Cake Mixes Vs Baking From Scratch

Decorating By YummyTipsyCakes Updated 22 Feb 2011 , 4:41pm by No-goodLazyBum

YummyTipsyCakes Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 5:03pm
post #1 of 23

I'm not sure if this has been a topic but I was curious to know. Do most of you bake your cakes from scratch or do you use box mixes?

I started out using box mixes because it decreases the cost of me making the cake. This week I'm bake a few cakes from scratch and do some taste tests with clients and also compare my costs. Controlling my cost is very important since I use liquor in all my cakes and cupcakes.

22 replies
leily Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 5:22pm
post #2 of 23

if you look through past threads or do a search the box vs scratch topic has been brought up many times.

The final consensus is you need to do what it right for you. There is no right or wrong way.

cakegirl1973 Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 5:25pm
post #3 of 23

I use doctored mixes, with the exception of chocolate cake, which I use the Hershey's recipe. I spent a long time trying out white cake recipes to find an alternative for brides who did not want WASC. I found a Martha Stewart recipe that turned out pretty good, but when I offered it at a tasting, the brides really did not care for the flavor or the texture when compared to the doctored cakes. So, at least for now, doctored mixes it is. I have not tried scratch cakes with a simple syrup, and from what I have read on several threads on this site, a light coat of simple syrup makes a big difference. That will be my next experiment!

Kiddiekakes Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 6:16pm
post #4 of 23

Leily is right.....You are new here but this topic has been discussed to death so whatever works for you.

Kellbella Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 7:12pm
post #5 of 23

Oh let's not open up this can of worms icon_cry.gif I'm a converted scratch baker with the exception of one doctored cake mix recipe that I love to use...Macsmom's Orange dreamscicle recipe. Everything else I try to make from scratch.

cakesdivine Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 8:14pm
post #6 of 23

Really icon_rolleyes.gif we are doing this again? Do what the first person suggested. Do a search. This is a very common and heated subject. Hoping a mod will lock this puppy down before it gets ugly up in here. icon_sad.gif

ChilliPepper Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 8:36pm
post #7 of 23

OMG - NOT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm from England and we don't get many boxed cake mixes here and what we do get is astronomically expensive so it is much cheaper to bake from scratch and having baked from the age of 10 I wouldn't do it any other way. However I get very envious of some of the lovely cake flavours that you guys on the other side of The Pond seem to produce having loads of box mixes to choose from.

Each to their own!

CP xx

jason_kraft Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 9:44pm
post #8 of 23

If you click the "Report as a bad post" button on the bottom-right of the first post, the mods will take action (and hopefully lock the post with a link to the last mix vs. scratch thread).

YummyTipsyCakes Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 10:30pm
post #9 of 23

Wow! no need for the rudeness. I simply asked a question! If it has been asked before I humbly apologize for asking again...geezzz!!!! I think I'll refrain from asking anymore questions....

TexasSugar Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 10:46pm
post #10 of 23

This is just a sensitive topic. There are people that feel very strongly about it one way or another and it is a topic that always always ends nasty.

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-forums-search.html

You'll find many posts on the topic. But basicly you should do what you feel more comfortable, and just be honest about what you decide to do.

auntiecake Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 11:05pm
post #11 of 23

I understand YummyTipsyCakes. I don't post much either for the same reason. Good Luck to you. I prefer doctored box cakes because of the texture and they aren't as heavy as a scratch cake for the most part. I do make carrot and a few from scratch.

CakeandDazzle Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 11:13pm
post #12 of 23

I am a soley scratch baker, I feel alot of pride in the work that I do & feel that it is becoming a lost art. My white cake is the best that anyone who has tasted it has ever had.... That being said 1000s of bakeries (no chains but fancy wedding places) use mix... But Im pretty sure they doctor them all... like the WASC recipe....

Paperfishies Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 11:51pm
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by YummyTipsyCakes

Wow! no need for the rudeness. I simply asked a question! If it has been asked before I humbly apologize for asking again...geezzz!!!! I think I'll refrain from asking anymore questions....




Agree. I don't search before I ask every question, how lame. Besides, you may want the input of posters that are newer, who haven't chimed in on the subject at hand. A site with so many members can not expect a question to only be asked 1 or twice...Especially with the amount of new people. Also, if cake is going to tick someone off to the point of causing a heated debate where people get butt hurt, then I thin kit may be time for some to turn off their computers and step out into the real world for a bit.

