Need Your Advice

Decorating By bostonterrierlady Updated 12 May 2010 , 3:10am by dtdonnahoo

bostonterrierlady Posted 12 May 2010 , 12:06am
post #1 of 14

I hope this will not be to long. Every since I was a very young girl I have loved decorated cakes. I began my hobby as a teenager. But I am seriously thinking about giving it up. It breaks my heart. Today I decide I will bake a cake for my best friend. It is for her anniversary. I usually make Betty Crocker French Vanilla and everyone always likes it. So today I decide I will go scratch. This is the best tasting recipe. Well I made 2 10 in. cakes. Both flopped. Sunk and stuck to the pan. Decided to bake two more. Used flower nails this time. Same thing. Myu husband has a lot of scraps to eat. I have a low energy level. So I feel trashed as well. I love the decorating part but hate the rest. I love this hobby but I am ready to quit. I feel really sad about this but I am tired. Last year I made a cake for a party. A friend asked me do you use cake flour? I said well sometimes I use a mix. I was really embarrased.
I watch all the cake shows and they all bake from scratch. So I thought I should not rely on mixes. I am also trying to perfect icing using the new Crisco. Knid of hate the trans fat thing. Anyway thanks for listening. Just wondering what to do. I have a big cake book collection and video collection. Including all of Sharon Z dvds. So this is something I feel really invested in.

13 replies
mamawrobin Posted 12 May 2010 , 12:15am
post #2 of 14

Most all of the cakes I make are from doctored cake mixes and I am not one bit ashamed of it. thumbs_up.gif It doesn't matter if it's made from a mix or from scratch as long as the cake is good. I make two scratch cakes that are my grandmother's receipes but other than those two I've not had good luck with scratch cakes. What I'm saying is if mix works for you USE MIX. Nothing wrong with that.

Now...get back in that kitchen and make YOUR best cake! My advise is that when someone ask you questions about your receipe to tell them that it's a "trade" secret that you're working on perfecting and you cannot share that information. thumbs_up.gif

dljc Posted 12 May 2010 , 12:45am
post #3 of 14
Originally Posted by bostonterrierlady

I usually make Betty Crocker French Vanilla and everyone always likes it.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Originally Posted by bostonterrierlady

So today I decide I will go scratch.

I wouldn't worry about it failing the first few times. That's why we have DHs - to clean up the flops. If you really want to make scratch cakes, keep trying and have some honest friends evaluate them for you before debuting them at important functions.

I just bought a journal at Michaels today and it says, "Keep calm and have a cupcake." Sounds like good advice!


UpAt2am Posted 12 May 2010 , 12:56am
post #4 of 14

oh sweetie...don't get down on what you like and are comfortable with! don't let anyone decided how you should bake, except for you!!!

and btw, not all of the people on those shows bake from scratch icon_wink.gif

Melvira Posted 12 May 2010 , 12:57am
post #5 of 14

Hmmmm... if I had to choose between a delicious 'mix' cake and a flopped scratch cake, guess what I'd choose. Hint: Not the flopped one! icon_lol.gif

Do you know what's in a mix? Flour... sugar... leavener... starting to sound familiar? icon_wink.gif Yes, they have stabilizers and preservatives, or whatnot, but essentially they're just premeasured ingredients. I know sometimes people have stigmas associated with mixes, but just let go and be happy that it works for you! I do both scratch and doctored mix, and don't care either way. If it's good, it's good. I'll eat it!

I know you're feeling frustrated right now, but know that this too shall pass. You will feel better, you will bake something that turns out well and you'll be right back in the game. Believe in YOU and so will everyone else. thumbs_up.gif And if they don't, they don't get any darn cake!! icon_razz.gif

elliespartycake Posted 12 May 2010 , 1:01am
post #6 of 14

Don't give up! Keep trying the scratch recipes. They can really turn out to be soooo amazing. Sometimes it's the oven temperature, the baking time, the temperature of your ingredients or your measurements that can cause problems. (falling is usually and oven temp/bake time thing). You'll get comfortable soon enough. It's a thrill when you know the insides of your cakes are as fabulous as the outside.

