Would You Do This? For All The Scratch Bakers

Decorating By CVB Updated 16 Feb 2011 , 3:12pm by sugardugar

CVB Posted 24 Jan 2011 , 7:35pm
post #1 of 22

I have been asked by a customer to make a Birthday Cake that tastes like a boxed cherry cake mix. I don't make cake mix cakes, I always bake from scratch.

I can't imagine that I can make a scratch taste like a box, why would I want to try? I can make a cherry cake but it's not going to be the same flavour.

In theory have no issues making them a box mix since they asked, but one of my big points to customers is that I do not use a box mix. I am talking out of both sides of my mouth if I take this on?

Thoughts?

21 replies
I_AM_PAM_10 Posted 24 Jan 2011 , 7:44pm
post #2 of 22

The customer is always right...right? Whatever they want. So do it her way and make sure your decorating is your usual superb work. No one else needs to know that "just this once" it came from a box. If you doctor it up, she'll know the difference if a boxed cherry cake is a regular at her house. Good luck.

cs_confections Posted 24 Jan 2011 , 7:45pm
post #3 of 22

I'm a hobby baker and bake both scratch and doctored box mix, but my advice would be to tell them what you said here:

"I can make a cherry cake but it's not going to be the same flavour.

In theory have no issues making them a box mix since they asked, but one of my big points to customers is that I do not use a box mix."

My father-in-law prefers canned fudge icing over ganache or chocolate buttercream, so while I try to always do scratch for icings and fillings, I know I won't make him happy with that, so I use canned icing on his.

If you're okay with doing a box mix for a special request, then do so. Just let them know up front in case they tell everyone that you make a scratch cake that tastes exactly like such and such mix.

AnotherCaker Posted 24 Jan 2011 , 8:00pm
post #4 of 22

"Customer is always right." That cracks me up. So, no you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. If the customer is always right, I'd be buried in character star tipped, ribbon wrapped, swiss dotted hell! I refer lots of jobs out that I just don't feel like doing. Personally, I would offer a scratch cherry cake, made as I usually do.

leily Posted 24 Jan 2011 , 8:04pm
post #5 of 22

I would tell them that I don't have a recipe that is similiar to the box cherry chip mix, but i do have a cherry cake i can offer.

You need to be comfortable with the product your sending out.

And i have tried to find a scratch recipe that is close to the cherry chip cake mix (fans in my family) and i haven't found anything close.

jillyscakes Posted 24 Jan 2011 , 8:15pm
post #6 of 22

If you bake from scratch and are uncomfortable using box mix then you must say so. I am lucky that over here no one uses box mixes much and customers always expect scratch.

No-goodLazyBum Posted 24 Jan 2011 , 8:19pm
post #7 of 22

I too think you should offer YOUR cherry cake. If she is asking for a box mix replica maybe she has had problems in the past with buying a scratch cake that was dry or maybe she has a taste for cherry flavoring and not the real thing (I have that same craving). Nevertheless you should sell her on YOUR cake. Otherwise you are flirting with Pandora's Box.

And no ... the customer is not always right.

kansaslaura Posted 24 Jan 2011 , 8:36pm
post #8 of 22

This kind of thing has been discussed before--but here is my spin,

First of all you might as well accept that the customer, in their own mind--and rightly so IS always right. Put yourself in their shoes. They are out ...SHOPPING... remember that word SHOPPING for just a moment... for what they are looking for.. what they want!

Do you always find what you want at the first place you stop? I don't.

Sometimes you gotta "shop around"

You are probably not the baker for this person if they want a 'cake mix tasting cake' and you're a scratch baker. Would compare to me going to a great BBQ joint and asking them to make me a sandwich that tasted JUSSSTTTT Like a McRib... I bet they'd tell me exactly where I could find a McRib... icon_lol.gif

No biggy--but this does not make the customer wrong, they just stopped in the wrong place for their tastes.

