tbmichals Posted 16 Feb 2012 , 7:04pm
post #1 of

I am trying to find ways to reduce the price of my cakes. I usually only use brand names i.e. Land o Lakes, C & H, etc. are there any generics that you have found that really are just as good as the brand? I don't want to make the cake taste bad to save a few dollars but if it will taste the same and save money that would be awesome!
Tara

41 replies
Texas_Rose Posted 16 Feb 2012 , 8:00pm
post #2 of

Butter, flour and granulated sugar are all fine as generics. Margarine is not, except that Walmart's margarine is suitable for baking. Powdered sugar is definitely not the same in generic as it is in the name brands.

leah_s Posted 16 Feb 2012 , 8:24pm
post #3 of

I like Imperial for baking and I use Aldi powdered sugar ALL THE TIME. It's fine.

BizCoCos Posted 16 Feb 2012 , 8:46pm
post #4 of

I have used aldi powdered sugar with no problems. There are some who g on and on about the most expensive items being top notch and so forth, I find that my cakes/products have excellent taste and yes there are some products where the best brands do produce the best results but not across the board. I sweated profusely the other day since I had to use an imitation vanilla extract I really don't liike to use this because of the ingredients but went ahead (the cake was for us at home) The cake s texture and taste was perfect.

BizCoCos Posted 16 Feb 2012 , 8:54pm
post #5 of

Imitation vanilla is made by soaking alcohol in wood with vanillin, then it is extracted and chemically treated to taste like vanilla. Yep, thus I will stick to vanilla extract from now on since I love my family, lol.
Everytime I use gelatin my stomach turns. Once I found out what was inside jello I was never able to eat it again. I use gelatin, knox, to make my some of my fondants and gumpaste recipes. I was a vegetarian and this is how i found out about my previous beloved jello, lol.

scp1127 Posted 17 Feb 2012 , 1:22am
post #6 of

Imitation vanilla can also be made with dried beaver castor sacs, located next to the anal gland. It is listed as a "natural flavoring". Most companies will deny using it and don't anymore, but to be sure, one would have to contact the company and get a list of the natural flavorings.

Bridgette1129 Posted 17 Feb 2012 , 1:38am
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I like Imperial for baking and I use Aldi powdered sugar ALL THE TIME. It's fine.




We have a Kroger chain here called Fred Meyer and I use their powdered sugar with no issues. It's "powdered sugar and cornstarch" for the ingredients, just like C&H.

Bridgette1129 Posted 17 Feb 2012 , 1:40am
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

Imitation vanilla can also be made with dried beaver castor sacs, located next to the anal gland. It is listed as a "natural flavoring". Most companies will deny using it and don't anymore, but to be sure, one would have to contact the company and get a list of the natural flavorings.




That's disgusting... the things we don't know what we are eating... I only use real vanilla anyways.

ajwonka Posted 17 Feb 2012 , 1:45am
post #9 of

Leah,

I've never known of you to steer people wrong and would LOVE to switch to ALDI powdered sugar! I'll try it on your recommendation! You turned me on to SPS and my life has never been the same!

AnnieCahill Posted 17 Feb 2012 , 3:48am

The smell of clear vanilla is absolutely nauseating to me. I will never use it.

I have used the Wal Mart brand powdered sugar with no issues. I also use their brand of granulated sugar as well.

Butter is hit or miss for me. I have tried a couple of store brands but always go back to the name brands. I haven't tried Costco's butter but it's a good price and a lot of people say it works and tastes great. In my experience Kirkland brand food items have actually been quite good. We have been buying the Kirkland brand Greek yogurt and it tastes great. At Easter I will be baking a huge amount of cupcakes for a charity event and we are planning on buying the butter from Costco. We'll see how that goes!

carmijok Posted 17 Feb 2012 , 4:11am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bridgette1129

Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I like Imperial for baking and I use Aldi powdered sugar ALL THE TIME. It's fine.



We have a Kroger chain here called Fred Meyer and I use their powdered sugar with no issues. It's "powdered sugar and cornstarch" for the ingredients, just like C&H.




