Scratch Vs. Mixes - Misc. Questions & What Consumers Wan

Business By GrammyT Updated 14 Sep 2009 , 7:25pm by cakeymom

GrammyT Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 10:21pm
post #1 of 23

Hi,

I'm looking at starting a cake business out of a local rental kitchen in a church. I've been struggling with whether or not to go 100% scratch or not...honestly, the most complimented cakes I make use doctored mixes (that people always think are from scratch!)

I am wondering about listing ingredients as required by the board of health and how to do this if I intend to use doctored mix recipes...do I just list what the box itself says? Has anyone else done this?

Secondly, is it frowned upon by consumers if all goods aren't "from scratch"...I intend to make my own frostings and fillings. What have others experiences been?

Thanks,

Tonya

22 replies
-K8memphis Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 10:29pm
post #2 of 23

How long have you been doing cakes?

Got any pictures?

Why would you think it might be frowned upon?

Just curious

newmansmom2004 Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 10:38pm
post #3 of 23

If your cakes are good and people like them, I don't think it matters whether you bake from scratch or start with a mix and doctor it up. Some of the BEST cakes I've made are from doctored up box mixes. I haven't yet, for the life of me, found a scratch white cake that's better than a doctored box mix and I've tried probably 30 different white cake recipes (including the WASC from CC) and they all turn out flavorless with a very undesirable texture (dry and crumbly).

If you are required to list your ingredients, then I would list everything listed on the box plus any additional ingredients. That way you're completely covered.

LaBellaFlor Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 10:39pm
post #4 of 23

I think every customer has different taste. Some are used to a cake from a mix, so they only like the taste of a cake mix cake. Some want only a scratch cake & don't feel they should have to pay a lot for a cake from a mix. Some can't tell the difference. If you choose to go with a mix, those will be the customers you get and visa versa. As far as listing ingrdients you have to ask your health department. In my state you only have to list the ingredents if you sell packaged items like a box of cookies. But the do ask for the recipes & procedures of all the things you make involved in your cake.

indydebi Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 10:59pm
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrammyT


Secondly, is it frowned upon by consumers if all goods aren't "from scratch"



You aren't one of those silly little things who think everything sold in a bakery or a restaurant is made "from scratch", do you? icon_eek.gif

Whatever you've been making so far has gotten you to the point that you can afford to rent time in a commercial kitchen. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

If you want to move into scratch baking, keep your current method while you practice your scratch baking.

I'm not one that thinks scratch is "automatically" better. Most scratch baked goods I've tasted have been total crap. I believe consistent and good scratch baking is a great talent and not everyone can do it.

So don't assume "If I sell it, it has to be made from scratch" because that's just not true.

Wing-Ding Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 11:18pm
post #6 of 23

Why not keep your mixes? You can do either one. Like those who have posted before me: Most people don't know the difference. You don't have to tell your customers either way. If you just want the bragging rights that you cook everything from scratch, then go that way. I find it can get more expensive at times though.

LaBellaFlor Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 1:10am
post #7 of 23

I've been to restaurants that they do stuff from scratch and I've been to restaurants where they have just about everything premade. Just cause I believe certain restaurants do a majority of their stuff from scratch, I don't think that would warrent me or anyone else a "silly little thing".

indydebi Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 1:23am
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaBellaFlor

I've been to restaurants that they do stuff from scratch and I've been to restaurants where they have just about everything premade. Just cause I believe certain restaurants do a majority of their stuff from scratch, I don't think that would warrent me or anyone else a "silly little thing".



LaBellaFlor, I meant it totally tongue-in-cheek and I sincerely apologize if it came across any different.

