Scratch Vs Mix

Decorating By praetorian2000 Updated 27 Sep 2006 , 6:11pm by darandon

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praetorian2000 Posted 26 Sep 2006 , 9:21pm
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I took a cake decorating class and I was shocked when the instructor said she uses Duncan Hines. I'm curious. It seems that many cake decorators love box cakes, whereas most bakers condemn box cakes and will only do scratch cakes. I consider myself a baker who would love to decorate more if my decorating skills were good. I prefer scratch because I can now make scratch cakes. There was a point where every scratch cake came out horrible. But I'm wondering why it seems that decorators prefer box mixes.

24 replies
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rajinaren Posted 26 Sep 2006 , 9:43pm
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I use cake boxes because of time purpose and utilities i have. I would love to know about other comments.

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jenncowin Posted 26 Sep 2006 , 9:53pm
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I use boxed mixes just because the few scratch recipes I've tried haven't turned out too well. I do doctor them a bit to add my own touch though. And the bakery that I work at uses boxed mixes as well.

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vanz Posted 26 Sep 2006 , 9:59pm
post #4 of 25

I've seen thread re: cake mix vs scratch cakes and it's an endless battle. I think it's a personal preference. Box cakes are good but I prefer scratch cakes. It took me sometime to learn the techniques in baking but it's sooo worth it. Now I can bake in confidence but still a lot to learn. Baking from scratch is very challenging but very gratifying...

If you like to bake from scratch, good for you but if you don't, it's ok....

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praetorian2000 Posted 26 Sep 2006 , 10:03pm
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One of my thoughts was that for people who love to bake, which I do, scratch cakes provide a challenge, which I love. for those who love to decorate, they might not want to be bothered with having to go through the trouble of making a scratch cake. I think they just want a cake to decorate. I'm also wondering if box cakes, after some doctoring, hold up better to some of the decorations I have seen on some cakes?

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jmt1714 Posted 26 Sep 2006 , 10:06pm
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Not saying one is better than the other, but as far as a time factor, i just don't see how a scratch cake really takes any longer to make. it only takes about 2 minutes to measure out everything. Granted, it could just be a factor of practice, but - I just don't see a time savings with a box mix.

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Sugarflowers Posted 26 Sep 2006 , 10:17pm
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I personally prefer baking from scratch. I love developing new flavors, I don't particularly like the preservative flavors in boxed mixes, and my recipes make a fairly large batch. One recipe will fill two 8" rounds and one 6" round. My chocolate cake will fill a 9x13" and a 6" round a little too full. I can get a cake ready for the oven in less than 15 minutes.

Most of the commercial bakers that I know use mixes. So it really is up to personal preference. Go with what you like and what you are accustomed to doing.

HTH
Michele

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praetorian2000 Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 9:21am
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Am I the only one who takes forever to bake or cook? There is no way in the world I can go from mix to oven in 15 minutes or less. Measuring the ingredients alone could take me 15 minutes. I have a friend who isn't as passionate about baking as I am and she can bake and cook faster than me. Am I doing something wrong? Cookies are the only thing that I can do quickly.

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jeking Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 9:53am
post #9 of 25

I too have "fallen in love" with baking. It started out just as a passion to decorate cakes, but quickly turned into more. Isn't that always the way? I can get cakes into the oven quickly now, but it did take a lot of practice to get faster. I dislike the preservative taste in cake mixes, even when they've been "doctored", but that's just me.

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MomLittr Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 10:31am
post #10 of 25

i am currently doing "doctored" mixes from a box, but recently bought the new Better Homes & Garden Baking book so I can teach myself how to do an excellent cake from scratch....along with other decorating/baking books from all the authors mentioned on this site. I hope to some day be a good scratch baker , luckily the folks who buy from me don't care and love my cakes anyway.

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jeking Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 11:16am
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Momlittr...that's where I strive to be. I'd like all my customers to love my cakes, no matter what. I'm sure it's your cakes PLUS YOU!

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SUELA Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 11:20am
post #12 of 25

It's not necessarily "the bother" of a scratch cake that keeps me in box mixes or jsut wanting a cake to decorate, because there is not point if no one will eat it. I do bake from scratch every once in awhile. I don't have a lot of time, meaning to experiment to find a scratch recipe that will work for me every time. I buy my mixes when they go on sale for .89 or .99 cents, and doctor them up when I bake them. It's how my pink ribbon cake raised $350, people found out it was one of my cakes and bought tickets.

I agree it is a preference, and I commend the scratch bakers, especially when "professional" bakers tend to use box mixes (over generalization), which seems wrong to me.

I have also gotten the dirty look from a student when I told them I used box mixes, as if it was "what's the point". I work full time and teach 4 classes a week, not alot of time to play with recipes.

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Ezmerelda Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 11:23am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by praetorian2000

Am I the only one who takes forever to bake or cook? There is no way in the world I can go from mix to oven in 15 minutes or less. Measuring the ingredients alone could take me 15 minutes. I have a friend who isn't as passionate about baking as I am and she can bake and cook faster than me. Am I doing something wrong? Cookies are the only thing that I can do quickly.




