Just Curious... It Is Unprofessional To Use Doctors Cake Mix

Decorating By CakeDiva73 Updated 6 Sep 2006 , 4:41pm by MrsMissey

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CakeDiva73 Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 7:17pm
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I am getting more and more orders and am wondering if when the day comes that I get a wedding order, will the bride have a cow that I use doctored cake mixes - or anyone who buys my cakes? What is the school of thought on this? I use them in combination with real butter, cream cheese, sour cream, etc... and they give a texture, moisture and freshness that I have been unable to find in scratch recipes.... icon_mad.gif

What do y'all use? My carrot cake is scratch and I wouldn't change a thing but especially chocolate - I have had trouble for years finding a scratch recipe that isn't too crumbly or unstable and actually is moist and tasty. My standard choc cake recipe is devils food box cake mix (pillsbury only) with 16 oz. sour cream, melted butter, etc.... it is too die for.

My friend ( who has worked in a bakery for years and tends to poo-poo anything I do icon_eek.gif ) says that no way can I continue making these cakes using cake mixes! icon_cry.gif I would appreciate any of your opinions or comments - thanks!

122 replies
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DelightsByE Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 7:23pm
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I'm currently doing 4 to 5 cakes of various types every month now (in addition to my regular job), and I use doctored cake mixes almost exclusively. My feeling is, the cake mix itself is just an ingredient, part of a larger recipe that is all mine. So in that regard I can sort of say I bake from scratch. Nobody has complained yet. (Of course, the fact that I use a mix at all is keeping me from being able to enter one of my favorite cakes into the state fair baking competition, but hey...I'm doing just fine on the local level!)

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TexasSugar Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 7:24pm
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If you search you will find many past posts on this subject and I bet atleast half of them were locked in the end.

If you get a reply from a scratch baker they will say that scratch is the only want to go for various reason.

If you get a reply for someone else they will tell you the various reason they do it or think it is best.

And then you have some that do both depending on who the cake is for and the flavors.

So basicly in the end it is up to you what you want to do. But I would be honest with your customer if they ask you directly what you use. icon_smile.gif If people keep ordering from you then your customers are getting something they like and I would keep that in mind before changing what you are doing because of the thoughts of one other person.

Neither is right or wrong, just differences of opinions.

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angelas2babies Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 7:27pm
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I'm going to have to agree with TexasSugar on this.

Just do what you want and be honest about it.

Good luck!!

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Beckalita Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 7:28pm
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I wouldn't worry about it too much, the flavor and texture is what will sell your cakes. If a bride or customer doesn't like that it is a doctored mix, he/she can go elsewhere! I too, believe that doctored mixes offer more consistent results for the majority of the cakes I offer, so that is what I will continue to use!

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SweetBellina Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 7:36pm
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don't feel bad..just be honest if they ask you if you made it from scratch or mix..i do not have anything against cake mix..i use it regularly and gives me a consistent result..i also don't have anything against cakes from scratch..i just could not find any recipe that gives me a good result..for the chocolate cake, i will definitely use cake mixes..

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leta Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 7:37pm
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I wouldn't assume that every wedding cake maker bakes from scratch---far from true. That's what bridal cake tastings are for--so they can taste the goods!

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PennySue Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 7:46pm
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I have 3 recipes that I do from scratch, German Chocolate cake, Carrot Cake and Chocolate cake. The rest I use cake mix as I would flour. I take the recipe for the White Almond Sour Cream cake from this site and do all kinds of things with it. I've made lemon cake with it and have had nothing but rave reviews. When someone asks, which seldom happens, I tell them that I use the mix as I would flour and add more flour and ingredients to it. The Chocolate cake recipe I use is Colette Peters' recipe. It is by far the best one I have tried. Very moist, dense and delicious. When someone asks about it, I give her the credit.
So, all in all, use what you want. We all have our own thoughts about it.

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Wendoger Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 7:56pm
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I used to make pound cakes from scratch all the time. There is nothing like the taste of a scratch-made pound cake. The reason I have gone to box cake mixes with extenders is the cost. For scratch, I would use half a dozen eggs, tons of flour and sugar, etc. I get box cake mixes for under a dollar, then when I add the extender ingredients, they taste like scratch. People LOVE them. Its just so darn expensive to make them from scratch. The box mixes with extenders make the cakes super dense and moist, great for covering with fondant.

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rezzygirl Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 7:57pm
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When someone has asked me, I say I do both, and that I use the mix as a stabilizer, (which is the only reason I use it). If they saw me make my cakes, they will see me add fresh ingredients, cream, flour, cocoas, liqueors, extracts , syrups, and other flavorings and that the mix is a very small part of the whole recipe. And by the way..Do you think bakery's always bake from scratch? Not usually. I browse through professional bakers magazines and get newsletters about all the new mixes and additives they add!! You'd be surprised at what goes into a simple brownie from the bakery! IMO what counts is taste!

