Cake Mix In A Shop?

Decorating By Chefperl Updated 25 Jan 2011 , 4:51am by motherofgrace

Chefperl Posted 16 Jan 2011 , 5:52pm
post #1 of 45

when i started out making cakes, I was doing it for fun. I do not like to bake (i luv to cook) but i do love to decorate. I soon was asked to make cakes for this person and that person and before I knew it I had a business. I make a few cakes a week and a few dozen cupcakes. I have a great reputation and I have a nitch bc i am kosher and I also do gluten free. Everyone keeps asking when I am opening a shop. I would love to have my on shop and have 2 ppl interested in investing. So whats the problem? My vanilla, Lemon and key lime cakes are Cake mix based (DH). How can I open a shop using mixes? Do people do it? for a while i tried switching to scratch cake sna d ppl complained that they didnt like my new recipes. They said they were ok, but not as moist and melt in your mouth like my old recipe. I use my own variation of a WASC, so it is a good cake. I even have a customer who owned a bakery for 20 years and he loves my cake. So isit possobe to have a shop where 3 of your cakes are mix based? and if so how can i buy them in large quantity?
thanks for the help.

44 replies
KJ62798 Posted 16 Jan 2011 , 6:07pm
post #2 of 45

Many bakeries use commercial mixes--50lb bags of white or chocolate mix that is the base for their various flavors. If your customer base likes your cakes there is no reason for you to change.

You are marketing yourself based on flavor, the decorations, GF and Kosher.

Kristy

madgeowens Posted 16 Jan 2011 , 6:11pm
post #3 of 45

Back in the 70s I worked for two different grocery bakery's and they used box mixes, people loved their cakes too haha

Kiddiekakes Posted 16 Jan 2011 , 6:14pm
post #4 of 45

Exactly...Don't you think that big bakeries don't use large bags of cake mixes?? Yup...Maybe Buddy doesn't but he is few and far between nowadays....He can afford the extra cost for specialty ingredients and bake scratch because his business is very successful and busy all the time so I'm sure he isn't hurting money wise ...

If you add your own touches and extra ingredients I don't think it really matters whether you are using a cake mix or bulk ingredients.JMO

paolacaracas Posted 16 Jan 2011 , 8:20pm
post #5 of 45

I think people are very used to premix cakes, more than scratch. I also think that parve cakes are way better from premix than scratch. Many premixes have kosher seals like Puratos brand for example.
i'm also opening a kosher cake bussines in Miami. Let's exchange recipes! Mazal tov in your new bussines.

jason_kraft Posted 16 Jan 2011 , 10:13pm
post #6 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiddiekakes

He can afford the extra cost for specialty ingredients and bake scratch because his business is very successful and busy all the time so I'm sure he isn't hurting money wise ...



Baking from scratch is actually cheaper than using box mixes if you buy the raw ingredients in bulk. Traditional scratch cakes don't really have "specialty" ingredients...even gluten-free scratch recipes are cheap, since the main ingredient is usually rice flour, which is available in bulk from most restaurant supply stores.

cakelady2266 Posted 16 Jan 2011 , 10:39pm
post #7 of 45

I have a bakery and I use Duncan Hines solely for my basic flavors. Cake mixes are very reliable, have a moist texture and can even be doctored up easily. Don't get me wrong I can make some mean scratch cakes, Italian cream, hummingbird, apple, but they aren't requested very often.

So if ain't broke don't fix it.

Chefperl Posted 17 Jan 2011 , 12:03am
post #8 of 45

thanks everyone for the positive notes. paola, we can meet in person, I am coming to miami in a week and half for the ING marathon. PM me and we can chat.

Annabakescakes Posted 17 Jan 2011 , 1:38am
post #9 of 45

I worked for a custom bakery in a retail location that also sells cake decorating supplies. They SOLELY rely on mixes, not even doctored, just straight up cake mix. They buy premade frozen cookie dough too! They make their own icing, but it sucks! They buy buckets of ganache, and they are really lousy! They have a booming business. Run your business they best way you can, and if that is mixes, then do it

BTW, my scratch cakes taste like play doh, I use doctored mixes. Everybody loves my cakes.

itsacake Posted 17 Jan 2011 , 3:16am
post #10 of 45

Mazal Tov Chefperl and Paola! I just opened a kosher special order cake and pastry business in California! If either of you think my experiences can be of any assistance to you, feel free to PM me. It can get tricky with the kosher supervision--especially if you want to do both dairy and pareve cakes.
I don't use mixes, so can't help on that front, but anything else I'd be happy to share.

