The Great Debate Put To The Test ~ Scratch Vs. Boxed

Decorating By yummy_in_my_tummy Updated 17 May 2011 , 7:03pm by jules5000

yummy_in_my_tummy Posted 4 May 2011 , 1:04am
post #1 of 92

Everybody here on CC knows that there will always be the great debate of Scratch baking vs boxed mixes. Would anyone like to put it to the test? Kind of like a great bake off??

I thought it would be interesting if the participants could bake a cake and give it to friends and/or family to taste test - to find out if they could tell if it was baked or scratch.

Obviously, some people on bake scratch and some only use box mixes and their family & friends know it, so we'd have to find a way around that. Maybe normal scratch bakers can make a box mix and vice versa.

Anyone up for it?? You'd have to be very secretive and not give into your taste testers!!

91 replies
Sangriacupcake Posted 4 May 2011 , 1:10am
post #2 of 92

I've done this kind of thing a number of times. However, I never bake just one type and ask if they can tell if it's scratch or box. Instead, I bake a scratch and a box cake of the same basic flavor and ask tasters which they prefer. I often do this at the holidays when I have a houseful of guests....it's always a lot of fun!

sillywabbitz Posted 4 May 2011 , 1:27am
post #3 of 92

I have been thinking about doing a taste test party on scratch vs mix as well as different frosting optionsicon_smile.gif I just need to find the time.

TinkerCakes Posted 4 May 2011 , 1:32am
post #4 of 92

Sounds fun! I'm making my own Mother's Day cake because I want to practice, I will try to make one tier from scratch and the other boxed!!!! Does it matter if it's the WASC? I think that is more of the debate....scratch vs "doctored" boxed cakes....

FromScratchSF Posted 4 May 2011 , 1:34am
post #5 of 92

<watch this topic for replies with a big tub of popcorn>

icon_biggrin.gif

So this is where this is a big'ole fail despite its good-meaning intentions...

Box mix bakers generally can't bake from scratch. There, I said it. They don't know the chemistry, do's and don'ts, what makes a good recipe and they probably don't even have one in their recipe box. If anyone even volunteered chances are they bake up a big brick of over mixed, over baked, dry scratch cake then proclaim Betty Crocker the winner.

I won't bake boxed mix because I don't eat hydrogenated, fake, artificial crap, and wouldn't serve that to my friends/family even in jest. I have a reputation, you see.

Judging from how testy everyone is tonight, this thread otta get real good, real fast icon_biggrin.gif

Jen

Sangriacupcake Posted 4 May 2011 , 1:38am
post #6 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason-Lisa

Sounds fun! I'm making my own Mother's Day cake because I want to practice, I will try to make one tier from scratch and the other boxed!!!! Does it matter if it's the WASC? I think that is more of the debate....scratch vs "doctored" boxed cakes....




Good point. Yes, you're right that a straight-out-of-the-box vs a gourmet recipe might not be a fair fight! The most recent "competition" was a wasc cake using a yellow cake mix as compared to Sylvia Weinstock's yellow cake (both have sour cream.) Last fall I did chocolate wasc vs. Hershey's cake substituting sour cream instead for the milk.

yummy_in_my_tummy Posted 4 May 2011 , 1:41am
post #7 of 92

Well is like to give it a shot! I'm normally a box baker, I use the wasc version HOWEVER... its not because I can't bake, it just easier and quicker for me. But I think I like Jason-Lisa idea of doing one tier scratch and one boxed (wasc). If we don't get enough participants to give it a go, ill try it myself because I'm wondering if I can even tell thumbs_up.gif

sillywabbitz Posted 4 May 2011 , 1:45am
post #8 of 92

Sangriacupcake, what have your results been so far? If I was going to do this I'd probably do the scratch wasc vs mix wasc so it would be somewhat apples to apples.

CalhounsCakery Posted 4 May 2011 , 1:49am
post #9 of 92

I've done that. Scratch always comes out on top. I do add some special ingredients to get that moist cake you get from box tho...