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Momof4luvscakes Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 8:05pm
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I have made scratch and doctored cake mixes. I make both for bride samplings, and only twice has the bride got the scratch cake. Most can not believe the cake mix ones. The most expensive bakery in town makes scratch cakes, they are sooo beautiful but they will choke you as you are swallowing it!

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Chef_Stef Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 8:06pm
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I've used both...but I'm doing scratch these days because I adore cooking and baking anyway, and I like the recipes I'm using. Plus when I start advertising, I want to be able to use that as a selling point--freshest finest ingredients, organic, preservative-free, yada yada...I just charge accordingly. In the future I may offer box mixes to brides as a slightly less expensive alternative, if they are looking for that...but I spent hours on the matrix last night pricing things and adding all my scratch cake costs because it only figures box prices, and the box mix cost of a wedding cake compared to scratch costs are only different enough to change the cake's total price by maybe 10-15 cents a serving...which surprised me quite a bit! (like $20+ for the whole cake on a 6, 9, 12").

I think you're just fine as you're doing it--just let them know what you use, especially if they ask. If they're raving about your cakes and sending you referrals, I wouldn't change what's working for you! thumbs_up.gificon_smile.gif

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Gingoodies Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 8:07pm
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I have been baking cakes for more than 27 years. I always use a box mix and then like most.. add my own ingredients to enhance it. I have been selling cake for the past 18 years, and in all that time I only had one customer comment that they wanted a heavier cake. I find that many people like the taste and moistness of the box mix. Be honest.. tell your customers (ONLY IF THEYASK icon_smile.gif ). Good Luck with your cakes !!

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JoanneK Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 8:08pm
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I think of a doctored cake mix cake as using pre-measured dry ingredients. After all that is what it is. It is still your own recipe if you use other things not listed on the mix box.

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born2bake4u Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 8:14pm
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thats what most stores do. if they have a special order for a strawberry cake. they buy one of the brands on the shelf and just add something of there own. as long as its good and the people are happy then it shouldn't matter.

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mittmitt Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 8:19pm
post #16 of 123

I have always used box mix. When I did Tera's wedding cake, people commented on how great the cake tasted, they couldn't believe it was from a box. I never make scratch, honestly I don't know how, I have heard that scratch is difficult to perfect so I don't even try. I did buy some new books so maybe I will try out one of the recipes in there.

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AgentCakeBaker Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 8:19pm
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I use both. If my customers ask if I use a mix or scratch, I am honest with them. I prefer using a mix b/c of the consistency. When using a mix my cakes always come out moist, very flavorful and has a great texture.

I use scratch recipes for pound cakes and some butter cakes.

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Jenn123 Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 8:48pm
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I don't discuss what I use with my customers and they don't ask. I would tell them I use both if any ever asked.

Find cake that you like and your customers like. That is all that is important.

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peg818 Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 10:01pm
post #19 of 123

My theory is to make the best cake you know how, be it scratch or box

I see nothing wrong with having betty measure out my dry ingredients for me. She does a great job.

I do make some cakes from scratch and think its good to know how to make them. Many bakeries don't even make thier icing from scratch, and the chain stores (at least around here) by thier cakes by the case frozen (not that they are bad cakes) I tote my cakes as homemade, after all they are. And i have had customers insist that they are the best scratch cakes they have ever had(and they know a good scratch cake when they taste it), and thats with me standing there telling them that they start with a box

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SweetThistleCakes Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 10:16pm
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Originally Posted by peg818

I see nothing wrong with having betty measure out my dry ingredients for me. She does a great job.

That is so cute! Hehe... you may even say the you employ an "assistant!"

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grama_j Posted 15 Jul 2006 , 10:26pm
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You say this is your "friend" ? I think she is jealous of your talent..... your answer to anyone who would ask ( no one has ever asked me) would be..... " All my cakes are "HOMEMADE"........ and they ARE !! icon_wink.gif

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SarahJane Posted 16 Jul 2006 , 9:58am
post #22 of 123

I've worked in three medium to large bakeries and they all start their cakes with a mix. They just get it in a big 50 pound bag instead of a box at the store. I don't think there is a lot of scratch baking going on in the baking industry unless you're super high end.

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IHATEFONDANT Posted 16 Jul 2006 , 10:46am
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I would only caution cake mix bakers......I posted a link to DH..who are now putting milk products in their mixes as well as running them on a line that may be contaminated with nut products. There could be allergy issues.

Big companies have big bank accounts and are able to pay nice retainers for attorneys. Keep in mind if anyone gets sick from eating your cake, you are liable. Period.

That being said...cake mixes contain preservatives....and like DH may be running them on contaminated lines..or adding milk products.

I ask all my clients if there are any potential allergy issues that they know of. There is one particular venue that I have been delivering to....about 6 months ago they started making me sign a "statement" about contents of my cakes. Any nuts...milk...preservatives..etc. ...in other words..anyone gets "sick" from my cake...it falls on me..not them.

