ehhicks Posted 31 Aug 2013 , 11:21am
post #1 of

Okay I ask my husband this question constantly and he says it doesn't matter...whichever tastes good. I've been doing cakes for almost a year now. I took the Wilton courses so I could learn about the cake decorating world and to make my sons' birthday cakes. I've since stayed fairly busy getting orders for cakes from others. Now I am in no-ways "professional" at this or do I ever claim to be. I have a full time job and as I mentioned, 2 kids so free time doesn't come often :) I tend to use box mixes for my cakes. I know they will taste great and I don't have to stress over it - I do enough of that for the decoration portion. I have tried some scratch cakes, but I feel like they come out okay but very thick and dense tasting. Maybe its just me. Now I will add that I make my frostings, fillings, and majority of my fondant homemade. So I guess my question is can it be okay to use box mixes?

22 replies
darkchocolate Posted 31 Aug 2013 , 11:32am
post #2 of

You will get a variety of answers.  It is all personal opinion.

 

I personally love both.  I prefer the WASC cake recipe, which uses a box mix, for any cake that I decorate.  You are pretty much guaranteed the same taste every time and the cake stays fresher longer because of the preservatives.  This gives me time to bake on Wed or Thurs, decorate the next day for a Saturday or Sunday cake.

 

On the other hand, I love my scratch cake recipes, such as Banana Cake, Butter Pecan Cake, Red Velvet Cake, etc.

kikiandkyle Posted 31 Aug 2013 , 12:29pm
post #3 of

AThere are lots of pros on here who run very successful cake businesses selling cakes that were made with a box mix, so long as you don't try to pass it off as being made from scratch then it's completely up to you.

I personally make all my cakes from scratch but I've been doing it since I was a child and there's an ingredient in box mixes which aggravates my throat so they don't work for me.

MimiFix Posted 31 Aug 2013 , 1:20pm
post #4 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by ehhicks   my question is can it be okay to use box mixes?

 YES! YES! YES! 

MimiFix Posted 31 Aug 2013 , 1:22pm
post #5 of

YES!

Georgie5618 Posted 31 Aug 2013 , 4:02pm
post #6 of

ATrader Joe's has an AMAZING boxed chocolate cake mix - its in a pink striped box. I use it all the time.

cakeyouverymuch Posted 31 Aug 2013 , 5:17pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkchocolate 

You will get a variety of answers.  It is all personal opinion.

 

I personally love both.  I prefer the WASC cake recipe, which uses a box mix, for any cake that I decorate.  You are pretty much guaranteed the same taste every time and the cake stays fresher longer because of the preservatives.  This gives me time to bake on Wed or Thurs, decorate the next day for a Saturday or Sunday cake.

 

On the other hand, I love my scratch cake recipes, such as Banana Cake, Butter Pecan Cake, Red Velvet Cake, etc.

 

As a scratch baker, I don't understand this reasoning.  If I make a scratch cake the right way (follow the recipe and measure ingredients carefully) I am also guaranteed the same taste every time (don't the scratch recipes you love taste the same every time?), and I really don't see how a bunch of chemical preservatives could possibly be a selling point.  Is this what you tell people who ask you for a cake?  And if you are offering a kicked up box mix with extenders, you aren't actually offering a box mix, but a hybrid of the two that uses the box mix as an ingredient.  If that is the case, you can't claim that box itself is better.  If the box really was better you would be using it 'as is'. 

 

This is not to say that box baking is not real baking, because it certainly is.  It is just to say that the reasons usually given for using box don't make sense to me.  Convenience, yes.  You like the flavor, your clients like the flavor, yes.  Same results every time, not so much. 

cakeyouverymuch Posted 31 Aug 2013 , 5:20pm
post #8 of

And to answer the OPs question. . . YES.

darkchocolate Posted 31 Aug 2013 , 5:32pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeyouverymuch 

 

As a scratch baker, I don't understand this reasoning.  If I make a scratch cake the right way (follow the recipe and measure ingredients carefully) I am also guaranteed the same taste every time (don't the scratch recipes you love taste the same every time?), and I really don't see how a bunch of chemical preservatives could possibly be a selling point.  Is this what you tell people who ask you for a cake?  And if you are offering a kicked up box mix with extenders, you aren't actually offering a box mix, but a hybrid of the two that uses the box mix as an ingredient.  If that is the case, you can't claim that box itself is better.  If the box really was better you would be using it 'as is'. 

