ChrissieJennett Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 1:51am
post #1 of

Call me crazy, but I cannot find a from-scratch recipe that tastes as good, and comes out as fluffy and moist as boxed cake.  If I find one that tastes decent, it's too dry, too dense, or there's something else weird about the consistency.  If I find one with a good consistency, it doesn't taste quite like I want it to.  What gives?  Does anyone have a fool proof recipe?  White or yellow?  Thanks!

38 replies
Tatiana79 Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 2:03am
post #2 of

I love Betty Crocker's Silver White Cake Recipe!  It's never failed me!! I like to add 1 tsp of almond extract as well as the vanilla 

 

http://www.grouprecipes.com/107578/silver-white-cake-betty-crocker---used-for-petits-fours-as-well.html

ChrissieJennett Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 2:10am
post #3 of

Thanks so much I will try that!

Baking Sis Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 2:29am
post #4 of

Thanks, that sound like a good one to try!

IAmPamCakes Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 2:39am
post #5 of

AFromscratchSF (a CC member) has a recipe that, if I remember correctly, she actually developed to taste & feel like boxed cake. Her blog has variations for other flavors, too.

ChrissieJennett Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 2:41am
post #6 of

Oh cool I'll have to check it out.  My Mother and Sister in Law both make everything from scratch and can't understand why I liked boxed cake.  Maybe because I grew up on it, who knows.  But it is ALWAYS consistently moist, fluffy, and tastes as cake should (in my opinion). I think if I'd grown up on scratch cake Id be used to it and like it better

Tatiana79 Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 2:48am
post #7 of

I know you are looking for something from scratch, but one of my friend's posted this on FB and it sounds pretty good!  It's how to make a box cake taste like it's from scratch.

 

Step 1: Look at the directions on the cake mix, Step 2: Add one more egg (or add 2 if you want it to be very rich), Step 3: Use melted butter instead of oil and double the amount, Step 4: Instead of water, use milk. Step 5: Mix well and bake for the time recommended on the box.

anavillatoro1 Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 3:03am
post #8 of

ATry bakerella moist yelow cake, I love it taste better than box

ChrissieJennett Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 3:04am
post #9 of

Thanks Tatiana!  I would definitely try that for myself.  I hate to use a box if I'm charging someone for the cake though - it feels like cheating or something.  I use boxed cake mix all the time if it's just for me, or my husband. We don't mind the box :o)   And SO much easier!

ChrissieJennett Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 3:08am

I found it, thanks!!

Tatiana79 Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 6:00am

When you do try it let me know how it turns out.  I don't make cake for my family (hubby can't eat it and we have an infant.  I don't need a whole cake for myself), but I am really wondering how it tastes.   Good luck!

I'm the same way about the box cakes.  If someone is paying good money then you want to give them the best quality possible!

 

Oh, I've been checking out this site and everyone talks about WASC cakes.  I googled it and learned what it was.  White Almond Sour Cream Cake.  I found a recipe on Food.com that sounds amazing but still uses box cake.  Definitely worth checking out!

leah_s Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 11:09am

AHonestly,I'm very glad that scratch cake doesn't taste like box cake. Those chemically tasting, wonder bread texture things are an abomination. I learned to bake when I was 9 years old in 4H. Seriously, its not "rocket surgery". Now I have a culinary degree, same opinion. Anyone can learn to bake from scratch. Its what cake is supposed to be. Same difference between wonder bread and a nice artisinal loaf.

ChrissieJennett Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 1:09pm

ALeah. Let me preface this by saying comments like yours are the reason I hesitate to post to forums. There's always someone who likes to be condescending. Let me reiterate, I am not a professional baker. It's a hobby. I've only made two cakes that someone paid for, neither of which were boxed cake. Both came out fine and got rave reviews. I understand that baking a cake from scratch is not "rocket surgery" as you called it. I have a masters degree. I'm not an idiot. I also started my last post off by saying "call me crazy, but" to make sure everyone knew I AGREED that boxed cake isn't as good before I got 100 replies like yours. I was simply asking for help for a better recipe. Congrats that you started baking at age 9. My interest in baking came later in life. At 9 I was busy composing music on the piano! And can we stop using extreme words like "abomination" while discussing something like cake? It's cake. Thanks for the condescension and help!

gatorcake Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 2:21pm

More information would be helpful.  For instance what recipes have you already tried?  Second what exactly do you want it to be like?  Taste like a box cake and be fluffy and moist like a box cake?  So why have you been disatisfied with the flavor of the cakes you have made?  Given you are looking for a white or yellow I would suggest the flavor is "off" for two reasons.  One .as off-putting as you find Leah's post she gave the reason why--their taste is impact by the stabilizers and other chemical agents that are added to them.  So if you are looking to replicate something with that taste profile you will have a difficult time doing so.  Two the artificial flavors of box cakes will impact their flavor profile.  If you are used to those artificial flavor profiles and like them---you will not be able to produce them using quality extracts--the cakes will not have the flavor you are looking for.

