Boxed Spice Cake Vs Homemade

Decorating By dsimkovic Updated 10 Nov 2008 , 1:35am by TC123

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dsimkovic Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 4:10am
post #1 of 10

My sister-in-law asked me to bring "one of my cakes" for Thansgiving. She says she keeps hearing about them. Honestly, I've been using boxed mixes and the fillings have been the best part. But I want to really wow her.

I never made a cake from scratch, though, so I'm a little worried. She asked for spice cake with cream cheese icing. My husband wants me to "make it fancy" so I was thinking of doing the "basket of leaves" type cake. I found a couple recipies for crusting cream cheese icing that I'll probably try.

What about the cake, though? Has anyone tried the Heavenly Pumpking Spice cake in the recipe section? (this one: )

Would that be a good cake to try? I'm a little nervous about trying something new for her...what if it's bad? (everything about her is perfect...I want my cake to knock her socks off). haha

Is there anything I need to concern myself with if I start coloring the crusting cream cheese icings?

Thanks for your help! icon_biggrin.gif

9 replies
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TexasSugar Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 4:53am
post #2 of 10

My first thought is do what you feel comfortable with. If she is hearing people talk about your cakes, then you are doing something right now. No point in changing from boxes to scratch just to impress her.

I recently did a modifacation of the Heavenly Pumpkin recipe.

I used a golden vanilla cake mix. I did a recipe with and one with out the pudding (I ran out) and didn't notice a difference between them. I plan to use this recipe again and will leave pudding out. I also used vanilla yogurt instead of sour cream.

Since I used a vanilla cake mix I added on my own spices. I did 2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/2 teaspoon grround nutmeg. You could just use pumpkin pie spice also.

I did my basic buttercream recipes (all crisco) and added all the same spices I used in the cake mix. It was really good. icon_smile.gif

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kakeladi Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 12:13pm
post #3 of 10

I agree if things are being heard about your cakes then why even consider making a scratch cake? She is hearing about the ones you made from a mix.......why change that?? Keep doing what you do besticon_smile.gif

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dsimkovic Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 2:33pm
post #4 of 10

thanks for the replies. Is there a bid difference between a boxed cake and a homemade cake? I've heard people say they can tell the difference because the boxed cake has a bad taste, or something...

The Heavenly Pumpking Spice Cake sounds so good...maybe I should just make a test one. The guys at my husband's office love it when I make practice cakes. LOL icon_lol.gif

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dawncr Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 4:11pm
post #5 of 10

I made the Heavenly Pumpkin cake a few weeks ago as the top tier of a wedding cake.

It was a *very* good spice cake, but not terribly "pumpkin-y." And, every single piece of it was taken, before the chocolate or white slices.

I filled it with Melvira's super-duper decadent Bettercreme recipe, using instant Cheesecake pudding and a Tablespoon or two of DaVinci caramel coffee flavoring. The label for that tier was "Autumn Spice Cake with Caramel Cheesecake Filling." I didn't even call it pumpkin, but I told someone who asked what the "autumn" part meant that it was pumpkin. BTW, the entire cake was frosted with White Chocolate IMBC.

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Narie Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 8:03pm
post #6 of 10

This isn't really a cake recipe but rather a bar cake recipe. I make this frequently and I think you could easily bake it as a layer cake.

Pumpkin Bars
This cake is good and moist; it is also very easy to whip together.
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 cup oil
16 oz. can pumpkin
4 eggs

3 or 4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 15x10" jelly roll pan. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl, blend all bar ingredients at low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Combine butter, vanilla and cream cheese, mix until smooth. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time mixing after each addition until the desired consistancey. Spread over cooled bars. Refrigerate leftovers. 48 bars.

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TexasSugar Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 11:32pm
post #7 of 10
Originally Posted by dsabol2000

thanks for the replies. Is there a bid difference between a boxed cake and a homemade cake? I've heard people say they can tell the difference because the boxed cake has a bad taste, or something...

Different people have different taste. There are tons of posts on here on scratch vs box baking. It really comes down to the individual person. My family and friends have never complained that I don't bake from scratch. People around here are often surprised that I use box mixes.

I don't see anything wrong with playing around and trying new recipes, but I don't think a big event that you want to impress someone is the time to do it. From my understanding it can be hard to find a good scratch cake that works for you. So for this case I would stick to what you feel comfortable with. Save the scratch cakes for a rainy day when you want to play cake.

The Pumpkin recipe you linked is what would be called a doctored cake mix. The addition of the flour, sugar and sour cream seem to change the taste of a traditional box mix adding to it or enhancing it.

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kakeladi Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 12:59am
post #8 of 10

If boxed mixes were soooo bad people like me, IndyDebi and many, many other would not have thriving businesses!
I bet many, if not most, bakeries use some form of 'box mixes', only their comes in 50# bags!

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giraffe11 Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 1:24am
post #9 of 10

There are plenty of bakeries that use box mixes and plenty who absolutely will not, just like there are plenty of people on here who use box mixes and plenty who absolutely will not.
If you're trying to impress people, and you know your audience, I say use what you are already comfortable with.
I don't think a mix cake is "bad" to most people, many people prefer them. Many people don't.
I only add the "if you know your audience" comment, b/c if it were my crazy family, my mother and her sisters would all take a bite of a box mix cake and leave the rest on their plate. Nothing would be said, mind you, except that when my mother got me alone later, she would berate me for caring so little for my family that I would waste my time and ingredients (and presumably their tastebuds) with a box mix cake. icon_eek.gif Sheesh! Some people are very hard-nosed about it. icon_razz.gif
It's a preference, one way or the other. Yes, there is a difference. That doesn't have to be a bad thing. If you don't have any of the afore-mentioned cake-dictators in your family icon_rolleyes.gif , I say safer to use what you are comfortable with.

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TC123 Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 1:35am
post #10 of 10

Hello ~ There are big differences between boxed and scratch cakes, mostly noticably in taste and texture. Almost all of my cakes are scratch, but I would not come here and say that box cakes taste bad. Box cakes are so common these days, and you will probably find that most people cannot tell the difference. (I keep them on hand, if I need to whip something up in a jiffy.) And if that's what you make for your family and friends, and they love it, then that's all that matters.

I know that you will "Wow!" your family this Thanksgiving. Just keep doing what you do! Don't worry about having to find a scratch cake. If you want to try that later on, great. But I say "stick with what you know". You can always try something exciting with decorating, like you mentioned above. Or, just throwing more ideas out to ya... Maybe some handmade decorations, like little pumpkins, apples, leaves, etc., made out of marzipan or fondant (and colored with dust colors, either petal or luster).

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Don't forget to take some pictures and post your special cake here for us!!! icon_smile.gif

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