From Box To Stratch

Baking By Kakesbykay Updated 5 Feb 2010 , 4:23am by FromScratch

Kakesbykay Posted 1 Feb 2010 , 4:48pm
post #1 of 39

I have been using box cake mixes, but I want to transition to scratch cakes

Please provide some easy simple recipes,techniques and how to increase amounts for larger cakes.

How do I prevent cake edges from becoming hard? Do i need to lower oven temp to 325?
Thank you

38 replies
anotherslice Posted 1 Feb 2010 , 5:08pm
post #2 of 39

Lately I've been very happy using the recipes and techniques from the book called "Wedding Cakes You Can Make" by Dede Wilson. It's not just for wedding cakes, though - you can make 6-inch cakes, 8-inch, 9-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, or 14-inch cakes. I make round cakes, but you can make square cakes from that book, too.

I've discovered I really like torting the cakes. There's a delicious recipe for Italian meringue buttercream in the book (I add a tablespoon of vanilla extract), and the moistening syrup is great, too, and is necessary for these recipes. I do use less than she recommends, it's to taste.

I've made the yellow and the chocolate cakes, and have gotten many wonderful reviews on the taste and on the moistness of the cakes. I have not had any hard edges on the cakes at all. I've been baking the cakes at 350 F, I may try them at 325 F.

I find that "The Cake Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum is a wonderful resource, too, as is her new book "Rose's Heavenly Cakes".

Since getting addicted to this website, my cake decorating/baking book collection has been growing by leaps and bounds!

FromScratch Posted 1 Feb 2010 , 5:29pm
post #3 of 39


Larkin121 Posted 1 Feb 2010 , 5:36pm
post #4 of 39
Originally Posted by FromScratch



anotherslice Posted 1 Feb 2010 , 5:41pm
post #5 of 39

Hmm, not sure what that reply meant. I just shared what's working for me at the moment. There are tons of recipes out there, and you'll see what works for you. I am not affiliated with anybody or any books, this is a hobby.

Larkin121 Posted 1 Feb 2010 , 5:42pm
post #6 of 39

I believe the icon_confused.gif was for the original post and not yours. icon_smile.gif

FromScratch Posted 1 Feb 2010 , 5:49pm
post #7 of 39

yes... not intended for your reply. That was very informative and nice. It was for the "hi... give me everything you have worked hard to learn now please" original post.

moscakes5 Posted 1 Feb 2010 , 5:55pm
post #8 of 39

The books recommended by anotherslice are on point! I have and use both. As far as the oven temperature I think it varies by recipe. HTH

hails Posted 1 Feb 2010 , 5:58pm
post #9 of 39

WOW, that seems a little on the rude side but then again I am a very polite person. I really don't think that she meant it in a forward manner, I think kakesbykay was just asking for a little help when you are new you look up to the people that have been on this forum for a while. So sorry Kay I know when I post something I am afraid that people are going to tear it apart even though we are just asking for a little advice. I have found great recipes on here if you look under recipes. I hope you continue to ask your questions after all that's what this wonderful website was created for sharing and caring, have a super day!!!

anotherslice Posted 1 Feb 2010 , 6:06pm
post #10 of 39
Originally Posted by Larkin121

I believe the icon_confused.gif was for the original post and not yours. icon_smile.gif

Thank you for the clarification!

FromScratch Posted 1 Feb 2010 , 6:09pm
post #11 of 39

I have no problem helping people... but this post was a bit shocking to me. Come on in and le us know what you have tried and what hasn't worked for you... ask for some ideas for new recipes to try.. but to say please give me some recipes and tell me how to make them bigger... come on. How can that not be so foward? I am a polite person too, and was honestly shocked at the demand.

Do what everyone does... get yourself some recipes and experiment. Not meant to be rude, but it's the only way to really learn. icon_smile.gif I am a HUGE advocate of scratch baking (obviously) and have helped many with recipes and such, I was just taken aback by the upfront request.

Chasey Posted 1 Feb 2010 , 6:50pm
post #12 of 39

Wow, I didn't think her first post was shocking at all! As a newbie to cake decorating (still, just for a hobby) I always love to hear what someone loooooves as far as recipes go. Doesn't mean my tastebuds are going to agree, but it sure is nice to have a starting point.

You would think this question was being asked by someone in direct competition with your cake business! icon_wink.gif

erinalicia Posted 1 Feb 2010 , 7:05pm
post #13 of 39

Why not look through the recipes on here that others have posted. That's usually where I start, and if I see one that sounds good, I try it. My guess would be if you need a larger amount of batter for a cake, you'd double or triple a recipe, but then again, I don't always bake from scratch.

