cakegirl1973 Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 5:51pm

Hello! I am curious as to which ingredients in your baking you have found that using a brand name makes a difference in your cake and which items you tend to buy the store brand. At this point, I think that I am only die-hard about using a name brand for butter, extracts, and powdered sugar. Everything else is the grocery store brand. TIA!

55 replies
bobwonderbuns Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 6:23pm

Watkins clear vanilla; Dominoes powdered (10x) sugar; Valhrona chocolate; these things I simply will not skimp on. Once you find a quality product, stick with it -- that's what your cakes become known for taste-wise.

artscallion Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 6:45pm

Agree...butter, choc, PS and vanilla. And not exactly the same thing, but I also will only use fresh lemon juice, never from a bottle. And if I'm using fruit, berries, etc to flavor or make fillings, I will only buy it from an upscale market like Whole Foods or Wegmans. Fruit from regular markets, like Shaws or Stop & Shop, are a flavorless waste of space.

cakegirl1973 Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 6:58pm

artscallion, I totally agree with you on the fresh lemons. I used the bottled stuff once and will never make that mistake again. It's nasty stuff!

carmijok Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 6:59pm

I go with top-of-the- line butter, cream cheese, vanilla, chocolate, powdered sugar, flour...I'll use generic water and that's about it! ;D

warchild Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 7:05pm

Watkins double strength clear vanilla, Nomu vanilla paste, Rodelle vanilla beans, Rodelle vanilla sugar..

Rogers Icing sugar, Rogers granulated sugar, Rogers Berry sugar (US superfine)..

Brodies xx self rising cake and pastry flour, Rogers unbleached flour, Rogers AP flour, Rogers cake and pastry flour (not self rising)..

Cote D'Azur belgium chocolate, discs & slabs, Ghirardelli chocolate, Bakers chocolate..

Squires kitchen modelling paste & flower paste.. CK dry candy fondant (for cookie icing).

Lorann bakery emulsions, The bakers kitchen citrus emulsions, Lorann gourmet flavorings, Lorann oils, Watkins extracts such as banana, strawberry butter nut etc,..

Brand name or store brand butter, salted & unsalted, whichever is on sale, and the odd store brand baking need (Safeway or Presidents Choice) once in a blue moon.

kakeladi Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 7:33pm

I am getting away more and more from brand names but I will NOT EVER give up on dear ole' Betty (Crocker)! Most of the time I stick to Crisco; either Dominos or C&H pwdr sugar; and REAL (pure) vanilla (not necessarily brand but not imitation!)

JessicakesBakes Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 7:39pm

Watkins clear vanilla? I've only ever seen Wiltons clear..... Watkins is better? Where can 8 find it?

Elcee Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 8:25pm

Vanilla or other extracts (Penzey's or Nielsen-Massey) and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. (also Penzey's)
Cocoa (Penzey's dutch process or Hershey's unsweetened)
Chocolate (Ghiradelli or Baker's)
Shortening (Crisco)
Nuts (Fisher or Blue Diamond)

This isn't really for baking, but kitchen trash bags, Hefty icon_smile.gif

While I don't necessarily stick with a brand name for dairy products, I won't buy the Walmart brand (except for butter). If I'm at Walmart, I'll buy a local dairy brand (we have a few to choose from) but at Safeway, I'll buy their store brand.

I've never has a problem with store brand sugar (any type), flour, butter (unsalted), etc.

warchild Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 8:28pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by JessicakesBakes

Watkins clear vanilla? I've only ever seen Wiltons clear..... Watkins is better? Where can 8 find it?


Watkins is tens times better. It's double strength, it does not lose its flavour in baking as some vanillas do. I've been using it for years as Watkins was the only brand my mother used. No clear vanilla in those days though, only double strength dark vanilla or pure dark vanilla. Watkins used to go door to door selling their products, same as the Fuller Brush Man but I doubt you're old enough to remember that! icon_lol.gif

Here's a link to Watkins online. Lots of goodies to check out.

http://www.watkinsonline.com/default.cfm?gCatalogLocale=USA

Oh and, Watkins cinnamon is excellect too, regular and Saigon both lovely.
Other than ordering online, you might search for a Watkins rep in your area. I found my rep through the phone book but I'm sure many of them are online also. You could also look out for a Watkins rep that has set up a kiosk or booth, at your local mall. Where I am, Watkins allways sets up a booth at home shows, food shows & fairs.

Anyway, do give the clear vanilla a go. You won't be sorry you did, I promise!

Adevag Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 8:52pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by warchild


Here's a link to Watkins online. Lots of goodies to check out.

http://www.watkinsonline.com/default.cfm?gCatalogLocale=USA




I'm so glad to see this brought up as I have been thinking about it as well. So thanks for sharing! While we're on the subject on extracts, which one is your favorite almond extract? I just assumed I did not like almond as a flavoring in cakes or frostings. But maybe I just need to try another brand.

