Selling Modified Box Mix Cakes

Decorating By acarolann Updated 2 Mar 2011 , 6:56pm by scp1127

acarolann Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 8:48pm
post #1 of 19

For those of you who sell cakes made from the WASC recipe or the 3D Durable Cake recipe (under most saved recipes), what do you say to clients who ask if your cakes are made from scratch. Does anyone feel as though you are cheating a customer by not using a 100% scratch recipe especially the 3D Durable Cake recipe...Is it best to volunteer that information before making a cake for someone.

18 replies
sillywabbitz Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 8:52pm
post #2 of 19

Truth is always best. Tell them you start your cakes with a cake mix because it saves you time by having pre-measured ingredients, cake mix are less sensitive to weather changes and thus gives you a stable base to work from everytime. Stress that your cakes are not straight box mixes. If they care they should go with another baker.

icer101 Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 8:53pm
post #3 of 19

there have been so many threads on this . I have linked you to one of them. hth


http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=390685&sid=99281f5de2bff4832c84132d181af451

platinumlady Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 8:58pm
post #4 of 19

To be honest no one really ask. The main statement I hear is I want a cake that is moist & taste great. Most have tasted a cake I made for a friend or relative of theirs. Most people are use to a box cake just from what they ate while growing up etc.

If someone wants homemade they say so when they order & that's what I make. On my homemade cakes I don't use a box cake in the ingredients. People that want homemade know the taste & texture is different from that of a box cake so they know what to ask for.

So for me there's no false advertising ... While I recently started decorating cakes I've baked for all my life so I have a mixture of recipes that I use

FromScratchSF Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 9:26pm
post #5 of 19

It's actually a pretty black/white issue to this scratch baker... My firm advice is to always tell the truth, because your competition knows if you make stuff from a box. Wouldn't you agree that it's better if you tell your customer and explain your positive reasoning behind why you use a box mix base, then have your competition tell your customer how shady you are for lying about your baking abilities and portraying you as overpriced for using something out of a box?

Not to offend box bakers, I'm just stating the most negative and damaging comment I can think of to be said about your product.

Box bakers don't advertise their recipe sources, but the public is demanding more honesty now, so if they ask, tell them. Don't dance around the topic or think of a witty misleading line to feed them to misdirect. If you go with the "secret ingredient" business model it will bite you later.

Good luck!

Jen

acarolann Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 9:49pm
post #6 of 19

I definitely appreciate the replies ....honesty is definitely the best policy in this matter. My goal is to transition to all scratch recipes. But I am new to baking and understanding the chemistry of baking is still a work in progress. I'm almost there but I am still working on a yellow and chocolate cake that provides the moistness I get from the doctored mix cakes. I would love to hear what others think on the issue.

FromScratchSF...I appreciate you saying that I should not try to mislead people or dance around the truth..b/c if I dont tell them it is only a matter of time before someone else will.

platinumlady Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 10:07pm
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF



Box bakers don't advertise their recipe sources

Jen




I would just like to add some in front of this statement.

Although I do know some that go out of their way to deceive their customers ... It's not that important to me. Just like I got the recipe someone else can find it. My cakes are not as expensive as some because I base it mostly of the cost it takes for me to make the cake. I agree honesty is the best policy and as long as you are honest with those you're baking the cake for then you can't go wrong.

flamingobaker Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 10:10pm
post #8 of 19

It rarely comes up for me either. But when it does, I have absolutely no problem telling people that I use cake mixes but doctor them to get a consistently great taste. I also explain why I freeze my cakes and how it is different than commercial bakeries freeze for mass production.

I used to feel a little un-confident about not baking from scratch, but not anymore because my cakes taste fabulous!

Chonte Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 10:18pm
post #9 of 19

i use both doctored mixes and scratch recipes, it depends on my cake, but i think it's best to just tell them the truth. i have never had anyone care either way. alot of people can't tell the difference anyway. i just made a bunch of cupcakes and a few cakes for my grandmothers church bake sale. i made chocolate and red velvet from scratch then got worried my grandma wouldn't have enough things to sell so i made a batch of yellow cupcakes from a box.

scp1127 Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 8:50am
post #10 of 19

Out of all the bakeries in my area, two are blatantly dishonest, and I have no problem telling people of their deception. All the others... I don't care... we are all business people with people who like our products.

