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Cake mix versus made from scratch

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
I have a question. Do any of you use cake mix anymore or do all of you do scratch. I used to do wedding cakes from my home for over 20 years and I always used cake mix. That was how I was taught when I first took classes 30 years ago. Now I am going to switch over to cupcakes and it seems that everyone is using scratch recipes. I don't seem to get the same moistness that I got with mix's. I definately get flavor but I don't want a dry product. I need to replace my stove. It is over 25 years old and has put out a lot of wedding cakes over the years but I have trouble regulating the temperature so it has got to go. Maybe then I will get the moister scratch cupcakes.

Liz
KC Cupcake
post #2 of 41
Scratch cakes before discovering cake central, then I found Cc and discovered people raving about doctored cake mixes. I will stick to my scratch recipe, except for a particular white cake recpe that starts with a generic brand cake mix 9the best white cake mix ever!)
I guess my taste buds are oversensitive since the chemicl taste of BC, DH and Pillsbury always comes through. although i have experimented so much that I did manage a yellow cake box recipe that had no chemical taste-but the yellow color was still there. I will always prefer scratch from a great baker.
post #3 of 41
I'm not sure what your oven has to do with the dryness. You can geta $5.00 thermometer turn your pans if there are hot spots. The reason you are getting the moistness with the box mix is because they are chemically engineered to work even when you make mistakes. But those chemicals are very apparent and cannot be hidden with added ingredients.

As to which to use, you are the only one who can decide that. You must decide on the product, price according to relative value in the market, and then reach the target market.
post #4 of 41
I bake from scratch - and I love it! My cakes are very moist and delicious! But there is nothing wrong with baking from a mix or doctoring mixes. It's really just whatever you want to do!
post #5 of 41
Everyone that I've baked for loves the WASC and the varieties of it that I've tried. The only one I find that isn't as good is the RV so will stick to scratch for that one.
post #6 of 41
I prefer to use the Duncan Hines cake mixes over any other brand and over scratch. I don't get the chemical taste people are referring to and none of my clients have said anything about it. I doctor my mixes to get a denser and moister cake too. And part of the reason I use mix is the convenience of not having to use a bunch of other ingredients. I have the option of using a scratch recipe if I get an unusual flavor request, otherwise, it's DH for me!
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post #7 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by BizCoCos

I guess my taste buds are oversensitive since the chemicl taste of BC, DH and Pillsbury always comes through.



This exactly. I hate the flavor of doctored mixes.

There is a lot more customization that you can do with scratch and for me, mixing all the ingredients is part of the fun. Yes it's more labor but not by much. I don't like chemicals and think we eat way too much processed food. *Steps off soapbox*
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Started my business legally February 2012! Commercial kitchen and all!
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post #8 of 41
I don't care what you put in a box mix, the chemicals are very apparent. I use box mixes for one thing only, to practice a fondant technique and then I throw it in the trash. My family will not touch them.

I'm at too many events and weddings where the photographer, caterer, guests, DJ, wedding planner, all come to me and can't believe a scratch cake is available. They then talk about the box mixes everyone serves and are the status quo for weddings. They are not enjoyed as much as you all think they are because those that do this weekly know that guests know it's the same cake they can make at home in 1/2 hour for $1.00. Most of the time it is the only option in the market. I don't consider a box mix worth working off. And the plates at weddings usually reflect this too.

Remember brides choose box mixes out of economics too.

So if you can bake from scratch and can find the right market that will pay, you will usually be the only scratch option and you will have that market to yourself, while the huge group of box bakers fight over the same group of brides.

As far as a scratch cake being dry, you just have to find good recipes. I found it helps to have some knowledge of the science of scratch baking. I actually have recipes on my menu that I did not even bake before I added them. That's how in tune to the ingredients you can get. I can read a recipe, know how to change and accurately predict the outcome. Actually the same thing our grandmothers used to do. It was just a domestic chore, now we call it art.

I look for a lot of fat in a recipe. I also like buttermilk and sour cream over milk. Even though I have butter recipes, I find these need to be watched closely and the customer needs instructions on storage so that it won't get dry. I usually use a fine cocoa powder and add the fat to a chocolate cake. But again, I have some that have chocolate in the batter. Because these are solids, the batter must be able to handle that ingredient at room temp and not dry out, like butter cakes. And with experience and manipulation, my yellow butter cake now gets ultra moist in about 24 hours. I make a lot of cakes flavored with liqueurs. These cakes must start out drier and sturdier in order to accept the liqueur. And the odd thing is that many of my recipes that have brushed liqueurs start out as a whipped egg white recipes that are usually more delicate.

All I can say is that people with great scratch recipes either put in the time to experiment or someone taught them proper method and shared great recipes. My 17 year old daughter helps me and will probably take over this business after college. She has learned proper techniques and has my recipes. She has never known a failure. But I sure have. It's part of the process.
post #9 of 41
when working with cupcakes, i feel that they focus more on flavor than anything. Cakes are usually for a more visual stance (at least in my opinion). Therefore, i always make all my cupcakes from scratch. I don't use any frivolous decorating (not that there's anything wrong with it), I put my effort solely into the flavors icon_smile.gif
post #10 of 41
I really, REALLY wanted to like the WASC. I gave it several chances a few years back, and tried it with different mixes. I just couldn't stomach the smell and the cake mix taste. I experiments like crazy with some scratch recipes I found online, and tweaked a few to my liking, and I couldn't be happier with my all scratch line up.
post #11 of 41
And some from popular baking books too.
post #12 of 41
I can taste all the chemicals in box cake mix. And the texture is usually kinda funky too.

I learned to bake in 4H when I was 9 years old. That's right 9 years old. And now I've been baking from scratch for over 50 years.

If a 9 year old can do it, so can you.
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Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
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post #13 of 41
I much prefer scratch! I don't bake and sell (just bake for family, friends, and coworkers), and they all much prefer scratch. A lot of them bake from boxes, but they say they can tell the difference and are amazed I only bake from scratch.

I would never buy a cake or cupcakes from someone who uses box mixes. I don't care how good it tastes or if I couldn't taste the chemicals. Sorry, I just couldn't!
post #14 of 41
Scratch baker here too... I grew up baking and, for me, there is no other way.
post #15 of 41
i dont think you can beat a cake from scratch, wouldnt dream of using a mix, x
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