angelgirl94 Posted 17 Jan 2011 , 3:50am
post #11 of 45

I used to work at a bakery where all of the cakes were from a mix. When they switched to scratch, the customers complained. I say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". You are obviously producing quality cakes, have a strong customer base, and you even have the admiration of a 20-year veteran in the industry. You are doing just fine as is.

tryingcake Posted 17 Jan 2011 , 5:02am
post #12 of 45

I worked in a bakery where all cakes came in frozen from a supplier. I hated working there because you don't get to practice a lot of creativity when you are a newbie. BUT... I learned how to ice cakes smooth and fast as well as a few other valuable lessons. That was worth working there.

shanney54 Posted 17 Jan 2011 , 1:01pm
post #13 of 45

My dad works at a local bulk foods distributor. Over the years I've heard him talk about how not only bakeries, but a lot of restaurants buy frozen stuff from them, reheat, and sell it. He's also brought home huge bags of cake mixes that were close to the expiration date and tell me about all the bakeries that used it for their cakes.

Even still it doesn't sound like you use just regular cake mix when you use it. I use the WASC recipe when I make cakes now and know how many extra ingredients go into it.

4realLaLa Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 4:47am
post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiddiekakes

He can afford the extra cost for specialty ingredients and bake scratch because his business is very successful and busy all the time so I'm sure he isn't hurting money wise ...


Baking from scratch is actually cheaper than using box mixes if you buy the raw ingredients in bulk. Traditional scratch cakes don't really have "specialty" ingredients...even gluten-free scratch recipes are cheap, since the main ingredient is usually rice flour, which is available in bulk from most restaurant supply stores.




I have to disagree baking from scratch is more expensive. Let's see from scratch: unsalted butter, sugar, eggs, milk or half and half, vanilla, sour cream (in some recipes)

and from a box: box of cake mix which is probably a dollar or two, eggs and maybe some oil or water.

That's a big difference. I bake from scratch and it is not cheap.

4realLaLa Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 4:49am
post #15 of 45

Oh but I wanted to add that some people prefer box mixes and if your customers love your cake the way it is you probably shouldn't change. Good luck.

scp1127 Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 4:52am
post #16 of 45

Baking from scratch with high end ingredients is super expensive!

rmbias1 Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 4:59am
post #17 of 45

I've decided to open shop and I use box mixes, sometimes doctored, sometimes straight up. I've been wondering the same thing. Where can you buy cake mixes in bulk? I've never seen them at Sam's.

heyjules Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 5:06am
post #18 of 45

Just out of curiosity, I've not looked into it at all, but what mixes can you buy gluten free & kosher?

icer101 Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 5:16am
post #19 of 45

This subject came up couple days ago. One c/cer that totally bakes from scratch said it cost her more to try the wasc recipe than her regular scratch cake ingredients. I do both. Scratch and enhanced cake mix cakes. Yeah, just a box mix , eggs and water is cheap, but most on here make the wasc or enhanced box mix recipes.

jason_kraft Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 6:21am
post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4realLaLa

I have to disagree baking from scratch is more expensive. Let's see from scratch: unsalted butter, sugar, eggs, milk or half and half, vanilla, sour cream (in some recipes)

and from a box: box of cake mix which is probably a dollar or two, eggs and maybe some oil or water.



Depends on the recipe...our regular scratch mix costs about 90% of the sale price of box mixes ($1 on Amazon). We do not use WASC as we have a proprietary mix that is dairy-free and nut-free. Of course, if we had to pay grocery store prices for ingredients (even sale prices) then the mix would be cheaper.

Frosting is a different story, as canned frosting is considerably cheaper, but there's no way we would put canned frosting on a product we sold.

jason_kraft Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 6:33am
post #21 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by heyjules

Just out of curiosity, I've not looked into it at all, but what mixes can you buy gluten free & kosher?



For GF baking I would recommend making your own mix...the largest component is rice flour, and it is about the same price as traditional flour if you buy in bulk. Some of the other specialty ingredients (like xanthan gum) are pretty expensive but luckily you don't need a lot of them.

The GF box mixes we've seen are acceptable but still leave a lot to be desired, and they are about 3 times the price of traditional mixes.

