how to handle this question correctly...

Business By cakemeasIam Updated 14 Nov 2009 , 1:51am by CakestyleIN

Mike_Elder Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:09pm
post #61 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

Quote:
Originally Posted by MObeefcake

a client inquiring about a future order wanted to know if i make my cakes from scratch- specifically red velvet. she proceeded to say that she had paid a lot of money once for a cake a and it tasted like it came from a box...
help me answer diplomatically...i use doctored cake mixes...



The huger problem is that perhaps some can but most people cannot detect which method is used. If a cake sucks the person just assumes it's the method they like least. EVEN MANY PROS can't tell.




WOW!! seems like a heated debate!!! firstly... (always tell the truth!!!) I admit I don't get asked about that a whole lot, But The proof is in the pudding (or cake) I agree. with the above. Most busy bakeries use doctored mixes!! There just isn't the luxury of mixing all of it from scratch and then being able to rely on it to be exact everytime!!!! It's one thing when you do a wedding every week or so but when you have 11 this week plus parties? C_MON!
The problem is people seem to think they know better! LOL They read that cake should "NEVER" be frozen, best if scratch built, only from "personal" recipes... I know several of these locally and everyone I know thinks their cakes taste Just "ok" I do use a base mix and my own recipe to make it my own, I even freeze them overnight!> Ever tried skinning one when it was totally at room temp? Not to mention my sculpture cakes!! I do most of my carving at the Nearly frozen stage!!! I used to bake from scratch!! I spent 3 days of the week doing it and 12 dozen eggs! ETC!!! (not to mention reliability issues!) I just don't have the time!! AND THE GREAT PART IS I GET TOLD EVERYTIME THAT I HAVE THE BEST CAKE THEY EVER TRIED! TELL THE TRUTH AND DON'T DO IT LIKE IT'S SOMETHING YOU'RE EMBARRASSED ABOUT!!! OH AND BTW... HOW MANY TIMES CAN YOU COUNT IN FORUMS SOMEONE HAVING TROUBLE WITH A SCRATCH BAKED CAKE?? JUST A THOUGHT!!!
mike

Loucinda Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:09pm
post #62 of 267
Quote:
Quote:

But the customer isn't asking about the fondant.




How do you know that? There again, are we allowed to pick and choose which part of the cake the customer is referring to?

IMO I don't think Satin Ice is all that great either......I use the things my customers like the taste of:

cakes with a mix as base
buttercream made from "scratch"
fondant made from "scratch"

Now, I am happy with that and do not berate others for doing how they choose. I just think the standards should be the same for everyone.
Edited to add: GO MIKE!! icon_biggrin.gif

-K8memphis Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:10pm
post #63 of 267

I do feel sorry for teens with bad acne, don't you?

My point is that 100% honesty is not always the best policy.

We employ euphemisms all the time. and it's more than ok for the stigma on cake mix.

Since you don't use cake mix --you don't have to worry about lying do you.

However if you use marshmallows in your fondant--oopsie--ain't scratch, folks--gotta be honest here. There's cornstarch in your powdered sugar--oopsie that's a mix--gotta be honest. Meringue powder? Get outa here!!!

Ergo pour moi, it is not worth it to engage a cake muggle in my business practices. Ingredients list eventually yes. Scratch or mix is moot as far as I'm concerned and I'll gladly explain that I have the ingredients in a cake mix and I produce scratch cakes with it.

edited slightly for clarity and spelling

Sweet-Dreams Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:11pm
post #64 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-


Do you make your vanilla? Check the ingredients on your flour bag lately?




I use pure vanilla extract rather than imitation, and I use organic flour. So, yes, I have checked the ingredients!

Sweet-Dreams Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:14pm
post #65 of 267

I don't think anyone here cares whether a fellow baker bakes from a mix or from scratch. The point is, if a customer asks whether you bake your cake from scratch or use a mix, be honest! If you start with a mix, don't try to cleverly word your answer. Use the time to educate the customer on how many businesses operate!

-K8memphis Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:15pm
post #66 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweet-Dreams

Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-


Do you make your vanilla? Check the ingredients on your flour bag lately?



