Ouch..that Stung A Little More Than I Thought It Would!

Baking By ConfectionsCC Updated 9 Sep 2011 , 7:12pm by imagenthatnj

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ConfectionsCC Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 2:42am
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SOOO, got wind of a little gossip today about my cakes LOL! Normally, I do not give a hoot who likes my cakes, who thinks the competition does better...blah blah blah, you know, small town talk...Anyways...my best friend just gave me a call, she seemed kinda mad...turns out a friend of hers was going to order a cake from me, but someone who has NEVER had one of my cakes, turned her nose up and said "ugh, she uses a box mix! I am taking my business to "John Doe's Bakery" who bakes from scratch. I will even pay double just to know its not a box mix"...Okay...great, do that then!! So now, this girl is terrified that my cakes might not be any good having never tasted them! I use a version of WASC for my vanilla cake only, everything else IS scratch! Normally, it wouldn't bother me a bit because the only reason I still use the WASC for vanilla is because it has brought me sooooo much biz and people LOVE that cake, I just cant change it because one person doesn't like the IDEA of a cake thats not 100% scratch!! Sorry for the vent..but it did sting a little actually hearing it, and of course, my friend was BLAZIN mad (hehe sweet friend icon_biggrin.gif) because this person was talking down my cakes having never tasted one. It does make me want to try and find a good vanilla scratch cake that can live up to the expectations set by WASC though! Please oh please do not turn this into a scratch vs box debate, but, if any of you have any suggestions for a cake you believe CAN live up to the WASC, I would greatly appreciate you sharing! icon_lol.gif

49 replies
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Kmm0880 Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 3:02am
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Good luck and i cant wait to see the comments! So I have tried at least 6 different white/vanilla cake recipes this month, after throwing them all out....I tried the WASC. It was perfect! I loved it and so did my family, but in the back of my mind thought I was "cheating" a bit. I too bake everything else scratch, but think I'm going to stick to the WASC!! thumbs_up.gif

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traci_doodle Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 3:09am
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I have actually been wondering the same thing! I made a scratch white cake that I thought was really good, but my hubby said he prefers the WASC still. I thought the flavor was a little better than WASC, but it wasn't quite as moist. I'm going to try making it this weekend and sour cream to see if that helps. It's the cook's illustrated white cake.


I think it's hard to get a good-tasting white cake. If it were me, I'd be tempted to head on over to "John Doe's Bakery" and taste their cake and then when you realize yours is actually better, give yourself a big pat on the back. icon_smile.gif

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diane Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 3:17am
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you know, there will always be some who dislike box mix, and some who dislike scratch, and some who dislike certain recipes you make. the idea is to ask the person which do they prefer. offer both box and scratch. why is it that we cake decorators seem to think that we must choose between the two?? you know...you can even do a taste test of a box mix and scratch (of the same flavor) and see what people think!

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luckygurl1203 Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 3:44am
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Oh good grief! If it tastes good and looks amazing who really cares if it was made from scratch or from a box? It's all the basic same ingredients anyway...sheesh. People are so funny about things like that. I use a sour cream cake that uses a box cake mix and people absolutely love it. I haven't come across a scratch cake mix that will stand up to it yet. So until that point in time, I guess I'm just never going to be as "good" as the from scratchers... icon_smile.gif My loss.

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Emmnemms Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 3:49am
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I can understand why this would irritate you, but personally, I wouldn't order from somewhere that uses box cakes if I had another option. I prefer to keep my food as unprocessed as possible, and some cake mixes add stuff I would prefer to keep out of my food.

As you said, this is only one person. Don't stress about it icon_smile.gif

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ljchevygirl Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 4:22am
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I have baked for friends and family and honestly they do not know if I make from scratch or from box mixes. All the cakes I do are a version of the WASC cake. As far as I feel, I have a don't ask, don't tell policy. If they do not ask, I'm not telling. They try my cakes and love them. That's all that matters to me at this point in time.

