SallyBratt Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 6:48pm
post #1 of

I was very surprised to see a lot of recipes calling for boxed mixes. Do you guys actually sell clients cakes that are made from store bought mixes? Isn't that kind of cheating your clients? Do you tell your clients that they're getting premade boxed cake mixes?

I don't mean to sound judgmental but I know that if I was paying a lot of money for a cake I would expect it to be made from scratch using all natural ingredients.

I'm just curious because I'm new to this business. To each their own, of course, but I know that I would never sell a client a cake from a box.

281 replies
prterrell Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 6:52pm
post #2 of

Sits back with a nice big bowl of buttery popcorn and a tall, frosty Mr. Pibb.

pattigunter Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 6:52pm
post #3 of

Oh geez - boy are you opening a can of worms!!!

greengyrl26 Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 6:54pm
post #4 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by prterrell

Sits back with a nice big bowl of buttery popcorn and a tall, frosty Mr. Pibb.




Ha! Got enough to share with me? I'm gonna sit back and watch the fireworks with this one too!

Beckup Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 6:57pm
post #5 of

Can't wait to see where this one goes! icon_twisted.gif

2SchnauzerLady Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:02pm
post #6 of

Welcome to cc SallyBratt. As you can gather, this is a hot topic around here between the scratch bakers and the "shudder" cake mix extender bakers. I remember Indydebi posting that she considers the cake mix an ingredient. Basically, do what you feel comfortable with. The people I bake for are just as happy with the extended mix as with scratch. I think it really depends on what your clientelle is demanding. You could do tastings with samples of both and see what they prefer. I think both have their own merit. The WASC has a great flavor, but you know there are those out there that can taste or sniff an artificial ingredient from miles away! Do your own thing, and in the future when these questions pop up from others - do as the others and sit back with your popcorn and Mr Pibb and enjoy the fireworks!

TheCakeJeannie Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:03pm
post #7 of

I'm still new at this, just been making cakes for family and friends so far but have a few requests coming up. I think the far more important part of a designer cake is its appearance. Yes, I make sure the cake tastes great and so far I can only do that with a box. It takes me long enough to decorate it to have to worry about the cake itself coming out right. If I found a good cake recipe and time to test it out in the future, I'm sure natural, from scratch would probably be better. As long as it tastes great though I don't think the clients will question if it was a box. What's in the box anyway? It's just the correct mixture of flour and dry ingredients. You add fresh eggs (I use organic), oil/butter anyway!

SallyBratt Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:03pm
post #8 of

Really? Why would anyone get upset? It's an honest question to something that I found a bit odd, that's all.

as I said...to each their own...and I'm not trying to pick fights with anyone I'm just honestly curious.

SallyBratt Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:11pm
post #9 of

but are you telling clients that you're using boxed mixes?

I'm speaking from a consumer point of view and I think, no, I know if I were ordering a cake from someone I would expect the cake to be made from scratch. To me the flavour is just as important as the decoration. I don't think that boxed cakes would use natural flavours or premium ingredients like Lindt chocolate.

If anyone wants some tried and true scratch recipes that are really easy to make I have some. Vanilla, chocolate and almond (to die for!)

2SchnauzerLady Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:13pm

SallyBratt: You have a valid question, I just chalk it up to everyone has a different personality. I do workers' compensation for a living - and believe me, I meet some real characters! We all know people who just love to argue, and when they argue, they HAVE to win! As my little 86 year old mother says, my brother will argue a point with you til the cows come home! You will find some people here who love to make snarky remarks, and I'm sure they will chime in at some point here.

Chasey Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:15pm

Maybe I have a quirky sense of humor, but does anyone else find it strangely curious that in inciteful question was asked by a username ending in Bratt? icon_biggrin.gif

I agree, to each his/her own. If your cakes are selling and you are getting repeat customers, who cares if you measured every ounce of flour in there? You mixed, you baked, you washed bowls! icon_wink.gif

StaceyCakes75 Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:16pm

ROFL!!! I can't wait


Everyone had their very large opinions on this as you will surely see. I'm assuming you have not been around CC long enough to know this is opening a large can a worms since you are asking this question.

Just to let you know there are MANY bakeries that bake from a mix. They don't open a DH box but they do start from a mix. So it that cheating your customers? I don't think so. If you make a cake that taste great scratch or mix then what's the big deal. Customers want a good tasting cake, they don't don't care how you get there (in my opinion). Most people that use a box mix usually doctor it up so its technically not the standard mix. I feel like my customers are paying for the custom design along with the cake but its the design aspect that they are really paying for.

I bake from a mix and ALL my customers LOVE my cakes. I have never had a complaint and that must say something... right?

Mouth shut!

Let the comments come rolling on in icon_smile.gif

SallyBratt Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:17pm

That's fine. I can handle snark. icon_biggrin.gif

I guess the best way to deal with boxed mixes would be to offer them to your clients at a lower cost. At least they'd have the option and would know what they're getting.

