Full Diclosure Or Not

Business By pastryqueen9 Updated 26 Jun 2010 , 10:36pm by 4realLaLa

pastryqueen9 Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 4:39pm
post #1 of 16

I recently learned from a friend of mine that one of the most popular bakeries/cake decorating businesses in my area does not make any of their products from scratch, the cakes/cupcakes are all doctored box and the cookies are a mix as well. At first I didn't believe her (not sure why she use to work there) so while I was in there oneday I asked if their products were made from scratch. The owner told me that the recipe was a secret "formula" that the family has used for years. I got a peek in the back a couple days later and saw the huge bags of cake mix. I have nothing against cake mixes at all, in fact I find that my customers often like the taste of the box mix better than scratch. My question is, Is it necessary to reveal to clients, business or personal, that you use a cake mix with some of your products or does it not matter as long as you are not lying and advertising the product from scratch when it isn't. And how do you include a box mix on your ingredient label?

15 replies
mindydaile Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 4:55pm
post #2 of 16

This topic has been discussed quite extensively....a quick search brings up these recent threads:

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopic-684698-0.html

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopic-677321-0.html

Everyone seems to have pretty strong opinions on this topic and sometimes it can get quite contentious!

I think bottom line, you use what works for you and what works for your customers.

indydebi Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 4:56pm
post #3 of 16

well, technically, she didn't lie. the 'secret formula' could be a doctored cake mix recipe ..... which is a "formula".

If your state does not require an ingredients list, there's not a problem. If it does, then the ingredients should be listed as shown on the bag/box.

Many MANY bakeries use the 50-lb bags of cake mix (you didn't think they sold these 50lb bags to housewives, did ya? icon_biggrin.gif ), so the fact they start with a mix ..... be it an 18 oz box or a 50-lb commercial cake mix .... is not unusual.

I don't know of one restaurant who advertises "We use frozen pre-made desserts, soups and entrees!" yet if you went to a Sysco or GFS food show, you'd recognize most of the dishes being "made" in your favorite restaurant! Insert here my favorite story about my sister who SWORE her favorite soup at Applebee's was made from scratch ..... until I brought her a frozen container of it from my shop and said, "Here ..... this just came in on my GFS truck order."

leah_s Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 5:32pm
post #4 of 16

Well, I bake from scratch and use that fact in all my marketing. In fact there are only 3 people in my fairly large city who bake from scratch.

So, I'm looking at this from the other side of the fence.

indydebi Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 5:35pm
post #5 of 16

I agree with leah ..... scratch baking takes a great talent and if I were a 100% scratch baker, I'd definitely point that out in my marketing materials! thumbs_up.gif

The OP sounded a little surprised that a commercial baking business would use mixes of any kind and my post was to share that it's pretty common.

costumeczar Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 10:52pm
post #6 of 16

If you asked them "do you bake from scratch" and they said 'it's a family recipe" then they didn't answer the question. It's a yes or no answer. I find that sneaky so I wouldn't give them my businesss, personally. If someone asks, just tell them yes or no, or if you feel like you want to expand on it you can say that you use doctored mixes or whatever. As a customer I wouldn't be happy with a non-answer, especially if I found out later that I'd been lied to.

pastryqueen9 Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 11:29pm
post #7 of 16

Thank you ladies for your responses. I completly get the concept of do what works best for you, but should you disclose to your customers whether it's scratch or mix and does it make a difference if the customer is commercial or private consumer? Any thoughts?

cakesbycathy Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 11:55pm
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by pastryqueen9

Thank you ladies for your responses. I completly get the concept of do what works best for you, but should you disclose to your customers whether it's scratch or mix and does it make a difference if the customer is commercial or private consumer? Any thoughts?




If asked you should answer truthfully, since often times the inquiry is allergy related.
Otherwise though it shouldn't matter if it's comercial or private as long as it tastes good, don't you think?

tesso Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 12:02am
post #9 of 16

I tell anyone and everyone that i use doctored box mixes. 'cause they really dont want one of my scratch cakes!! (we need a puking emoticon) I can bake any pie, box mix, or cookie you can think of but one of my scratch cakes...the poor dog wont even eat and she eats her own Pooh!! icon_cry.gif

I have never had anyone not order a cake because I use a box mix. I would love to be able to bake a decent scratch cake, but it just aint happenin'. (YET !! icon_razz.gif I refuse to give up trying!!)

Loucinda Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 12:38am
post #10 of 16

I do not lie, if asked, I would tell them I use a doctored mix. My cakes taste awesome, and I am proud of them!