If it doesn't say CANE sugar then it's not the same. C&H is pure cane sugar and others that don't specify often use beet sugar.

jason_kraft Posted 17 Feb 2012 , 4:20am
Quote:
Originally Posted by BizCoCos

I was a vegetarian and this is how i found out about my previous beloved jello, lol.



Just about all cane sugar is processed using the charred bones of animals as a decolorizing agent, many vegans (and some vegetarians) prefer beet sugar for this reason.

carmijok Posted 17 Feb 2012 , 4:20am

I go to Sams and buy the big loaf of Philadelphia Cream Cheese. It provides eight 8 ounce servings and at their current price of $2.50 per 8 ounce block, I find the $7 total for the loaf just fine. I also purchase the McCormick's real vanilla extract there. Comes in a very large bottle for almost the same price as the small one at the regular grocery store.

cheatize Posted 17 Feb 2012 , 6:31am

Milk, butter, eggs, flour, powdered sugar, and vanilla from Aldi all work fine for me. The only difference I have found in Aldi brand butter and Land o Lakes is that the name brand is lighter in color. I used to use Aldi shortening but it's lighter now and doesn't work as well for me. Instead I buy a big can (bigger than normal size) of Crisco from Walmart for 10 bucks.

wannabecute Posted 17 Feb 2012 , 1:30pm

I use store brands of flour, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, butter and eggs and have only has a problem with Aldi brand - they seem inconsistant. I only use Crisco shortening. `I have found the color or texture is often off in store brand shortening.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 17 Feb 2012 , 1:50pm

Cost-wise, you can't beat home-made vanilla. Use inexpensive vodka and 2 vanilla beans per 6 oz. vodka. It is spectacular. v a n i l l a p r o d u c t s u s a on ebay will ship you hundreds of Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans for thirty bucks. Combine that with a $15 bottle of vodka and you are all set. It takes three months to start using it, so plan ahead. It is awesome.

jgifford Posted 17 Feb 2012 , 2:22pm

I use home made vanilla because I feel it's better quality than I can get in a store. I don't like C & H powdered sugar because I have yet to buy any that wasn't full of lumps. Granted, I always sift anyway, but some of the lumps are quite large and hard as rocks. Maybe it's because of the heat, but I if I wanted rocks, I would buy rocks. But I've found that the generic store brand - which is cane sugar - works just fine.

leah_s Posted 17 Feb 2012 , 2:32pm

[quote="cheatize"]Milk, butter, eggs, flour, powdered sugar, and vanilla from Aldi all work fine for me. The only difference I have found in Aldi brand butter and Land o Lakes is that the name brand is lighter in color. I used to use Aldi shortening but it's lighter now and doesn't work as well for me. Instead I buy a big can (bigger than normal size) of Crisco from Walmart for 10 bucks.[/quote]

I thumbs_up.gif Aldi. I don't think our budget would survive without them. I have always bought my shortening in 50 pound blocks from Dawn. Now that I'm not baking as much, I'm not sure what I'll do. Maybe portion and freeze it, because it's good stuff.

I froze cake batter on the recommendation of seemingly everyone on here. AWESOME! I think I prefer using frozen cake batter for cupcakes. It's still barely scoopable and bakes up beautifully.

BizCoCos Posted 17 Feb 2012 , 2:32pm

Dominos brand and may others use animal ingredients to achieve their nice white color. My sister has a very bad allergic reaction to soy-almost every single product has some type of soy in it. Back to topic, butters are a hit or miss for me. I rarely need plugra type butter but find this type is the best for some pastries and usually stick to trusted name brands for butter in cakes except for one supermarket brand that is cheaper and superior to name brands.

Texas_Rose Posted 17 Feb 2012 , 3:18pm

I used Imperial margarine for baking for many years. Recently my recipes quit working as well as they used to. I read the box and noticed that they had decreased the oil content to 53%. Less oil = more water, which is probably why my cookies were flatter and less crisp than they used to be.

About the powdered sugar, not all store brands are equal. Where I live, HEB has some pretty gross generic products and I don't use any of their generics. I used to use Walmart powdered sugar, but got a couple of bags with a really nasty chemical taste. Since I don't usually taste my icings and I don't want to have to taste test them, I quit using Walmart sugar.

