or 3 layers of plastic wrap, when they are almost cooled but not completly, then pop them into my freezer.

kricket Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 3:28am
post #6 of 37

I, too, freeze my doctored-mix cakes, and agree that they do seem more moist. It seems to go against common sense, yet it's true. I am also hesitant to let brides in on this secret. One cake decorator I know kind of evades the question by just stating, "Oh, you'll just love our cakes. They are so moist and delicious."

indydebi Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 4:08am
post #7 of 37

You need to educate your customers.

Quote:
Quote:

I know people don't want to know that their cake was ever frozen.


I wouldn't take this as a blanket "true" statement. People eat frozen foods all the time.

I use a mix and when they ask, I tell my customers I use a mix plus I add my own stuff (true). I tell them I freeze their cakes for at least a few hours and then I educate them on how freezing a cake, when properly wrapped and thawed, adds moisture to a cake. I also educate them on how refrigerating a cake accelerates the "going stale" process.

Once they are educated on the reasons why that's done, they are fine with it. I would say all of them are actually fascinated with the info!

I would not encourage anyone to mislead anyone in how the cakes are made. If you and your customers like how your cakes taste, then be proud of you make them! Whether it be mix, doctored mix or scratch.

I sometimes tell them, when they ask if I'm mix or scratch, "You couldn't afford me if I baked 100% scratch." icon_biggrin.gif I'm going to have to change that since I've started doing my choc cakes from scratch.

During a tasting, I've had brides ask if I freeze cakes. I'd sometimes have the chance to tell them, "You tell me. One of the cakes you just ate was baked this morning ... the other two were in my freezer for 3 weeks. you tell me which is which."

They ALWAYS picked the wrong one. Twice. ALways.

kricket Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 4:24am
post #8 of 37

Indydebi, you've made some great points. Your answers to brides who are wondering about frozen cake attest to your experience and expertise. Thanks for the direction.

Brandy982006 Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 4:27am
post #9 of 37

I work for a grocery store bakery and we do not bake our cakes...by the way, if a grocery store says they bake them, which I hear some do, they are lying (at least a big grocery store chain like ours)...anyhow, we recieve our cakes frozen, we keep them frozen until I decorate them then put them back in the freezer decorated until I need it (I only decorate a few at a time so they dont sit in the freezer too long). NEVER once have I ever heard that our cakes tasted bad or they were not moist, as a matter of fact, I have heard our cakes are quite delicious. I love our chocolate cake. Also, I have heard from someone who worked at Costco that they (Costco) and Sams club recieve some of their cakes frozen and pre-iced, all they do is decorate them. I guess, my thing is...if a bakery does quite a bit of business I would only assume they have the cakes in the freezer at least a few days because they need to have some "ready" to go incase a surprise or mistake happens, just like a back up or something.

Motta Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 4:33am
post #10 of 37

People do eat frozen food but when it comes to cake there is definitely a bad association with freezing. I have seen many websites touting their claim that their cakes are "never frozen" (Colette Peters included, gulp!). Plus we've all heard that grocery store cakes are frozen and many people look down on them for that. I don't want people to turn away from my cakes once I tell them I freeze them. I won't be offering testing for birthday, shower cakes, anniversary, etc. The brides would be the only ones tasting the cakes and I could do what Debi does but probably not as confidently at first.

Motta Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 4:35am
post #11 of 37

Brandy - I don't mean to offend you or other grocery store bakers with the whole freezing is bad thing. It's just something I've seen as a public perception, not my own feelings.

cakesdivine Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 4:42am
post #12 of 37

My tip for super moist cakes which is freezing the cake direct from the oven was published in 2004, but I have been using the method for 25 years. Mixes do taste better (in my opinion) than scratch cakes and I have tried thousands of scratch recipies over the years. There are a few scratch recipies that I do use because those cakes require them to be from scratch as I have not found a way to doctor a mix to be close to that flavor.

Brandy982006 Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 4:44am
post #13 of 37

LOL...I am not offended...A job is a job...I love what I do. My husbands job moved 2 hours from where we were living before and because he makes more money I obviously had to quit my job to go with him. I went shopping one day and saw an advertisement in my grocery bag that said they were hiring...I applied, went to the interview, got hired on the spot to work in the bakery. I guess I had a knack for decorating and they made me head decorator. I will one day have my own bakery and I will freeze cakes if I have too, I am not embarrassed...people have to know that us decorators have more to do than just their cakes thumbs_up.gif

indydebi Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 4:50am
post #14 of 37

Motta, you might have a "family" cake tasting to see how it works out for you. Make a small cake and freeze it for 3 days. Make another and leave it wrapped in the 'frig for 3 days; another wrapped on the counter for 3 days; another one bake the morning of.