Specific brand names that I use is softasilk cake flour, domino's 10x powdered sugar and (at the moment) Nielsen-Massey vanilla. For chocolate, if it's for kids I use Ghirardelli, if it's for adults I use Callebaut. I use different brands for dairy. Butter: Organic Valley, Milk: a local organic grass fed, Yogurt: Stoneyfield.
I also found a pack of 10 Madagascar Vanilla beans at Costco for I think $11 or $12.

warchild Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 9:19pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adevag

Quote:
Originally Posted by warchild


Here's a link to Watkins online. Lots of goodies to check out.

http://www.watkinsonline.com/default.cfm?gCatalogLocale=USA



I'm so glad to see this brought up as I have been thinking about it as well. So thanks for sharing! While we're on the subject on extracts, which one is your favorite almond extract? I just assumed I did not like almond as a flavoring in cakes or frostings. But maybe I just need to try another brand.

Specific brand names that I use is softasilk cake flour, domino's 10x powdered sugar and (at the moment) Nielsen-Massey vanilla. For chocolate, if it's for kids I use Ghirardelli, if it's for adults I use Callebaut. I use different brands for dairy. Butter: Organic Valley, Milk: a local organic grass fed, Yogurt: Stoneyfield.
I also found a pack of 10 Madagascar Vanilla beans at Costco for I think $11 or $12.




Watkins Almond extract is my all time favourite. Safeway pure almond extract is good in a pinch but I rarely buy it. One thing I don't do with cakes and frostings, is use the whole amount of almond extract called for. I only add half the amount, as I find almond extract overrpowers the other flavours if I add the whole amount. If it's a pasty that calls for almond extract I'll add more, but again, not the whole amount. If it's 1 1/2 tsps needed, I add 1 tsp. I like the taste of almond in baked goods, but, I don't love the taste. Hence my cutting back.

indydebi Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 9:20pm

Crisco shortening. Only. Never anything else. Ever.

Peter Pan peanut butter (for cookies). Jif has honey in it and is sweeter than other brands. Peter Pan tastes more 'pure' to me.

Sun Maid brand raisins (for oatmeal cookies). tried a house brand via one of my suppliers and absolutely hated them!! they were super sticky and it was very hard to unclump them. Plus they tasted sour, not like 'sweet raisins'.

Clear vanilla, not brown (unless I need an ivory colored icing). I use the clear vanilla sold by my local cake supply store. She buys it in concentrated bulk and makes up the bottles herself.

Not cake/food related:
Only use Dawn dishsoap.
I won't eat generic cereal. (I've tried them .... if you cut the generic cheerios in half, you'll find they are half air whereas real cheerios is more solid, ergo I'm getting more oat fiber per bite!)
No store brand spaghetti sauce, mac-n-cheese, or canned mixed vegetables.

artscallion Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 10:20pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

...Sun Maid brand raisins...




Yes, definitely agree on the raisins. The difference is like night and day.

Adevag Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 10:44pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by warchild


Watkins Almond extract is my all time favourite. Safeway pure almond extract is good in a pinch but I rarely buy it. One thing I don't do with cakes and frostings, is use the whole amount of almond extract called for. I only add half the amount, as I find almond extract overrpowers the other flavours if I add the whole amount. If it's a pasty that calls for almond extract I'll add more, but again, not the whole amount. If it's 1 1/2 tsps needed, I add 1 tsp. I like the taste of almond in baked goods, but, I don't love the taste. Hence my cutting back.




Thank you once again! I will give the Watkins vanilla and almond extract a try -and use your advice to not add as much of the almond as the recipe calls for. thumbs_up.gif

LindaF144a Posted 6 Jun 2011 , 1:12am

I only use top shelf for every ingredient. I have tried the store brands and I did not like the results.

scp1127 Posted 6 Jun 2011 , 5:06am

Gosh Linda, I was going to say that. The very best I can get my hands on of everything... including top shelf spirits.

JackieDryden Posted 6 Jun 2011 , 5:36am

I've gone back and forth-first only brands, then tried generics, since costs are rising, some are definate NOWAY! And so back to brands.

