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New to scratch cakes...advice on picking recipes, long sorry - Page 2

post #16 of 71
merissa~ I read your post and one thing jumped out at me about customer expect or might expect scratch. I run a biz and I only use scratch recipes for traditional cakes like pound, german chocolates, carrots.... as for my decorated cakes, I use doctored (heavily) mixes... I always add an extra egg, more oil, and flavorings depending on the order. I have never had 1 customer refer to my cake as box mix.... in fact I get all panicky when I head to the grocery for mixes because I don't want to get caught... but I see it this way, I run a one woman show here and if someone else wants to do the mixing of dry ingredients let them. I know some of the box mixes have a chemical taste to them, but I don't use that brand. Also if I find a particular flavor (for instance the French Vanilla flavor in my case) has trouble... I don't use it... I pretty much stick to whites and chocolates for my boxes. Very rarely do I get a yellow request.... anyway, I just want you to know that customers don't necessarily expect scratch, in fact most of grew up on box mixes because it was convenient for the baker...so most people know that flavor... anyway, I hope you will not look at your box mix as something bad, just remember you don't make it according to the box, so other than someone doing your flower and sugar and rising agents, you are making it from scratch, it is a short cut icon_smile.gif Good luck, I hope you come to a decision you can enjoy from now on... oh and I would imagine the cost of scratch baking would be significantly more expensive, so keep that in mind...

that being said, I do plan to try the recipe posted in this thread icon_smile.gif Good luck!
<3Lori<3
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<3Lori<3
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post #17 of 71
Scratch is definitely more expensive.. a 10" chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and ganache would cost me at least $40 to make. Even with buttercream it would still cost $30. That is another thing to think about. I charge an arm and aleg for cakes so I can recoup the costs and make a nice profit. I have to, but being a 100% scratch baker is a great selling point so people don't mind spending the money for scratch baking.
post #18 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkalman

Scratch is definitely more expensive.. a 10" chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and ganache would cost me at least $40 to make. Even with buttercream it would still cost $30. That is another thing to think about. I charge an arm and aleg for cakes so I can recoup the costs and make a nice profit. I have to, but being a 100% scratch baker is a great selling point so people don't mind spending the money for scratch baking.



Isn't the ganache, mousse, and buttercream most of the cost? If someone did the same cake, but with a mix the cost wouldn't be that different.

Personally for me the WASC cake that everyone loves here costs more than the scratch yellow cake that I make. That is why I never get the whole "mixes are cheaper" argument.
post #19 of 71
Not really. The ganache is more expensive than buttercream, but not amazingly so. it costs me $10 to make a batch of SMBC.. $10 to make a batch of chocolate cake batter. The ganache would probably cost $12-15.. mousse around $6-10 depending on the chocolate.

Even a yellow cake is much more expensive than a box.. a bow of yellow cake mix and a thing of sour cream and an extra egg would cost $4-ish to make an 8" double layer.. my yellow cake recipe costs $7.

I'm not saying it's an astronomical difference, but some people sell their finished cakes for what it would cost me just to make the same sized cake. I am a high end baker.. I cater to people who are looking for that. It's how I market my business.. 100% scratch all the time with the best possible ingredients. I certainly could make it cheaper.. but then it wouldn't be the same and I really like using the good ingredients.

While I would never knock someone for using a mix as their base.. I would venture to say that a betty crocker chocolate mix with some pudding and an extra egg is going to be quite a bit less expensive to make than a scratch chocolate cake made with Valrhona dark chocolate. It's apples and oranges really.
post #20 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkalman


Even a yellow cake is much more expensive than a box.. a bow of yellow cake mix and a thing of sour cream and an extra egg would cost $4-ish to make an 8" double layer.. my yellow cake recipe costs $7. .



Without divulging trade secrets. How does a cake cost 7 bucks to make from scratch? My 9" base costs under 3 bucks to make. Eggs are .09, heavy cream is 2.25 a qt. Flour is .50 a lb. Sugar is 10.80 for 25#s. Butter is 2.25 #. This cake is dense, moist, and will melt in your mouth.

I put together a banana split cake last night. I did use a box mix for my center layer. It was a DH, and there was no taste to it. I do understnd why you have to DR them up. I should've, but I didn't icon_redface.gif

Mike
post #21 of 71
Vanilla beans are $3 per bean. It will also make a 10" cake. But I still have to make the whole recipe to make an 8" cake. a 6" cake I can 1/2 it. When you do a chocolate cake you are adding $4 for chocolate alone.

Eggs here are $2.10 a dozen.. That's $.15 per egg. A 10 lb bag of king arthur flour is $7.90.. That's $0.79/lb. Sour cream costs $1 per cup. Butter is $4/lb.. $1 per stick. It depends on where you are the cost of your ingredients. When I add it up in excel where I have it all calculated out to how much everything costs per cup/ounce/pound it comes to $7.895.