TinkerCakes Posted 4 May 2011 , 1:50am
post #10 of 92

Oh geez! I really loved this site but lately it seems people are on here for a fight or to be mean. It's CAKE, chill out! Anyway, I'll just PM you (yummy in my tummy) with my results if this topic gets to out of control. You shouldn't be scared to post something in fear of people jumping all over you.

cupcake_cutie Posted 4 May 2011 , 1:56am
post #11 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

<watch this topic for replies with a big tub of popcorn>

icon_biggrin.gif

So this is where this is a big'ole fail despite its good-meaning intentions...

Box mix bakers generally can't bake from scratch. There, I said it. They don't know the chemistry, do's and don'ts, what makes a good recipe and they probably don't even have one in their recipe box. If anyone even volunteered chances are they bake up a big brick of over mixed, over baked, dry scratch cake then proclaim Betty Crocker the winner.




This is not necessarily true. Majority of my cakes are made from scratch. The only exceptions are Red Velvet and White and I use the WASC doctored recipes for those, but that's just because I haven't found scratch recipes that I like for those yet. But as soon as I do, I will use those. It's certainly not because I can't bake from scratch. icon_confused.gif

Sangriacupcake Posted 4 May 2011 , 1:57am
post #12 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

<watch this topic for replies with a big tub of popcorn>

icon_biggrin.gif

So this is where this is a big'ole fail despite its good-meaning intentions...

Box mix bakers generally can't bake from scratch. There, I said it. They don't know the chemistry, do's and don'ts, what makes a good recipe and they probably don't even have one in their recipe box. If anyone even volunteered chances are they bake up a big brick of over mixed, over baked, dry scratch cake then proclaim Betty Crocker the winner.

I won't bake boxed mix because I don't eat hydrogenated, fake, artificial crap, and wouldn't serve that to my friends/family even in jest. I have a reputation, you see.

Judging from how testy everyone is tonight, this thread otta get real good, real fast icon_biggrin.gif

Jen




So, don't do it!

But for those who aren't afraid to lighten up a little, I'm telling you it's FUN! Really! I started doing these comparisons when my DH asked me to make a fresh banana cake for his dad's birthday...long story short, I made two cakes (one scratch, one a doctored mix) and presented them both to my fil. The whole family had a hoot comparing the cakes, the icings, the fluffiness, banana-i-ness, etc. My fil said he hadn't had so much fun on his birthday in a long time. icon_smile.gif

Sangriacupcake Posted 4 May 2011 , 2:07am
post #13 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillywabbitz

Sangriacupcake, what have your results been so far? If I was going to do this I'd probably do the scratch wasc vs mix wasc so it would be somewhat apples to apples.




That sounds like a good comparison. You'll have to let us know how it turns out!

The only time a box won out over scratch was when I did a red velvet test....the Duncan Hines doctored with mayo was favored over a recipe I got from the Taste of Home website. Although, I think people just preferred that the DH was a bit more chocolaty.

FromScratchSF Posted 4 May 2011 , 2:12am
post #14 of 92

My post was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek... I though the sarcasm was dripping from it when I posted it but I guess not?

I must be off tonight. icon_biggrin.gif

Sangriacupcake Posted 4 May 2011 , 2:15am
post #15 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

My post was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek... I though the sarcasm was dripping from it when I posted it but I guess not?

I must be off tonight. icon_biggrin.gif




Oh, sorry, Jen. I guess we're all a bit off tonight. icon_smile.gif

Laura

cookiedoescakes Posted 4 May 2011 , 2:38am
post #16 of 92

Cupcake cutie would you mind sharing some of your scratch recipes? I used to back from scratch but started using WASC because it was quicker

3GCakes Posted 4 May 2011 , 2:54am
post #17 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

<watch this topic for replies with a big tub of popcorn>

icon_biggrin.gif

So this is where this is a big'ole fail despite its good-meaning intentions...

Box mix bakers generally can't bake from scratch. There, I said it. They don't know the chemistry, do's and don'ts, what makes a good recipe and they probably don't even have one in their recipe box. If anyone even volunteered chances are they bake up a big brick of over mixed, over baked, dry scratch cake then proclaim Betty Crocker the winner.