I'm not sure about liability in other states...you might want to check...we live in a "sue" happy society...I would hate to see someone lose their home over a cake. icon_cry.gif

I don't want to start another scratch/mix war....I'm not interested in what other bakers use...I am merely trying to give some potentially important information to other members.

SarahJane..you are right on. Every bakery near me uses mix for their cakes. I've watched them drag huge buckets of "buttercream" out of a closet to frost their cakes with. icon_surprised.gif .....

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birdgirl Posted 16 Jul 2006 , 12:00pm
post #24 of 123

I don't think it is wrong to use a "doctored" mix. A lot of bakeries use mixes or worse--frozen cakes that they decorate. I know that some still make cake from scratch, but I think that it is becoming less common. I wouldn't worry about what anyone says--unless they have tasted what you have made and can honestly comment on it. So far with the help here I have had no complaints about my cakes--mixes only!

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Doug Posted 16 Jul 2006 , 12:12pm
post #25 of 123

hmmm.....agree that Betty, DH and PillsBoy do great job measuring.

I fully understand need to warn for allergies having a weird food allergy (no cashews, can't touch skin of mangoes -- both from POSION IVY family and oh boy am I allergic!!!)

personally, I will never tell a customer that I am sure/guarantee it to be allergen free ..just will not take on that responsibility/liability. Sorry, they'll have to find another source if that is the case. As one with food allergy, it is MY responsibility to take FIRST action to protect myself. And if a food is suspect, avoid it.


so on a LIGHTER NOTE!!!!

do we now have to include "CSDS" with our cakes

Cake Safety Data Sheets???

in addition to all the warnings about NUTs and MILK and LACTOSE and SUGAR....(go down the list)

should we include ...

"Be warned...this cake could/may/can do any and all of the following to you:

> break out in a cold sweat for fear you won't get a piece -- a big piece

> get agitated because you didn't get extra icing

> get agitated because kids had extra icing and are now hyper

> cause "hail-damage" aka cellulite

> after a moment on the lips stay for ever on your hips

> cause marital strife because s/he smashed it into/onto....

> cause parent/child strife because child smashed it into/onto...; refused to share w/....

> cause fainting/lightheadedness due to cost of homemade vs. bakery

(and we can add from there! icon_rolleyes.gif )

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IHATEFONDANT Posted 16 Jul 2006 , 2:02pm
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icon_lol.gif ...good one Doug!!!

I list all ingredients I use....and give one copy to both the venue and the client....no less than a supermarket does on their cakes...that way I am covered.

I've made this list up and have it stored on my computer...one list for each kind of cake I make, with the ingredients.

I know it is extra work...but I felt the need to cover my back end...others may not feel the need to do that. It is all a matter of preference.

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DelightsByE Posted 16 Jul 2006 , 2:07pm
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A) Doug - where do you come up with these avatars...they're hilarious

B) while you can never be totally sure, or too careful, I bet if you polled the crowd of people who suffer from food allergies, the vaaaaast majority will tell you that they already know what their allergy is and won't eat something that could be suspect. I don't know about nut allergies, but I would wager the cost of my home (or at least the cost of my car) that someone with a wheat, egg, or dairy allergy isn't going to pick up a piece of cake at a wedding. They just won't.

Now I'm not saying it's not a concern. I'm just saying most people living with the food allergy are smart enough to ask first or abstain.

Because I do use DH as an ingredient in most of my cakes, and I do use butter in my BC (hence the name, people!), and after reading about this issue time and again in past months, I have put a clause into my cake contract stating that my cakes cannot be considered allergy-free unless specifically ordered that way.

How can you possibly plan to bake for every allergy out there? There are people on the planet who are allergic to sugar, allergic to certain vegetable oils, even allergic to water (although that is more of a contact allergy thing I think). You just can't. So bake how you want, protect yourself as best you can in writing, and get on with your happy sweets-filled life! birthday.gif

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SugarHighCakes Posted 16 Jul 2006 , 2:08pm
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Good Idea about pre-making the ingredient list and including it with your cakes. Once the initial work is done..it doesnt sound too bad. Just get on the computer and print. I like that idea icon_smile.gif

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cryssi Posted 16 Jul 2006 , 4:59pm
post #29 of 123

this is funny, because the cake I had at my friend's wedding I loved so much b/c it tasted like a boxed yellow cake! I'm sure it was doctored, but I could've eaten much more of that cake! Often you go to weddings and the cake isn't that great...bummer, you know b/c the best thing about a wedding is the cake! icon_smile.gif

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babynewyear Posted 16 Jul 2006 , 5:04pm
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Doug that list of warnings IS SO FUNNY .There should be a warning THAT ITS TOO FUNNY! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

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