Red Riding Hood Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 3:59pm
post #1 of

Hello Everyone,

 

I am new here and looking into getting some insights from all of you pro's. 

Here's my dilemma. I just started my home based business in creating cakes and cupcakes in our community. I usually use DH for all of my cakes and cupcakes and so far, it's been a hit. But, I kinda feel that I am cheating because I am not doing it from scratch. My cake decorating instructor told me that mostly, people don't know the difference if the cake is box or scratch especially if you add some flavoring i.e. instead of adding water to chocolate mix; you add orange juice to make it chocolate orange cake, So here's what I want to know from all of you:

 

1. Does any of you own a business and use box mix?

2. Is it much cheaper to use mix or more economical from scratch?

 

My husband says always says to me 'If it ain't broken, don;t touch it'. So far, my chocolate cakes, mocha cupcakes are selling really well but still feel guilty about not doing it from scratch.

 

Your opinions and comments would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks so much!

112 replies
jason_kraft Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 4:01pm
post #2 of

AThere's nothing wrong with using a box mix, some people prefer it. Generally using a box mix is cheaper at lower volumes, but once you start ramping up production scratch becomes cheaper.

Red Riding Hood Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 4:09pm
post #3 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

There's nothing wrong with using a box mix, some people prefer it. Generally using a box mix is cheaper at lower volumes, but once you start ramping up production scratch becomes cheaper.

Thanks Jason - I agree, for high volume, scratch is better but I am afraid that when I reach that point that I have to do it from scratch, I might not be able to re-create DH's cakes as people were already used to it's taste.

frosting22 Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 4:09pm
post #4 of

I always use box mixes but add stuff like pudding, mayo, etc.. There is nothing wrong with box mixes.. Good Luck with your new buisness!!

Norasmom Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 4:10pm
post #5 of

Box works for me....people love the WASC!

therealmrsriley Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 4:22pm
post #6 of

I too "doctor up" the box mixes and Duncan Hines is my go to. I do have scratch recipes that turn out well too but for the most part I use box mixes. It's not that either tastes better or worse. For me, I like the crumb and the way a box cake slices. I can usually start with a white mix and add several different ingredients to it to give it my own spin.

 

In the end what's most important is that you put the best product possible out there. You may find that some box mixes are good for certain cakes and you may also find that some scratch recipes are better as well. Most of the time customers just want what looks and tastes good.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 4:38pm
post #7 of

First of all go with what works.  Don't feel guilty about using a box mix.  I use them depending on what I'm doing.

 

Second, Jason is right about larger volumes.  Now is the time to experiment on the side with different recipes that meet your standards.  When you find one, and it works for you, you can incorporate it into your business.

 

Focus on the business.  Put out good product.  Charge the right price.  Work on scratch recipes in your spare time...if you have any.

 

Enjoy your new business and don't sweat the scratch thing.  You'll do it when it works for you.

AZCouture Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 4:50pm
post #8 of

Nothing wrong with it, let's face it, that's what people think is homemade and they're used to it. Personally, for me I made the decision to make everything I use in and on my cakes from scratch, wherever possible. Sometimes I make my own gum paste, but Satin Ice GP is just so perfect, I usually don't bother. Everything else, yeah. Just something I like to tout and my customers definitely appreciate it. I have plenty of friends and associates who use everything premade, and their customers love them. Room for all types.

BatterUpCake Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 4:57pm
post #9 of

I started out doing all scratch until I tried the WASC. Then I used that when I was being lazy. I then realized that I love it, my customers love it and I can do so many variations with one recipe that I stopped feeling guilty. I did have to take "made from scratch" from my website...though. No one noticed or cared. I get nothing but rave reviews now on the texture flavor and MOISTNESS (throwback to an old thread there) of my cakes. That was not the case 100% of the time with my scratch...especially white.

frosting22 Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 5:26pm

I think there is a book that has a ton of wonderful cake recipes that are made from a box and have added ingredients to it.. I can't think of the name...

AZCouture Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 5:29pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by BatterUpCake 

That was not the case 100% of the time with my scratch...especially white.

Seems to be a problem discussed many times. One of the best things you can do to get good results with any scratch cake, is find recipes with buttermilk. There is only one recipe I use that doesn't call for it, all the others have it. 

Red Riding Hood Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 6:57pm

A

Original message sent by BatterUpCake

I started out doing all scratch until I tried the WASC. Then I used that when I was being lazy. I then realized that I love it, my customers love it and I can do so many variations with one recipe that I stopped feeling guilty. I did have to take "made from scratch" from my website...though. No one noticed or cared. I get nothing but rave reviews now on the texture flavor and MOISTNESS (throwback to an old thread there) of my cakes. That was not the case 100% of the time with my scratch...especially white.

