Who Here Bakes From Scratch?

Decorating By tuthfairy Updated 19 Jul 2010 , 11:00am by candyapplekc

tuthfairy Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 4:04am
post #1 of 34

People who want me to decorate cakes for them often ask if my cakes are made from a mix or from scratch. I have to admit, I am not a baker or pastry chef. I can decorate a nice Pillsbury cake, however. ha ha So I am just wondering how many people here go to the trouble of decorating cakes that do not come from a box? icon_smile.gif

33 replies
cupcake_cutie Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 4:16am
post #2 of 34

Uh oh. I don't think that you really want to get into this discussion. It usually gets very ugly. I do both. I use doctored cake mix recipes and I bake some from scratch.


11cupcakes Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 4:20am
post #3 of 34

I do. I spent 3 month testing recipes and finally selling it to others.

JanH Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 4:27am
post #4 of 34

I also do both. icon_smile.gif

Here's a link to previous threads on this subject:



hollyml Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 4:38am
post #5 of 34

I'm a hobby baker, so I don't sell what I make, but I bake from scratch. I will, on rare occasions, use a box mix, but that requires extra planning because I don't keep mixes in the pantry. icon_smile.gif (Whereas I do always have flour, sugar, etc.) And usually when I'm using a mix, it's for things that are NOT going to be decorated. It's either a coffee cake sort of thing, or simple classroom-party cupcakes, or MAYBE a simple layer cake -- frosting slapped on with a spatula -- for a small gathering of friends.

I think mixes have their place, but really haven't ever understood why scratch baking intimidates people so. I guess it's just in what you're used to -- how your mom did it or whatever, how your kitchen is set up.

glow0369 Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 5:04am
post #6 of 34

I also do both... Some cakes I make from scratch can not be too tastey too.

mygirlssweet Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 5:14am
post #7 of 34

scratch only

icer101 Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 5:21am
post #8 of 34


thatslifeca Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 5:26am
post #9 of 34

I do both. I do scratch, and I do doctored box mixes. Whatever I happen to be in the mood for or depending if I have everything I need to do the scratch.

PiccoloChellie Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 7:11am
post #10 of 34

Both. Some are scratch, some are doctored mixes.

It depends on what gives me the most consistent, tasty results and what makes my customers happy.

Rylan Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 7:18am
post #11 of 34

I usually bake from scratch. There are times when I would bake a few things from the box--usually modified though.

sweetooth0510 Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 7:19am
post #12 of 34

Scratch only for me, think it's a New Zealand thing. My Mum taught me to bake .. creaming butter/sugar adding eggs etc and that is what I'll teach my kids. At around $6NZD for a packet of cake mix that's dry as an old boot the cheats option isn't for me.

sweettreat101 Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 7:42am
post #13 of 34

Mix. I honestly haven't found a scratch mix that I like. They are to dry or dense not light and airy. I wish I could find a scratch recipe but for now I am still searching. Can anyone tell me what they do to cake mixes that makes them so moist and airy not heavy or dense?

mclaren Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 7:54am
post #14 of 34

me. i only bake from scratch. on this side of the world, boxed cake mixes are already pricey to begin with, and i saw from the instructions on the box i still need to add eggs n other stuff. not sure how they taste anyway.

so scratch for me, all the way.

cake-angel Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 8:05am
post #15 of 34

Mostly scratch. I never even knew cake mixes existed until I moved away from home. Mom always baked from scratch so I thought that was how everyone did it. I now use a cake mix for things like cupcakes for the kids schools (because they usually tell me they need them the next morning just after I tuck them into bed. Sigh.) and to teach with.

Gingerbread_from_Germany Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 8:48am
post #16 of 34

being in Europe, I definately bake from scratch, using box mixes is considered cheating over here. Apart from that, there aren't really that many varieties of box mixes available over here. Actually, when I first joined CC and I was looking for any new recipes, I was quite shocked, that SO many box mixes are used in America. I was having a really hard time, finding "a proper" recipe, which is how I thought of it at the time. icon_wink.gif

Of course I have tried some box mixes, and I have even found one I like, a lemon cake, but to be honest, it's not worth the hassle of going to the shops to buy the mix. I always have all of the basic ingredients in the house for cakes (and most other things too, my husband calls me a hamster icon_redface.gif )

And finding the right recipe can be trial and error sometimes. If I am looking for a new recipe, then I will set aside a day for baking, decide on a few more recipes I want to try out and usually churn out 5 or 6 small (as in 4 or 6 inches) cakes and some cupcakes with the new recipe to see how it works. Very rarely will a cake land in the bin. And I make my husbands work colleages very happy, when he takes in lots of small different flavoured cakes the next day! icon_biggrin.gif
It really isn't very hard, and once you are used to baking basic cakes and have a "feel" for it, it is quite simple to try out new recipes. And I find it a lot of fun aswell!

What I am actually looking for at the moment is a good baking science book, because I am just a hobby baker and I don't understand the reasons behind baking, as in, if I change the ingredients ratio - what will happen, or what could happen. I think if I had this knowledge, that would be a big stop forward for me. I am already very happy with my recipes - but hey, I'm a virgo - big on perfection!
The problem is, these "speciality books" cost a couple of hundred euros - VERY expensive!

But to get back to your question, I would recommend that an absolute beginner should start off with box mixes, just to see if they even enjoy baking! And then the next stop would definately be scratch baking and if they have a Mum, Grandmother or a friend who they could learn from and pick up some good tips, that would be a great help.