LaBellaFlor Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 1:26am
post #9 of 23

I apologize for taking it the wrong way as well.

indydebi Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 1:32am
post #10 of 23

Boy, this is a great example of how my charm and wit just sometimes doesn't transfer well on a keyboard! icon_lol.gif Glad we're still buddies! thumbs_up.gif

LaBellaFlor Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 1:38am
post #11 of 23

Well you are the "Matriarch" of the site now...though I do think you need a CC intervention. icon_lol.gif

miny Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 3:22am
post #12 of 23

Indy we all know your sense of humor and we love just and because of that, personally you always bring a smile to my face with your quick comments, keep'em coming ; )

lngo Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 3:46am
post #13 of 23

GrammyT, I've had the same responses as you...people seem to prefer the cake mixes over the scratch cakes.

I like the airy texture of cake mix, but it's generally too sweet for me which is why I personally prefer scratch cakes.

I think this is wholly dependent on what you feel most comfortable doing and what the folks in your region like. This topic makes me think about another CC'er (can't remember name) who had entered the local fair's cake decorating contest. Somehow her cake got mislabeled and ended up in the tasting contest...funny thing is that she used cake mix and actually placed 2nd!!!

G_Cakes Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 4:23am
post #14 of 23

Hi Grammy T and welcome to CC...

As for baking from scratch or mix (doctored or not) the preference is up to you.

I bake certain things from scratch, cookies, cheesecake etc and some cakes. Reason being is because I have used those recipes for years and they are tried and true.

Now for most of my cakes and cupcakes I have started using doctored mixes. It makes my life easier and allows me to give my friends and family a bigger variety.

It also allows me the luxury of experimenting with different flavor combo's and ideas with out breaking the bank.

Most bakeries in large chains like supermarkets ship there cakes in pre-baked and FROZEN...and to me that is not fresh at all.

So whether your baking from scratch or mixes it's still FRESH made.

As long as the people your baking for love what your doing...then keep on doing it!

Like indydebi said "If it anit broke, dont fix it".

Good luck with the commercial kitchen and cant wait to see some of your work posted in the pic's.

icon_smile.gif

CakeForte Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 4:47am
post #15 of 23

doctored mixes and scratch here...on certain recipes. I'm not saying which ones because it doesn't matter. Customers want what "they think" tastes good. It's subjective.

FleurDeCake Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 4:51am
post #16 of 23

Indydebi.. i am a newbie on cc and I have to say that o love reading your witty quips in the forums and i always look for your response because it is obvious that you are vry eperienced and knowledgble.... as far as scratch or doctored mixes... i agree with the tried and true method .. do what you know and what has worked for you up to now.

GrammyT Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 10:54am
post #17 of 23

Thank you for your replies...I had been feeling like a big failure with my from scratch cake baking, but it sounds like many of you have encountered the same issues I have with some scratch recipes. Over the weekend I even baked a gold layer cake recipe, following every step exactly from the Rosie's bake book and it came out with too much crumb.

In looking at retail places to sell my products (mostly local farmstands and small grocers) I've been taking note of my "competition" who seem to scratch bake and it's their big selling point on the package i.e. "finest ingredients, real cream, etc."...so I was caught up in comparing (though I still need to buy some of their goods and taste test)...now that I've just typed that I guess I might want to look at other bakers as my "colleagues" rather than competition, and accept that we all have our style and that each of us will have a place in the desires of the consumers.

Tonya

sweetneice Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 12:50pm
post #18 of 23

Hello!

As far as your competition putting the finest ingredients, real cream, etc........You can say the same thing! I think I saw you write that you were making your own frosting so you can write something like..........fresh homemade buttercream icing using the finest ingredients! Play on your strengths, build them up, and go for the kill! That's really all they're doing. Finding their strong point and exposing it. You have it too, so let's go girl! You can do it! You can do it! lol!

Best Wishes To You

-K8memphis Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 1:37pm
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrammyT


In looking at retail places to sell my products (mostly local farmstands and small grocers) I've been taking note of my "competition" who seem to scratch bake and it's their big selling point on the package i.e. "finest ingredients, real cream, etc."...so I was caught up in comparing (though I still need to buy some of their goods and taste test)...now that I've just typed that I guess I might want to look at other bakers as my "colleagues" rather than competition, and accept that we all have our style and that each of us will have a place in the desires of the consumers.