Aren't most of us adults( I would think so since this is the business forum)? I have never understood the need for locking threads on an adult message board. Unless someone is threatening personal safety, people should be allowed to ask/debate/discuss whatever.

Paperfishies Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 11:55pm
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by YummyTipsyCakes

I'm not sure if this has been a topic but I was curious to know. Do most of you bake your cakes from scratch or do you use box mixes?




It depends on the cake, honestly. 99% of my cakes are from scratch...Really the only boxed cake mixes I use are the Duncan Hines spice cake and the strawberry cake and when I use those I "doctor" them. I use buttermilk in place of the water and in the spice cake I use a a little almond extract and a bit of dark rum. I haven't had a made from scratch spice cake that touches the duncan hines boxed mix. It's consistent, moist and keeps cost down because I don't have to have 10 million things on hand that I would only use in this cake.

jason_kraft Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 12:08am
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paperfishies

I have never understood the need for locking threads on an adult message board. Unless someone is threatening personal safety, people should be allowed to ask/debate/discuss whatever.



Locking threads helps keep the forum relatively organized and avoids duplication of effort, so the knowledge and opinions about a specific subject can be consolidated in a single thread instead of spread out across multiple threads.

Quote:
Quote:

Also, if cake is going to tick someone off to the point of causing a heated debate where people get butt hurt, then I thin kit may be time for some to turn off their computers and step out into the real world for a bit.



The same could be said for people taking personal offense when strangers tell them their topic has been discussed before. icon_wink.gif

lynn1968 Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 12:11am
post #16 of 23

i reckon it's all opinion, just like a person's tastes. i personally am not a fan of paying $30 for a sheet cake made from a box, though, from a higher end bakery who you rather assume bakes from scratch. that's just me.

now, as my wife and i get into a cake bakery, she's already decided that she's going to bake from scratch. that's something we'll advertise, too. 'our cakes are made from scratch and never frozen.' if the local 'big time' bakery says that, it'll be a lie, but there's also the illusion that scratch made cakes are better. some are better, some ain't. depends on how good your cake is. icon_smile.gif

let me put it to you this way: do you know any bakery that boasts about making doctored box cakes? i don't. hey, they may be delicious, but i imagine a bakery that uses them keeps that information pretty close to their chest, no?

as far as costs, my wife has determined that the price is pretty much about the same. i have to take her word on that. my thing is, if there is a slightly higher cost to scratch cake, then it's worth it for her to feel proud about making them. that said, in terms of the bottom line, box cakes are probably ultimately cheaper in the long run as they go on sale. also, they can be pretty good!

and, yes, she absolutely uses simple syrup on her scratch cakes. she did some cupcakes last night, and i asked her to leave it off of some so i can see what the difference is. she was a little unthrilled with wasting some sugar, but she did it anyway just to shut me up.

anyway, that's just my opinion on it. as mentioned, there's no right or wrong. after all, it comes down to taste and texture as far as the customer is concerned, but for the baker it may be an issue of cost and personal pride. (not to impugn those what uses box mixes, mind you. my wife happens to have a particular work ethic about such things that dictates such a philosophy. it's her personal choice, as it is everyone else's.)

Paperfishies Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 12:28am
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paperfishies

I have never understood the need for locking threads on an adult message board. Unless someone is threatening personal safety, people should be allowed to ask/debate/discuss whatever.


Locking threads helps keep the forum relatively organized and avoids duplication of effort, so the knowledge and opinions about a specific subject can be consolidated in a single thread instead of spread out across multiple threads.

Quote:
Quote:

Also, if cake is going to tick someone off to the point of causing a heated debate where people get butt hurt, then I thin kit may be time for some to turn off their computers and step out into the real world for a bit.


The same could be said for people taking personal offense when strangers tell them their topic has been discussed before. icon_wink.gif




Difference is, I'm not ticked off, not even really annoyed. I frequent other online forums where people routinely call each other the C word and drop F bombs like it's their job, so this is hardly something that ticks me off. I literally giggled to myself when everyone was going on about how heated the scratch VS boxed debate gets. Definitely a head scratcher.

reading this forum VS the other forums on this site is like day and night. Most forums are super welcoming to newbs. In this forum, it seems as though newbs are constantly getting the, "G-d you are so effin dumb" attitude. Which I don't really understand because every forum on here should be welcoming to anyone who has anything constructive to add to the subject at hand. Old can learn from new just as new can learn from old. However, I suppose this is just like any other forum, cliques are formed and the newbs get roasted in.

rvtanya Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 12:30am
post #18 of 23

Really!!! icon_eek.gif People should keep their rudeness to themselves. We don't come on here for cranky cakers insults icon_mad.gif . Many of us are new to the site and don't know how it all works yet and remember you were once new too. I think that all the information on here is informative and I appreciate hearing of everyone's tips and experience no matter how many times it was discussed.

