txmom9802 Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:13pm
post #1 of

Why does a cake mix taste so much better than made from scratch? I can not seem to find a good scratch recipe. They are always dry. I don't like using a box mix, but the made from scratch recipes just are not tender, and moist. icon_sad.gif

180 replies
LaBellaFlor Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:26pm
post #2 of

That is a personal preference. I LOVE scratch cakes way more & I know a lot of people that do. Thats why they buy them. The only cake I like from a mix is yellow. When you get into different flavors like red velvet & carrot, they are just aweful as mixes. But thats my taste.

Tiffany29 Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:34pm
post #3 of

I also prefer scratch cake. I really like (and so does everyone who's had it) the hershey's chocolate cake ecipe on the back of the hershey can. It is very moist and yummy! For white cake I like silver white cake, I believe there is a recipe for it here in the recipes. It's all a matter of personal preference. Once you find a good scratch recipe you may change your mind! Play around try a few different recipes and see what you like. icon_smile.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:34pm
post #4 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by txmom9802

Why does a cake mix taste so much better than made from scratch? (




According to who? icon_confused.gificon_lol.gif Just kidding...personal preference. If you want to try a good chocolate scratch, Google up Double Chocolate Cake, and it's the one on Epicurious. Right before I put the pans in the over, I toss in shaved and chunked chocolate to the pans for extra gooeyness. Delish! Sylvia Weinstock's cake recipes, The Cake Bible (weigh, don't measure)...lots and lots of good scratch recipes out there!

prterrell Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:49pm
post #5 of

Just personal preference. Also, don't discount the value in playing around with a recipe. If you like a more moist cake, you may want to increase the amount of fat (butter/shortening/oil) in the cake. The amount of liquid and the number of eggs can also be altered. Switching from all-purpose to cake flour can also change the texture.

Recipes aren't set in stone. If you don't like them the first time, try changing things until you get what works for you!

dailey Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:52pm
post #6 of

i prefer the taste of scratch cakes too. however, scratch cakes are definitely more finicky and difficult to make then a boxed cake. not *everyone* can successfully make one....

Mensch Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:53pm
post #7 of

Eeeeuw... cake mix cakes are gross.

SandiOh Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:56pm
post #8 of

I also found that most scratch recipes for yellow cake were dry as is...the most compliments I ever recieved (for yellow cake) was a doctored up cake mix. So, I thought, if you can doctor up a cake mix, why can't you doctor up a from scratch recipe a bit? I played and played with it and finally found something I liked...

Moral of the story, don't give up...keep trying...experiment...check out the internet, esp the baking blogs....and have fun in the process.

AND, on the other hand...if you like cake mix cakes....there's not a darn thing wrong with that either (IMO)

TitiaM Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:10pm
post #9 of

I am a totally scratch baker, and I never have dry cake. You may need to make sure your not overmixing...and play with those recipes--generally, I find I have to make changes before I'm happy with the end result (sometimes I have to try a new recipe several times to get it right and sometimes my changes just fail icon_wink.gif) I also brush all my layers with flavored simple syrup before I add the filling--great way to ensure its not dry. Also, cake is better and more moist the second or third day after baking--I never eat freshly baked cake--yuck.

online_annie Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:20pm

I think I just heard Pandora's Box open. This thread could get heated... Scratch vs. Mix ... DING! icon_mad.gif

All joking aside, it's a matter of personal taste. Some like 'em, some don't. I've come across just as many bad, dry scratch cakes as I have "mix" cakes. I prefer doctored cake mixes as I get the best of both worlds. But....That's what I prefer. Poke around and you can find some great scratch cake recipes. One word of advice, if you are attempting scratch, be sure you follow the directions and ingredients to a T. Scratch baking is a science, certain ingredients and measurements were found to work together. And like many others have suggested, don't be afraid to experiment! Find what works best for you!

indydebi Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:09pm

Definitely personal preference. I'm a box mixer, but I absolutely believe that being a great scratch baker requires a great talent. I've only had 2 scratch cakes that didn't taste like total crap to me .... and one was made by leahs!!

So it may not be that the scratch cake is bad ... you may just be encountering a crappy baker! icon_lol.gif

Auryn Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:14pm

I think its a thing of personal preference and experience.
I am 27 but I've been baking from scratch since I was 13.

My boyfriend on the other hand grew up having only box mix cakes. In the year or so that hes been home and having my baking, he can't stand box mix cakes anymore.
I have totally turned him into a cake snob and he can tell in one bite when its from a box mix.

So its personal taste combined with what your used to and your palate.

I would be more than happy to share some scratch recipes that are tried and true if you would like.

__Jamie__ Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:21pm

And following the directions makes a lot of difference in how a cake will turn out. Creaming butter and sugar together is not a matter of getting the two merely mixed together. It's a matter of turning it into a fluffy pale yellow almost white airy concoction that has by now nearly doubled in volume. Things like that matter.

cakesdivine Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:28pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiffany29

I also prefer scratch cake. I really like (and so does everyone who's had it) the hershey's chocolate cake ecipe on the back of the hershey can. It is very moist and yummy! For white cake I like silver white cake, I believe there is a recipe for it here in the recipes. It's all a matter of personal preference. Once you find a good scratch recipe you may change your mind! Play around try a few different recipes and see what you like. icon_smile.gif





REALLY icon_eek.gif , to me this is the WORST chocolate cake in the world! I have had it from several different sources (myself included just to see if it was the baker or the recipe) and it is definitely a terrible cake recipe in my opinion. Even using my baking tip for most moist cakes the flavor is just not up to par, and all scratch cakes have a dry texture to them, now for some cakes that is best and what you are going for, but most, not so much.