 

As for texture again it will be hard--not impossible--to replicate as it is produced by the chemical agents added to the box mix.  Cooks Illustrated has a yellow cake recipe that is designed to replicate the texture of box yellow cakes.  The recipe is the Fluffy Layer Yellow Cake--I have tried it.  I find it okay, but that is because I do not prefer the ultra-light texture of box cakes--you may find that you like it.  Most scratch recipes will not have that texture precisely because that texture is produced by including additives and it is difficult to produce without them.  

 

So what gives?  You are looking to produce something from scratch that is made with the inclusion of additives and artificial flavors.  If you know this, then you know it is going to be impossible--yes even Cooks recipes only approximates a box yellow cake--to produce what you are looking for--if what you are looking for is the flavor, texture and moistness of box.  There are plenty of tried and tested yellow cakes that are moist--but they will not have the texture you are looking for.  Most taste great as for yellow cakes, the dominant flavor is yellow--and imo, nothing beats a yellow cake made with homemade vanilla.  But if you are looking for a flavor profile that includes chemicals and artificial flavors--no yellow cake will do.  

 

If that is the flavor and texture you want--then by all means use it.  As to feeling like cheating (which seems to be the reason you are looking for a scratch recipe) that is a subject that has been beaten to death on this forum.  On my view--if it works for you, then use them--be honest with a client if they ask--and most definitely do not beat yourself up about using them.  Plenty of people do.

Tatiana79 Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 2:42pm

Chrissie, you rock

'nuf said

ChrissieJennett Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 2:45pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorcake 

More information would be helpful.  For instance what recipes have you already tried?  Second what exactly do you want it to be like?  Taste like a box cake and be fluffy and moist like a box cake?  So why have you been disatisfied with the flavor of the cakes you have made?  Given you are looking for a white or yellow I would suggest the flavor is "off" for two reasons.  One .as off-putting as you find Leah's post she gave the reason why--their taste is impact by the stabilizers and other chemical agents that are added to them.  So if you are looking to replicate something with that taste profile you will have a difficult time doing so.  Two the artificial flavors of box cakes will impact their flavor profile.  If you are used to those artificial flavor profiles and like them---you will not be able to produce them using quality extracts--the cakes will not have the flavor you are looking for.

 

As for texture again it will be hard--not impossible--to replicate as it is produced by the chemical agents added to the box mix.  Cooks Illustrated has a yellow cake recipe that is designed to replicate the texture of box yellow cakes.  The recipe is the Fluffy Layer Yellow Cake--I have tried it.  I find it okay, but that is because I do not prefer the ultra-light texture of box cakes--you may find that you like it.  Most scratch recipes will not have that texture precisely because that texture is produced by including additives and it is difficult to produce without them.  

 

So what gives?  You are looking to produce something from scratch that is made with the inclusion of additives and artificial flavors.  If you know this, then you know it is going to be impossible--yes even Cooks recipes only approximates a box yellow cake--to produce what you are looking for--if what you are looking for is the flavor, texture and moistness of box.  There are plenty of tried and tested yellow cakes that are moist--but they will not have the texture you are looking for.  Most taste great as for yellow cakes, the dominant flavor is yellow--and imo, nothing beats a yellow cake made with homemade vanilla.  But if you are looking for a flavor profile that includes chemicals and artificial flavors--no yellow cake will do.  

 

If that is the flavor and texture you want--then by all means use it.  As to feeling like cheating (which seems to be the reason you are looking for a scratch recipe) that is a subject that has been beaten to death on this forum.  On my view--if it works for you, then use them--be honest with a client if they ask--and most definitely do not beat yourself up about using them.  Plenty of people do.

Thank you!  It actually helps to know it's probably impossible because much of boxed cake flavor/texture is due to additives.  I REALLY think the issue is that I'm used to the flavor of a box cake, it's what I grew up on.  I'm sure the cakes I'm trying are coming out how they are supposed to, and I'm just disappointed because it's different that my expectations.  I have tried Martha Stewart's Yellow Butter Cake and found it tasted bland (in my opinion), and the outer layer of the cake seemed to crust more than I liked.  I tried a Devils Food cake recipe once (Cake Bible maybe, or could have been Martha Stewart) that came out SO moist it was impossible to handle the cakes without them falling to pieces.  I started over completely thinking I'd under cooked it.  It came out the same the second time.  Both of my white cakes involving meringue come out very dry even though I never over beat the eggs.  I purposely under cooked a small batch of white cake cupcakes yesterday to see if that would help the dryness (knife came out clean, but just barely),,,,and they were moist right out of the oven, and dry an hour later.  I guess I'm just frustrated that four years after trying recipe after recipe I still haven't found "the one".   I also want to continue making cakes for people and understand the importance of NOT using a box.  So I'm eager to find something that comes out nice, each time.  The closest I've come and the recipes that are currently my go-to's are Martha Stewarts Yellow Butter cake, and one called Heavenly White Cake that I found on AllRecipes.com.  The white cake is the one I worry about because it is often dry, no matter how I adjust the recipe ( beat eggs less, add more milk).  Thanks for the constructive input.  I'm just looking for friendly help and advice!