Could I make it for less.. yeah.. but not a whole lot less.. even using extract it's still $7. But like I said.. I market myself as a high end bakery.. where you get the best of the best.. so I have to use more expensive ingredients.. at least that's my thought on it. icon_smile.gif

Remember too that I have no issue with a baker using mixes and doctoring or not doctoring.. it's all in what you are comfortable with/like to do. I always get sketchy talking about what I do because people in teh past have taken it as me thinking what they do is below what I do and that is NOT the case at all. icon_smile.gif
post #22 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkalman

Vanilla beans are $3 per bean. It will also make a 10" cake. But I still have to make the whole recipe to make an 8" cake. a 6" cake I can 1/2 it. When you do a chocolate cake you are adding $4 for chocolate alone.

Eggs here are $2.10 a dozen.. That's $.15 per egg. A 10 lb bag of king arthur flour is $7.90.. That's $0.79/lb. Sour cream costs $1 per cup. Butter is $4/lb.. $1 per stick. It depends on where you are the cost of your ingredients. When I add it up in excel where I have it all calculated out to how much everything costs per cup/ounce/pound it comes to $7.895.

Could I make it for less.. yeah.. but not a whole lot less.. even using extract it's still $7. But like I said.. I market myself as a high end bakery.. where you get the best of the best.. so I have to use more expensive ingredients.. at least that's my thought on it. icon_smile.gif

Remember too that I have no issue with a baker using mixes and doctoring or not doctoring.. it's all in what you are comfortable with/like to do. I always get sketchy talking about what I do because people in teh past have taken it as me thinking what they do is below what I do and that is NOT the case at all. icon_smile.gif



Yeah your prices are higher than mine. Totally understood. I have no issues with someone using a box, or scratch. Your right it's what your comfortable with.

My wife is from southern VT, and has Sisters living in Southern NH.

Mike
post #23 of 71
Cool! I love it here. I lived in central VT for a while.. up in Waterbury by the Ben&Jerry's factory. My ex-husband came from Stamford, VT which is right over the border from North Adams, MA. It's beautiful out there. I live in Epping right now.. about 15 minutes from the ocean.
post #24 of 71
I went out and got The Cake Bible and tried several recipes and they all came out dry, some people sear by it, is it just me??? I don;t like the idea of using a simple syrup
post #25 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2sweetcookies

I went out and got The Cake Bible and tried several recipes and they all came out dry, some people sear by it, is it just me??? I don;t like the idea of using a simple syrup



Post a recipe. I don't have the Cake Bible.

Mike
post #26 of 71
what box mixes do you like? I saw several posts saying betty crocker and duncan heinz tasted bad, and another was good....which one? I try to make my cakes all scratch, but have some I use boxes for. Just curious what one brand you like. thanks!
post #27 of 71
Thread Starter 
I guess I lost track of this thread that I started a looong time ago. I am ashamed to admit that since then I have only make TWO scratch recipes icon_redface.gif ! I think the biggest reason is that I am struggling to keep my weight reasonable and I KNOW I will eat it! Too much taste testing. Anyhow I tried Whimsical bakehouse white cupcakes... thumbsdown.gif . They tasted okay and werent exactly dry, but they sort of reminded me of corn bread texture. My friend who I made them for didnt care for them either. I also made the orange buttercake, also from the WBH. I actually did like the cake. I made mini bundt cakes. They were a little drier the next day, however, I had put a glaze of orange juice and powdered sugar on some, where that had soaked in a bit was delicious and moist. I guess this would be similar to a simple syrup? Do you all use a simple syrup on your cakes? I am sort of afraid of putting too much on, is it just a light brushing on each layer? Thanks again for all the nice responsed, I will keep working at this!
post #28 of 71
Thread Starter 
okay, I tried another recipe last night. A chocolate cake from Peggy Porchen's book. I don't know if I did something wrong but it was as heavy as a brick! It was horrible. It was way to dense and it didnt taste much like chocolate. It said the batter would be liquidy and mine as kind of stretchy (kind of like brownie batter).

Oh well back to the drawing board.
post #29 of 71
merissa - the perfectly chocolate cake recipe on the back of hersey's cocoa box is a great chocolate cake recipe, try replacing the hot water with strong hot coffee.
post #30 of 71
Merissa,

First of all, you focusing on the cake decorating part has really worked out for you. Your cakes are amazing!!!

Second of all, I like you have also struggled for a long time thinking the customers would rather have scratch even though everyone seems pretty happy with my doctored mixes. In the past year I can't begin to tell you HOW MANY scratch cake recipes I have tried. They had to be moist but could hold up to carving. After all that time I have found the best to be Sylvia Weinstocks Classic yellow cake and for chocolate I use Barefoot Contessa's chocolate cake which is the same as the one on the back of the Hershey's Box except she uses Buttermilk for the milk and coffee for the boiling water. I have tweaked it though to make it more sturdy: Add an extra egg, use cake flour instead of AP flour, use Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa and use melted butter instead of oil. Delicious and carves nice.
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