Red Riding Hood Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 6:58pm

AThis is really helpful. Thank You!Pardon my ignorance but what is WASC?

AZCouture Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 7:01pm

I tried to like WASC, I really did. Made it a couple of times, but couldn't get past the chemical smells when it was baking, and the taste. It still screamed box mix to me. 

as you wish Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 7:02pm

AI make my cakes from scratch because I find people like them better. That and I am a bit of an ingredients snob. The only things I don't make myself are fondant and gumpaste; I like Satin Ice for those. No reason for you to feel bad about using box mixes though, if that is what the people you are baking for like. As long as you aren't trying to pass them off as scratch. :)

morganchampagne Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 7:22pm

AI bake from scratch because I never was introduced to box mixes. From the time I was a little girl I just baked from scratch. But I worked at a bakery where box mix was used for cakes. Nobody noticed and more importantly [B]NOBODY CARED[/B]. There was the occasional person who walked away but most ppl couldn't care less. It's all about who you're marketing to. But there's a market for everybody

Smckinney07 Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 7:37pm

A

Original message sent by Red Riding Hood

This is really helpful. Thank You!Pardon my ignorance but what is WASC?

White Almond Sour Cream, here a link to variations.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wBMz4wGYM-f4XKECyQEodFVwB0QHjQ2xQCeMG20bmws/mobilebasic

I used this a lot in the beginning but now I'm working on my own recipes. I have a chocolate and white cake that I am very happy with, but I've used the recipes from this link to get ideas for making different variations of my recipes and the actual science behind each ingredient. I've always been able to follow a recipe, but now I'm more interested in what ingredients are used for, what I can substitute with and what will make this better. I hope that makes sense?

I could never understand why some bakers kept recipes secret. Now I have a newfound respect for the actual process! Either way, do what's best for you!

AZCouture Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 7:44pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smckinney07 

I could never understand why some bakers kept recipes secret. Now I have a newfound respect for the actual process!
Either way, do what's best for you!

Exactly! Lot of work tweaking things just right. 

BatterUpCake Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 8:24pm

I almost had to torture my daughter to get her carrot cake recipe...and the thing is she doesn't like to bake and quit doing desserts for her restaurant!  grrrrr I start baking and pastry school Sep 30th (if I am accepted) so I will be developing my own recipes....but MacsMom's are sooo wonderful. My mouth is watering. I think I will go pull and Almond Joy cuppie out of the freezer for dessert! I also just did an Amaretto Mocha Latte using WASC variations and it was wonderful...

Annabakescakes Posted 24 Jul 2013 , 8:31pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

I tried to like WASC, I really did. Made it a couple of times, but couldn't get past the chemical smells when it was baking, and the taste. It still screamed box mix to me. 

I tried to like wasc, but I could never get it to raise or have a good consistency. It was wet and heavy and dense, like paste. I didn't bother trying it, I like eating my cake with a fork, rather than spoon. 

Katya1956 Posted 26 Jul 2013 , 3:27am

Everyone can bake from a box. If you call yourself professional, and charge for it as a professional, you have to be different. You should be aiming to do things other people can't.

How can you can justify the difference in the price between the store bought cakes and cupcakes and yours? We all know they make theirs using cake mixes. The only difference is they by their mixes in bags, not boxes.

We all know box mixes contain chemicals. Start educating your customers on the difference between boxed and scratch. Once they taste well made cake from scratch, they will never go back.

Don't make it easy for you, make it right for your customers.

texas_mom Posted 26 Jul 2013 , 4:05am

I have always used boxed mixes and I tell everyone that wants a cake that that is what I use.  They don't mind because the cake come out great and it cuts down on the cost.  I can make a small two tier wedding cake for $20.00 using boxed mixes , buttercream icing and marshmallow fondant.  And since my cost for ingredients  is low so is the price of the cake and the costumer really likes that.  And the taste is what they are use to because that is what people most use at home.

jason_kraft Posted 26 Jul 2013 , 4:33am

A

Original message sent by Katya1956

How can you can justify the difference in the price between the store bought cakes and cupcakes and yours?

Decorating skill.

Annabakescakes Posted 26 Jul 2013 , 4:56am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katya1956 

How can you can justify the difference in the price between the store bought cakes and cupcakes and yours?

Decorating skill.

