Cake Mix Vs Scratch???

Business By cakeymom Updated 20 Nov 2014 , 7:43am by Pastrybaglady

cakeymom Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 4:32pm
post #1 of 23

First let me say that I do not want to start a mess or step on any toes.  But, I do not understand why it is so hard to get a YES or NO answer when it comes to whether or not you use a mix that is doctored or bake from scratch. 

 

I get it fully as to why doctored mixes are used.  Your clients like it, it may or may not enhance your bottom line. etc.  I fully understand that the cake is only part of the equation and that decorating skills count for more.  I understand and respect anyone that is successful in doing so.  Heck, I grew up on box mixes that were not doctored, as my mother was not a baker and for our birthday's my siblings and I looked forward to picking out the flavor cake and canned icing that would be our cake.

 

I just prefer to bake from scratch because I do it very well and have won awards for three of my cakes. 

 

Again, I am not trying to bash anyone.

 

But, could someone tell me why it is so hard to be forthcoming and straight forward when answering this question???  There should be no shame in doing what you do when you do it well.

 

Cakeymom

22 replies
embersmom Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 4:53pm
post #2 of 23

Mix vs. scratch is a perennial issue in the general cake world.

 

On one side are the cakers who decry mixes because mixes echo mass production, supermarket cakes, etc., and IMHO they believe their cakes are more "special" and "taste better" because they are made from scratch.  It's a badge of honor, so to speak.  Some of these cakers have no qualms about announcing it publicly, whether it's advertising or one-upping a caker who doctors mixes (there have been many skirmishes in this community about it, btw).

 

On the other side are the cakers who doctor mixes.  As you, the OP stated, it's easy to see why a caker would doctor a mix.  Heck, I've done it and I'd be the first to tell you I did :shrug:  BUT using a doctored mix is considered, in some caking circles, "low class" or "lowbrow" because it not only screams mass production but there's also nothing special about it in the sense of "well, anybody can buy a mix and doctor it so if I make a cake from scratch it's going to be infinitely better than yours" :points to the skirmish line above:

 

It's an ongoing battle. My feeling is that those who exclusively doctor mixes either don't want or have no interest in getting involved in yet another online scratch vs. mix battle.  Some of them have been quite brutal.  And, like you, I believe it's the decorating that's the star -- the cake is merely the vehicle, doctored mix or not.

cakeladywalker Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 4:56pm
post #3 of 23

AI totally agree. You should be proud of the product your producing:-) NO matter how your whipping it together! With that being said..... Im a box gal!

leah_s Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 4:57pm
post #4 of 23

I don't understand why on earth you are opening this discussion up yet again, but i'll bite I guess.

 

I'm a scratch baker.  Always have been, always will be.  I learned to scratch bake at 9 years old.  Seriously.  It's not that hard, folks.  Find a recipe and follow the directions.  Study the checmistry if you're so inclined, learn Baker's Percentage if you're curious.  If not, then just follow the recipe.

If you use a mix, fine with me.  If you use a doctored mix, ditto.

 

When I was active in the business, I used the scratch baking as a definite marketing advantage, especially with wedding cakes, when customers were wanting what they considered to be a high end product.  And I was happy to sell it to them.

cakeladywalker Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 5:03pm
post #5 of 23

ABtw, I've tried scratch it just never turns out. One time its great then next time not so much:>{ I strive on consistency.

cakeymom Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 5:11pm
post #6 of 23

AI really don't care if you bake from scratch or use a mix. This is not a question about justifying what you do.

I just do not understand that "IF" you are asked why not be truthful??

FioreCakes Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 5:15pm
post #7 of 23

I have never once been asked by a customer or friend where my cakes come from. They care about decoration number one and taste number two. As long as it tastes good most people don't care. The cost is comparable and not everyone can doctor a cake mix the same way if they don't have the recipe. If people need judge boxes to make themselves feel superior good for them, but I choose to feel superior by my above average skills and money in the bank. 

FioreCakes Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 5:17pm
post #8 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by cakeymom 

I really don't care if you bake from scratch or use a mix. This is not a question about justifying what you do.

I just do not understand that "IF" you are asked why not be truthful?

Look up past threads, people are obviously judgemental about it. When people judge something it gives it a shameful connotation that people want to hide. It's that simple. 

MimiFix Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 6:08pm
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by FioreCakes 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeymom 

I really don't care if you bake from scratch or use a mix. This is not a question about justifying what you do.

I just do not understand that "IF" you are asked why not be truthful?

Look up past threads, people are obviously judgemental about it. When people judge something it gives it a shameful connotation that people want to hide. It's that simple. 

 

You may not realize it, cakeymom, but some members might find your phrasing to be harsh. You ask why people are not truthful, which is saying that they are liars. So if I used mixes, I sure wouldn't tangle with that kind of accusation. And after all the years of discussions about this topic, I don't see what can be gained from another thread. Sorry, just my opinion. Don't want to be attacked. :wink:   

embersmom Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 6:40pm
post #10 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by FioreCakes 
 

Look up past threads, people are obviously judgemental about it. When people judge something it gives it a shameful connotation that people want to hide. It's that simple. 