Let your family or your neighbors do a blind taste test. Ask them to tell you which is which. Better yet, ask them to tell you which one they like best.

I don't believe there is a bad assoc with freezing cakes .... there is a mis-perception that any food that is purchased (restaurant, bakery, etal) is "always" fresh, which is just not true.

And Average Consumer has no idea. Some may remember my story about my sister who just SWORE applebee's made their chicken tortilla soup from scratch ("...and that's why they only serve it once a week instead of everyday!" she tried to tell me) ..... until I brought her a frozen container of it from my GFS truck order!

Average Consumer will SWOON over the "specialty premium" dessert menu in some high priced restaurants, and I can buy the very same dessert and pastry from GFS and Sysco's frozen dept.

People eat frozen all the time ... they just don't know it.

I absolutel believe in educating people on food, food prep and food rules. The more they know, they more they appreciate what I do for them! icon_biggrin.gif

Motta Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 5:20am
post #15 of 37

Debi: Actually, it's funny you mention a "family" testing. I have a big family (16 of us when we all get together once a month, every month) and I've tested the cakes on them. Fresh and frozen (haven't tried 3 days in fridge!) and frozen is the clear winner every time. I know that freezing produces a moist cake. I will continue to serve my cakes this way. So, I guess I'll just have to find the right words to educate and convince my customers who are put off by the idea of a frozen cake.

CakesDivine: it was your thread that educated me on why freezing cakes is a great idea. Thank you for it! Remember how much flak and resistance you got from people who thought the science behind your idea was flawed? That's what I'm anticipating from some customers. I won't change how I make my cakes but I want a short and sweet and persuasive way to tell people that freezing is not a bad thing. I guess I don't need to bring it up at all but I want to be prepared for the even one customer who questions it.

Kitagrl Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 5:31am
post #16 of 37

I've actually done a wedding tasting with yellow doctored cake mix, and a homemade from scratch cake....and they chose the yellow cake mix! Of course they didn't know it, they just knew one was yellow vanilla and one was chocolate, or whatever....

I do have scratch recipes I use but I have yet to find a vanilla cake people love as much as my doctored mix so hey its not broke, I won't try to fix it!

And yeah, people never know the difference if their cake is frozen a couple days or not.

JanH Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 5:43am
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motta

CakesDivine: it was your thread that educated me on why freezing cakes is a great idea. Thank you for it! Remember how much flak and resistance you got from people who thought the science behind your idea was flawed?




Just to clarify... There wasn't a issue with freezing cakes. Most members who routinely freeze cakes think it is a good thing.

The issues were not cooling the cake, and the use of plastic wrap to trap water vapor in a hot cake prior to freezing.

HTH

cakesdivine Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 12:19pm
post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by JanH

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motta

CakesDivine: it was your thread that educated me on why freezing cakes is a great idea. Thank you for it! Remember how much flak and resistance you got from people who thought the science behind your idea was flawed?



Just to clarify... There wasn't a issue with freezing cakes. Most members who routinely freeze cakes think it is a good thing.

The issues were not cooling the cake, and the use of plastic wrap to trap water vapor in a hot cake prior to freezing.

HTH




It has been proven that the wrap I use - Press N Seal does not contain the element that causes cancer when the plastic is heated, AND as long as you get it into the freezer within 45 sec. to 1 min after pulling from oven the heat has killed all bacteria that could be present. To me it is more unsanitary to leave a cake sitting on a counter to cool as the time the cake is at an unsafe temp is much longer, and it is exposed to all the elements circulating in the air than to do a quick cool down (which is a common practice for all food products that are cooked and must be brought to 40 degrees asap) The faster a product is brought down to safe temp levels the better...another reason the "do not freeze hot cake" myth is just that...a myth! thumbs_up.gif

Kiddiekakes Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 12:38pm
post #19 of 37

I have frozen lots of cake...character cake to be exact as some of them are easier to handle frozen from the rack to the board..Ask me how I know with that darn guitar cake.....anyway....never had a customer say it was dry etc...on the contrary..very moist also...I also don't offer the infoormation that I freeze them and honestly..they don't ask.If it ain't broke...don't fix it!!

costumeczar Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 12:50pm
post #20 of 37

If someone asks you directly you should tell them the answer. Without dancing around it, or that makes you look like you don't stand behind your methods. And it's false advertising if you tell them one thing and do something else. Just be honest about it.