I have shared this before, but one bakery actually has on her site how she wants to share "grandma's recipes" and she wipes out Walmart at midnight for everything from cakes to cookies and pies. Another claims "gourmet" everything and all of her stuff is bad straight box (must be some wholesale brand because the store brands are good) and fake fruit filling, fake chocolate, fake caramel, fake bavarian cream, no real butter in the buttercream... shall I go on? I'm not saying they should say, "We have crappy products", but don't go into the gushy drama of your fine baked from scratch offerings made with the finest ingredients for your special day, blah, blah, blah... I spend $4.00 per pint for heavy cream from a local dairy, so thick I have to shake the bottle. I do have the best ingredients.

So as FromScratch said, if it comes up, I will tell. But I also speak highly of the other bakers in my area and make suggestions if I don't have what they are looking for. That is when I say, "but there are a few I can't recommend...".

CGoguen Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 11:53am
post #11 of 19

Wow...does everyone diss the other bakers in thier area? If other bakers are selling a bad product - let them. Customers are not dumb and if it is bad - they won't buy. Honestly, it seems a lot less stressful to just worry about myself and leaving the judging to the customers.

As for the scratch vs. box. I would tell if a customer asked. Some customers actually prefer boxed or modified box. I can make a decent scratch cake but yet I am making a wedding cake this summer (for family) and I was asked to just use Betty Crocker Super Moist. That is the cake my brother/fiance love.

scp1127 Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 12:26pm
post #12 of 19

CGoguen, you obviously have never been a business owner or had to get the signature on the contract to earn a paycheck. Business is business and I have owned three successful ones.

My point was about those who blatantly lie. I will not refer to them and I say why. I don't care who bakes what, just don't go to Walmart and call it scratch.

I used to own a marketing company. When selling someone on your product or service, you explain what you do better than anyone else. If you are being compared to a competitor, you had better know your competitor as well as you know your own business. If you are a salesman at Toyota and the customer says they are also looking at a Chrysler, you don't tell them that it's always good to shop. You would be fired. You STOP them from shopping or you don't eat.

Again, to many of us, this is a business and we are business-minded... not dreamers who want to start a business and hope it all works out somehow.

CGoguen Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 1:44pm
post #13 of 19

Nope..I have never been a business owner but I work in customer service and sales. I didn't say you have to refer your clients to them, but outright trashing other businesses....just makes you look jelous. Seriously, I didn't mean for this to blow up, but this isnt grade 4 where you think you are popular because you make fun of the kids with glasses. If another business is outright lying, there are legal recourses for that. Better yet, if they are willing to lie to get clients, they likely have poor customer service skills too and thier clients will shop 1 time and move on. Aside from that, if your product is so much more superior, than they are not major competition. The people buying from them are not willing to pay the price of higher quality goods.

chefdheck Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 2:43pm
post #14 of 19

I know this is an old post, but I am knew and have struggled with the whole box thing. I have been baking cakes all my life. I am a pastry chef and have frowned on the box route.
This has taken me on the long journey of finding a recipe that has the texture of a cake mix. I too can spot a cake mix from a mile away. I pride my product on being clean. Meaning fresh ingredients, high quality and no hydrogenated oils. That being said. I recently made friends with a couple. The hubby is a food scientist and a chef. I have had hours of picking his brain. From the science aspect to moral. I too believe in honesty as he does. He told me the other day that one of the most renown bakeries in California makes all cakes from box. He and a team of chefs and food scientist traveled to his shop in quest of the perfect recipe for the shop owner to use. It needed to be the perfect texture like a cake mix. Guess who won? Dunkin Hines. Yup. I am still tweaking and I am ever so close.