FromScratch Posted 1 Feb 2010 , 7:11pm
post #14 of 39

Please... have no problem sharing recipes (even with people who would be considered my competition)... but their first post... such a blunt demand... it caught me off guard for sure. Search the site... don't just ask for it all to be handed to you. Let us know what you have tried (for all I know she might the the recip I use), what has worked and what hasn't worked, what you would like to be different about a recipe... that I can respond to in a productive manner.

Saying please and thank you doesn't automatically make something polite...

Babarooskie Posted 1 Feb 2010 , 7:21pm
post #15 of 39

At least it's not a Pricing Topic.

Oh wait. She's a newbie.... icon_rolleyes.gif

Kakesbykay Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 12:37pm
post #16 of 39

Thank you for those that did not take offense to MY FIRST POST!!!!( I was trying to keep is short and simple)

I came here to post because I have visited the site for over 1 yr and saw the kind words of encouragemnt,tips and advice. I'm not looking for a HANDOUT of your recp's just tips and techniques and things that have worked for you all.
It would appear that I HAVE TRIED and have failed and I'm seeking help for those that may have experience.

Thank you for the book titles
I have the Martha Stewart book and the examples for for either large or small cakes, I don't want to mix for 11 cups if I'm trying to PRACTICE a small cake or when it's time to increase the quanity I'm not sure on how to accomplish that tasks.

Again for those that provided me with tips and advice THANKS A MILLION !!!

springlakecake Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 12:56pm
post #17 of 39

I also am a recent convert from box to scratch. I am really happy that I have made that decision, however trying out recipes really can be horrifying. I am only up to 4 or so recipes that I really like and that have worked for me.

I am finding that often the reason recipes DON'T work are due to user error. I found a couple of cakes I really liked, then suddenly they didn't work anymore. It was so frustrating to figure out what I was doing differently.
It came down to the butter temperature.

It is hard to know these things when you don't come from a background of baking. But getting your hands dirty is a great way to learn! I also think some of the books that were recommended are full of lots of great info on baking (Cake bible for example). I have also found a lot of helpful information on the joy of baking website. But for the record I like the recipes in Toba Garretts book.

Bethkay Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 1:19pm
post #18 of 39

I second the vote for DeDe Wilson's books. I changed the chocolate cake recipe I was using in favor of her recipe, and have never looked back. I have always baked from scratch, but had a hard time finding a chocolate that everyone liked until I found her books. It is great that she has her recipes scaled from 6" up to 12" or more. Good Luck!

MalibuBakinBarbie Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 1:23pm
post #19 of 39

Hi! I'm with anotherslice. I think Dede Wilson is a good place to begin. Her recipes are good, her books are very informative and explain each step in detail, and (as previously mentioned) she provides the conversions for you if you want to make a bigger/smaller cake. Of her books, I would 2nd anotherslice's recommendation for "Wedding Cakes You Can Make". Great projects in there, too!

Regarding technique, I think one of the most important things to remember is that it will take a lot more time to make a scratch batter than a straight box mix batter. To get the best results, make sure to take the right amount of time with each step. For example, when the recipe says to cream the butter until light in color, understand that this will take minutes. If the recipe says to incorporate the eggs/egg yolks one at a time, you should do it that way. (It might not make much SENSE to you to do it that way, but food science-wise, it does matter.) When you're doing a cake mix from a box, it's ALL mixed up in a matter of minutes; so prepare yourself for the time it will take to make the scratch batter. To me, it's worth it! icon_wink.gif

Also, keep in mind that what works and seems simple for one person might not be so for another. So don't get discouraged if you try our ideas and are not too impressed with the results. Spend some time in the baking section of your area book store. Browse throught he books and see what YOU might like to try. Hey! YOU'll probably be back here giving US some new recipes!!! thumbs_up.gif

Good luck and have FUN!!! icon_smile.gif

[Edited: for clarification... typos, too! Good grief!]

elliespartycake Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 1:52pm
post #20 of 39

I agree, Dede Wilson's book "Wedding Cakes You Can Make" was so helpful when I started out. Her "essential" recipes are a great way to get most any sized cake you need, and they are delicious! Making a 6 inch cake from scratch is a cinch and a great way to sample a recipe to see if you like it.
Have fun!

Kakesbykay Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 2:10pm
post #21 of 39

I have placed my amazon order for the books.. THANKS!!!