 

This is not to say that box baking is not real baking, because it certainly is.  It is just to say that the reasons usually given for using box don't make sense to me.  Convenience, yes.  You like the flavor, your clients like the flavor, yes.  Same results every time, not so much. 

I never said on this forum or to the people I bake for, that I bake from scratch for my decorated cakes.  I am not a business, so I have never had to make a "selling point".  I bake for my family and friends (get togethers, potlucks, etc.)  My family and friends love both my decorated cakes and my scratch cakes that I don't decorate-no need to, not the type of cake I would decorate.

 

As I said earlier, the OP will get a variety of answers.  I also stated what I posted was my opinion and I still stand by that.

 

The taste may not vary as much with, scratch versus doctored mixes, but I have consistence results when I used a doctored mix for "freshness" due to the preservatives.

 

I have also had consistent results with an undoctored - box mix only cake.  I have many different recipes that my family and friends like.

jason_kraft Posted 31 Aug 2013 , 6:03pm

A

Original message sent by darkchocolate

The taste may not vary as much with, scratch versus doctored mixes, but I have consistence results when I used a doctored mix for "freshness" due to the preservatives.

The preservatives in box mixes are to extend the shelf life of the mix throughout the supply chain, they don't affect the consistency or freshness of the final product. Consistency is a function of your baking process. Using a box mix does remove one preparation step from your process, but if you are able to put together a mix from scratch the same way each time you should not have any issues.

You can extend the shelf life of most cakes that are still in progress by freezing them.

maybenot Posted 31 Aug 2013 , 10:49pm

Well, not to give your DH a big head, or anything, but HE'S RIGHT.  If you like it, he likes it, and the people eating it like it, THEN IT'S RIGHT.  Don't stress over it.

ehhicks Posted 1 Sep 2013 , 12:18am

Thanks for the thoughts everyone. But what is "DH" - sorry I'm not familiar with all the acronyms up here :)

I do appreciate all the comments - To me the box cakes taste great and I never pass them off as anything else. I feel like if I know they'll taste good why not and then I can work to make sure it looks good as well.

kikiandkyle Posted 1 Sep 2013 , 12:28am

ADear husband or Duncan Hines, depending on the context!

ehhicks Posted 1 Sep 2013 , 1:27am

Okay thanks!!! ~ On another note - I know that some people freeze their cake layers for later use - has anyone ever done this with cupcakes and if so whats the best way to do that?

daryll Posted 1 Sep 2013 , 2:01am

AI bake from scratch but use a premade bought fondant...each to their own.

MimiFix Posted 1 Sep 2013 , 2:20am
Quote:
Originally Posted by ehhicks 

Okay thanks!!! ~ On another note - I know that some people freeze their cake layers for later use - has anyone ever done this with cupcakes and if so whats the best way to do that?

This thread may help. http://cakecentral.com/t/763067/freezing-cupcakes#post_7437808

manicgeisha Posted 1 Sep 2013 , 3:43am

I do not like box mixes so I haven`t used one in years...especially now with all the GMOs in everything that I like to limit my intake of, also not crazy about the amount of unidentifiable ingredients.  Personal choice here not a judgment.  

 

That aside, I use a scale to bake from scratch and have never had a problem with consistency -unless I was severely distracted in the middle of my mis en place- taste, texture, yield are all bang on.   I`ve had varying results (but nothing too noticeable) measuring by volume; it`s much more accurate by weight, and honestly much quicker!   Really, it takes me about 2 minutes tops to set up all I need to make a cake...I`d still be driving to the store for a box mix in that time :) 

And when I have a ton of stuff to do-like everything DIY for my kids parties- I bake the cakes a few days in advance, wrap them about 4 or 5 times and freeze them.  I have never had an issue with texture, dryness, or off flavours.  And on the upside my kitchen is clean when I have to decorate their cakes.   ...I imagine I would do the same with or without the box mix in those situations.   Its just madness otherwise.