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caymancake Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 4:26am
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Dame boat as you! I use the WASC for my white cake. There is a scratch version of the WASC that also bakes up beautifully - it has a slightly different texture and a milder flavour. But other than that it works great! I'm quite sure there is a recipe for it here on CC but if you can't find it pm me with your email and I'll email it to you icon_smile.gif

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scp1127 Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 6:02am
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I can spot a box mix no matter how much you try to cover it up. People do expect a bakery to bake from scratch, even though most don't. The person was not lying. I would also tell a friend when a bakery uses box mixes. So you got found out. You have to feel confident in your product and stand by it, no matter what it is. Not trying to start a war, but if you use box mixes, admit it. Don't be mad when it gets out. And if I taste a cake from a baker that uses a box, I will assume that all flavors are box.

And for the person who said box and scratch are all the same, please do your homework. They are not anywhere near the same. I don't care what people use, but I find it insulting to my many years of trial and error and constant study to compare my cakes to a box who's sole purpose is to produce an edible product no matter how many mistakes are made.

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traci_doodle Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 12:29pm
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scp1127--I doubt everyone has a palette as discerning as yours. icon_smile.gif I think for the majority of people, they really can't tell that WASC isn't from scratch; they just have this idea in their head that from scratch is better. And maybe for some people it is, but I'd be interested to see how many people prefer WASC over scratch in a blind taste test!

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gatorcake Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 1:05pm
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I am just curious why if WASC works great for you (you state it has generated a good deal of business for you) why one reply is motivating you t find a scratch recipe? Folks like it, lots of folks like it. But it seems like you feel you now have to find a recipe that everyone likes.

Please do not take this as trying to be critical. Rather what I am trying to do is say blow this person off. That she refused to buy from you is her problem, her hang up--don't let her hang up become yours. You have good reasons why you use this approach for this cake. It works well, it tastes good, and most importantly you have plenty of people that buy from you because of it. Look for a scratch recipe because it is fun to tinker with recipes, but don't let this one individual lead you second guess your choice.

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QTCakes1 Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 1:09pm
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I politefully disagree. I am right there with SCP1127. I can always tell a box mix. I went to a bakery that claimed "all scratch", but what I tasted was a box mix, one with real fruit in it, but it was a box. Though thast wasn't for me, I was more dissapointed by the false claim, then the fact that it was a base mix. And my sister, who thinks McD's can be gourmet, can tell the difference froma scratch and a box mix. She has gone into bakeries and asked and could tell they were lying. So, no this is not about discerning pallette, but an obvious taste difference. And to the OP, if you are happy with your cake and evryone is happy with your cake, stick with it. There may be some who don't like my orange cake, but I sure as heck ain't coming up with a recipe just for them to like it. If we worked like that, we would go crazy! icon_biggrin.gif

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CalhounsCakery Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 1:13pm
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Originally Posted by traci_doodle

scp1127--I doubt everyone has a palette as discerning as yours. icon_smile.gif I think for the majority of people, they really can't tell that WASC isn't from scratch; they just have this idea in their head that from scratch is better. And maybe for some people it is, but I'd be interested to see how many people prefer WASC over scratch in a blind taste test!

I tried the WASC for vanilla and chocolate now. Although they tasted good, I could still tell that they were box based. So could my whole family. There really is a taste that you can't get rid of, and if you do know the difference between scratch and box, you will be able to tell. That being said, I did a wedding cake for free not to long ago, and I used a WASC recipie, (to save some pennies) and those who are used to just box cakes though it was amazing! Everyone else was to drunk at that point to care!

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all4cake Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 1:26pm
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I've never tried wasc so, I can't offer up something that can replace it. I just wanted to say I understand how you feel, I think. It's not so much that there are those that decide on another baker for the taste, it's the fact that this one singled out and said aloud why she would rather go with the other baker.

I know of situations where people have snubbed other bakers in front of me (I really do dislike anyone mentioning another baker's quality in front of me...good or bad) only to find out that cake(s) was attained from said snubbed bakers (it's happened more than once with more than one baker). I know that I'm probably a snubbed baker when some talk with the other bakers as well.

I do not care (really, I don't) if everyone doesn't like my cakes. I like my cakes. I wouldn't be able to bring myself to convince someone to buy my cake if, in my heart, I preferred something else.

Put some icing on that sting and carry on.

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traci_doodle Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 1:42pm
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I can tell a box mix from scratch, but I just think most people aren't judging cake the way we do. We work with cake all the time. For example, I went to a cupcake shop with friends and we all loved the vanilla cupcake. But I was the only one who could tell there was cream cheese in the cake. And whenever I try a new frosting, I try to get people to give me an opinion, but all they can say is "it tastes like frosting", when what I really want to know is if it's too sweet, or if the chocolate flavor is strong enough, etc. I even made some where I thought the butter was bad, but everyone else thought it tasted fine. Some people can tell the difference, but I think the chemical taste is very subtle and most people don't even notice it.

