I have done scratch cakes, and I've done mixes. My friends and family were thrilled to help taste test for me, and the mixes won, hands down. The scratch cakes were good... don't get me wrong, but the box mixes were the over-all winners. And they're faster... I can whip up a box mix, box to oven, in 6 minutes flat. Can't do that with scratch.
"Actually I'm just a sucker for real butter - I think that's the main reason I prefer scratch cakes! Perhaps if I was doing this all day, very day I would feel differently!"
Amen!!! (Paula Deen is my hero... starts every recipe out with, "You take a stick of butter...") I use butter recipe mixes when I bake, and that seems to be the best for me and my folks.
As for scratch cookies... that's the ONLY way to go for me. I have a vanilla sugar cookie recipe that I found in the 1001 cookies book, and it's my mainstay. I might make the dough ahead and freeze it, if I know I'm going to need it for a large batch, but I do NOT use mixes or bought dough for cookies.
When they make one that tastes as good as my home-made, I'll consider it.