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Do I avoid the "do you use a mix" question?? - Page 5

post #61 of 246
This really is the age old questions. Scratch or mix. I too had problems with this. I graduated from culinary school and thought I HAD to make everything from scratch. I have been making all of my wedding cakes from scratch and only charging $2.50 a slice. I think I lost money. Now, my standard cake price is a mix and my signature cakes start at $4.25 a slice. I prefer the mix because it takes so much less time to bake an I can spend the rest of my time decorating.
post #62 of 246
Just tell the truth people. All of the shuckin' and jiving is dishonest. To me if you have to do all of the explaining then somethings wrong....Indidebi is right. Yes she uses mix but she tells her clients the truth about it. txkat i also agree with you. and for those of you who say a scratch is not as good as a mix. come on...... you just havent found the right proportion of flour, eggs, butter. I can definately tell the difference and so can most of my clients.

One more thing.... these threads get really heated. I feel like the scratch bakers tend to get dumped on because most of us believe that box is not scratch and if you illude to that point to your clients youre being dishonest. Its to me not about the box its about the "word play" that people use to avoid the reality of what they are doing.
post #63 of 246
Didn't read all the pages, so I don't know if I'm repeating here... but just be wary of why the customer is asking - what if its an allergy? There is more in that box than sugar, flour, and leavener. And, at least in my neck of the woods, there is no WAY that box mixes are less $$ than going scratch. And if you measure by weight (much more accurate anyway) it takes no time at all.
post #64 of 246
ok, why so ashamed? I don't understand the feeling that you're not good enough if you're not using a scratch recipe and i don't get the feeling of superiority it u do? Here's the thing. Honesty is best. if you use a scratch mix...USE IT! thumbs_up.gif it doesn't make you less of a decorator. I guess if you were claiming it was from scratch and that you had this wonderful secret recipe then i might be as nervous as you are but I flat out tell my customers i use a box mix and i've even had some request them and specific brands because that's what they like. So amen to them for telling me up front instead of waiting and then complaining about the cake. the only advertising i do aside from word of mouth is my myspace icon_lol.gif (www.myspace.com/pieceofcakebyjennifer) and in my description of myself i say "I use duncan hines mix or brand of choice." But my cake creations are something I am proud of. I have NEVER claimed to be a baker, icon_sad.gif i don't enjoy the mixing/cooking at all especially in the kentucky heat, but i am a decorator and I put taste first so great design PLUS yummy taste is what will bring your customers back. I think everyone appreciates honesty anyway!! thumbs_up.gif
post #65 of 246
Your shop is super cute! I love the light over the counter.

I totally agree with the others that said you have to be honest. If a customer asks if it's from a box and they are paying you for a cake then you darn well better tell them the truth! You never know why they are asking... could be allergies or health reasons. You wouldn't want to mislead someone into thinking things are scratch and then have someone get sick!
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My drug of choice is FROSTING!
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post #66 of 246
I think Indydebi is right! You don't have to lie, although I don't believe anyone was trying to get you to that. I think there are some people who will only like scratch cakes but most will like the fluffy cake mix cakes too! I think most people will like cake no matter what. I like to use scratch for carrot or red velvet. I don't believe I have ever left an event and had anything but compliments. I make my own fillings and icing and I decorate nicely. If someone asks I will tell them it starts off with a mix. I also tell them that all grocery stores, walmarts and even most bakeries use a mix they are surprised but understand. I really think that most customers don't care as long as it tastes and looks good. The ten percent that don't like it can find another person to do their cake, the others can come to you icon_biggrin.gif !! I know that scratch baking isn't harder, measuring is measuring but taste does count I every scratch white/yellow cake I've tasted tastes almost like a cakey cornbread. Now maybe thats how a cake is supposed to taste like to some of you but to me thats just not right! I feel that scratch cakes are dense and crumbly instead of light and fluffy! Now thats my own personal opinion and I am one to everything scratch. I went to baking school and culinary and trust me most places do not do everything from scratch! I think everyone should try to do more things from scratch, just maybe not all cakes.
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EatMoreCake!
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post #67 of 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by c420

.... and trust me most places do not do everything from scratch!



Just to add another story, my sister loves going on and on about how fabulous Applebee's chicken tortilla soup is. She complains to the wait staff every single time we go there because they don't serve it everyday anymore. I told her, "If you will shut up about this soup, I'll bring you a container of it! I have a case of it in my freezer that I just got from GFS!" I then turned to the wait staffer and said, "Oh wait ... you guys have the tortilla noodles in yours, don't you?" He said, "Oh we add those after we mix up the soup!" So I guess Applebee's can also say, "Oh we start with a mix but add our own stuff to it!" icon_lol.gif

So at my nephew's wedding a couple of weeks ago, I handed her a frozen container of her favorite restaurant soup!

As I've also said a number of times, if housewives had access to the foods and cleaners and equipment that I, as a caterer, have access to, then we'd all luv being housewives! Housewives don't have the ability to buy Chicken Tortilla soup unless they live in a large city with a GFS open-to-the-public store nearby. The frozen lasagna I buy is MUCH better than the frozen lasagna found in grocery stores. I'm to the point that I just don't want to buy grocery store food anymore because what I get from restaurant suppliers is MUCH superior.

This may be another reason for the bias against non-scratch baking and cooking .... if they're eating frozen grocery store foods, then they just don't realize how good the restaurant frozen foods are.