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GenGen Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 1:50pm
post #16 of 50

back before i learned how to make a decent cake from scratch i did the box mix - ppl would compliment the taste like crazy - and me- thinking they Were crazy lol i'd reply "its just from a mix- anyone could do it" imo getting a good texture and flavor from scratch is where the real skill is.

i dunno i just thought they were nuts lol. at least the frosting was from scratch lol

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kimmisue2009 Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 2:04pm
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And just to interject something I think every single time this comes up - just because someone says they can "tell the difference" doesn't mean they are necessarily slamming one and touting the other. I can tell the difference, but that doesn't keep me from enjoying whatever I decide to eat for what it is. And furthermore, if a person is all that "health conscious" and discerning about every little thing they consume, how much cake do they eat anyway?

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SweetSuzieQ Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 2:09pm
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I think most people can't tell but, like another poster said, as long as you aren't lying about it and are upfront, no harm or foul using a doctored mix if most of your customer's love it.

Before I got into the business, I wasn't a big sweet person so, didn't really notice however, now that I bake/taste regularly and, bake all from scratch, I really can tell. We were a festival last month and, each kid got a free mini cupcake...I took a bite of my sons and, immediately tasted the chemical taste.

But, if you are looking to try scratch, I do have a recipe I'll dig up. I tested it a few weeks back as it was posted in a scratch thread going here on cake central. Let me see if I can find it! It was super yummy.

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SweetSuzieQ Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 2:17pm
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caymancake Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 2:29pm
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This is the scratch WASC cake recipe that I use - I got it from cakeswebake and I love it. As I mentioned before, the texture is a little different than the box WASC but it is really moist and dense. I usually add a little more flavouring than called for as well, as I find that the flavour doesn't come out as strong with what the recipe calls for. It can be changed into a variety of other flavours - just like the box based WASC icon_smile.gif, and can be halved or doubled.

Scratch WASC
5 C cake flour
3 1/3 C granulated sugar
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 C milk
1 1/3 C shortening
16 oz sour cream
1 Tbsp vanilla, almond or other extract
10 egg whites

1. Preheat oven and prepare pans.
2. Sift dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl.
3. Add all ingredients except the egg whites and mix just until combined. Then beat on high for 2 minutes.
4. Add egg whites and return mixer to high, beating for another 2 minutes.
5. Pour into pans and bake at 325 until done.

It makes about 10 cups of batter. Hope you enjoy it!

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all4cake Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 2:49pm
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caymancake, thanks for sharing your find. I am going to try it as well as a boxed version. I think I'll put them out for others to compare as well.

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ConfectionsCC Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 2:57pm
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Wow, thank all of you for your great responses!!! I DO NOT in ANY WAY try to pass my WASC off as scratch though! I do not hide it, sometimes I will just put it out there that this is the ONE cake that starts with a box mix! LOL! I do not want to be made a liar out of!! Anyways...my problem with it mainly is that I do want to bake from scratch, and I find myself to be a decent baker...just the vanilla cake people LOVE and most say that they like it better than any other bakery...my husband has not ate a single scratch vanilla cake I have made...yet he loves the WASC, and he loves my other scratch like RV, Carrot...I CAN tell a box from scratch a mile away..that doesn't mean I don't like the taste of the box though!! I like what one person said "why not offer both?" I think I will!! And, I will start back testing recipes again after this crazy weekend is over LOL!

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Sugarella Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 3:05pm
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Pardon my ignorance please...but what is a WASC cake?

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BizCoCos Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 3:20pm
post #24 of 50

I think most people can not tell a box mix from scratch and some prefer box mix taste, I experimented with box mixes, at home, for the 1st time. All of my family could tell right away, After a day or two everyone thought it was delish, I am still not convinced, I prefer scratch baking. My taste buds pick up a certain taste which I can't place. Regardless, sorry this occurred, you should be proud of your cake and perhaps list it as a enhanced box mix. I have had great success with doctored chocolate mixes and can not tell the difference, go figure. I do not sell my cakes, just for family.

