What is the best box cake mixes to use for carving or stacking cakes? Any recommendations? Is it better to make it from scratch? Thanks for your help!
A doctored mix works great. Search the recipe section for WASC.
I Love Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker mixes when I'm short on time (which is ALWAYS with 2 little kids). I have found it carves well when frozen too. However, I do find that a homemade cake is much more dense and carves even better!
You know you could try to premake your own cake mixes. Put all the dry ingredients together just like the box. Zip it up in a baggie and your good to go!
I bake from scratch most of the time; but I keep box mixes on hand for those times I need a cake in a pinch! My favorite brand is Pillsbury (but my sister's favorite is Duncan Hines). When you have time, try a few and see what gets the best reviews. I like doctoring them up (i.e., adding a box of instant pudding, etc.).
I've tried all of them, but regularly use pilsbury, because I think their Devil's Food cake turns out so much better than other brands. A word of warning: most white cakes out of a box (maybe because they lack the egg yolk) are supper crumbly if you have to carve them, and so light that they almost always need dowels for any size tier on top. They're just really light and airy. Always freeze them before carving (IMHO). I'm a fan of 'The Cake Doctor' book, which teaches great things to do with mixes. Good luck!