I use pure vanilla extract rather than imitation, and I use organic flour. So, yes, I have checked the ingredients!




Sorry, vanilla extract is a mix--vanilla is not a liquid by nature--they mix in alcohol. Mine adds water and corn syrup too.

LaBellaFlor Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:16pm
post #67 of 267

I worked with troubled kids for a long time. They knew if they ASKED ME a question, they'ld get an honest answer. No, I didn't go up to them and just volunteer information. So, yeah, if a client ask, I'll tell them I bake from scratch. If a client ask, then yeah, I'll tell them my MMF is made from store bought marshmallows. Once again, never said it's ALL about scratch. It's about asnwering some pretty easy questions a client may have about something they are about to spend money on. Do you understand what I'm saying?

Sweet-Dreams Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:17pm
post #68 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweet-Dreams

This topic reminded me of a commercial I saw on AOL earlier this week:
icon_lol.gif

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-RLqLx1iYI




OMG! I never laughed so hard in all my life! This was too funny!




I love the part when he says that you aren't going to hurt his feelings, lol! icon_razz.gif

MalibuBakinBarbie Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:19pm
post #69 of 267

I didn't read everyone's response (due to time constraints today), so I apologize if my reply has already been stated... For this particular customer, I would invite her in for a tasting. Let her taste your cakes. Especially if you use a doctored cake mix. If someone's taste is accustomed to scratch cakes, he/she may be able to tell the difference. Having a tasting may save BOTH of you some potential headaches.

Good luck! Hope it works out for you!

Sweet-Dreams Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:23pm
post #70 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweet-Dreams

Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-


Do you make your vanilla? Check the ingredients on your flour bag lately?



I use pure vanilla extract rather than imitation, and I use organic flour. So, yes, I have checked the ingredients!



Sorry, vanilla extract is a mix--vanilla is not a liquid by nature--they mix in alcohol. Mine adds water and corn syrup too.




First, here is the ingredient list for my extract:
Water, organic alcohol, organic vanilla bean extractives

Second, I think you're missing the point! Baking from scratch or doctoring mixes: One is not better than the other! If a customer asks, just tell them which method you use! Don't try to cleverly hide the fact you start with a mix. I'll be honest, many doctored cakes taste a LOT better than most scratch cakes I've tasted!

If a customer is dead set on a having a scratch cake, perhaps it's because he or she doesn't know any better. Or, perhaps they prefer not to eat some of the ingredients in the mix. It's up for the customer to decide. Educate them on how many businesses use doctored mixes (restaurants as well).

-K8memphis Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:27pm
post #71 of 267

I feel like House, man, everybody lies. And you're lying if you say you don't. So don't lie!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Smoothing over and gentle-ing into something rather than hitting the brick wall at 90 mph every time you get asked a question just makes sense whether one gets it or not.

cblupe Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:30pm
post #72 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by MObeefcake

a client inquiring about a future order wanted to know if i make my cakes from scratch- specifically red velvet. she proceeded to say that she had paid a lot of money once for a cake a and it tasted like it came from a box...
help me answer diplomatically...i use doctored cake mixes...




All I can add to this thread is "Why lie when the truth is better".

-K8memphis Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:30pm
post #73 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweet-Dreams

...First, here is the ingredient list for my extract:
Water, organic alcohol, organic vanilla bean extractives...




That is a mixture aka a mix.

We can't be literal in one sense and exhort to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth then fudge on words later. See what I mean. Can't have it both ways.

-K8memphis Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:31pm
post #74 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by cblupe

Quote:
Originally Posted by MObeefcake

a client inquiring about a future order wanted to know if i make my cakes from scratch- specifically red velvet. she proceeded to say that she had paid a lot of money once for a cake a and it tasted like it came from a box...
help me answer diplomatically...i use doctored cake mixes...



All I can add to this thread is "Why lie when the truth is better".




Who is trying to lie about it?

leah_s Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:32pm
post #75 of 267

Whew! I hadn't checked this thread for a bit, and as usual . .

I actually do bake cakes from scratch exclusively and proudly proclaim it on my website and in my advertising and on every invoice and estimate that leaves here. It's a thing that sets me apart. I like it.