Some people have food allergies and sensitivities so they need to know what goes into their food.

-K8memphis Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 12:53pm
post #21 of 37

My thoughts on the subject. When selling a cake I tend to avoid the 'education' issues the public needs to hear because I run the risk of making someone feel stupid (and screwup my sale) if I'm not careful so I avoid it.

I can't wear the teacher/myth-buster hat and the salesperson hat and cake designer hat simultaneously like Indy does.

If I am just running my mouth about cakes I might reveal myth busting information but it's a tall order and those ideas are not only deeply ingrained there is a grain of truth to them.

For example, on the 'we don't like pre-frozen baked goods' front is the fact that local bakeries froze, thawed, put it on the shelf to sell then re-froze that night, repeated the cycle till it sold. Those products sucked big time huh.

Proper freezing is a great tool utilized by most pastry chefs & cakers & sushi chefs etc.. That freezing has been abused is unfortunate and I'm too busy during a sale to address all the deep seated rabbit trails that can develop like scratch & mix too.

Another thought is, the opposite of fresh is stale.
Room temperature or thawed would be the opposite of frozen.

So I like to myth bust but I choose my hills carefully.

tab_stout Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 12:54pm
post #22 of 37

On the subject of freezing cakes, Would any of you freeze an already iced cake? If so, How?
Thanks

-K8memphis Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 1:13pm
post #23 of 37

Tab, some people do freeze decorated cakes successfully. I don't because I don't want to deal with thawing issues. But come to think of it I did freeze my own wedding cake 30 years ago. But I don't do that as a rule now.

Kiddiekakes Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 1:25pm
post #24 of 37

I have frozen one decorated cupcake cake as I made it for the wrong weekend and there was alot of detail and airbrushing I didn't want to redo...The only issue was the airbrushing began to get droplets of condensation on the cake from the airbrush liquid and I had to hide that strategically.The icing colors didn't run thank goodness but I did learn the leasson about airbrush and thawing.

Mike1394 Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 3:20pm
post #25 of 37

LOLOL the reason behind frozen cakes appearing to be moister is the freezing process breaks down the structure of the cake. When the cake is frozen the moisture expands. The ice crystals that form have jagged, irregular, sharp edges to them. When they expand they cut, and tear the structure that the flour has formed. So, the cake really isn't moister it just has less structure to it, making it apper moister.

Mike

cakesdivine Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 6:58pm
post #26 of 37

Sorry Mike but if the moisture escapes while sitting on a counter top the cake is dryer, as well as much of the flavor going right out with the steam. When you trap the moisture inside, the cake is moister, no illusion about it. Freezing hasn't hurt the integrity of my cakes, and if someone asks I tell them yes I do freeze, and the method I use to do so. They can see and taste for themselves the results. The ice crystals are so miniscule that any so called "tear" to the structure is not enough to cause concern.

Mike1394 Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 7:07pm
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

Sorry Mike but if the moisture escapes while sitting on a counter top the cake is dryer, as well as much of the flavor going right out with the steam. When you trap the moisture inside, the cake is moister, no illusion about it. Freezing hasn't hurt the integrity of my cakes, and if someone asks I tell them yes I do freeze, and the method I use to do so. They can see and taste for themselves the results. The ice crystals are so miniscule that any so called "tear" to the structure is not enough to cause concern.




It's simple ice expands, it's that simple. Ever wonder why a frozen berry is mushy when thawed? It because the moisture froze, and expanded destroying the cell structure. Of course you seen what happens to a pop can in the freezer. This same thing happens to a cake. That is unless it's tougher than a pop can. icon_biggrin.gif

Mike

BakingJeannie Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 7:19pm
post #28 of 37

My scratch yellow cake you may mistake for a doctored box cake. The reason? I use one box of sugar-free (1-oz) pudding mix combined with the dry ingredients. I have used also about 1-tablespoon jello mix for added flavor. When you freeze the cake over night (I try to trap as much moisture by cooling only about 5 mins. then off to the freezer). Absolutely delicious. Plus I have added 2-table spoons of oil in my buttermilk to help when the cake defrost. I use cake flour, and the recipe is high-ratio (sugar=flour).

I will post the recipe when I get home.

ThisNameInUse Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 7:26pm
post #29 of 37

Mike is from Michigan...he knows about freezing! icon_smile.gif

tab_stout Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 7:31pm
post #30 of 37

Thanks for input on freezing decorated cakes. (Sounds safest not to freeze once decorated.
How long do you usually let undecorated cakes dethaw before decorating or carving?

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%