KoryAK Posted 24 Jan 2011 , 8:43pm
post #9 of 22

I have had this exact same request from a long time customer . He buys cakes for all the people in his family and this one guy really wanted the cherry chip. The first year I talked him into my scratch cherry cake with cherry mousse. The next year they specifically requested the cherry chip box mix. They liked the scratch one, but it wasn't exactly the same. I made the box, they were happy. They still get my regular scratch cakes for everyone else and don't "think any less of me" for using a box just that once, they are just happy that we will do whatever it takes. icon_smile.gif

FromScratchSF Posted 25 Jan 2011 , 2:09am
post #10 of 22

Gotta agree with previous posters, I would offer my recipe, but if they are specifically asking me to make a mix, I'd do it, and charge what I'd normally charge for a cake. I use some high-end ingredients so if they want to pay me the same amount of money for a fraction of my usual out of pocket expenses, then fine.

Obviously they are coming to you because they like your personality, and/or decorator ability and style, and/or reputation. I'd be totally cool with that and give them what they want.

Loucinda Posted 25 Jan 2011 , 4:26am
post #11 of 22

I guess it depends on if you want to keep this person as a customer. If you do what the customer wants - you will more than likely have them be loyal to you for whatever they want to order. If you tell them they can only get what YOU want to make, be prepared to loose them - and any future orders from them. (and also either the praise or negative feedback that would go along with each decision) I'd say it's your call. I know what I would do.

Nusi Posted 25 Jan 2011 , 4:55am
post #12 of 22

well u dont make mixes "and i dont either" but if the customer asks for it then wat can u do!!
honestly i dont like the taste of them they taste too artificial but most people love them and actually some people dont know the diffirence.. my advice make ur life simple and do the mix..
and make it clear that u do a mix only if the customer asked for it

cheriej Posted 25 Jan 2011 , 5:33am
post #13 of 22

I agree with previous advice that do it but make sure they know it is a singular transaction. Still, I bake from scratch and I had not used a box mix for a long time. Then I found that WASC recipe, made it once and I can't get people to stop asking for it. Personally I don't think it tastes that great but that is because I taste the box mix in it. But people like it so I make it if they want it. I guess I understand your hesitating on this.

Love2BakeCakes Posted 25 Jan 2011 , 5:38am
post #14 of 22

It would really feel strange doing a request like this, but I would step outside the box and do it at least once. And if I didn't care to do it again, I wouldn't. But I would decorate and set the price as I would any other cake. But I would also offer a Cherry cake of my own.

Wow, something to think about ... I have not had this to happen to me yet.

scp1127 Posted 25 Jan 2011 , 4:25pm
post #15 of 22

I market myself as a scratch baker. If I sold a box mix cake, my name and reputation get sold with that cake. It will be served to many people. I can spot a doctored mix and a box mix. If I was served a box mix cake from a company that specializes in scratch, I would say, "she's no scratch baker, this is Duncan Hines".

Absolutely no. never. "The customer is always right", slogan pertains to trying to appease an unhappy customer, not be everything for everybody. I have said this before... trying to be everything to everybody is business suicide. Look at any successful company. They find their niche in the market, and do the best job they can in their spot. Example, Walmart for the masses, Whole Foods for a market with a larger income. I am a former marketing company owner. Do not stray from your mission statement... a one sentence statement that describes your business.

FromScratchSF Posted 25 Jan 2011 , 7:50pm
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

I market myself as a scratch baker. If I sold a box mix cake, my name and reputation get sold with that cake. It will be served to many people. I can spot a doctored mix and a box mix. If I was served a box mix cake from a company that specializes in scratch, I would say, "she's no scratch baker, this is Duncan Hines".

Absolutely no. never. "The customer is always right", slogan pertains to trying to appease an unhappy customer, not be everything for everybody. I have said this before... trying to be everything to everybody is business suicide. Look at any successful company. They find their niche in the market, and do the best job they can in their spot. Example, Walmart for the masses, Whole Foods for a market with a larger income. I am a former marketing company owner. Do not stray from your mission statement... a one sentence statement that describes your business.