I'm not an expert on kosher foods, but if the mix is dairy-free and vegan it should be a non-issue.

itsacake Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 6:58am
post #22 of 45

Kosher is pretty much never a non-issue, unless you are just doing it for a random person who isn't all that picky in the first place or they would be buying from someone certified.

If you are under kosher supervision, pretty much everything you use has to be certified kosher and your supervising authority will tell you which certifications are valid. Even some fruits are not allowed unless inspected. My current supervision requires even milk and powdered sugar to be certified with what they consider reliable supervision. Things like lustre dust and other colors and flavorings can be quite tricky. I have to have the appropriate certifications on hand at all times for all the ingredients I use.

For example, for me, C&H powdered sugar is OK, but the Walmart powdered sugar is not, because my supervisors don't think that certification is reliable. Valrhona chocolate is certified, but I can't use it because that certification is not accepted by my supervisors and a large part of the community. Kosher is really, really complicated. It's like the health department, but the kosher authtorities are in the kitchen at least once a week, if not more often, and they look at everything all the time. It is expensive, besides.

If you are certified and looking for mixes, it is best to talk to your supervisors up front, because they can sometimes help you source ingredients.

Annabakescakes Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 7:14am
post #23 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by heyjules

Just out of curiosity, I've not looked into it at all, but what mixes can you buy gluten free & kosher?


For GF baking I would recommend making your own mix...the largest component is rice flour, and it is about the same price as traditional flour if you buy in bulk. Some of the other specialty ingredients (like xanthan gum) are pretty expensive but luckily you don't need a lot of them.

The GF box mixes we've seen are acceptable but still leave a lot to be desired, and they are about 3 times the price of traditional mixes.

I'm not an expert on kosher foods, but if the mix is dairy-free and vegan it should be a non-issue.




I happen to have some Betty Crocker gluten free yellow cake mix here, and it is Kosher Pareve thumbs_up.gif

I am not Jewish, so I have a lot to learn, but I worked in a Kosher bakery and I spoke to the Rabbi about it often because I wanted to know more. In Kosher baking, it is normally pareve (neutral) or dairy. Meat and dairy cannot be consumed together, so if you had steak for dinner, your cake afterwords must be pareve. Gelatin is not Kosher, unless it is fish gelatin. But to be kosher, the manufacturer must also be Kosher. The mix is not kosher if it comes in contact with ingredients that are not Kosher, even if it is washed. There are some items that are "naturally" kosher, but you grow them, but they are not kosher if you use un-kosher compost, or pesticides, or if they have bugs. Bugs aren't Kosher thumbs_up.gif

The Kosher bakery I worked at was in a grocery store, so we had access to additional ingredients and I always played it safe by using only ingredients marked kosher, and if the symbol was different than other symbols, I would not use it until I asked the Rabbi. He was very helpful and very kind. Even though I am a Christian, I took it VERY seriously. I think that if I even inadvertently served food to a Jew that wasn't Kosher or got dairy in something that was supposed to be served with meat, even if it turns out that it is not necessary, they believe that it is, so I think I would be judged on that. And if it is necessary, and I mixed some stuff up on purpose....Heaven help me! Plus it is downright rude and hateful to disrespect and mess with someone's spirituality.

What additives would you recommend adding to it to make it tastier, Jason? It is intended for someone with celiac, so I don't think it has to be dairy free, but i would like some non-dairy suggestions, just in case.

Annabakescakes Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 7:25am
post #24 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by itsacake

Kosher is pretty much never a non-issue, unless you are just doing it for a random person who isn't all that picky in the first place or they would be buying from someone certified.

If you are under kosher supervision, pretty much everything you use has to be certified kosher and your supervising authority will tell you which certifications are valid. Even some fruits are not allowed unless inspected. My current supervision requires even milk and powdered sugar to be certified with what they consider reliable supervision. Things like lustre dust and other colors and flavorings can be quite tricky. I have to have the appropriate certifications on hand at all times for all the ingredients I use.

For example, for me, C&H powdered sugar is OK, but the Walmart powdered sugar is not, because my supervisors don't think that certification is reliable. Valrhona chocolate is certified, but I can't use it because that certification is not accepted by my supervisors and a large part of the community. Kosher is really, really complicated. It's like the health department, but the kosher authtorities are in the kitchen at least once a week, if not more often, and they look at everything all the time. It is expensive, besides.

If you are certified and looking for mixes, it is best to talk to your supervisors up front, because they can sometimes help you source ingredients.