ChrissieJennett Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 2:58pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatiana79 

Chrissie, you rock

'nuf said

Thanks!  She hurt my feelings.  We aren't all Superstar experts.  

Norasmom Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 3:29pm

I make WASC for my customers and they love it!  Call it an abomination, call it false baking, discuss chemical preservatives, say whatever you would like.  It works for me and my customers and all is good.  I'm not offended!  I have made cakes from scratch many times and WASC has been ideal for me.  I am not a big business, but I still get orders.

Norasmom Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 3:30pm

If you are a cake purist, I highly recommend the Cake Bible.  Great techniques and recipes.

ChrissieJennett Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 4:05pm

AWhat is WASC? And I have the cake bible, have only tried a few but will continue to try their recipes!

ChrissieJennett Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 4:06pm

A

Original message sent by Norasmom

I make WASC for my customers and they love it!  Call it an abomination, call it false baking, discuss chemical preservatives, say whatever you would like.  It works for me and my customers and all is good.  I'm not offended!  I have made cakes from scratch many times and WASC has been ideal for me.  I am not a big business, but I still get orders.

Nevermind, i see your last post!

Tatiana79 Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 8:53pm

I was pissed for you!  I almost reported the comment, but you had it on lock down. :)

Tatiana79 Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 8:56pm

I don't know if you saw my post on the WASC cake.  But I found an interesting recipe for it on food.com.  I haven't made this yet, but it sounds really good!

ChrissieJennett Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 11:28pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatiana79 

I don't know if you saw my post on the WASC cake.  But I found an interesting recipe for it on food.com.  I haven't made this yet, but it sounds really good!

She probably wasn't being as mean as I made her out to be, but I also noticed she didn't offer any advice or recipes.  So she clearly only got on the post to make me feel stupid.  Awesome.  

cakefat Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 12:24am

Seriously? You were offended by her post? And someone else reported it?  wow. (and no, I do not think she was being mean or rude).

 

Let's compare wonder bread or sunbeam white bread to a real artisan loaf of bread...the wonder bread/sun beam IS an abomination. It's over processed, full of chemicals, preservatives. it's not even bread anymore.  Lots of people love it because that is what they're used to and they have grown up on processed, package foods. They can't appreciate the real thing because they haven't been exposed to real foods. Same with cake mixes. 

 

also if you ONLY like box mixes, don't stress- there are  A LOT of people out there who do too..and a lot of customers who do not care where their food comes from, so you will still have people buying your cake mix cakes. (Personally I wouldn't buy one- and I would actually ask a baker beforehand too..but I do care where my food comes from and I don't like chemically tasting food..but I'm not your market either)

 

I think there are a lot of very bad scratch recipes out there and a lot of people who do not know what real food tastes like. Also I am certain there is a technique that is being over looked or not done properly IF the recipe is already good. Are you weighing out all of your ingredients? That is a must. period. If your recipe is not stated in weight measurements, I would look for one that is. Try from scratch SF's white cake recipe..and read all the detailed instructions (she has a lot) before you start.

 

Baking may not be 'rocket surgery' but it is a science. 

ChrissieJennett Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 2:07am

AOk. I think it's time to delete this post! First off, it wasn't reported. Second, I didn't say I ONLY like boxed cake. I said I can't find a scratch recipe I like. I was hoping people would offer up their favorite recipe! Jesus! Is everyone missing the point of my original post? I said I "like" the taste of boxed cake. I also said I don't want to use it and am looking for a better scratch recipe. I also said I have never EVER sold some one a boxed cake. So when you said I will have people still buying my boxed cakes it made me realize you didn't even read my post. Good gosh! Read my entire post and get what I'm actually asking about. It's like you only read the title and just went off.

ChrissieJennett Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 2:10am

AOn that note.. Who knows how to delete threads? I'm sick of hate mail. I joined the site for fun not so I could get virtually assaulted.

cakefat Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 2:11am
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrissieJennett 

Ok. I think it's time to delete this post! First off, it wasn't reported. Second, I didn't say I ONLY like boxed cake. I said I can't find a scratch recipe I like. I was hoping people would offer up their favorite recipe! Jesus! Is everyone missing the point of my original post? I said I "like" the taste of boxed cake. I also said I don't want to use it and am looking for a better scratch recipe. I also said I have never EVER sold some one a boxed cake. So when you said I will have people still buying my boxed cakes it made me realize you didn't even read my post. Good gosh! Read my entire post and get what I'm actually asking about. It's like you only read the title and just went off.

 

I didn't 'go off" but you certainly are. 

 

I gave you advice on cakes and where to find a good scratch recipe. 

 

you're welcome

ChrissieJennett Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 2:14am

AThank you

cakeymom Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 2:27am

AI only bake from scratch, but I grew up with Mom that made box cake mixes and there is nothing that can replace the love that went into making that special birthday cake that was topped off with can frosting. What a treat it was to pick the cake and frosting flavors.

But, with said, do like I did and experiment with a recipe that is close and tweak it. Sorry, I am not willing to post my recipe. It is moist, tender with a fine crumb, airy and very flavorable.

Good Luck

Cakeymom

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