Aaannnd I use SatinIce fondant "just like Duff on Ace of Cakes on TV."

The question I get asked is "Do you freeze your cakes?" And yes, I know I'm probably opening up another Pandora's Box with this comment.

My answer is, ""Yes! Absolutely! Because it makes a better cake. I have a freezer especially for cakes and I try my best to get the cake in there at least overnight. If you know what you're doing, freezing improves the moistness and flavor of cake and makes them much easier to handle during construction, so they don't break apart. And I know what I'm doing."

Shuts 'em up every time.

Geez, I hate those stupid wedding magazine checklists.

And I recently lost an order because the bride insisted on finding a bakery that would bake and decorate her cake on the day of her wedding. She claims she found one. I think they lied. Since I don't know for sure, I probably shouldn't say that, but really, now. Same day? The cake tiers need hours to bake, cool and settle. Puh-leeze.

-K8memphis Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:42pm
post #76 of 267

I think "baking from scratch" is a great and motivating and inviting tagline. Marketing genius--good stuff.

However the tagline, "I bake from boxes" not so much.

Helloo-ooo

When in hard honest fact Leah might open a box or two to make her scratch cakes. She mighta got a bad bag of lumpy cake flour & hubby had to pick up a box of Softasilk--

There's more to a business than brutal black & white honesty.
My business, my trade secrets are worth protecting.

tatorchip Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:48pm
post #77 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

I think "baking from scratch" is a great and motivating and inviting tagline. Marketing genius--good stuff.

However the tagline, "I bake from boxes" not so much.

Helloo-ooo

When in hard honest fact Leah might open a box or two to make her scratch cakes. She mighta got a bad bag of lumpy cake flour & hubby had to pick up a box of Softasilk--

There's more to a business than brutal black & white honesty.
My business, my trade secrets are worth protecting.


well said

Mike_Elder Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 3:59pm
post #78 of 267

Just had to add that in the end does it really MATTER HOW WE GET THERE??? The customer is buying our final product! You could debate ALL DAY what is scratch???!!!
Love ya CC
Mike

-K8memphis Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 4:01pm
post #79 of 267

I am in retail sales. There is so much psychology to selling it's nutso.

Indy sells herself that's why she's successful.

Me, as you might can tell, I'd get lost in minutiae so I don't go there when I do a consult. I constantly have to reign myself in--I'm designing--I'm pricing--I only got so many brain cells anyhow. Can't tie up too many answering stupid divisive potentially deal breaker questions--I ain't proposing any extreme thinking here--I'm saying I know myself--

We all gotta develop our own schtick.

Leading with the fact that the way you bake may or may not inflame your client is risky.

People from other countries have difficulty understanding how impassioned we get with this issue. It's psychological.

If it works for you to say I bake from a box --do it.
If it doesn't work for you don't--nobody can make you hurt your business.

edited to say--then say it softer--yes I use pre-measured ingredients--yes I use both kinds of cake. Merchandising and marketing are as important as your ingredients. Yes!

Mike1394 Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 4:03pm
post #80 of 267

Now the more important thing is. ANY misleading info on your food product will get you in a heap of trouble w/ the AG. Every once in a while you hear of someone trying to pass off pork tenderloin as veal. You can also do it with quite a few of the fishes also. Tell the lady maybe she just got a crappy cake. Be proud of the method you use, but be truthful in what you tell them.

Mike

HarleyDee Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 4:04pm
post #81 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweet-Dreams

This topic reminded me of a commercial I saw on AOL earlier this week:
icon_lol.gif

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-RLqLx1iYI




Oh my gosh, that's hilarious. And that isn't too far from me icon_biggrin.gif

leah_s Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 4:17pm
post #82 of 267

[quote="K8memphis-"]
When in hard honest fact Leah might open a box or two to make her scratch cakes. She mighta got a bad bag of lumpy cake flour & hubby had to pick up a box of Softasilk--
[/quote]

icon_biggrin.gif I have a sifter. icon_biggrin.gif

-K8memphis Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 4:24pm
post #83 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-


When in hard honest fact Leah might open a box or two to make her scratch cakes. She mighta got a bad bag of lumpy cake flour & hubby had to pick up a box of Softasilk--



icon_biggrin.gif I have a sifter. icon_biggrin.gif




Yeah but what liquid spilled on there to make the lumps? I got some nasty flour last year & I was so upset-- it was unusable--hope you don't get any of that stuff.

iwantcookies Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 4:25pm
post #84 of 267

Quote:
Quote:

Be proud of the method you use, but be truthful in what you tell them.




i think that sums it up perfectly.