I am a slow typist, lol! We must have been posting at the same time, but you got done way before me. (Plus, I think I got up to get a drink during icon_lol.gif )

When I worked at the bakery, the Jews were so excited to have kosher decorated cakes, i was happy to be a part of it. I was thinking of keeping a Kosher kitchen in my bakery, but I know that my pans would have to be blow torched and I am not enthusiastic about that.

Are you able to keep the pareve and dairy separate in the same kitchen? Or would I need to focus on one or the other? I have two ovens and I know you can slip a plastic basin in your regular sink to keep it separate. What are the major pitfalls for someone who is not accustomed to Kosher baking, you think?

itsacake Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 7:51am
post #25 of 45

The pans thing is a case in point. In a previous kitchen where I was renting space, the masgiach (kosher wupervisor) torched some of my pans and I was allowed to bring them in. Now I have "more stringent" and more universally accepted supervision and I had to have all new pans. They told me cake pans can not be made kosher--and they actually had all only been used in a my home kosher kitchen and were all pareve. It just depends on your supervisor.

I do have two separate ovens and use big tubs in my three compartment sink to wash my pareve dishes separately from the dairy ones and so they don't actually touch the sink that has had dairy in it. I have two sets of everything as you would imagine. Two rolling pins, two sets of cake pans, two sets of pots for making fillings, two sets of bowls and beaters for my 20 quart and for the 6 quarts. Two food processors, two sets of pot holders, separate sheet pans, and it goes on and on. There are separate work ares for when I am doing dairy or pareve cakes and pastries and my gumpaste area is separate and kept pareve at all times.

If you are not used to it, keeping everything separate and not using the wrong rolling pin or the wrong mixing bowl can be confusing. Finding certified ingredients can be frustrating sometimes and can be more expensive.

I'm not sure everyone really want to hear all the nitty gritty, so if you want more details, PM me and I'll try to answer as much as I can.

jason_kraft Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 11:39am
post #26 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

What additives would you recommend adding to it to make it tastier, Jason? It is intended for someone with celiac, so I don't think it has to be dairy free, but i would like some non-dairy suggestions, just in case.



The main issue we've found with box GF mixes is the use of potato starch, which leads to a gritty texture, and soy flour and/or chickpea flour, which are fine in breads but can color the flavor of the GF cake. We use rice flour in combination with tapioca starch and sorghum flour, along with xanthan gum as a thickener.

Going dairy-free is actually quite easy, just replace milk with soy milk or rice milk and use non-dairy margarine instead of butter.

tryingcake Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 2:05am
post #27 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4realLaLa


and from a box: box of cake mix which is probably a dollar or two, eggs and maybe some oil or water.

That's a big difference. I bake from scratch and it is not cheap.




I bake both - but.....

When do I make a mix cake it is never by the directions on the back. I use juices, liqueur, milk, sour cream.. a whole slew of things will replace the water.

I use applesauce in all my box mixes to replace the oil

I usually add an egg for more density.

So, it may or may not be cheaper than scratch by the time I'm done. A cheap no frills cake to me is using the applesauce and exchanging 1/2 of the water for sour cream. Even my budget brides get this.

kelleym Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 2:22am
post #28 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

Going dairy-free is actually quite easy, just replace milk with soy milk or rice milk and use non-dairy margarine instead of butter.



That is very interesting, I admire your wife's baking skill. My son is allergic to dairy, and the scratch cakes I've tried to make him using soy margarine and soy milk have come out like greasy bricks. icon_redface.gif He hated them, and I could see why! I was thrilled to find that Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker each have several varieties of dairy-free mix. King Arthur Flour also has a good chocolate one. All of them just require the standard water, oil, and eggs.

For his "buttercream", I now use hi-ratio shortening with coconut milk as my liquid. It's amazing, I serve it to everyone and they love it. Actually, coconut milk gets me out of quite a few pinches.

Cakeonista Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 2:37am
post #29 of 45

Baking from scratch is not more expensive at all, buying eggs, flour and sugar in bulk are very low priced and when you doctor a mix you add all these ingredients in your recipe as well as the mix so it costs more. Like someone said if it isn't broken do not fix it, do what works for you. Good Luck to you!

cownsj Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 3:02am
post #30 of 45

I remember seeing on the NY news station a week or so ago that NYC laid off all their Kosher Inspectors. They interviewed some Kosher establishments and they were all very upset by this, mainly they said because it puts everyone on their honor system and not everyone will strictly adhere to it. This makes me glad for those of you who are so concerned with so careful with this.

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