I won't bake boxed mix because I don't eat hydrogenated, fake, artificial crap, and wouldn't serve that to my friends/family even in jest. I have a reputation, you see.

Judging from how testy everyone is tonight, this thread otta get real good, real fast icon_biggrin.gif

Jen




Most of my scratch recipes use shortening. I know you say you are being sarcastic, but I just wanted to illustrate a kind of strange thing.

WHen I bake from scratch I use shortening, and when I bake from box I use only cultured sour cream and top-shelf butter if I can get it on sale.

We all do what we can.

cupcake_cutie Posted 4 May 2011 , 3:11am
post #18 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by cookiedoescakes

Cupcake cutie would you mind sharing some of your scratch recipes? I used to back from scratch but started using WASC because it was quicker




Sure! I use Sylvia Weinstock's Classic Yellow Cake http://homecooking.about.com/od/cakerecipes/r/blc13.htm

Here's the lemon cake that I use:
http://www.accordingtolayla.com/pdfs/Lemon%20Layer%20Cake%20.pdf

Here's the Banana Cake Recipe from here on CC
http://cakecentral.com/recipes/16933/banana-cake **Make sure to note that you need two sticks of butter.(1 cup)

Here's the Vanilla Butter Cake Recipe from the Mermaid Bakery:
http://cakecentral.com/recipes/4313/vanilla-butter-cake-from-the-mermaid-bakery**Make sure to note the extra 1/2 cup milk and 1 small box of vanilla pudding.

For the chocolate cake I use the recipe off of the back of the Hershey's Cocoa can.

Also there are some recipes that I am going to try off of this website:
http://www.make-fabulous-cakes.com/cake-recipes.html

I hope that this helps you! icon_smile.gif

mkolmar Posted 4 May 2011 , 3:28am
post #19 of 92

I've done this test 2 years ago with the teachers at my kids school. I used scratch, boxed and doctored box for the test. Every person guessed the scratch cake correctly out of the 22 on staff, which shocked even me. I thought for sure the doctored mix would be picked by someone.

On the plus side, the teachers are fantastic and are big supporters of my scratch baking. I've booked a number of party cakes and wedding cake orders from people referred by them.

I do have to agree with FromscratchSF's tongue in cheek comment though. If the person doing the test doesn't know how to bake from scratch this could get interesting.

Mo-Mo73 Posted 4 May 2011 , 3:33am
post #20 of 92

well...ive done both..however i decided recently to start baking everything i eat from scratch..this includes homemade pizza, etc...i like knowing what is in my cake as well...but just cause ive used boxed cake mix before doesnt mean i cant bake from scratch..it just mean i never really had the time until now..i agree with whoever said this site was to ENCOURAGE each other..not cat fight..just saying...=(

Kristie925 Posted 4 May 2011 , 3:36am
post #21 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

My post was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek... I though the sarcasm was dripping from it when I posted it but I guess not?

I must be off tonight. icon_biggrin.gif



That's the thing about text, you can't tell if it's sarcasm or just plain mean/rude. icon_wink.gif

FromScratchSF Posted 4 May 2011 , 3:53am
post #22 of 92

Ok, so my post isn't going over so well... I see a lot of new names with very low post counts and not the usual suspects to this type of thread, so although I find what I posted LOL tee-hee-hee, I probably should have waited to see the participants before throwing out that LOL which is based on threads and topics most of you have probably never seen.

So just ignore that post, please. K thanks.

Jen

lilmissbakesalot Posted 4 May 2011 , 4:10am
post #23 of 92

You'd have to make it fair and bake the same cake flavor/filling flavor/frosting flavor or it wouldn't really mean anything. I think if you onl;y offered one choice you wouldn't get the right kind of results. I would imagine that some people would be afraid to insult you if they guessed wrong.

The thing is... no matter what the result... no one is going to change their stance.

sillywabbitz Posted 4 May 2011 , 4:30am
post #24 of 92

I think if my friends all chose the scratch I'd switch. I'm more lazy than anything as far as measuring and sifting but if that's what everyone liked better I wouldn't mind switching.