I have never had anyone ask, but just the last 2 weeks I had 3 brides ask me if I freeze cakes (which I do not do)

indydebi Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 1:54am
post #11 of 16

I also never lied about it. When I did all box mix, I told them so. When I was able to make a scratch chocolate cake, I told them my chocolate was scratch but the others started with a mix. No one ever walked out because of it.

tootie0809 Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 2:25pm
post #12 of 16

I've had a few customers at tastings rave how moist and delicious my cakes are and assume I bake from scratch and ask me if I do. I tell them completely honestly that I start wtih a mix but that's just a starting point and that I have a whole recipe built around the mix. I've also had a couple customers ask if I freeze cakes. I tell them 100% absolutely and that it actually, in my experience, makes the cake flavor better and the texture much more moist. If they look surprised or unimpressed at all, I tell them "that sample slice of cake you just ate right there that you are raving about has been in my sample freezer for at least 2 months, maybe longer." They are shocked that a cake can taste so good after being frozen. I tell them it's all in the wrapping. If you wrap right, freezing can be your friend.

I do admire scratch bakers. I tried for months to master it and never got a consistent cake that I would trust would come out the same way every time. Plus, in all my taste testing with family and friends, every single person always chose the doctored cake mix cake that had been frozen........every single time!

KHalstead Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 2:47pm
post #13 of 16

I don't use " Docotored Mixes Used Here!!!" as a marketing strategy, but I definitely disclose if someone asks!

I tell them "I use a cake mix as an ingredient, not a recipe...after all, all it is is premeasured flour, sugar, baking powder, vanilla!!" They always say "yeah, that's true....I never thought about that!"

When they ask if I freeze my cakes I say "I prefer the way they taste if they've been frozen at least overnight, but depending on my schedule I may not have an opportunity to get them into freezer. All cakes are baked within 3 days of your event whether they're frozen or not though, I don't have space to have cakes on hand in the freezer waiting for someone to order them. Everything is baked "to order" and is custom tailored for you, from the flavor all the way to the final decorations"

Most people are asking these questions to find out if you're doing the same thing as wal-mart so i think it's important to set them straight!

pastryqueen9 Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 5:06pm
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by pastryqueen9

Thank you ladies for your responses. I completly get the concept of do what works best for you, but should you disclose to your customers whether it's scratch or mix and does it make a difference if the customer is commercial or private consumer? Any thoughts?



If asked you should answer truthfully, since often times the inquiry is allergy related.
Otherwise though it shouldn't matter if it's comercial or private as long as it tastes good, don't you think?




Whenever customers ask (and in 5 years I have only had 1 customer ask) I always answer truthfully. I guess my concern was 1.) Most of my customers assume that all of my products are from scratch and sometimes tell others that 2.) Ethically am I wrong for not discolsing the fact that I use box mixes in my marketing etc. and 3.) How do I include the box mix as an ingredient on my lables (because my state does require it). I have seen some people use a "products featuring Duncan Hines cake mix" in their marketing but I wasn't sure if that was out of necessity or if it was by choice.

I find that all of what you fellow ccers have said here in response is ABSOLUTELY true, it's best to do what works for you and generally people don't care if it's scratch or box they just want it to taste GOOD and look GREAT. I really appreciate all of the feedback from my fellow CCERS because there aren't very many people I can talk to here in my area...I Love this site! Thanks again!! icon_biggrin.gifthumbs_up.gif

tootie0809 Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 5:09pm
post #15 of 16

Oh, and I didn't mean to imply I am freezing cakes for customers for upwards of 2 months! LOL! I have a sample freezer where I keep 1-2 small square cakes of almost every flavor I offer on hand for tasting appointments so I don't have to bake for each one. Some of the less often requested flavors have been in there for a couple months or more and even still taste wonderful.

For my orders, I never have them frozen for more than a few days. I generally bake 3-4 days before each event depending on my schedule. I would never prebake a cake for a customer weeks or months in advance!

4realLaLa Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 10:36pm
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by tootie0809

Oh, and I didn't mean to imply I am freezing cakes for customers for upwards of 2 months! LOL! I have a sample freezer where I keep 1-2 small square cakes of almost every flavor I offer on hand for tasting appointments so I don't have to bake for each one. Some of the less often requested flavors have been in there for a couple months or more and even still taste wonderful.

For my orders, I never have them frozen for more than a few days. I generally bake 3-4 days before each event depending on my schedule. I would never prebake a cake for a customer weeks or months in advance!





I wouldn't make a habit of freezing cakes but I must say that they are still as delicious and I would even say moist. I made a cake for my dd birthday and froze it for two weeks. That cake was sooo good. Someone even commented that it was the best cake they had in years. I was very surprised but will do it again if the need arises.


My two cents...carry on. icon_biggrin.gif

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