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Do I avoid the "do you use a mix" question?? - Page 9

post #121 of 246
I was in Nashville, TN, last weekend and read an article about singer, Michelle Branch, opening a new bakery there. Her chef apparently plans to bake from scratch, and they're using this as a marketing strategy. The article says, "Michelle plans to support local farmers by using their butter, milk, eggs and fruit". I thought this to be interesting since scratch baking seems to be one of her biggest selling points and marketing tools. The more this type of marketing strategy is used, the more we will have to answer the question about mix or scratch. Many people have switched to organic foods so that may be a reason for the question as well.

By the way, I forgot to mention to the OP that I love your shop! Very cute and classy.
post #122 of 246
I have been asked plenty of times, and I know that I would ask if I were cake shopping as that is important to me. I had one woman ask if I baked from scratch and I said yes.. and she asked if there was any mix involved.. I said no I measure out flour and sugar and eggs and butter and all that. She said "Good!! I am not interested in buying something from a box.". So yes it does matter to some. If they don't ask.. it doesn't matter. If they do ask.. then you have to be honest. If I was sold a Dr'd mix when I was told it would be scratch.. I'd be LIVID. But if I was told up front.. I might order anyway. Chances are I wouldn't though.. since I don't care for the dr'd mixes. Especially the ones with coffee creamers in them. I hate coffee creamers in all shapes and forms. I am an admitted foodie though. I love clean flavors and simple combinations.

So I suppose my rambling has a point somewhere.. LOL.. people do have their preferences and they will order based on them. As long as you are honest.. you have nothing to worry about. You can say "My cakes start with a mix, but by the time I'm done adding all of my special touches to them they don't even resemble a straight out of the box cake." Maybe add that your icings and fillings are all made from scratch if they are. Get your product out there for people to sample.. if they love it.. they will come and order. icon_smile.gif
post #123 of 246
I'm not a scratch baker. I always tell my clients I use cake mixes. I do have a couple of scratch cakes, which I offer. A lot of the time $$ is the issue and using a cake mix is the least expensive way to go. I do want a good tasting cake though..... and have been sucessful with the mixes.
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post #124 of 246
again, this is a great thread, I have learned a lot....
I just picked up a flyer from a local pie-baker at the farmer's market.
it says "homemade" all over it, but no where does it say scratch.
she even says that her crust is homemade, but she doesn't say anything about the ingredients or that it's from scratch.... so now, I wonder LOL!
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post #125 of 246
I like the idea of being a small business, and supporting local small businesses as well (hence, buying local, free-range eggs, local fruits, etc.) For some customers, that is important, and that's the market I enjoy working with. That's why they buy from me, and I don't have to worry about competing with Walmart -- they don't shop there anyway!

But, to get back to the original post, again, under NYS law, we have to provide an ingredient list -- and every single one of the "numbered" food colorings must be declared -- so box yellow, box red velvet -- and ALL the commercial preservatives -- one would have to declare those components. When I use spices, I can write "organic spices" (hence, KFC doesn't have to disclose their secret spices).

I am sure the OP (also NYS) is doing this...it would be interesting to know if other states require this as well. I can't just provide it if asked, I have to attach it to the box. icon_confused.gif

What do box mix users do in terms of disclosing ingredients? I was just wondering what your state/country requires....? icon_rolleyes.gif
post #126 of 246
I grew up on scratch cakes, and baked them for half my life, before I started decoratingâ¦

The only reason I personally dislike the âregularâ box mixes is the amount of chemicals and whoever knows what other unpronounceable preservatives in them⦠My rule of thumb for anything pre-packaged is if it has more than 3 lines of ingredients, I donât just buy itâ¦

The issue of box vs. scratch for cakes in my world has less to do with easy to bake, or texture, or price â it is about that chemical aftertaste that I personally cannot stand and I do claim I can spot a box from a scratch recipe from a mile away. With that said, I use a line of organic BOX mixes that taste and feel just like scratch⦠I was soooo exited to discover them!!! I still use my pastry crème, syrups, ganache, SMBC and butter-only buttercreams and all the other good fillings and frosting from my scratch recipes, but those organic BOXES rival my scratch cakes for a fraction of the time it takes to bake themâ¦

If cake decorating were my business, I would likely use those box mixes⦠But I donât think I would use the chemically infused version, which I personally dislike, to feed to someone else⦠Then again, I made a 3-tier cake for my friendâs wedding, top and bottom two of my staple scratch recipes that she asked for, and middle tier was the white BC mix â just because I knew some of the people would crave that and she was looking for something more âuniversalâ⦠We were right â rave reviews on both scratch and box, from respectively the people used to scratch and to over-flavored chemical boxes... Some scratch connoisseurs refused to even taste the box⦠the box lovers were ok with the scratch but gobbled down the box (there was enough cake to feed an army... It is all a matter of personal preference and what people have had all their lives.

I donât think there should be any guilt associated with the boxes as long as thatâs what your customers want. And if they didnât, they wouldnât be coming back⦠So as long as you get repeat business, donât change what works for you!
post #127 of 246
The original question was " do I avoid the question? ", which is a different question than which is better. The answer to which is better depends on what you are trying to acheive. Mixes are better for consistency. Mixes are easier on labor costs( because you can hire someone with virtually no training to bake up cakes from a box) Now those savings of time and in some cases money may allow you to price more aggressively and get more business, or you may have more time to spend on the decorating and thus charge more because the cakes are more elaborate.

