Scratch Vs. Box

Decorating By mrsg1111 Updated 30 Jun 2011 , 2:30am by CAC74

mrsg1111 Posted 28 Jun 2011 , 1:34pm
post #1 of 18

I've been making cakes for family and friends for a while, always used box. The cakes i've made for friends who paid me for them (i only charged for material since it was for friends) was from scratch. They came out good but i think the box cakes are more moist. I am thinking of going into business but don't know what to do?? Box or scratch? Is box cake considered cheating? Leaving me with 2 more questions... 1- if using box cake which is best (or what to add) to make it firm enough for fondant, and if scratch - then does anyone have a great white or yellow cake recipe or recommendation? All advice is much appreciated as always!!!

17 replies
JRAE33 Posted 28 Jun 2011 , 1:42pm
post #2 of 18

You are opening a can of worms with this question...it's been debated at great lengths here!! With that being said...it's all a matter of what works for you!! I use both scratch and box mixes...just depends on what flavor customers want. I always use duncan hines when using mixes and they never fail me. And no....it's not cheating to use a box mix. A lot of bakeries use them.

bakingpw Posted 28 Jun 2011 , 1:52pm
post #3 of 18

Do you read the forums at all? because really, how many times has this subject been discussed and argued about? Just search it and you'll find more answers than you actually have time to read.

In the end, everyone has an opinion. Here's mine based upon where you are located: I noticed you are from Westchester County, NY (me too) I know the clientele there very well having had my bakery there. I only used from scratch recipes, I tell you if "they" thought for one minute that I used a box mix, I'd have been out of business in a NY minute! How do I know? The customers ask before ordering! JMHO

dorie67 Posted 28 Jun 2011 , 1:55pm
post #4 of 18

I also use both, I feel it is about preference, and if the cake is going to be carved/sculpted, I use scratch but for children birthday cupcakes, box. princess.gif

mrsg1111 Posted 28 Jun 2011 , 1:57pm
post #5 of 18

Phew.. i'm going the box route! I just wanted to see what bakers do because i have no idea... especially since i'm considering a business!. I guess my thing from what i've experienced is my scratch cakes are firmer and hold fondant better, but the box cakes are easier and taste great. So how do i get the best of both worlds?

cakelady1958 Posted 28 Jun 2011 , 1:58pm
post #6 of 18

Me too...I also use both depending on the flavor and the texture needed for carving the cake and no one seems to know the difference but if they ask I'm always truthful....

mrsg1111 Posted 28 Jun 2011 , 3:09pm
post #7 of 18

Thank you all for this information! It has been very helpful! I should have searched for the topic before posting, i didn't think.. i haven't really been on in a couple years as i have been super busy with my 1 and 2 year old. Again, thank you for your help!!! icon_smile.gif

leah_s Posted 28 Jun 2011 , 3:27pm
post #8 of 18

I agree this topic has been beaten to death.

Frankly I only do scratch. I've been a scratch baker since I was 9 years old in 4H. Seriously, it's not rocket science, folks.

And since a major part of my marketing is that I bake from scratch,and why customers come to me, I'm loving seeing all the boxers out there.

scp1127 Posted 29 Jun 2011 , 6:38am
post #9 of 18

I'm scratch all the way too. I had no idea that this was a minority until I was on this site.

My suggestion... a scratch cake can be dense or delicate. Through trial and error and plenty of study, any texture and density can be achieved.

Study your competition. Taste all of their cakes and check their sites to find their baking style. And don't discount the advice of bakingpw... she knows your market.

And just another general business word of advice. A business needs to be able to compete in their market. This industry is growing fast and in some areas has already reached saturation. Many great bakers are entering daily... just search the web for proof. It sounds like your market already demands a high level of baking experience. Do your research and don't start until you are sure you are a viable competitor in your market.

TexasSugar Posted 29 Jun 2011 , 6:54pm
post #10 of 18

Since OP only has 68 posts I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. As has been stated above, this is a topic that has come up many of times, and often ends in a very nasty discussion, think political discussion nasty. Everyone has their opinions.

As far as the question in general, you should do what you feel the most comfortable with and which produces the type of cakes that the people that eat your cakes like. Bottom line.

Using a cake mix is not cheating, there are bakeries out there that do it. No matter which way you go, own it and be honest when asked.