Trust me, it's a WORLD'S of difference!
post #68 of 246
Another idea.... if they come in for a sampling, have a scratch and a mix to try. If they prefer the mix, they can't complain, right?
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"My friends are my estate."
Emily Dickinson
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post #69 of 246
All I know is that if I asked someone if they used boxed mixes and they gave me a song and dance about "pre-weighed dry ingredients" and home baked with love, then I found out differently later, they'd lose my business forever. I don't thint that people like being lied to, so just tell them that you use mixes if they ask. Most people won't ask anyway.

I just finished baking 5 wedding cakes and 2 groom's cakes for this weekend from scratch, but if you want to use mixes go ahead. Just don't tell people that you're baking from scratch if you're not. I don't claim to be using cake mixes when I don't!
post #70 of 246
snappy comebacks for the artsy fartsy set asking about scratch:

artist type--- do you make your own paint? brushes? canvas? OH you don't! so you start w/ premade ingredients and then add the talent! ME TOO.

sewer/knitter/crochet"er" -- do you make your own yarn/thread (ie grow the sheep/cotton, card it, spin it, etc.)? make your own needles/hooks? OH you don't! so you start w/ premade ingredients and then add the talent! ME TOO.

sculptor --- do you make your own clay/steel/stone? make your own tools? OH you don't! so you start w/ premade ingredients and then add the talent! ME TOO.

writer -- do you make your won paper? pencils? pens? computer? word processing software? OH you don't! so you start w/ premade ingredients and then add the talent! ME TOO.

builder -- do you grow your own trees and then mill them into lumber? make your own concrete (which can be ordered in several "mixes")? make your own bricks? own plumbing? own wiring? paint? OH you don't! so you start w/ premade ingredients and then add the talent! ME TOO.
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Keep on cakin'!
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post #71 of 246
If asked I tell them But I use DH. If they dont like it they can go somewhere else....I am not saying that with an attitude BTW...
I know some people care, some don't I just dont have the room to store 50# of flour and everything else needed. It is easier, for me more predictable results (make sence) I dont NEED to make cake, I love to, so if the problem is the mix... then sorry. MOST people here don't care........ they just want an awsome cake......
June 1996 ~ Thats when my life changed forever, I accepted Christ.
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June 1996 ~ Thats when my life changed forever, I accepted Christ.
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post #72 of 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug

snappy comebacks for the artsy fartsy set asking about scratch:

artist type--- do you make your own paint? brushes? canvas? OH you don't! so you start w/ premade ingredients and then add the talent! ME TOO.

sewer/knitter/crochet"er" -- do you make your own yarn/thread (ie grow the sheep/cotton, card it, spin it, etc.)? make your own needles/hooks? OH you don't! so you start w/ premade ingredients and then add the talent! ME TOO.

sculptor --- do you make your own clay/steel/stone? make your own tools? OH you don't! so you start w/ premade ingredients and then add the talent! ME TOO.

writer -- do you make your won paper? pencils? pens? computer? word processing software? OH you don't! so you start w/ premade ingredients and then add the talent! ME TOO.

builder -- do you grow your own trees and then mill them into lumber? make your own concrete (which can be ordered in several "mixes")? make your own bricks? own plumbing? own wiring? paint? OH you don't! so you start w/ premade ingredients and then add the talent! ME TOO.



thumbs_up.gif
post #73 of 246
Doug...That's protesting a little too much...By that same reasoning I could say that I only use "real" ingredients and no mixes, then add my talent to make a good cake. I get tired of people trying to imply that scratch bakers are all snobs and artsy-fartsy types. It's wearying...Like I said, just use what you want to use, no skin off my nose, but don't dance around and lie about it it someone asks.
post #74 of 246
There are hard scratch recipes and easy scratch recipes.

There are scratch cakes that are close to fool proof if you know how to follow directions and others where you need to stand on one foot and hold your mouth just right to get them to turn out.

There are scratch recipes that cost about the same to make as a box mix.

There are scratch recipes which cost more than a person should probably spend to make a cake.

Scratch vs. mix is really no definition of your baking ability or the time and care you put into your finished product. Snobbery is silly.

If I hadn't been cursed with this egg allergy, I would probably continue to make scratch recipes for special occasions and box mixes for others...just because my favorite scratch recipes take longer and cost bundles. I don't live that way every day. I'm on a time and money budget, like most of the rest of us home bakers.

But since I have to use mostly all scratch everything, I've learned there are lots and lots of ways to make scratch that take NO extra time. But I've also developed a strong ability to taste preservatives in most things.

There are lots of snobs out there...and I think you can be a mix baker or a scratch baker and fit into that category. I would think that customers who care may have good reasons for caring or may not at all. I like IndyDebi's approach. Honest but showing the customer that her cooking and baking is GOOD.
"To laugh often and to love much..., to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to give one's self..., this is to have succeeded."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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"To laugh often and to love much..., to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to give one's self..., this is to have succeeded."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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post #75 of 246
Why should you have to respond to questions about box or scratch? It's really no one's business what ingredients you use or don't use. Your response could be that your recipes are property of your business, and although you would like to share that information, due to it being of a business nature, you don't share your recipes with the public. Most people don't go into eating establishments asking to speak to the chef and quiz him/her as to whether he/she cooks from scratch, mixes, or frozen foods. Cake businesses shouldn't be any different.

Did anyone watch the episode of "Top Chef" where the wedding cake was made from scratch, and the chefs caught a lot of slack for it? icon_lol.gif If you are a trained chef, then I'm sure people expect scratch cakes. Otherwise, don't sweat it. There shouldn't be anything wrong with doctoring a cake mix. I'm a scratch baker and don't have a problem with it. You're using the mix as a foundation for other quality ingredients. Don't feel guilty and be proud of your work.
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