For me really, nothing beats scratch baking - but as I said, I'm in Europe and I think that makes a big difference.

Keep smiling icon_lol.gif

pixiefuncakes Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 9:13am
post #17 of 34

I'm with everyone else, I do both. I get compliments for both too. I would really like to be able to make nice cupcakes from scratch but I have not found a light fluffy recipe that matches up to the packet mix .......... my family are very happy that I keep trying though!

GHOST_USER_NAME Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 12:26pm
post #18 of 34

I do both, but growing up it was always scratch baking in our house

Loucinda Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 12:28pm
post #19 of 34

I do both, but have more requests for the box based cakes. I used to offer both at tastings, but no one ever picked the scratch cakes so I don't offer them at tastings any longer. Both ways are fine, just do what you and your clients are comfortable with and enjoy!

For a good book on the science of scratch baking try The Cake Bible (Rose Levy Buerbaum - not sure of the spellling of that last name!)

2SchnauzerLady Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 12:54pm
post #20 of 34

I make WASC, but grew up with dry scratch cakes (my mother overbaked everything!). I have now started doing some scratch, definitely the Hershey's chocolate cake, still looking for a good vanilla cake, and my latest I found - Cherry coke float cupcakes (scratch recipe) - getting ready to try that recipe next week! I don't do a lot of cakes, and I hate having all those boxes in the house after a good sale worrying if they'll expire before I get to use them. My coworkers love the WASC, but don't object when I try a scratch recipe.

leah_s Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 12:57pm
post #21 of 34

I only bake from scratch. And I've been baking from scratch since I was 9 years old. I learned in 4H.

It's one of my best marketing tools.

cakegroove Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 1:10pm
post #22 of 34

Some cakes I always and forever bake from scratch, and thanks to my fellow CC family, I now have great doctored box mrecipes to use for some. Using straight up box mixes does not give the final product I like. Especially the white cake. Too crumbly.

Elcee Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 1:11pm
post #23 of 34

I do both, too. Some recipes from scratch (carrot, amaretto, fudge, a couple of chiffon cakes, pound) and some doctored mixes (white, yellow, chocolate and variations of those like mocha, lemon, raspberry and strawberry). I used to bake exclusively from scratch but 1. most people prefer the doctored and 2. I have high altitude to deal with. All of my fillings and frostings are from scratch except fondant, I buy that premade. All other desserts that I make are completely from scratch.

rainbow_kisses Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 1:16pm
post #24 of 34

Only scratch here to and it is all I have ever done, even taught my 4 year old daughter to make cupcakes from scratch with out any help she is a fine baker and her nursery pals lover her for it.

Cupcake1657 Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 1:27pm
post #25 of 34

My Mom and Dad owned a bakery when I was growing up. When Dad retired and sold the business he gave me his recipes. So I bake from scratch using his recipes, cut down of course. icon_biggrin.gifthumbs_up.gif

lssuccess Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 2:02pm
post #26 of 34

From scratch; never, never from a box.

Mama_Mias_Cakes Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 2:05pm
post #27 of 34

I do both. Like Loucinda, my doctored mix cakes are my most requested though.

artscallion Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 2:33pm
post #28 of 34

Scratch only. I find mixes oily and lacking in depth and substance. Plus the ones I've tried not only tasted of chemicals, but left a chemical smell in the kitchen for days. I understand some folks prefer them. I'm not one of those folks and neither are my customers.

cakeprof Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 2:54pm
post #29 of 34
Originally Posted by lssuccess

From scratch; never, never from a box. It's cheating and insulting to the customer. Funny thing, when you read the previous threads, even the ones that use box mixes are ashamed of it and try to hide it.

Well I think this is unfair as it assumes that they think that what they are doing is wrong. In fact if you were being constantly stigmatized for a practice, you would not likely want to talk about it either.

Only do scratch baking (and doing it as a hobby for family and friends). I enjoy the "science" of baking, the tedious measuring, varied mixing practices, tinkering etc. In enjoy thinking about, if I do X to this recipe, what do I have to do to compensate to account for this change---and then seeing what those results produce.

CakePubGirl Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 5:13pm
post #30 of 34

I am a very serious baker, i get into the science of it and all, I have finally found and developed some great recipes after nonstop testing and trying. I have a lot of ambition to say the least.

I started out decorating cakes from the box mix, then doing doctored box mixes.... then I bought the books "cake love" and the cake bible, my collection of books is now taking up a little more than its own shelf. I have some advanced pastry books now also... the quality and flavor and luxury of a scratch cake is incredible. its too hard to turn back to doing a box mix once you've gone sratch.

my guinea pig friends are so spoiled, nothing is as easy for them to enjoy unless its the sensation similar to what i give them with my cakes. My cakes in current photos arent decorated to my best potential yet, however its what the persons ordering it wanted. but what's inside is usually so delicious... even just the way flavors meld, i have had my fair share of disasters too though! my pumkin cake once turned out to be the worst cake to use for a carved pumpkin cake. too tender to hold its self together...

any way the best things about going from scratch-its yours, its incredible after your hard work its an accomplishment, people get almost orgasmic over the quality and pairings.

the worst thing is that its very expensive. I am working on a 5 tier today and last night i was at the store around 10 pm picking up more butter, 8lbs of butter!

well, i am limited on my time I had to answer, but my level of baker is very driven, I just enrolled at the culinary institure Lenotre, becaue my other school wasnt serious enough about an associates degree in pastry. maybe its because im french that I go so crazy over cakes and details... lol!

have a nice day! icon_smile.gif

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