As far as the fondant question, I have covered plain and doctored cake mixes with fondant with out problems.

scp1127 Posted 29 Jun 2011 , 7:41pm
post #11 of 18

New people don't know that it has been discussed and the search is not good on this site. So what if it gets debated. There is a market for every type of baking. The ones who join like to debate it. If you don't want to read it, you don't have to ckick on the thread.

My issue is this... I am an accomplished scratch baker in an average sized city outside of DC. As I study the market in bigger cities, I am constantly aware that I must always improve my product and hone my skills because the level of bakers entering the market are pushing the envelope in quality and skill. When the market gets saturated, some bakers will be squeezed out of the market. I'm not saying the box bakers will fail and scratch will succeed. I still maintain that there is a market for every type of baking. But not progressing with your skills, whatever the product, may become a problem. Some bakers use higher quailty boxes and better ingredients, producing a superior product over a cheap mix. The quality of the fillings and frostings also factor into the taste. And some people are so artistic that their designs will carry them to the top, no matter what the style of cake.

Just always strive to learn and make the best product you can and be sure to stay aware of where your product fits in the market with taste, design, and pricing.

Bettyviolet101 Posted 29 Jun 2011 , 8:01pm
post #12 of 18

The search engine on this site is horrible. She just asked a question you don't have to answer it if you don't want to. It really is okay to ask something even if it has been asked several times. Some people aren't "forum fanatics." I do box but am working on my scratch. I have gotten rave reviews about my cakes though even though they were box so its whatever you are comfortable with. If your customers like it then do it! icon_smile.gif

teresamariegross Posted 29 Jun 2011 , 8:38pm
post #13 of 18

I use Pillsbury Plus and have wonderful results and my customers always say the cake is moist and taste great. Never had a complaint about the flavor or texture. Pillsbury works hard and long to make sure their product is top notch. It saves me the work. If someone wants a flavor unavailable I can take a white mix and add flavor and zest or fruit and meet their request. If someone asks if my cakes are scratch i tell them I make them myself with quality ingredients. I use the best flavorings, eggs, oils, and ingredients. I am not ashamed they come from a box. The most important thing is you have to do what works for you. I think it is important as fellow bakers to lift and encourage others to ask questions on this site and get them answered without being made to feel inferior or like they are bothersome.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 29 Jun 2011 , 9:50pm
post #14 of 18

We do both as well. We have a to-die-for scratch carrot, red velvet, white chocolate and chocolate (Of course, I might be a little biased icon_wink.gif ) but some of our other flavors we do DH box because we have found people LOVE them, and we figure if it ain't broke...

Cupcakeboy85 Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 1:11am
post #15 of 18

Some of you guys are just RUDE! not everyone knows how to use the forum but anyways to answer your question I prefer baking from scratch but at times I doctored a cake miz

bakingpw Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 1:48am
post #16 of 18

After re-reading my post, I could see how some might think I was rude. It was not my intention to be rude about "do you read the forums?" - I was merely trying to say "man, this topic has been hashed and re-hashed and has a way of getting heated in debate".

I apologize to those who are new to the forums and find the search engine difficult - not my intention to be dis-respectful.

I did however answer the OP question - in fact, I gave a specific answer based on my knowledge of the demographics. I hope OP can see I was trying to be helpful and not rude.

bakingpw Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 1:49am
post #17 of 18

After re-reading my post, I could see how some might think I was rude. It was not my intention to be rude about "do you read the forums?" - I was merely trying to say "man, this topic has been hashed and re-hashed and has a way of getting heated in debate".

I apologize to those who are new to the forums and find the search engine difficult - not my intention to be dis-respectful.

I did however answer the OP question - in fact, I gave a specific answer based on my knowledge of the demographics. I hope OP can see I was trying to be helpful and not rude.

CAC74 Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 2:30am
post #18 of 18

I am a newbie baker as well, and have not mastered a scratch recipe that I like yet. Until I do, I do a doctored box. I use Duncan Hines mixes, add a box of pudding, use 4 eggs, milk instead of water, and real butter instead of oil. I also somtimes will add in some vanilla or almond extract. (If I do that, I just pour that in the measuring cup first and then fill the rest of the amount I need with milk). I have a lot of compliments... but I still would like to be able to bake a GOOD cake from scratch. Good Luck!! icon_biggrin.gif

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