Tonya




Y'know this kind of work is much much different than say for example the decorated cake and cookie world where it's made for pin point accuracy and freshness--it's used within hours of delivery in most cases.

In what you're proposing, you have to package for some shelf life. You have to decide who eats the cost on the stuff that doesn't sell. If you sell outright to the retail location they will be motivated to sell your stuff in less than desirable condition so they make their money back on the investment.

If you have to eat the cost of non-sales you cut into your profit.

You loose control so you have to make up the difference with volume.

Ain't easy. Not trying to talk you out of it but it gets complicated.

GrammyT Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 5:19pm
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrammyT


In looking at retail places to sell my products (mostly local farmstands and small grocers) I've been taking note of my "competition" who seem to scratch bake and it's their big selling point on the package i.e. "finest ingredients, real cream, etc."...so I was caught up in comparing (though I still need to buy some of their goods and taste test)...now that I've just typed that I guess I might want to look at other bakers as my "colleagues" rather than competition, and accept that we all have our style and that each of us will have a place in the desires of the consumers.

Tonya



Y'know this kind of work is much much different than say for example the decorated cake and cookie world where it's made for pin point accuracy and freshness--it's used within hours of delivery in most cases.

In what you're proposing, you have to package for some shelf life. You have to decide who eats the cost on the stuff that doesn't sell. If you sell outright to the retail location they will be motivated to sell your stuff in less than desirable condition so they make their money back on the investment.

If you have to eat the cost of non-sales you cut into your profit.

You loose control so you have to make up the difference with volume.

Ain't easy. Not trying to talk you out of it but it gets complicated.


Yes, you're right about shelf life, etc. This is exactly why I joined the forum - to get my juices flowing thinking outside of my own head. Aside from having your own storefront, how else do you all sell your goods and to whom?

GrammyT Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 5:55pm
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrammyT


In looking at retail places to sell my products (mostly local farmstands and small grocers) I've been taking note of my "competition" who seem to scratch bake and it's their big selling point on the package i.e. "finest ingredients, real cream, etc."...so I was caught up in comparing (though I still need to buy some of their goods and taste test)...now that I've just typed that I guess I might want to look at other bakers as my "colleagues" rather than competition, and accept that we all have our style and that each of us will have a place in the desires of the consumers.

Tonya



Y'know this kind of work is much much different than say for example the decorated cake and cookie world where it's made for pin point accuracy and freshness--it's used within hours of delivery in most cases.

In what you're proposing, you have to package for some shelf life. You have to decide who eats the cost on the stuff that doesn't sell. If you sell outright to the retail location they will be motivated to sell your stuff in less than desirable condition so they make their money back on the investment.

If you have to eat the cost of non-sales you cut into your profit.

You loose control so you have to make up the difference with volume.

Ain't easy. Not trying to talk you out of it but it gets complicated.


Yes, you're right about shelf life, etc. This is exactly why I joined the forum - to get my juices flowing thinking outside of my own head. Aside from having your own storefront, how else do you all sell your goods and to whom?

-K8memphis Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 6:57pm
post #22 of 23

I guess the majority of people here (who sell stuff) sell by order. The customer calls and you bake it to order.

Some people on here sell at farmer's markets--but there you have control.

I don't know too many wholesalers on this site, not that there aren't any but I don't know any.

cakeymom Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 7:25pm
post #23 of 23

If I were opening a business I would go based on what I had been doing to get me to where I would even want to open a business and that which was getting the best reviews.

1. Does it taste good to my taste testers/clients???
2. Does it look good, by that I mean appetizing or do I get comments that
it's too pretty to eat???
3. Am I obtaining consistent results???
4. Is it priced correctly for the product being made???

I think those are your biggest concerns. I bake from scratch but my decorating skills, to me, are not what I would like them to be so I'm working on that issue. So, no scratch does not mean better, it's just a preference.

Good Luck

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