cakeymom Posted 6 Nov 2012 , 1:29am
post #1 of

I recently called a local bake shop that is getting a name for having very good cupcakes.  I enjoy them as well.  They placed in the top ten for the cupcakes in the state.  Most of them have a very delightful filling and they are so light and fluffy and just plain good. 

 

I was in the shop recently while they were baking and I know I smelled the scent of a packaged mix(which is what I suspected because I bake a lot)  Anyway I called and asked if they used a base mix and she would not answer the question and stated that if the product is good what difference does it make and if someone has an allergy then she would identify if she used that item.  And that she would not answer the question.  Well that answer speaks for itself.

 

If it were my shop I completely understand the need for giving a good quality and good priced item that is consistent.  I get it.  So why not be honest?  I would have said,  "Yes I use a high quality base mix to which I add high quality fresh ingredients.  That I have wonderflul products and decorate very well."  I would have then made an invitation to view my website to see if there is something that is of interest.

 

But for goodness sake this charade of not answering gives the answer and makes the owner look like she is not proud of what she does.  Sad because she has a very good product line and sells out most days. 

 

I did not write this get into the mix vs scratch debate.  But, I will say this if I had a shop I would more than likely use a base mix, it just makes sense and I would be a proud owner.

 

cakemom

34 replies
AZCouture Posted 6 Nov 2012 , 1:40am
post #2 of

Yep.

wafawafa Posted 6 Nov 2012 , 6:48am
post #3 of

AShe has the right to not tell anybody about her business , its her business , she makes her best to let the shop work , so its naturally to not answer this kind of qs .

hellie0h Posted 6 Nov 2012 , 11:06am
post #4 of

She gave you an honest answer, in a round about way...it's none of your beeswax. If you like her product, why should you care about what ingredients she uses. Also, like she stated, if there is an allergy question, she would inform you if a particular ingredient is use. No charade here that I see.

AnnieCahill Posted 6 Nov 2012 , 12:08pm
post #5 of

Wait a minute here.  That's dishonest, and no, she didn't give a direct answer.  She skirted around the issue and got pissy which was totally inappropriate and unprofessional.  If you bake from a mix, you need to say so if someone asks.  There is no rhyme or reason to beating around the bush when it comes to that stuff. That is a quick way to lose customers.

 

FYI, and for what it's worth, you can almost 100% guarantee that if the baker doesn't advertise that she bakes from scratch, she usually doesn't.  That is a major advertising advantage for scratch bakers, especially since truthfully, most people are not good scratch bakers so they start from a mix.  In this day and age, people want to be educated consumers.  They want to know what they are paying for and eating, and they have that right.  Some people don't want to consume something that's not from scratch. 

 

At the end of the day, you need to stand by your product, no matter what.  And if you are ashamed of using a mix, or you feel like there is some stigma attached to it, then obviously you need to look at what you are doing and either change your attitude or change your recipes.
 

SugaredSaffron Posted 6 Nov 2012 , 12:09pm
post #6 of

You got your answer, even though she didn't answer.

jason_kraft Posted 6 Nov 2012 , 4:49pm
post #7 of

AI agree that the answer was not as professional as it could have been, but I don't feel that it was dishonest. It would have been dishonest if she told you she baked from scratch. I can understand why she refused to answer, given the stigma associated with mix baking.

AnnieCahill Posted 6 Nov 2012 , 5:08pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Anyway I called and asked if they used a base mix and she would not answer the question and stated that if the product is good what difference does it make and if someone has an allergy then she would identify if she used that item.  And that she would not answer the question.

 

I meant dishonest because she was avoiding a truthful answer.  Purposely omitting facts, in my opinion, is the same as being dishonest. 

jason_kraft Posted 6 Nov 2012 , 5:17pm
post #9 of

A

Original message sent by AnnieCahill

I meant dishonest because she was avoiding a truthful answer.  Purposely omitting facts, in my opinion, is the same as being dishonest. 

So if a customer asks about confidential business information (whether it involves trade secret ingredients, process, or both) you are dishonest if you don't divulge that information?

AnnieCahill Posted 6 Nov 2012 , 6:13pm

No, that is considered good business practice because those specific details are privileged, and of no potential danger to the customer.  But ingredients, yes.  Even manufacturers have to put ingredients on packages, and most restaurants keep books which contain ingredient lists and other nutritional information if a customer asks.  OP wasn't asking for a recipe or process or anything that detailed, she was just asking what was in it, or rather, if they started from a mix.  

 

A few years ago I was watching an episode of Unwrapped, and they toured the Peeps factory.  There was a huge tarp over the machine so no one could see how the Peeps were being made.  But obviously if you go purchase a package of Peeps the ingredients will be on the label.  

 

I still think it comes down to the fact that bakers need to be up front if asked about ingredients.  People have a right to know what they are consuming.

jason_kraft Posted 6 Nov 2012 , 6:37pm

A

Original message sent by AnnieCahill

Even manufacturers have to put ingredients on packages, and most restaurants keep books which contain ingredient lists and other nutritional information if a customer asks.