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debbief Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 3:30pm
post #25 of 50

Without getting into the whole box vs. scratch thing. (I deleted a whole paragraph cause that's what it sounded like icon_redface.gif )

A tip I read on here some time ago but I havent had a chance to try yetOpen your box mix and dump it into the mixing bowl and let it set out over night before mixing the rest of the ingredients. I guess its supposed to lose that chemical flavor.

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all4cake Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 3:54pm
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Not sayin' anything about anyone.

Fresh baked, baked fresh, homemade, and made to order would all apply to items that were fresh baked, baked fresh, homemade, or made to order whether scratch or mix. There's only one bakery of which I'm aware, in my area, that uses 'scratch' in their description.

Scratch that! I just looked again. No, actually, what it states is "...freshly made sweets..." and "...using only the finest ingredients..."

While I like to say I can distinguish between the two, I enjoy both equally...when they're made correctly and they're tasty, that is. I mean, I don't enjoy a gummy, undercooked cake or a dried out crumbly cake (without extra coffee, tea, or milk to go with it...dang!) as one that is perfectly baked.

The best cake I've ever eaten was a lemon cake made from a cake mix with canned lemon icing on it! My brother baked it, iced it and delivered it to me on my birthday...still in the pan it was baked in. It was perfect!

I wouldn't offer both. Do you plan to offer scratch and mix-based of your other cakes as well? (not suggesting you should).

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all4cake Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 4:03pm
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sugarella, wasc is white almond sour cream.

One version below.


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Bettyviolet101 Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 4:03pm
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I am learning scratch (I have a VERY hard time with it for some reason). I have a couple "specialty" cakes that are scratch. Apple and carrot. The bummer is the only reason is because the fruits and veggies make them so moist! lol I have a hard time with making plain flavors (vanilla and chocolate) from scratch cakes moist. If tons of people love it and one person doesn't you are absolutely doing it right. There will ALWAYS be someone who does not like something. Keep your chin up!

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icer101 Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 4:07pm
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scp1127 Posted 8 Sep 2011 , 6:08pm
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My point was why be bent out of shape because the person announced that the OP baked from a box mix? She did. That's certainly not slander, it's the truth and the OP should stand behind her product and her decision to use it, but say it is what it is.

Most patrons would be very disappointed to find that the cake that they paid a premium for was actually a box. That is why it is so hush hush in the industry. Yes, I can tell the difference, and my customers can tell the difference in the taste of my cakes, but I don't believe they try to decide if it's box or scratch.

With many states starting to require labeling, this one of very few unlabeled food will finally be brought into the realm of public knowledge. Very few get by with not disclosing their ingredients. The time is coming. And with scratch artisan bakers popping up everywhere in the bulging industry, you can bet that they, like me, will tell all clients that they are the only scratch baker in the area if it is true.

I have no problem with how anyone bakes. My prices have to be so high that my products are out of the reach of mainstream consumers. Being more economical is what makes up that biggest portion of the industry. But I do hate the ones who lie and I point it out. We have two in our area. The other bakers, I will refer to if I can't accomodate the order. One states her recipes are passed down from "Grandma", when, in fact, she gets everything from Walmart and resells it. The other boasts gourmet fine ingredients and no real chocolate, caramel, cream cheese, etc., has ever been through her door. She uses cheap box mixes, those super sweet sleeves, fake chocolate, fake vanilla, the Wilton-type frosting... you get my point. There is nothing fine or gourmet about anything she uses. The words are there solely to get a higher price for an inferior product. Look up the two words and gourmet and fine have no place in her advertising. Now, if someone uses those same ingredients and boasts they bake fresh, moist, great tasting cakes, I'm fine with that. I am sure that they have many clients who feel that that is true.

So I guess my point is that those who bake from a box, don't get offended and stand by your product. I have always told my husband that I could open another bakery across town selling only doctored mixes and do well also. But I would be up front about it. There are many great selling points to these cakes. But I am not referring to the ones with fake cream, bottled flavorings, Jello puddings, etc. I mean the ones with better ingredients. If you can't disclose your ingredients to a customer, that is unfair. But soon, that label will provide full disclosure.

Not putting down the box, but be proud of your products, stand by them, and be very honest with your customers.

And this is not about healthy eating habits. It's about eating well.

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