NOOB question: WASC?

darkchocolate Posted 1 Sep 2013 , 9:57am
Quote:
Originally Posted by manicgeisha 

I do not like box mixes so I haven`t used one in years...especially now with all the GMOs in everything that I like to limit my intake of, also not crazy about the amount of unidentifiable ingredients.  Personal choice here not a judgment.  

 

That aside, I use a scale to bake from scratch and have never had a problem with consistency -unless I was severely distracted in the middle of my mis en place- taste, texture, yield are all bang on.   I`ve had varying results (but nothing too noticeable) measuring by volume; it`s much more accurate by weight, and honestly much quicker!   Really, it takes me about 2 minutes tops to set up all I need to make a cake...I`d still be driving to the store for a box mix in that time :) 

And when I have a ton of stuff to do-like everything DIY for my kids parties- I bake the cakes a few days in advance, wrap them about 4 or 5 times and freeze them.  I have never had an issue with texture, dryness, or off flavours.  And on the upside my kitchen is clean when I have to decorate their cakes.   ...I imagine I would do the same with or without the box mix in those situations.   Its just madness otherwise.


NOOB question: WASC?

WASC - White Almond Sour Cream Cake

http://cakecentral.com/a/white-almond-sour-cream-cake-wasc

 

http://cakecentral.com/a/the-original-wasc-cake-recipe

 

 

I have considered getting a scale, but then I don't know how to convert my tried and true scratch recipes to weight.

MimiFix Posted 1 Sep 2013 , 10:28am
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkchocolate 

 

I have considered getting a scale, but then I don't know how to convert my tried and true scratch recipes to weight.

If your recipe calls for 1 cup flour, measure that amount. Place an empty bowl on scale, set scale to zero, add pre-measured flour, the weight is then how much you need for 1 cup of flour. My weight for 1 cup flour is 4.5 ounces, but you may find yours to be slightly different. The only thing that matters for your recipes, is how you measure out your ingredients. 

darkchocolate Posted 1 Sep 2013 , 10:58am
Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix 

If your recipe calls for 1 cup flour, measure that amount. Place an empty bowl on scale, set scale to zero, add pre-measured flour, the weight is then how much you need for 1 cup of flour. My weight for 1 cup flour is 4.5 ounces, but you may find yours to be slightly different. The only thing that matters for your recipes, is how you measure out your ingredients. 

Thanks, Mimi

manicgeisha Posted 1 Sep 2013 , 4:57pm

Dark chocolate- thanks!   I`m intrigued by WASC, or more how everyone raves about it :)

ellavanilla Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 4:18am

I've always thought that if you're going to go to all the trouble to make the WASC, you might as well bake from scratch.

lorieleann Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 4:43am

If you or your family don't appreciate the taste difference in scratch baking and prefer the box/doctored box recipes, and you don't feel a personal challenge in mastering scratch baking--then box is what you should bake.  For me, I had some horrible scratch cakes when I first started baking regularly, and I stayed with doctored box mixes for the consistency and for the better quality than what I could produce.  But the baking of a perfect scratch cake (and having an arsenal of scratch recipes that were my very own) was a challenge that I wanted to tackle. So i had to practice and practice and practice. But I did it, and it was more than just making a recipe once. it is learning technique and the feel of the product. I truly see how a person can learn best by watching a mother or grandmother make a cake over and over and over again (my mom was a superfan of box mixes, so i didn't have much to go on!)

 

 I see that there are two parts of the craft of cake making: the baking and the decorating.  Some people only want to focus on the craft of one part of it, others enjoy the craft of both baking and of decorating. You should do what you find the most enjoyment with. 

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