Sweets Galore by Diana

platinumlady Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 4:45pm
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefdheck

I know this is an old post, but I am knew and have struggled with the whole box thing. I have been baking cakes all my life. I am a pastry chef and have frowned on the box route.
This has taken me on the long journey of finding a recipe that has the texture of a cake mix. I too can spot a cake mix from a mile away. I pride my product on being clean. Meaning fresh ingredients, high quality and no hydrogenated oils. That being said. I recently made friends with a couple. The hubby is a food scientist and a chef. I have had hours of picking his brain. From the science aspect to moral. I too believe in honesty as he does. He told me the other day that one of the most renown bakeries in California makes all cakes from box. He and a team of chefs and food scientist traveled to his shop in quest of the perfect recipe for the shop owner to use. It needed to be the perfect texture like a cake mix. Guess who won? Dunkin Hines. Yup. I am still tweaking and I am ever so close.

Sweets Galore by Diana





The is another post somewhere in the forum where a young lady baked organic cakes...& (not remembering the whole conversation) Advice was asked and basically what was said was to find a client base that suites the way you bake. I know some people that only eat "clean" and some that only eat "organic" Let that be your marketing point. Because I know there are not many that only bake clean/organic and there are people searching for them. You know what works for you & if baking for clean/scratch is what you've done I would stick with it. Let that be one of your marketing tools. I had to turn away a cake because they wanted diabetic ingredients...I'm not diabetic and wouldn't know where to begin...but that's not my specialty. I rather have done that to pretend & find some recipe off the internet that turns out nasty. The cakes that I do make from scratch are ones that I have mastered & I'm comfortable making. I hope that makes sense.

sugardugar Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 5:18pm
post #16 of 19

I am honest - I have no idea why one wouldn't be.

If they 'demand' a scratch recipe; I'll do it. I just tell them I can't promise it will not deflate etc.

scp1127 Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 1:04pm
post #17 of 19

CGoguen, your analogies are about the fourth grade and mine are based on business statistics. My "trashing" the Walmart baker comes out of my strong feeling that business people should be honest and not try to deceive the general public. It is wrong. The FDA doesn't allow it by law. But just because most bakery goods don't require full disclosure, doesn't give a bakery the right to intentionally deceive in order to charge a higher price based on the customers' perception that the good is a higher quality than it actually is. If she advertised that she has moist, delicious cakes, then that is an opinion, and yes, the public can decide for themselves.

corpsequeen Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 6:16pm
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by acarolann

I definitely appreciate the replies ....honesty is definitely the best policy in this matter. My goal is to transition to all scratch recipes. But I am new to baking and understanding the chemistry of baking is still a work in progress. I'm almost there but I am still working on a yellow and chocolate cake that provides the moistness I get from the doctored mix cakes. I would love to hear what others think on the issue.

FromScratchSF...I appreciate you saying that I should not try to mislead people or dance around the truth..b/c if I dont tell them it is only a matter of time before someone else will.


I too am new to selling cakes and I still use box cakes here and there and in a few recipes. Finding and testing good scratch recipes is a big challenge! I don't flat out tell people I use box mixes but if they ask I certainly tell them the truth! I use Betty crocker butter recipe chocolate (just plain) and until recently I used the betty crocker whipped hershys chocolate frosting to go with it and everyone I ever made it for has LOVED it and several people have told me it's the best cake they have ever had. So bottom line is until I find a scratch recipe that people love that much I see nothing wrong with using box mixes!!

scp1127 Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 6:56pm
post #19 of 19

Corpsequeen, I have a suggestion... go to the food network site and look up the flavor cake that interests you. There will be plenty of choices. Find ones that have tons of five star reviews. Read the suggestions in the reviews. When you find one you like, make it. It may not be exactly what you are looking for, but it will be good. Once you make a few you like, study the ingredients and look for what may be the combination that you like. You soon will be able to read a recipe and get an idea if it will be a good fit for your style. That saves alot of expensive trial and error and disappointment making cakes that you don't like. I suggested food network because the reviews are so descriptive. There are other sites with great recipes that include reviews, Better Homes and Gardens and Southern Living are my favorites. Another suggestion is to start reading. Alton Brown has a book, " I'm Just Here For More Food, that illustrates the process of baking like a high school science book. From there you will have a decent understanding of the process and a world of great books can guide you from there.

In the mean time, sell your cake mix cakes... and be confident about why you picked them. That conviction will be contageous to your customer. I have some great doctored mix recipes that I wish I could offer, But my bakery is positioned as a scratch company.

For chocolate cake, try using the Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate cake with the modifications found in the forums on CC. Everyone loves that cake.

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