 

That's what I was trying to say.

Lorieon538 Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 6:43pm
post #11 of 23

I make scratch cakes and I doctor box mixes also.  I have yet to find a chocolate or vanilla cake recipe that I like so I keep going back to box mix. I couldn't tell you how many chocolate recipes I have tried.  The box mix always seems to win over on moistness.

Rfisher Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 7:01pm
post #12 of 23

AOP, appreciate you starting off by stating you don't want to start a flame war. Are you outsourcing your birthday cake again? Is that what this is about, and brought this up?

cakeladywalker Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 7:25pm
post #13 of 23

AWho's not being honest.

cakeladywalker Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 7:56pm
post #14 of 23

AI think I'm missing something in the post. Why do we care what anyone is using, besides ourselves. Not trying to be sassy, I barely have enough time in a day to fulfill the duties I need to accomplish. No time really to worry about who's using what. Thats just me.

ellavanilla Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 9:20pm
post #15 of 23

ASeriously, who cares? Some do, some don't. That's the facts. Do you really need a list to go with your awards?

mattyeatscakes Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 9:22pm
post #16 of 23

AThankfully, i have never been asked before if i make my cakes from scratch or mixes. But i do use both, depending on the flavour, and the type of cake. Cost wise, some doctored cake mix recipes cost about the same as making a cake from scratch. And i agree, sometimes you just can't get the same texture/taste that you are looking for from a scratch cake and vice versa. As long as the clients are happy with the final products, then i'm happy too :)

johnson6ofus Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 9:46pm
post #17 of 23

I don't "announce" any baking method/ ingredients. I just want "the best" I can make. Cake carrot--- scratch, definitely. Chocolate cake- doctored mix. Cheesecake-- scratch, obviously. 

 

I CAN bake. IMHO, some things just work better. These threads always turn into--- "you use a box, you can't bake, and you should let everyone know that."

 

Some premade products (cans, bottles, etc) are just better. I love solo canned raspberry filling (better than my own!). I love KC Masterpiece honey teriyaki--- again, better than the 50 times I tried "homemade". This same argument is made by chefs who "only use scratch" ingredients--- no mixes, cans. jars, etc. Frankly, a number of those "canned" products are produced and recipes refined over many years. Some are outstanding, that I serve proudly. 

 

I don't see it as "lying", unless expressly asked. But I also don't see the OP as "superior" at producing a cake, than I am, just because her choice is scratch. 

 

Don't forget the "taste challenges" quoted here before--- Americans expect that taste that comes from doctored mixes. Do you own taste challenge and see for yourself and decide. I remember doing my first taste challenge when I was 12 ! 40+ years ago.... And I still enjoy a side by side blind taste challenge as tastes change. Most recently, I passed around sugar cookies with Toba's glaze and a new version I tried. About 50/50, many with "they are the same to me",  but the new version was a PITA to make, so Toba's it is!

 

No, I don't have to tell you the maid cleaned my house, the stylist did my nails and hair, and my cake you rave about is a doctored mix. 

FioreCakes Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 10:00pm
post #18 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by ellavanilla 

Seriously, who cares? Some do, some don't. That's the facts. Do you really need a list to go with your awards?

 

With all those awards why is the OP searching for a doctored mix? http://www.cakecentral.com/t/778235/doctored-recipe-that-is-fluffy-and-light-in-texture#post_7539108

 

I don't really know if the OP's originally post was rude, but it sure was braggy.

julia1812 Posted 19 Nov 2014 , 4:57am
post #19 of 23

A

Original message sent by ellavanilla

Seriously, who cares? Some do, some don't. That's the facts. Do you really need a list to go with your awards?

Agreed!

mcaulir Posted 19 Nov 2014 , 6:39am
post #20 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by cakeymom 

I really don't care if you bake from scratch or use a mix. This is not a question about justifying what you do.

I just do not understand that "IF" you are asked why not be truthful??

Who isn't?

MBalaska Posted 19 Nov 2014 , 9:18am
post #21 of 23
Quote:

Originally Posted by cakeymom 

 

.........""But, could someone tell me why it is so hard to be forthcoming and straight forward when answering this question???..........""

 

“I've learned that we're all entitled to have our secrets.”
Nicholas Sparks, 'The Notebook'
 
Perhaps whoever is holding out their information entertains their privacy & has a valid reason to do so. 
SScakes Posted 20 Nov 2014 , 7:17am
post #22 of 23

AOh seriously, THIS question of scratch or box mixes really rubs me up the wrong way. Every single cake forum/group will have one person who throws a spaner in the works with this question every now and then. Who cares who uses what. Do what you do and get on with it. Instead of pondering about what others are doing, use that time and energy to learn something new.

Pastrybaglady Posted 20 Nov 2014 , 7:43am
post #23 of 23

Who's not being forthcoming?  I've seen tons of threads on this topic and no one seems sheepish to declare their allegiance to either box or scratch. People are very clear what they do and why they like to do it.  Box people like the familiar and dependable product as well as the convenience, scratchers like knowing what's in their food and being able to tweek this or that. There's loads of people making WASC so this question doesn't make sense to me.

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