Jason, you know my humor so I hope you will forgive me for pointing it out that we have a very difficult "relationship" here on CC...And forgive me for pointing it out the it pains me to have to agree with you because of it?? ;-)

 

Not only the obvious decorating skills, but also just the way people bake with boxed ingredients. And I don't mean just wasc, which people love, but just not over baking, and not overly storing it, and the custom flavors that no store will provide, and the individual attention we give our clients. 

 

I can't bake all my cakes from scratch. OH, GAD, how I want to, and I have problem after problem, and I don't have the energy to keep trying, right now. I do make my fillings and buttercreams from scratch, with no weird chemicals, but white cakes are just beyond me. I make a mean scratch gluten free chocolate cake that tastes just like the Hershey's chocolate cake recipe, (no, you cannot have the recipe, I worked my ass off developing it!) and my cookies and pastries and fondant are all scratch, but dammit, all my cakes are not. I want to, and I tried. I have gotten there with many of my cake recipes, but there are a couple I just can't get to taste the way I want. 

 

Ask FromscratchSF about the pictures I emailed her, when I tried her recipe. My cakes had blown up, boiled over, and cratered. And I get RAVE reviews for my bakery. Embarrassingly so!  People flippin' love my white cake. I don't follow the directions on the side of the 50lb BAG it comes in, but it is GREAT! 

 

And I am tired of the highfalutin people condescending from their perches because people dare to bake from a box or a bag. I would rather have a good white cake out of a box, than a badly mixed, baked or poor recipe scratch white cake.    And not all of the militant scratch bakers do this, and I thank you-all who don't. 

morganchampagne Posted 26 Jul 2013 , 5:11am

AAlso. I don't know any bakers who use the box [B]EXACTLY[/B] as it says. They doctor it up. Another thing the general public don't do. So that makes a difference as well! Bottom line...don't feel bad

Like my mom always tells me "Make your money baby!"

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 26 Jul 2013 , 5:11am

The best white cake I have ever eaten, (and I have eat a lot!), was a scratch recipe using buttermilk, a touch of ginger, (you couldn't make out the flavour, it just added something special), and a scoop of white cake mix. How's that for confusing, haha.

 

I'm a scratch baker, but if I can't smooth fondant, it doesn't make a lick of difference.

 

As for the actual question, lol, I would say start doing whatever your long term goal is, even if it's just incorporating one or two scratch recipes. If you are happy with the box mixes though, heck, use mixes. One of the keys of a successful business though is consistency, so I would start going for whatever your long term goal is now.

 

Price wise, I added up what my white and chocolate cake costs versus a doctored cake mix using sour cream/milk/etc, the white was cheaper to make from scratch, and the chocolate was a lot higher. So I would say it depends a lot on your recipes and quality of ingredients.

AZCouture Posted 26 Jul 2013 , 5:33am

A

Original message sent by Annabakescakes

I would rather have a good white cake out of a box, than a badly mixed, baked or poor recipe scratch white cake.  [/B][/I][/U]  And not all of the militant scratch bakers do this, and I thank you-all who don't. 

Frankly it's just not anyone else's business what someone else bakes with. My personal decisions for my business are just that. I'm a militant scratch baker, but I don't tell others they're wrong because they're not as well.

AZCouture Posted 26 Jul 2013 , 5:35am

AButtermilk is the key, I'm tellin' ya. That and not overbaking.

Annabakescakes Posted 26 Jul 2013 , 6:05am
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

Buttermilk is the key, I'm tellin' ya. That and not overbaking.

I am going to try again, once I get the energy. Bet. ;-)

BatterUpCake Posted 26 Jul 2013 , 10:10am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katya1956 

Everyone can bake from a box. If you call yourself professional, and charge for it as a professional, you have to be different. You should be aiming to do things other people can't. How can you can justify the difference in the price between the store bought cakes and cupcakes and yours? We all know they make theirs using cake mixes. The only difference is they by their mixes in bags, not boxes. We all know box mixes contain chemicals. Start educating your customers on the difference between boxed and scratch. Once they taste well made cake from scratch, they will never go back. Don't make it easy for you, make it right for your customers.

I may start with a box mix for most of my flavors but in the end it resembles nothing of the original mix in neither taste nor texture. Please see the list of cake favors from MAcsMom http://cakecentral.com/t/614554/help-gourmet-flavors This took tons of experimentation and creativity to come up with these recipes and flavor combos...and they all started with a box mix. So Katya...I must disagree with you on this. Also you will not get the personalized service and design options from the grocery.

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