Er, that kind of makes a whole bunch of sense... so scratch my previous comment icon_biggrin.gif

Annabakescakes Posted 25 Jan 2011 , 8:29pm
post #17 of 22

Well, I bake from mixes, and I HATE cherries, with a passion, and the only cherry cake I would ever eat is artificial cherry.

That being said, why don't you use your white cake, with cherry chips? I don't know if you can order them, but I get them around Christmas, and keep them in the fridge. When they are gone, they are gone. I may have a bag here.....YEP! Log House Cherry flavored Baking Morsels. And I looked it up and you can order them! Here you go! http://loghousefoods.elsstore.com/view/product/?id=18564&cid=2548 They have that nice artificial flavor your customers are looking for, but they are large. I have made them smaller by melting them, spreading it on my Silpat, and freezing. Then, when you take them out of the freezer, roll it up to crumble them, and then flatten the roll, and then unroll and dump in your batter. Sweet artificial yum, from scratch!

scp1127 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:32am
post #18 of 22

Scratch bakers normally do not bake with artificial chips. And if it indeed tastes artificial, then that would also negatively affect the business profile. A scratch cake with real cherries... in any form... is probably not what that customer wants, so let her go.

Annabakescakes Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 10:52am
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

Scratch bakers normally do not bake with artificial chips. And if it indeed tastes artificial, then that would also negatively affect the business profile. A scratch cake with real cherries... in any form... is probably not what that customer wants, so let her go.




They are definitely very artificial. Ingredients: Sugar Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Reduced Mineral Whey Powder. Nonfat Dry Milk Solids, Anhydrous Dextrose, Soya Lecithin (an Emulsifier), Salt, Artificial Flavor and Red Lake No. 40.
Contains milk and soy.


Not very appetizing, reading the ingredients...Probably won't be eating them by the handful anymore!

But if it a customer who loves this sort thing, I would do it to make them happy. I am doing some gluten free cake next month for a lady, not what I usually do, so I am afraid it will taste bad, but that was what the customer wanted. I researched the crud out of it and I am nervous about contamination, but I know to scrub twice, and do it before I do my regular baking, and cover it well in a sealed box. I will even buy some new items to use for it. I do what pays the bills.

I think the OP should do what ever she wants. If you want to make it with a mix or scratch with 1 artificial ingredient, or not at all, be sure what you are doing is best for you, and your family. If you can afford to send a customer away, then no biggie, but if you cannot, then what? I will use whatever the customer wants, if they pay for it, and no one is harmed.

scp1127 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 12:51pm
post #20 of 22

Annabakescakes, your market is different. You aren't marketing yourself as a scratch baker. You are trying to reach a broader audience. But without some type of edge, whatever it may be to set you apart, you fall into the wide range of general cakers. And that is usually where everyone else is also. A business with a niche market goes after a narrower range of customers, usually an untapped market, and they find they have the market all to themselves. Most scratch bakers who bake with high quality, expensive ingredients, do just that. Compromising by selling a product outside your target market may put the scratch baker into the "market to the masses category", thus losing the niche market she has worked so hard to get.

PistachioCranberry Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 1:33pm
post #21 of 22

I agree with scp1127, don't do it. If you do and others that eat it want that same cake, it will never end. Once one person does it they tell other's about it and soon you will have a kitchen of box mixes for those "I prefer the box mix taste".

If they taste your scratch and don't like it, maybe you can point them to a different baker that you know uses mixes.

sugardugar Posted 16 Feb 2011 , 3:12pm
post #22 of 22

some people aren't realizing, i don't think, that the customer does NOT want her to use a box mix. that is the problem. they want the box replicated without the box mix.

you have to be honest. tell them you're sorry but there;s no actual way to replicate that recipe from scratch. you can offer the box mix, doctor it to make it a little more "scratchy" feeling, or try your cherry cake recipe.

good luck!

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