Bridgette1129 Posted 18 Feb 2012 , 7:21am
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmijok

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bridgette1129

Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I like Imperial for baking and I use Aldi powdered sugar ALL THE TIME. It's fine.



We have a Kroger chain here called Fred Meyer and I use their powdered sugar with no issues. It's "powdered sugar and cornstarch" for the ingredients, just like C&H.



If it doesn't say CANE sugar then it's not the same. C&H is pure cane sugar and others that don't specify often use beet sugar.




Sorry that's what I meant. I thought it said cane sugar when I posted that and now I can't remember... But I haven't had any issues using it and it's what I mostly use. In frosting and marshmallow fondant.

Bridgette1129 Posted 18 Feb 2012 , 7:22am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by BizCoCos

I was a vegetarian and this is how i found out about my previous beloved jello, lol.


Just about all cane sugar is processed using the charred bones of animals as a decolorizing agent, many vegans (and some vegetarians) prefer beet sugar for this reason.




I think they're referring to the fact that gelatin (in Jell-o) is derived from the collagen inside animals' skin and bones.

BuffytheBakingSlayer Posted 6 Mar 2012 , 4:06pm

In case it is relevant to anyone, I found the Wegmans dark brown sugar to be really bad. And seemed to get hard overnight. Had no problems with the brand name, so I will never use the Wegmans brown sugar again.

Debbye27 Posted 6 Mar 2012 , 4:16pm

I also started making my own vanilla - I figured out the cost of me buying regular bottles vs. the amount I made (won't be ready for 2 more months) but I will have made about $500 worth of real vanilla for only $70. And I know that it's pure vanilla -vodka and vanilla beans! Also I will start buying in bulk this weekend-getting a membersip from BJ's or Sams after I check both out.

jason_kraft Posted 6 Mar 2012 , 4:59pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Debbye27

I also started making my own vanilla - I figured out the cost of me buying regular bottles vs. the amount I made (won't be ready for 2 more months) but I will have made about $500 worth of real vanilla for only $70.



Is that $500 figure based on the price of vanilla at the grocery store or at a bulk/restaurant supply store?

FromScratchSF Posted 6 Mar 2012 , 5:03pm

I'm one of the people that does not use any cheaper brand alternatives for my cakes. In fact, I can't think of a single thing I get for my cakes that is generic or the store brand. I notice the difference in taste if not quality or consistency in my stuff. It was something I learned very early on.

Restaurant suppliers and wholesale food distributors are the key to keeping your costs low without sacrificing quality. I get Nielson Massey VPB, 32oz for $20. It normally sells at 4 oz for $12. That's just one example.

Debbye27 Posted 6 Mar 2012 , 6:19pm

Jason, that would be for the grocery store....I haven't bought it anywhere else yet, I will be checking out prices at Sams and BJ's. But I've been buying vanilla at either the grocery store or Joanne's for about $7-12 dollars.

jason_kraft Posted 6 Mar 2012 , 7:27pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Debbye27

Jason, that would be for the grocery store....I haven't bought it anywhere else yet, I will be checking out prices at Sams and BJ's. But I've been buying vanilla at either the grocery store or Joanne's for about $7-12 dollars.



As FromScratchSF posted above there is a huge differential in unit price of extracts between the grocery store and bulk retailers, so I wouldn't be surprised if the price advantage of making your own vanilla disappears when you compare it with the bulk price of the extract.

peg818 Posted 6 Mar 2012 , 11:18pm

I use store brand for most of my baking here its either price chopper or shop rite. One thing I have found is that when I make icing I make sure to use all the same brand of butter and vanilla to keep the color consistant. Vanilla I buy by the quart from the local restaurant supply store last time I purchased it cost just under $20 for pure vanilla

matthewkyrankelly Posted 7 Mar 2012 , 12:36am

Home made vanilla still beats suppliers. Using estimates that are conservative, a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka is $15. For $30, shipped I received at least enough vanilla beans to make 8-10 batches of 40 ounce bottles of vanilla(probably a lot more). Breaking it down, The 40 ounce bottle costs less than $14. That is $.35 per ounce. The quart at $20 is $.63 per ounce. And the home made stuff is great.

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