That being said, I do scratch cakes and doctored box cakes. Obviously, box is cheaper and I can appreciate you wanting to keep costs down. I do prefer the taste of scratch. Good luck on whatever you decide.

jason_kraft Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 12:35am
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paperfishies

In this forum, it seems as though newbs are constantly getting the, "G-d you are so effin dumb" attitude.



Really? I haven't noticed that attitude toward newbies at all. The "rudest" thing posted in this thread was probably "OMG not again", which expresses exasperation toward the topic of the thread and not the poster.

I do agree that even at its worst this forum is the epitome of politeness when compared with the rest of the internet. That could be why the tolerance for perceived slights is generally lower.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 12:59am
post #20 of 23

Hmm, once again, not seeing what is so offensive or rude about what has been posted so far. I don't think anyone was saying "You are so dumb for not knowing this was posted before", just reacting to the topic itself because it's been discussed to death and always goes on for pages and pages (and pages)....

Even despite that feeling toward the topic, they are still answering your question, are they not? My response is actually just copied and pasted from the other topic that started to go this way:

We've always gotten rave reviews on all of our cake flavors, and we do both mix and scratch, depending on the flavor. It's more about what we have found is well liked. If we do a box for one flavor, and people can't stop talking about how amazing it is, BINGO, we've found a winner for that flavor. Likewise, if we do a scratch recipe for another flavor, and people say it's the best cake they've ever had, BINGO, we've found a winner for that flavor! We're not going to switch to a mix for a scratch cake that people love, and we're not going to switch to a scratch for a flavor when people love the doctored mix. Why mess with success?

Loucinda Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 1:07am
post #21 of 23

Well put CakeMaster!

Do what works for you and your business. It is really pretty easy. If it aint' broke, don't fix it!

FYI, I do doctored mixes, which I add very high end chocolate, fresh free range eggs, vanilla that I make myself (30 vanilla beans per fifth) fresh sour cream, fresh home grown berries (from my own berry patches) - my doctored mixes cost me all of this PLUS the cost of the mix...NO, they're NOT cheaper than my "scratch" cakes.

TexasSugar Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 3:58pm
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paperfishies

Aren't most of us adults( I would think so since this is the business forum)? I have never understood the need for locking threads on an adult message board. Unless someone is threatening personal safety, people should be allowed to ask/debate/discuss whatever.




Threads get locked because some of them turn very negative and that affects the whole mood of the board and how the message board is percieved. People that are new when some of the heated topics are going on often leave because they don't see the board as being a helpful place.

No one is saying you have to search every topic you want to ask. I've been around cake message boards for years. I realize the same topics and questions come up over and over again. But searching can help you get answers that are still great, even if they are a year old. Sometimes searching gets your answers faster, with other people on the other end having type in the same reply over and over. There are sometimes when I answer something that I feel like I am saying the exact same thing for the 10th time.

There are a few topics, scratch/mix baking, stealing cake pictures (which is a topic that is no longer allowed at all), and some others always end in heated debates. They are like the religious/political topics in the cake world. People feel very strongly about them, they arent going to change their minds, and in the end it just ends up with people going at each other. How is that helpful or productive on a message board?

No-goodLazyBum Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 4:41pm
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loucinda

Well put CakeMaster!

FYI, I do doctored mixes, which I add very high end chocolate, fresh free range eggs, vanilla that I make myself (30 vanilla beans per fifth) fresh sour cream, fresh home grown berries (from my own berry patches)...




I really like that perspective. It makes the mix sound like its just another ingredient and not the end result. icon_smile.gif

Anyway, I think the concept we sometimes miss in these threads is PROFESSIONALISM. Theoretically, when I ask a question on this "business" forum I assume that the people responding are getting paid for what they have done thus by definition they are professionals. Therefore I tend to expect a professional answer. More and more responses to newbie questions are falling short of that. If you don't want to revisit certain questions then don't click on them. The thread titles aren't deceiving.

Having said that, as I have found out many times, no one can answer the scratch versus mix question for you. Yet I keep asking it too. I do both (bakery-style and home-style). I just try to figure out which recipe gives the most appealing taste for any given product I am asked to do. Customers seem to like the option and its all subjective anyway.

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