I can go from thinking 'Mmmm, cake time' to having one in the oven in about 10 minutes, as long as my oven has heated. All you need to do is measure ingredients, stick in a bowl, mix, sift in flour and fold in. My ingredients are in the bowl for less than 5 minutes usually, unless I have the job of grating in citrus zest icon_smile.gif I think it takes much more time to use a mixer than by hand, so I never use one, and I always have lovely light and tasty cakes.

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IHATEFONDANT Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 11:30am
post #14 of 25

For you ladies that like to bake from scratch:

Don't wait to measure your dry ingredients. If I know I need to bake on a Thursday night, I measure all my dry goods into a freezer bag and seal it.(I mean the flour,spices,salt,baking powder..etc. Sugar is usually creamed with the butter)

When I make my cake I cut a corner off of the bag and add my dry to the creamed mixture. Less messy that way!!

When I have a wedding cake order and need multiple batches of batter this saves loads of time. If you are doing multiple flavors mark your bags "yellow".."chocolate".."spice" so you know which bag goes with which recipe.

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stephanie214 Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 11:59am
post #15 of 25

I grew up with my mother making scratch cakes and she still do at the age of 80.

Everytime she made a cake, we had to constantly listen to her saying "don't walk so heavy, I don't want my cake to fall" or "don't come near the stove, I don't want my cake to fall."

After growing up listening to this-- no sir, no scratch cakes for me!! icon_lol.gif

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boonenati Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 12:18pm
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie214

"don't walk so heavy, I don't want my cake to fall" or "don't come near the stove, I don't want my cake to fall."



Stephanie,
i thought that only happened with sponge cakes???
I know you're not meant to open the oven until a certain amount of time, but that's the same with box mixes, right?
My hubby one time decided he wanted a toasted sandwich while i was baking a cake, and proceeded to open the oven and toast his sandwich without my knowledge. As you can imagine, he never did that again. Most of the time he wont even come in the kitchen when im baking, heheheheheheheh icon_twisted.gif
Nati

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kraftychristy Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 12:27pm
post #17 of 25

I actually do both scratch and mix. Usually if a cake for an adult is ordered I do scratch. If it's a kiddy cake, I use mix, ususally with the extender. I love to bake from scratch, but It's been very hard to find a yellow cake recipe that tastes good and holds up to decorating. I have finally found a couple, but it's taken me awhile. Now my mission is to find a really good chocolate recipe. I have used the one on the back of the Hershey's Cocoa can for a long time, But it always runs out all over my oven. icon_mad.gif I hate cleaning that mess up! So I want to try Toba Garret's chocolate recipe. When I do it, I'll let y'all know how it turns out. icon_smile.gif

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Loucinda Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 4:27pm
post #18 of 25

I use a dr'd mix 99% of the time. I can do scratch cakes, but I prefer the predictability of the mix as a base. I have a very nice customer base, and they love the cakes that I make. I see no reason to bake from scratch when the mixes work fine. If you have the time to figure out which recipes work for you, that is great. For me, the cake mixes fit the bill just fine - I get plenty of satisfaction from making a cake that way, it works perfectly every time - and everyone is happy! icon_biggrin.gif

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SweetThistleCakes Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 4:55pm
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mkolmar Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 5:42pm
post #20 of 25

I actually do both. I like baking from scratch but find most people are use to boxed mixes and prefer them to scratch. I make mine with the extender and DR. it up a bit. I guess most people like what they grew up with and around here that's pretty much a box mix. (I like scratch better though)

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frider Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 5:49pm
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by praetorian2000

I took a cake decorating class and I was shocked when the instructor said she uses Duncan Hines. I'm curious. It seems that many cake decorators love box cakes, whereas most bakers condemn box cakes and will only do scratch cakes. I consider myself a baker who would love to decorate more if my decorating skills were good. I prefer scratch because I can now make scratch cakes. There was a point where every scratch cake came out horrible. But I'm wondering why it seems that decorators prefer box mixes.




Totally with you on preferring scratch. The cure, btw, for consistency problems with scratch recipes is to do everything by weight instead of volume. No cups of flour, but ounces by WEIGHT instead. This is what professionals do and why their products are superior.

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amodeoandrea Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 5:56pm
post #22 of 25

I Have tried both and I have to say. Boxed mixed are much more reliable as far as texture goes. I do Dr. them up a bit.

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rosita6882 Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 6:00pm
post #23 of 25

i make most of mine from box. i only use scratch if its a wedding cake.
i find that when sculpting cake the box cake works better. from scratch the cake is just too moist and falls apart.

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twinsline7 Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 6:06pm
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by puppyloveconfections

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icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif

omg I actually laughed out loud!!! I KNOW why puppy....which is exactly what I was thinking! icon_lol.gif im stayinng out of this one too!

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darandon Posted 27 Sep 2006 , 6:11pm
post #25 of 25

I use box mixes mainly because of economics. I can get the box mix on sale for 88 cents, and sometimes I have coupons to make it even cheaper. I love to decorate and then give them away so I don't want to spend a ton of money on it. Most people I give to, have no idea the difference between a box and a scratch recipe. The only cake I do from scratch is a Miracle Whip cake for my husband and that he doesn't want iced or decorated icon_surprised.gif icon_eek.gif icon_surprised.gif

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