To me I would feel like I was cheating my client if I didn't inform them their cake was from a mix.

Chasey Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:19pm

Would you like to go ahead and post your from scratch recipes SallyBratt?

2SchnauzerLady Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:19pm

Please submit your recipes - we all love new recipes! (It takes about a week before they show up once you submit) And yes, people I bake for know I use extended recipies and I am not a professional. The cakes I do for fundraising, I do offer scratch, and they know I am not a professional. Hopefully, one of the professionals who use the extended mixes will come along and let you know how they present it to their customers.

dolfin Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:20pm

clients look for me, I don't advertise, I take orders when I feel in the mood and I use a box mix as a base for most of my cakes. Some cakes I make from scratch and since I don't have room for chickens, cows, or a wheat field so I can use all natural ingredients straight from nature the rest of my ingredients come from the grocery store. I have never had a complaint. Too many other things in the world to worry about; boxed cake mix not even close to the top of my list. The only thing I cheat at is my diet!!

pattigunter Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:21pm

I saw once someone post on here, and forgive me I cant remember who, that "Betty Crocker figured it out just fine, why mess with that"!

SallyBratt Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:22pm

Yup...I'm a bratt by much more than just name icon_biggrin.gif

I haven't been on here long and this is actually my 1st time in the forums to be gentle.

all natural doesn't mean that you just pulled it out of your backyard. it just means no artificial flavours, that's all.

prterrell Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:23pm

SB - if you do a search, you will find that this is a topic that has been throughly debated (hotly).

The thing is, the average American palette is accustomed to, and therefore prefers, the taste and texture of box mix cakes. This is because they have been around for a couple generations and are the main (often only) kind of cake people have had. In a blind taste test, there are lots of people who would pick the box mix cake as the better cake.

Even though I bake primarily from scratch (and as many scratch bakers, started out using box and then doctored the box), it is a personal preference--party because I enjoy the challenge--I don't think of box mix users as doing anything wrong or deceptive or cheating (the vast majority of whom are far better decorators than I'll ever be).

I'd say 75-90% of customers don't care whether the cake is completely "scratch" or box mix based. As long as it tastes good and looks good to them, they're happy. Additionally most customers don't bake themselves. They probably don't realize there's a difference. It's just not something they've ever thought about.

So, no, there's no reason to tell customers, unless asked directly, that you use a box mix. Now, we scratch bakers will often use the fact that we are as a selling point, but it really just comes down to what does the customer like?

Oh, and ALL of the box store (grocery store, warehouse club, Wal-mart, Target, etc) bakeries and a lot of the large commercial bakeries use cakes made from mix, whether they get their cakes in prebaked and frozen, or bake in-store.




{{{{{I hope I've managed to answer the OP's question diplomatically enough for everyone?}}}}

Mike1394 Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:24pm

Oh yeah I'm sure everyone that uses a mix wakes up every morning just thinking about ways to cheat the cake eating public. icon_biggrin.gif

Mike

SallyBratt Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:25pm

i'll definitely post my cake recipes for you guys. I assume there's a particular thread where they go?

They're all recipes that I got from school and I think they're really good...they hold up well to stacking and sculpting too.

SallyBratt Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:29pm

I guess I should've looked thru the posts before posting this...i didn't realize it was a dead horse.

Anyway, I think you all have sufficiently answered my question so we can likely let this horse die a quiet death once again. Thanks fellow cake folk. I appreciate you not tearing me to pieces.

icon_biggrin.gif

prterrell Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:31pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by SallyBratt

I guess the best way to deal with boxed mixes would be to offer them to your clients at a lower cost. At least they'd have the option and would know what they're getting.




Then you'd guess wrong.

Box mixes are often MORE expensive than all the ingredients purchased seperately. (Unless, that is, you are doing everything using premium ingredients, but that's really a whole different thing.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by SallyBratt

To me I would feel like I was cheating my client if I didn't inform them their cake was from a mix.




You can *feel* like you are cheating the client all you want, but if the client LIKES the taste of boxed mix...after-all the primary thing they are paying you for is your time and talent to DECORATE.

Hate to tell you this, but from one scratch baker to another (I presume, scratch baker?), you're being a snob. (I can be a snob when it comes to food, too, but in this case, the decorating is honestly what people are paying for, not the canvas, err, cake under the decorating.)

KHalstead Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:33pm

I use boxed cake mixes.........and I do tell my customers as well........I think it's important for them to know because of allergies and such nowadays.

However, I tell them that that the boxed cake mixes are used as an ingredient NOT as a recipe........I don't follow the directions on the side of the box by any means. I use premium quality ingredients along with the cake mix, including cake flour, sugar, Tahitian vanilla extract, pudding mix (so what lol......I use JELLO brand!), dairy aisle fresh eggs, whole milk, name brand sour cream..........and my customers LOVE the flavor of my cakes.