Crisco brand-never will switch, tried a generic once, and opened it fresh and it was extremly soft, and it wasn't even warm out.
Duncan Hines-for my mix starter cakes, used to use good ole Betty-since she was cheaper to pick up, lol, but when baking larger cakes(which people want more and more) I found good ole betty wasn't getting done in the center even with heating cores without drying out on the edges.
Powder sugar-c&h, then price nearly doubled, tried generic for MMF-it screwed it up, went back to C&H, then Sm's opened up and had #25 bags of their generic-hesitated, finaly bought and it's fine-except it's raised $4 in the las year icon_eek.gif
butter-always generic-
nonstick spray-bakers joy, have tried many and that works the best, but sometimes the nozzle get plugged
Marshmallows for fondant found out from trial and err-kraft is the best-but there are a couple stre brands that I don't have issues with (but if they aren't on sale, I'l still buy kraft) and there are some store brands I'd just be throwing my money in the trash-because thats what I'd be doing with the fondant.

sweettreat101 Posted 7 Jun 2011 , 4:52pm

Powdered sugar. I only use C&H. And cake mixes. I prefer Betty Crocker but will use Duncan Hines if I can't find the flavor I am looking for. I don't like Pillsbury at all.

indydebi Posted 7 Jun 2011 , 6:20pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweettreat101

I don't like Pillsbury at all.


totally agree!

TerriLynn Posted 7 Jun 2011 , 6:33pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi


Not cake/food related:
Only use Dawn dishsoap.
I won't eat generic cereal. (I've tried them .... if you cut the generic cheerios in half, you'll find they are half air whereas real cheerios is more solid, ergo I'm getting more oat fiber per bite!)
No store brand spaghetti sauce, mac-n-cheese, or canned mixed vegetables.




Indydebi - - you make me want to buy generic cheerios just so I can cut them in half. ha ha !! icon_lol.gif Agree with the Dawn dishsoap!

indydebi Posted 7 Jun 2011 , 6:47pm

TerriLynn, it was actually my sister who discovered this. She was going thru an issue and she HAD to eat a bowl of cheerios every day so the oat fiber would kickstart her (clears throat) "system" each day. Without the cheerios, she became .... oh heck let's get it in the open..... constipated. She bought the generic ones in the bag and her system didn't work right. that's when she discovered she was only getting about half of the oat fiber because the generics were mostly air.

The things we learn in life, huh! icon_biggrin.gif

Kitagrl Posted 7 Jun 2011 , 7:10pm

I have honestly not found a difference in powdered sugar....I use the big bags of Bakers n Chefs from Sam's. I also use the butter from Sam's.

If I'm using a cake mix, I only use Duncan Hines, and only Jello pudding mix.. For scratch cakes, and cake flour, its whatever the store has. I use mostly Ghiradelli chocolate, Polaner preserves, Libby's pumpkin....Tone's natural vanilla or Wilton clear...am working on steeping my first bottle of homemade vanilla, though. Should be ready in another couple of months. I only use Sweetex for shortening.

I have a friend who buys almost all her ingredients from Aldi...and she recently won a large cake competition against a bunch of other professional pastry chefs, and her CAKE won the best tasting award!!!! So.... I am not sure if brand names only taste best to US, or to everyone!!!!

What I will say about brands is that whatever brand you use...whether Aldi, or farm fresh butter and eggs....that is the flavor your work takes on. I have made frosting or cake at someone else's house before and nothing tasted right since I used their brand of ingredients!!!!! I wanted MY butter and MY vanilla and MY eggs and MY sugar. haha. So..your customers will get used to "your" flavor, no matter what ingredients you use....and that's what they will keep coming back for.

I know that some of my cakes AND fillings are easily replicated by ANYONE if they just go down to the local grocery store, pick up a few name brand items, and throw them all together. However, with the ingredients I use, and the way I do it, they'll not only never guess what I'm using, but they think its unique to me. Which actually it probably is, in a way...even my oven is going to bake cakes up slightly different than someone else's oven does.

mlwideman Posted 7 Jun 2011 , 7:12pm

Mine are:

All Purpose Flour: White Lily
Cream Cheese: Philadelphia
Eggs: Eggland's Best
Buttermilk: Malburger (it is gourmet and whole fat)
Sour cream: Daisy

Actually, come to think of it, I buy name brand on everything except butter and regular milk (I buy whatever is on sale for those) and haven't noticed any change in product taste of my finished cakes.

Kitagrl Posted 7 Jun 2011 , 7:16pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlwideman

Mine are:

All Purpose Flour: White Lily
Cream Cheese: Philadelphia
Eggs: Eggland's Best
Buttermilk: Malburger (it is gourmet and whole fat)
Sour cream: Daisy

Actually, come to think of it, I buy name brand on everything except butter and regular milk (I buy whatever is on sale for those) and haven't noticed any change in product taste of my finished cakes.




Oh yeah, Philly cream cheese here too...I can tell if I cheat and buy what's on sale...not as nice a flavor.

warchild Posted 7 Jun 2011 , 7:24pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweettreat101

I don't like Pillsbury at all.

totally agree!




Ditto!

Quote by %username% on %date%

%body%