LEHLA Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 3:01pm
post #22 of 39

WOW AS A NEWBIE I THINK IAM SCARED TO DEATH TO EVER ASK A QUESTION. tapedshut.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif

Larkin121 Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 3:14pm
post #23 of 39

Baking from scratch is all about technique, so I highly recommend a book on baking before a book on wedding cakes or anything like that. Try Sherry Yard's The Secrets of Baking. It explains the techniques and science behind what you are doing. Also great are Alton Brown's "I'm just here for More Food" (all science) and Shirley O Corrihor's Bakewise (in depth science and technique).

If you know the technique + science, you can get consistent results and play with recipes more.

FromScratch Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 3:27pm
post #24 of 39

(please read this as if I have a smile on my face... because I do) icon_smile.gif

It didn't appear that you had done anything... not at all from your post. Your post said hi... I'm switching to scratch baking... give me some recipes and tell me how to convert them. Not knowing where you are having troubles or where you are having triumphs doesn't allow for very productive help at all. I could give you a bunch of recipes, but not knowing what you are going after for your final product I could give you a bunch of recpies you just might hate.

I am not mean... quie the opposite really. I am more than happy to help anyone if I have something of value to offer. If you have been reading for over a year you must have come across posts where people make extremely vague requests for info and people come in and ask for details before they can actually give an answer that could remotely help. I'm not a saint, but I am certainly not an evil bitch. I think short and to the point can be good in some instances, but your post felt like a very typical newbie post asking for everything not having done anything for yourself. Obviously not the case, but how on earth was anyone supposed to know with what you posted? I can't even recommend an oven temp for you because I don't know what kind of oven you have...

I will say that you may have recieved the brunt of some frustration since yours was the umpteenth post like this I have read and the last in a long line of BS posts I had read just yesterday... so I am sorry to have taken your post mearly at face value. Normally I don't jump in with something snarky, but I have been sick for days and I'm sure my patience could use a little padding... or maybe a cupcake. icon_smile.gif

Now... if, after all of this silliness, you still want some recommendations (and don't mind giving a little more info on what you have been doing thus far) I would be more than glad to offer some advice. icon_biggrin.gif

MalibuBakinBarbie Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 3:35pm
post #25 of 39

Hi Larkin121, You are right about jumping in to wedding cakes. I mentioned Dede Wilson because I had learned so much from her book "The Wedding Cake Book" before I had ever done a tiered or wedding cake. I think it's a great book for recipes because she scales them down for smaller projects. In addition, the intros to her books are very easy to ready, so you don't have to be a "pro" to understand what she's saying. icon_wink.gif

Thank you for providing the technical and food science direction. Among my collection is Bakewise and it is a great reference! thumbs_up.gif

Kakesbykay Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 6:38pm
post #26 of 39

Thank you all..

I have notices that my cake edges (box) are hard that I trim them off. I normally bake at 350.
The from scratch attempts did not rise once, and the other I just didn't know how to scale the portions to try a smaller cake. So I just became frustrated and gave up. I'm ready to try again...
I guess I needed more of the suggested books in order to understand the process, science & techniques. I

Kakesbykay Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 6:44pm
post #27 of 39

LEHA... you see what happened.. LMBO icon_smile.gif

I was afraid as well, but I guess if I want help I HAVE TO ASK!!!!

Larkin121 Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 6:48pm
post #28 of 39
Originally Posted by Kakesbykay

Thank you all..

I have notices that my cake edges (box) are hard that I trim them off. I normally bake at 350.
The from scratch attempts did not rise once, and the other I just didn't know how to scale the portions to try a smaller cake. So I just became frustrated and gave up. I'm ready to try again...
I guess I needed more of the suggested books in order to understand the process, science & techniques. I

I sometimes use a box mix for a cake to use to demonstrate in the Wilton classes because it's cheaper... I bake those at 325. If the edges are hard, they are probably overbaked on the outside before the inside can bake all the way.

Rising in a scratch cake... was your baking soda/baking powder old? Did you measure it exactly? How long did you cream the butter and sugar?

Some scratch cakes rise more than others, but they all should rise some.

tannersmom Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 7:18pm
post #29 of 39

Please continue to ask any question. There are alot of people here that will share tips and ideas with you. I didn't read HANDOUT in your OP. So don't worry about all the hype.


Babarooskie Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 7:38pm
post #30 of 39


I am a box baker AND a scratch baker. However, I used to always use boxes and doctor them. Then I entered culinary school a few months ago. BIG DIFFERENCE! I just recently made a carrot cake from scratch and I got so many rave reviews. But when I did the box mix, it was "eehhh Ok."

While box mix cakes are easier, affordable, and less of a hassle...easier does not always signify better. icon_wink.gif

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