That's why I said "trade secret ingredients". They are exempt from disclosure laws, which is why you sometimes see a generic listing for "spices" or "natural flavors" on an ingredients label.

OP wasn't asking for a recipe or process or anything that detailed, she was just asking what was in it, or rather, if they started from a mix.
Scratch or mix is a question about the process. How much of the process to disclose to the public is a decision each business owner can and should make for themselves. If you don't like the answer you are free to not patronize that business, but it's a stretch to accuse someone of being dishonest because they choose to keep their process a secret.

I still think it comes down to the fact that bakers need to be up front if asked about ingredients.  People have a right to know what they are consuming.
I agree, and if OP had asked for a list of ingredients the business probably would have provided that list, but that's not what she asked.

AnnieCahill Posted 6 Nov 2012 , 9:22pm

Yes I definitely get that about the trade secret ingredients.

 

To me, scratch or mix is just as much about the ingredients as the process.  When I think of scratch, I think of each individual component coming together, not commercial or box mixes to which you just add other stuff.  I think it's safe to assume that most people, especially those in the baking business, understand what someone means when asked if they bake from "scratch."  If not, that is error of assumption on my part.

LEHLA Posted 6 Nov 2012 , 9:59pm

 Quote:

"She skirted around the issue and got pissy which was totally inappropriate and unprofessional."

 

I dont think the op ever said she got pissy she just didint give a staight answer and she was dishonest . It is her business !! I agree if there is an allergy problem then ask about ingredients other than that its not anyones business but hers!! 

AnnieCahill Posted 7 Nov 2012 , 12:16am

The response the OP was given sounded pissy to me.  Refusal to answer, then basically saying what difference does it make, sounds a little pissy.  Then again, I wasn't privy to the conversation, so maybe it was said just as polite as can be.

costumeczar Posted 7 Nov 2012 , 1:16am

You should call and tell her you're allergic to proylene glycol, and do her cupcakes have any of that in them? That would be your answer, even though you already know the answer.

 

And yes, it's a yes or no question. Answering whether you use a base mix or not doesn't give away your trade secret recipes.

Godot Posted 7 Nov 2012 , 5:48am

What I don't get is why you are (and everyone else is) so obssessed with what this woman is baking. You said the cupcakes are good. Why make a big deal about if they use a mix or bake from scratch? You got your answer - it's obvious that they use a mix. If you don't want to eat cakes made with a mix the stop shopping there. It's that simple.

 

I'm a scratch baker.

Annabakescakes Posted 7 Nov 2012 , 6:11am

AExactly! Everyone on this site seems to be so picky and obsessed... I have had my business for 2 years, and have only had 1 person ask me... And she didn't even care! I think she must've been influenced in some way to ask, because I told her no, and she still ordered!!

Bluehue Posted 7 Nov 2012 , 11:56am

Hmmm - why would you not ask whilst being in the shop?

 

Perhaps the lady thought you were another bakery when you called - shrug

 

I don't see any signal that she was dishonest...  Isn't being dishonest telling an untruth?

 

She just took the 5th ... as America calls it icon_wink.gif

 

If she said yes, i bake from scratch - and she actually used a packet mix - now that would be dishonest...

 

Maybe you should have been upfront and mentioned why you were asking..... shrug.

 

Bluehue

cakeymom Posted 10 Nov 2012 , 10:29pm

Truly the reason I asked about baking from scratch is because I was considering ordering my birthday cake from her.  I like Italian Cream Cheese cake and if she baked from scratch I would have ordered it to save myself time from baking my cake. 

 

Anyway, I did get my answer by her evasiveness. 

 

 

Cakeymom

Bluehue Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 5:28am
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeymom 

Truly the reason I asked about baking from scratch is because I was considering ordering my birthday cake from her.  I like Italian Cream Cheese cake and if she baked from scratch I would have ordered it to save myself time from baking my cake....oh i don't doubt you for one minute...  why you wanted to know is your business/concern - However, to assume she was dishonest is a harsh call.   

 

 

 

Anyway, I did get my answer by her evasiveness. ....you think ?  icon_confused.gif

Lolllll, evasiveness is a far cry from being tagged dishonest.

Again, perhps she thought you were another baker/caker when you phoned... 

Perhaps you need to call again and mention that you are a protential customer... or pop in and ask her face to face...

 

Bluehue

 

 

 

Cakeymom

maymay0829 Posted 12 Nov 2012 , 9:27pm

But asking if its a mix is different from asking what is in the cake.

Dani1081 Posted 13 Nov 2012 , 2:23am

If you like her cake, who cares if it's scratch or a mix?  The only important thing is that it's good and you like it. RIGHT??? 

vicki3336 Posted 13 Nov 2012 , 5:45pm

No, I don't really think all that matters is if you like it.  I like, no love, Diet Coke.  Had quite a habit of drinking 3 - 4 per day.  As I became more aware of the harmful chemicals in it, I chose to give it up; haven't had any soda for almost two years.  I'm not totally obsessed with keeping all chemicals out of my food, but I do try to minimize them.  Since I'm no chemist or doctor or whatever and since I don't know how any of the chemicals in box mixes affect my body, I choose not to use them, particularly since there are viable alternatives.  A bakery using a mix would be a deal breaker for me, regardless of how beautiful and tasty they are.

cakeymom Posted 13 Nov 2012 , 5:55pm

Well, for the record I did purchase my birthday cake from the bakery and it was good.  But, I don't see what the harm is in knowing what you are paying for.  I get the point of using a good quality commercial mix; consistency, and being able to sell a product at a good and fair price.

