Now I'm probably a bit weird and definitely obsessive when it comes to cake. I get great joy out of MAKING and EATING cake and also decorating. I do not have customers that I have to please but what I do have is a massive library of cookbooks. I just LOVE recipes. I do not want to make the same recipe over and over, even if it does make for a consistent result. I want to try new and different ones and continually do. Occasionally I have a disaster but not that often.
Having said that, when we went camping last year I bought a couple of Betty Crocker cake boxes as I had a new funny little oven to stick on top of the gas hotplates and wanted to test it out without having to cart too much stuff. (YES, even in the middle of no-where I can still have cake) Did they work? Yes. Did they taste good? Not by my definition of good cake. They had what I call a preservative texture; that which cakes from supermarkets and places like the cheesecake shop have. I put them in the 'not worth consuming the calories' category. I also received a free red velvet mix from a cake decorating shop and I thought it was disgusting (admittedly the undiscerning tastebuds of the members of my knitting group thought it tasted great but then they even like dry old supermarket cakes!)
Each to their own but I don't think that Australia has lost the art of baking to the extent that the US has, YET. I do think it is coming, though. We have had an explosion of cake mix boxes hit our supermarket shelves in the last couple of years and it is continually growing. I don't think this would be happening if demand was not growing. And most people I know think that most shop bought cakes taste great so your general punter is not very discerning. Though if there is a mix of cakes at work they will make a bee line for my home made ones because they know it will be better.
Gotta go, a new recipe is calling me.