Basically m y recipe comes out to be about 1/2 box and 1/2 scratch........I used to bake all scratch but when I was only doing a few cakes here and there I realized pretty quickly how finicky the recipes can be, so I added a mix to my scratch batter and voila!!! Perfect cakes everytime....and always the same taste, texture, rise, etc. so I stuck with it.

My customers are always SHOCKEd to hear that a cake mix was involved they were all CERTAIN that they were scratch cakes.

I use 1 box mix to fill a 12"x18" pan, which normally takes 3 boxed mixes.....so that tells you how much is scratch and how much is box.........but I DO inform customers and so far nobody has had a problem with it!

prterrell Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:38pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by SallyBratt

I guess I should've looked thru the posts before posting this...i didn't realize it was a dead horse.

Anyway, I think you all have sufficiently answered my question so we can likely let this horse die a quiet death once again. Thanks fellow cake folk. I appreciate you not tearing me to pieces.

icon_biggrin.gif




Since you're new, I'll let you know that, in general, it's a good idea to do some searching and reading first, as, chances are, it's been discussed already. Another big hot-topic is pricing questions. Please, for the love of all that is good in this world, do NOT post a pricing question!

As for where to post recipes, if you look at the tabs at the very top of the page, you'll see one that says "recipes" (it's between "home" and "forums"). You can submit your recipes there. Recipes posted in the recipes forum tend to get lost, but recipes posted in the recipes section of the website remain searchable.

Beckup Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:41pm

Welcome to CC! icon_biggrin.gif

Please do post your recipes. We love trying new recipes and having taste tests!

If you go to the recipes tab at the top of the page. You can submit your recipes there. The link is in the right column.

I bake some of my cakes from scratch and some are mix extended. It has been thru test comparision baking that my customers have chosen the mix extended cakes versus scratch cakes. I am always trying new recipes.

CeeTee Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:43pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by prterrell

Hate to tell you this, but from one scratch baker to another (I presume, scratch baker?), you're being a snob. (I can be a snob when it comes to food, too, but in this case, the decorating is honestly what people are paying for, not the canvas, err, cake under the decorating.)




Yeah, but aren't we all snobs at one point over something or another? Everyone thinks their way of making cakes is the best way, and we all have our little predjudices, warranted or not.

I'm a Box Doctorer and proud of it. I can't bake a scratch cake to save my life, and I've very very rarely have had a scratch cake I've enjoyed, so I don't have the desire to change that anytime soon.

Yet, I cannot stand shortening based icings (be it Crisco or Hi-Ratio) and shudder whenever I see people singing it's praises. For me, buttercream needs to have BUTTER. Yet sugarshack and indydebi's recipes are top rated, and I'm sure are fabulous, but I can't bring myself to make them. (and I respect both of them very very much!) I would never imply that they were 'cheating their client' or compromising quality because they use shortening instead of butter. But I still think "eww shortening".

Tho to be fair, the Scratch Vs Box debate has died down a lot of folks on here have pretty much learned to Live and Let Live, and be civil to each other. icon_smile.gif

motherofgrace Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:48pm

I dont consider it to be using a "box mix" per-say. Theres alot in the WASC recipe that is not in a "box mix". It is just a base. I add many other things to the recipe! Is it cheating if you use vanilla from a bottle instead of making it yourself from a vanilla bean? lol

and heck no I wouldnt charge less for an extender cake! It cost also more then the $1.97 it cost for the box.

Also I have found that all the scratch recipes I have tried are quite dry (and thats why alot of my friends use boxes as well) So I take taste over anything actually.... who cares if its scratch, if its dry?

icon_smile.gif

prterrell Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:49pm

CeeTee - Yup, we're all snobs over something or other. I *did* say I was in my post above. icon_biggrin.gif

SallyBratt Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 7:51pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by prterrell

(Unless, that is, you are doing everything using premium ingredients, but that's really a whole different thing.)




I do use premium ingredients


Quote:
Originally Posted by prterrell

Hate to tell you this, but from one scratch baker to another (I presume, scratch baker?), you're being a snob. (I can be a snob when it comes to food, too, but in this case, the decorating is honestly what people are paying for, not the canvas, err, cake under the decorating.)




I am a scratch baker and I'm, in no way, a snob. As I said before, I'm not judging anyone, I'm just curious and I think you're possibly taking offense where no offense was intended. I've said it at least twice already...to each their own. I was just curious, that's all.

I should've looked thru the tons of posts here before I asked my question but I didn't. I think I apologized for that...if not, then I'm sorry for reposting what's already been answered. Having said that, if my question is something that's already been answered before then I, by all means, encourage everyone to ignore it and simply tell me to go and find the information that's already in here.

Sorry to be an annoyance to some but I didn't think I was doing anything wrong.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%