 

But, what I do not get is, why not just say you use a mix.  Why does there have to be this lack of ownership???  Again, if I had a bakery I might be one that uses a mix.  But, at least I would be forthcoming if asked this question.

 

cakeymom

carmijok Posted 13 Nov 2012 , 6:46pm

The bakery I worked for used a mix of scratch recipes and those from a doctored mix.  The 'recipe' most requested from us was our doctored mix.  We did not disclose  our recipes nor did we say whether we used a mix or not.   Unfortunately some people have the misguided notion that if they purchase a baked good produced from a mix (doctored or not), that it somehow is worth less.  That's why the baker was hesitant.   Whether true or not, perception rules the market place and I'm sure she was concerned if she divulged her baking methods,  some customers might reconsider using her.   Right or wrong, that's what happens. 

 

If I were in the same position and asked point blank if I used mixes I too would be hesitant...but I might say that 'some of our recipes use a base mix, while others are made completely from scratch--and it just depends upon which recipe provides the highest quality and superior taste as to which type we use for any given order.'  

cakefat Posted 13 Nov 2012 , 11:35pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by vicki3336 

No, I don't really think all that matters is if you like it.  I like, no love, Diet Coke.  Had quite a habit of drinking 3 - 4 per day.  As I became more aware of the harmful chemicals in it, I chose to give it up; haven't had any soda for almost two years.  I'm not totally obsessed with keeping all chemicals out of my food, but I do try to minimize them.  Since I'm no chemist or doctor or whatever and since I don't know how any of the chemicals in box mixes affect my body, I choose not to use them, particularly since there are viable alternatives.  A bakery using a mix would be a deal breaker for me, regardless of how beautiful and tasty they are.

 This is how I feel about it too. I try to limit the amount of chemicals that go into my body and that includes mixes (and other processed food) when I can easily buy (elsewhere) or make something from scratch. It seems that in certain areas, mixes are quite popular and the norm. But for me, it isn't normal or acceptable to buy/eat/etc processed foods- no matter how 'tasty' it may be.

 

When I read the 'gourmet' flavours page here, I was almost shocked that people would include all these extras- like chemically liquid coffee creamers, etc into their cake mixes (and other things too). So no, I would not want to buy from a bakery that uses a mix and I would like to know if they did because I do care about what goes into my body, it's just not acceptable for me to ingest processed foods with wild abandon- no matter how 'good' it may taste. 

Christi52 Posted 13 Nov 2012 , 11:48pm

AYou really already knew the answer, because you could "smell" the mix. So what was the motivation for asking?

jason_kraft Posted 14 Nov 2012 , 4:58pm

A

Original message sent by carmijok

The bakery I worked for used a mix of scratch recipes and those from a doctored mix.  The 'recipe' most requested from us was our doctored mix.  We did not disclose  our recipes nor did we say whether we used a mix or not.   Unfortunately some people have the misguided notion that if they purchase a baked good produced from a mix (doctored or not), that it somehow is worth less.  That's why the baker was hesitant.   Whether true or not, perception rules the market place and I'm sure she was concerned if she divulged her baking methods,  some customers might reconsider using her.   Right or wrong, that's what happens. 

Just looking at some of the responses in this thread re mixes, it looks like the bakery made the right call in declining to disclose their baking process.

vicki3336 Posted 15 Nov 2012 , 7:24pm
Quote:
Just looking at some of the responses in this thread re mixes, it looks like the bakery made the right call in declining to disclose their baking process.

 

Jason, I tend to disagree.  Though I realize I can only speak for myself, the answer provided by the bakery in question would evoke two possible responses from me.  1) The evasiveness of the response would be perceived as an answer and I would not purchase from the bakery because they use mixes; or 2) If it were two years ago before I decided to minimize chemicals in my diet, I would be annoyed by the evasiveness of the answer on the grounds that I believe a consumer has a right to know what they are purchasing and I would not order anything from the bakery.  I my humble opinion, the question had nothing to do with the process, only the ingredients.  A response similar to the one carmijok offered would have satisfied me and I would happily have placed an order.  

jason_kraft Posted 15 Nov 2012 , 11:35pm

A

Original message sent by vicki3336

 I my humble opinion, the question had nothing to do with the process, only the ingredients.  A response similar to the one carmijok offered would have satisfied me and I would happily have placed an order.  

Except if the bakery only uses mixes, answering that some products are made from mixes and others from scratch would be dishonest.

The question absolutely has to do with process...if it was about ingredients OP would have asked for a list of ingredients. Some mixes have chemical ingredients and some don't.

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