Maybe the customer is not asking because she thinks scratch cakes taste better, but because she doesn't like the preservatives or additives that box mixes may have in them, or because of allergy reasons, or religious reasons (some emulsifiers are of animal origin, which may be a problem with some religious faiths eg Jewish and Muslim) ?? Could be any number of reasons. thats just my 2 cents!

costumeczar Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 4:34pm
post #85 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by MObeefcake

a client inquiring about a future order wanted to know if i make my cakes from scratch- specifically red velvet. she proceeded to say that she had paid a lot of money once for a cake a and it tasted like it came from a box...
help me answer diplomatically...i use doctored cake mixes...





Tell her that you start with a cake mix and add other ingredients to it.

-K8memphis Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 4:37pm
post #86 of 267

I can make a scratch cake with all the ingredients that are found in a cake mix and honestly call it scratch--'cause I measured out every ingredient. The emulsifier I have doesn't have a detectable flavor or taste.

It's kinda like unsweetened piping gel meets shortening.

KHalstead Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 4:39pm
post #87 of 267

I always just say:
I use cake mixes as an ingredient NOt as a recipe. It's more like 1/2 scratch 1/2 mix. I find that using the box cake mix in my regular scratch recipes makes my cakes come out more consistently the same, whereas if I use JUST my scratch recipe it would be dependant on the weather conditions and not all of my cakes would come out exactlly the same every time. I've tried 100's of recipes and this is what came out to be the best flavor and texture and was pretty close in consistency everytime I bake it regardless of the weather.


DEFINITELY don't lie if you use a mix! Some people could be asking for allergy reasons.

DLo912 Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 4:40pm
post #88 of 267

You know what are funny? Penguins in hawaiian shirts. I think everyone just needs to picture some penguins in hawaiian shirts and be happy.

indydebi Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 4:46pm
post #89 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by MObeefcake

a client inquiring about a future order wanted to know if i make my cakes from scratch- specifically red velvet. she proceeded to say that she had paid a lot of money once for a cake a and it tasted like it came from a box...
help me answer diplomatically...i use doctored cake mixes...



Tell her that you start with a cake mix and add other ingredients to it.



A variation on this one: tell her "Like most every other bakery in town, I start with a mix and add to it."

Yes, these people come in with their "10 Questions to Ask (any vendor)" and those just piss me off. Not because they're asking but because they don't know WHY they're asking and they don't know what the right answer is! How do I know they dont' know the right answer? Because I've perfected the art of NOT answering their question and then sitting back to see if they realize I haven't answered their question. So far, no one has noticed.

I keep my sample cakes in the freezer. Sometimes I'll run out and have to bake one up real quick. Invariably, I'm asked "Do you freeze your cakes?" I reply: "You tell me. 2 of these cakes have been in my freezer for 3 weeks ... one was baked this morning. You tell me which is which." They always pick the wrong one. Twice. Always. So in their simple taste test, the frozen one tasted "more fresh".

When I get the do you do scratch question, I swear I'm going to start asking, "Oh, was your mom a scratch baker?" I'm just curious to see if they actually grew up and are used to scratch baking ... or if it's just one of the 10 Questions!

But as long as this debate has been on here, it still amazes me that it's a debate. Are you proud of your cakes? Do your friends, family, customers like them? Rave about them? Then what's the problem? As Mike said, who cares HOW we got there .... the point is we created a cake that is beautiful and the client loves eating it!

-K8memphis Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 4:47pm
post #90 of 267

Duncan Hines white cake mix does not have preservatives.

Twinkies are made from scratch.

Y'all'll be glad I'm going to work now--see y'all later, no lying!!! icon_lol.gif

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