FromScrarchSF, I did get that you were being funnyicon_smile.gif I am sure many people don't know that 'The Great Debate' is kind of an running joke/drama here on CCicon_smile.gif

yummy_in_my_tummy Posted 4 May 2011 , 4:38am
post #25 of 92

So who is in?

I agree with someone who posted that it needs to be the same filling, flavor, etc. Keeps it more uniform. What do you think about just plain cake and vanilla buttercream?

Maybe if whoever wants to participate can do either a chocolate wasc or scratch cake (basic chocolate, nothing fancy), and we can post our results on this thread by... lets say May 14th?

I'm interested to know if people can even tell, if it's scratch or a box mix. Some people say they hate box mixes because they can tell they're fake, or artificial, but I wonder if they would really even notice if put to the test??

masquerade Posted 4 May 2011 , 4:58am
post #26 of 92

I do this at every tasting I host without anyone but me knowing.
There are some bakeries in town way lower priced who only use mixes, some in town priced in line with what I was doing baking only from scratch. So one day I decided what the heck, I am going to bake up a doctored mix and stick it on the tasting plate alongside my expensive ingredient lovely cakes. The result??? Some people go for the truly homemade cake, but then there are a certain crowd who taste the doctored mix and say "oh yes this is what my grandmother's cake tasted like this is what cake is supposed to be" which totally shocked me. So at every tasting I sample between 6 to 8 cake flavors one of which is a doctored box while all the others are scratch made.

madicakes Posted 4 May 2011 , 2:18pm
post #27 of 92

I just did this same basic thing to my family. Since I am in the process of starting my at-home business I wanted to find some great recipes. I decided to try scratch baking, as I just don't want all of the preservatives (and having to list those on ingredient lists) of a cake mix. I baked my standard doctored choc cake mix and a scratch one I found. DH knew which was which, because he is familiar with my mix based choc cake, but he preferred the scratch cake, as did I. Now to find some more scratch recipes!

cakification Posted 4 May 2011 , 2:40pm
post #28 of 92

I'm in!! I'm going to give it a shot this weekend for mother's day. I learned how to bake scratch long before I started using doctored mixes.. so i think it'll be a fair comparison. I'll try it with my trusty scratch white cake, and a doctored wasc.. let you know on Monday which one gets more praise!!


(FromScratchSF - I got the humour.. and even though some of us have a low number of posts, we've probably been stalking the forum for years.. so i'm sure most of us knew you were joking.)

TinkerCakes Posted 4 May 2011 , 3:00pm
post #29 of 92

Well, I have a white cake mix, so I'm going to make that and one from scratch. I know you said something about chocolate, but since I have this already, I'm just going to go with it. I'm curious how this will turn out. My boyfriends mother only bakes from scratch and he loves it and when I bake from scratch, he loves it.. BUT when I make a boxed cake he loves that as well. I wonder what he'll pick icon_smile.gif.
Please remember, those of us who are new and with low posts still "get" sarcasm, and can still tell when people are being mean/rude/cocky, or "stirring the pot" and we still read alot of topics even though we don't post all the time....I know and have known of the debate over scratch vs boxed....even before CC! We should choose our words wisely...I'm including myself in that, my family tells me I'm a smart *beep*. I'm not mad or trying to be mean or trying to start more trouble, I have just been disappointed this past few days in alot of the posts. I am on CC to learn, get ideas, and have fun (like with this!), not for drama. I've said my peace....now to plan the cakes I want to make! YAY! Happy (early) Mother's day to all of you mommies.....

lilmissbakesalot Posted 4 May 2011 , 7:57pm
post #30 of 92

Just to throw it out there... a scratch white cake is the hardest to pull off, so if you are new to scratch baking I wouldn't start there. Chocolate is probably the easiest, and a vanilla butter cake with yolks in the ingredients is next.

White cakes have the whipped and folded egg whites and if you over mix them they are bricks and if you over baked them they are like eating a sponge. Just be very careful or you will doom your experiment from the get go.

That's the only real flaw I see with this experiment... if you can't bake a scratch cake to save your life... of course most will pick the mix based cake. There is nothing worse than a poorly made scratch cake.

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