This is not a "what is better ? "question, IMO. Both business models can work. The question is " should I lie or try to misdirect a customer who asked a very specific question ?' And if that is a question you need to ask, then I personally wouldn't want to do business with you. I don't see aproblem with putting the mixes in canisters. I don't see a problem with not sharing recipes. I do see a problem not answering truthfully a direct question.
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Scratch bakers of the world UNITE !!
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post #128 of 246
I come in peace.
Question, I make my cakes from box (doctored),and have no prejudice eating a scratch cake (Hey, we're all cake-ladies and a couple of gents icon_biggrin.gif ) and all this talk about fresh eggs has me thinking. We started eating fresh eggs and I've noticed a heavier texture to them (I love the yolk!! thumbs_up.gif ). Does the texture of fresh versus store eggs make a difference in cakes?? If so, in what way? icon_confused.gificon_confused.gif

icon_razz.gif Now, we all hold hands and sing Kumbaya icon_rolleyes.gif
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post #129 of 246
I've only gotten 1/2 way through the posts & I have to run away from the computer for awhile.

I too use mixes & just feel like people think they shouldn't pay you what you ask b/c you use a mix & "they can do that themselves". I know they can't decorate like me though...another subject.

But my ? is what do you do if it's not a client. Eg. At my dd's bday party I was getting soooo many compliments on how moist the chocolate cake was & then I'm asked "so how do you make your cakes, what do you do to make them so moist, do you start from a mix, etc". I just said I try so many different recipes ( & I do b/c I'm trying to get a set of recipes to use). But everything I do is docotored, not just a box. So, I do start w/ a box but it's more than that. So, my thing is I don't want them thinking that I open a box, pour in water, oil & eggs & bake when I don't. It's not fair for others to assume that we take the "easy way out", b/c it's taken me just as long to find my doctored mixes that I like as it has for scratch bakers to find their recipes. Plus, everything else I do is from scratch (cookies & desserts) & I wish I could honestly say I make everything from scratch
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post #130 of 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by lepaz

I come in peace.
Question, I make my cakes from box (doctored),and have no prejudice eating a scratch cake (Hey, we're all cake-ladies and a couple of gents icon_biggrin.gif ) and all this talk about fresh eggs has me thinking. We started eating fresh eggs and I've noticed a heavier texture to them (I love the yolk!! thumbs_up.gif ). Does the texture of fresh versus store eggs make a difference in cakes?? If so, in what way? icon_confused.gificon_confused.gif

icon_razz.gif Now, we all hold hands and sing Kumbaya icon_rolleyes.gif



The fat is fresher, and non pasteurized. So yes farm fresh eggs will make a difference.

Mike
post #131 of 246
Quote:
Quote:

lepaz wrote:
I come in peace.
Question, I make my cakes from box (doctored),and have no prejudice eating a scratch cake (Hey, we're all cake-ladies and a couple of gents ) and all this talk about fresh eggs has me thinking. We started eating fresh eggs and I've noticed a heavier texture to them (I love the yolk!! ). Does the texture of fresh versus store eggs make a difference in cakes?? If so, in what way?

Now, we all hold hands and sing Kumbaya


The fat is fresher, and non pasteurized. So yes farm fresh eggs will make a difference.

Mike



Thank you for the answer Mike thumbs_up.gif
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post #132 of 246
Quote:
Quote:

The fat is fresher, and non pasteurized. So yes farm fresh eggs will make a difference.



Except most eggs in the supermarket aren't pasteurized. If your supermarket eggs aren't specially labelled (and marketed and priced) as pasteurized, they're not.

"Farm" eggs may be fresher and the chickens may (or may not, don't assume) have been fed on things most people would be more comfortable with their food, eating. Factory-farm poultry and egg production is problematic for a lot of people, for a variety of reasons.
post #133 of 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by txkat

The original question was " do I avoid the question? ", which is a different question than which is better. The answer to which is better depends on what you are trying to acheive. Mixes are better for consistency. Mixes are easier on labor costs( because you can hire someone with virtually no training to bake up cakes from a box) Now those savings of time and in some cases money may allow you to price more aggressively and get more business, or you may have more time to spend on the decorating and thus charge more because the cakes are more elaborate.

This is not a "what is better ? "question, IMO. Both business models can work. The question is " should I lie or try to misdirect a customer who asked a very specific question ?' And if that is a question you need to ask, then I personally wouldn't want to do business with you. I don't see aproblem with putting the mixes in canisters. I don't see a problem with not sharing recipes. I do see a problem not answering truthfully a direct question.



I agree completely!!! The topic never was which is better. It's about being upfront with your customers. If it's a nosy neighbor who wants you recipe then blow her off. If it's someone at a family reunion who's jealous of your cakes blow her off, but if it's a paying customer who wants to know what's in their food then I think you have a responsibility to tell them.
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post #134 of 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaisieBake

Quote:
Quote:

The fat is fresher, and non pasteurized. So yes farm fresh eggs will make a difference.



Except most eggs in the supermarket aren't pasteurized. If your supermarket eggs aren't specially labelled (and marketed and priced) as pasteurized, they're not.

"Farm" eggs may be fresher and the chickens may (or may not, don't assume) have been fed on things most people would be more comfortable with their food, eating. Factory-farm poultry and egg production is problematic for a lot of people, for a variety of reasons.



If an egg is considered a dairy product, then I share this quote directly from the Indiana State Health Dept website:
Do not eat unpasteurized dairy products; it is illegal to sell unpasteurized dairy products in Indiana.

I know a LOT of time was spent covering pasterized eggs during the Food Safety Certification Class I was in!
post #135 of 246
Yeah they have to be pasteurized. It is also illegal to switch up the good ones in broken cartons tomake a new carton. Most stores will combine the good ones to make a new carton. Can't say I blame them.

Mike
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