Meanwhile you know the boxed mixes turn out well when you need them.

JGMB Posted 12 May 2010 , 1:04am
post #7 of 14

I usually bake from scratch and people like my cakes. Having said that, I made 2 cakes awhile back from Duncan Hines mixes, and the people I made them for raved that they were the best cakes they'd ever had!!

So, keep using mixes if they always bring you good results -- there's no shame in it!

Also, I looked at your gallery and you do beautiful work, so don't give up! icon_smile.gif

percussiongrrl Posted 12 May 2010 , 1:07am
post #8 of 14

I went through this, as well. Life got crazy, I got discouraged, and I wanted to quit. But then I remembered that I started doing cakes for FUN and that FUN they should remain. So I said "no" to a couple of friends who asked for a cake. And I didn't do any icing practice or make anything to take to social events or work. After about 3 weeks, I got the frustration out and I started wanting to get back in the kitchen. So I decided to make a small cake for ME! Just for fun, just for me, and just whatever I came up with. I put together a simple little 6 in cake, iced, decorated, played with fondant, played with icing, and just had FUN! At the end of it, I had a slice of cake, a glass of milk, and a fresh outlook on caking.

(PS, I also use doctored box mixes - try the White Almond Sour Cream cake if you're interested! - and I get RAVE reviews. I, much like Debbie suggested, tell people if I told them, I'd have to kill them!)

eperales0411 Posted 12 May 2010 , 1:11am
post #9 of 14

Just like you, I really really like decorating cakes, the baking part, well I still continue to work on that. I have never really been a baker, but I don't give up, I will leave it alone and give it a rest when things are just not going the way I want them, which usually happens when I am really tired. So get a good rest of mind and body, then start again. If this is something you really like don't give up, just take a rest. Good Luck.

MalibuBakinBarbie Posted 12 May 2010 , 1:14am
post #10 of 14

Don't give up! Baking and decorating cakes, and making sweet treats people love, are clearly something you enjoy doing, so keep at it! Baking from scratch takes practice. I do mostly scratch; but always keep box mixes on hand in case I have to bake something in a pinch. From my experience, scratch baking is not quite as easy a baking from a mix where, for example, all of the dry ingredients are already premeasured and mixed for you. So what I am saying is give yourself some credit and don't be so hard on yourself. I know it's disheartening having your cakes fall on you; but please give yourself a chance to practice more. (Okay? icon_smile.gif )

wakeandbake Posted 12 May 2010 , 1:39am
post #11 of 14

Keep in mind that no two bakers/decorators will get the same results. I know plenty of people who make cakes from mixes just like I do and they do not taste, look, or seem the same in any way as the ones I make. It's all in the execution! icon_biggrin.gif

Butterpatty Posted 12 May 2010 , 1:41am
post #12 of 14

Oh, honey, don't get discouraged. I was a baker from the time I was 11 years old because my mom believed in teaching us girls (there are 4 of us) how to cook and bake early on. She did everything from scratch because I am old enough to remember when that is the way everybody did it. I am new to the decorating part of this stuff though. I have concentrated so hard on learning to decorate, that I have started using boxed mixes and sometimes I doctor them and sometimes I don't. They taste fine to me and to my family & friends, so I am happy and no longer feel guilty about using a mix as a base. Take the stress off- use your mixes without guilt and have a blast decorating.

bostonterrierlady Posted 12 May 2010 , 2:59am
post #13 of 14

The recipe I used was from It is called White Buttermilk Cake.
It tastes great. I baked two 10 in. cakes. The second batch I greased and floures the pans. Used a flower nail and baked at 325. They sunk. Also one stuck to the pan and broke up.

dtdonnahoo Posted 12 May 2010 , 3:10am
post #14 of 14

I am right there with you sister! I have days where the baking and decorating fail upon fail and I SWEAR I will NEVER make another cake again! icon_mad.gif
Then I have days like today where it was enjoyable and everything worked out and I can be excited again. I imagine artists, musicians and athletes are the same way.
Thanks for posting this because it's a great reminder we're not alone icon_biggrin.gif

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