My customers and I prefer box mix based creations. I totally agree with the OP! icon_biggrin.gif

LaBellaFlor Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:32pm

I have seen dryness in mixed cakes as well as scratch cakes. It's the person's baking skills that jack a cake up, not the cake. My scratch cakes have a very moist, fine, buttery crumb. I did try one new reipe out that was dry as a dog biscuit. But after 19 years of baking, thats been only 1 scratch recipe that came out dry.

Trish43 Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:39pm

I like using the yellow cake mix but i prefer making from scratch. I found that using butter milk gives the scratch cake mix a more moister taste. If you use butter milk in your recipe for scratch cake you may want to eliminate the salt intake because butter milk is salty, instead of using salted butter use the unsalted butter.

Auryn Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:39pm
Quote:
Quote:

I have seen dryness in mixed cakes as well as scratch cakes. It's the person's baking skills that jack a cake up, not the cake.




I totally agree.
Also just because a recipe book has a cake recipe in it, it doesn't mean the recipe is any good.
There are a lot of baking books out there that have absolutely horrible recipes in them.

Lazy_Susan Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:43pm

When I first started baking cakes they came out dry too. However, with the help of the wonderful people here on CakeCentral, I learned that in order to have a moist cake you have to remember to NOT OVERMIX! I didn't see how this could make a difference but it did. Mix your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients "just until they are incorporated" and then STOP.
Trust me. It'll work icon_smile.gif

Lazy_Susan

bmarlow001 Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:43pm

I have trouble making a good yellow scratch cake so normally I will just make a mix and add and extender but I am still working on making a good scratch one... I know there is one out there somewhere!

Tiffany29 Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:44pm

It is a matter of personal preference, IMHO boxed mixes taste like CRAP!! I grew up on scratch everything! So moxed for me thumbsdown.gif .

SandiOh Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:50pm

i've said this before on another post, but I did a taste test of 4 different vanilla cake recipes (all from scratch) and brought them to work and had people fill out a survey....the results were all over the board.

Bottom line, people like different things. What was dry and tasteless to me, was "fabulous, best I've eaten" to someone else.

I go with what tastes good to myself and my family.

Wesha Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:56pm

I like both. I bake some of my cakes from scratch and some from a mix. Like everyone here says, it is a matter of personal preference.

Deb_ Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 7:17pm

First to whomever commented on the "Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake" recipe saying it's the "worst recipe" , flavor not up to par......you absolutely have to use high quality cocoa....Hershey is NOT high quality cocoa. That recipe is fine, it's the cocoa that's inferior, try switching it out.


If you haven't tasted a scratch cake that you like then you haven't tasted the right cake or made it correctly.

You can not just throw everything in the bowl like you would baking from a mix.

There are definite methods and precise measuring/weighing of ingredients that factor in....not to mention the quality of the ingredients.

I agree with whomever said "not everyone can bake from scratch successfully" it's definitely a skill that takes time to perfect.

I would love to extend an invite to whomever visits MA to PM me and come over for a slice of the best scratch cake and cup of tea/coffee you've ever eaten.

I promise you'll think differently about scratch baking after you've tried a great scratch cake.

__Jamie__ Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 7:22pm

You go DKelly...sounds fun! I'd takeyou up on that! But my ulterior motive in making the trip would be to go to Cask n' Flagon and soak up some Sox vibes! icon_biggrin.gif

costumeczar Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 7:25pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Definitely personal preference. I'm a box mixer, but I absolutely believe that being a great scratch baker requires a great talent. I've only had 2 scratch cakes that didn't taste like total crap to me .... and one was made by leahs!!

So it may not be that the scratch cake is bad ... you may just be encountering a crappy baker! icon_lol.gif




Okay, you opened that door, so I'm going through it! I know that there are a lot of good scratch bakers on here who kind of cower from stating this fact for fear of being called a cake snob, but baking is a skill, and not everyone has the skill to do a good scratch cake. You can have a balanced recipe and have two people make it, and the person who has the skill to bake will have a better product.

It's just like anything else. Two people can take the same piece of cloth, thread and scissors, and one will turn out a potato sack and one will turn out a couture gown. Skill.

Loucinda Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 7:26pm

To the OP - do what you like and feel comofortable with. There are a LOT of folks out there who do not bake from "scratch" - the ONLY thing that matters is what you and your family/clients like and are happy with. icon_biggrin.gif It does not mean you are a crappy baker or you don't know what you are doing if you don't bake a "good" scratch cake.

mwest110 Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 7:42pm

I was just having this conversation at the park. It seems like the younger generations that grew up on mixes prefer them to homemade cakes. I LOVE the WASC cake, but maybe that's because the base is a mix. icon_smile.gif
Anyone else find this to be true?

(I'm a lurker trying to come out of my shell. Be nice. LOL)

LaBellaFlor Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 7:46pm

If you grew up eating scratch, then that will be what your used too. Now my kids eat both. If I don't feel like making a cake, then they gotta make one from a mix. They like both!

SandiOh Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 7:46pm

I agree, baking is a skill...and a talent...BUT, I still maintain that because peoples taste/palates/preferences are all different it is impossible to please everyone with just one recipe. The person that didn't like the "Hersheys" may just prefer something else. So for the OP, find what works for you and go with it.

Deb_ Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 8:12pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar


It's just like anything else. Two people can take the same piece of cloth, thread and scissors, and one will turn out a potato sack and one will turn out a couture gown. Skill.




Exactly.

This is why I have no problem giving someone one of my recipes.....just because they have the recipe doesn't mean they'll be able to bake it successfully.

My family swears that I leave out key ingredients when I give them a recipe.....I don't....they just mess it up somewhere along the way. icon_razz.gif


Hey Jamie, we can hit Cask n' Flagon after we eat cake! icon_lol.gif

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%