Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

I'd like to get some opinions. When I bake, anything, cookies, muffins, banana bread, whatever, I'm  totally ANTI-Box mix. If Im going through the trouble to make someone a beautiful cake it just goes totally against my grain to use a box mix. I guess I think they can go to the store and buy it themselves (probably cheaper too) if I was just gonna mix up a box?! I feel like Im cheating somehow. Maybe its the way I was raised? Everything ~ dinner desserts whatever, made from scratch, even grown fresh when possible. I watched my grandma stretch dough across the dining room table while making the BEST APPLE STRUEDEL EVER!!! Maybe that's what it is??

But anyway, is this just my dying opinion? I was looking at some recipes and variations that start with (or at least include) a box mix, then other variables are added (so its only half-scratch). It seems so much easier than scratch-made...in fact maybe thats the problem, too easy? Don't get me wrong, I'm all about easy, but still have this nagging thought of "I'm cheating"..lol

Any other thoughts out there, or is it just me?

Thanks for sharing...maybe you can save me from myself. LOL

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Bless your heart, Jenifer! You get kudos for hanging in there! I find that when I use the doctored box recipe, I have to bake it longer and at a slightly lower temperature so the inside gets done all the way. That is probably why your centers fell. I don't use a tester until I'm sure it is set. I nudge the pan gently and if the center moves at all I quickly (gently) close the oven door and add at least another 5 mins. to the baking time. Regarding the box taste, Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe has less overt "box" flavor than Betty Crocker but lots of folks out there really like that taste because that is what they grew up with. Go figure? If that is what they grew up with and associate with happy occasions, then a better box mix is perfect for them. If it was a a spectacular torte from a trip to France - scratch and butter is best. I make both cakes from scratch and from the doctored box depending on the client and the style of cake. I do like getting more batter from the box when I am doing something that requires a lot of cake. When I make it with white chocolate pudding and white chocolate creamer I get raves on the white cake - more so than my best white scratch mix, which I personally prefer. So I look at it as: what best fits my customer, the overall cake design, and what will make everybody happy. Our palates and our memories are closely connected. When you consult with your client, ask them a little bit about their favorite cake memories. Not only will you learn something cool about their hearts, you will get some good direction on their palates and what design styles make their hearts sing! Happy baking!
Hey ladies...I just stumbled on this site and immediately thought of you all! Duncan Hines is having a contest for box plus recipies and they have the submissions posted at this site. There is still time for you to jump into the contest if you like, or just browse the recipe submissions and see if it gets your creative juices flowing. Enjoy!
http://wildfireapp.com/website/6/contests/42530?order=votes
Hi could you send me your recipe please I have been making everything from scratch and I am so outdone when I am done. I am new to everything lol. thanks shana

Linda Welch said:
I used to share your same heart-felt opinion. I struggled to find a good, moist white cake recipe. They were all too dry with an unappealing texture. Then our cake club did a side-by-side taste test. We blind tested all the top brands of box mixes, a generic store brand, and a good scratch recipe. Then we rated them according to taste, appearance, and texture. The Betty Crocker box mix won!!! This was much to the gall and surprise of many well known professionals including two Food Network Challenge winners. I use a recipe that combines the box mix, instant pudding, coffee creamer, and other ingredients and I get the best moist white cake ever. I can use it for sculpting and it bakes up beautifully without tunnels, cracks, high crowns or any of the other pitfalls that make us crazy. It also gives me enough batter to make thicker layers that torte well. So there you have it. The scratch cake came in 4th place! The worst one was the generic box mix. It was awful. There really is a difference between box mixes. The second best was Duncan Hines, followed by Pillsbury Moist Supreme. Hint: veg oil makes a moister cake than butter. So lay your guilt to rest and give your clients a great tasting, beautifully decorated cake!
I do like to use box mixes when I need something quick and easy for home use. I am also a WMI and so often times I have to have two cakes the first week of classes for demo night and well I don't feel like wasting all the time and money to make scratch when I can spend a few bucks for the stuff and a few minutes and I have a cake in the oven. Especially when these often end up in the trash or being eaten by staff. But I am trying to get away from all the preservatives in box mixes as well as to me it is more special if it is scratch. So I am testing and testing to get the right recipe.
A MONTH later....people STILL talking about that cake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! -that'll teach me! LOL :)

Jenifer T said:
Well now, another "snag"...after my disappointment with the WASC using a box, I've had people (more than usual) coming to tell me how GREAT the cake tasted, and asking for the recipe!!!! :( Now I have to rethink the whole thing. lol
Hi! Could you send me your recipe please? My daughter and I have just begun trying to decorate cakes and we are having a blast. But our scratch cakes just haven't been very good and our box cakes are very hard to handle. Thanks, Julie


L Welch said:
I used to share your same heart-felt opinion. I struggled to find a good, moist white cake recipe. They were all too dry with an unappealing texture. Then our cake club did a side-by-side taste test. We blind tested all the top brands of box mixes, a generic store brand, and a good scratch recipe. Then we rated them according to taste, appearance, and texture. The Betty Crocker box mix won!!! This was much to the gall and surprise of many well known professionals including two Food Network Challenge winners. I use a recipe that combines the box mix, instant pudding, coffee creamer, and other ingredients and I get the best moist white cake ever. I can use it for sculpting and it bakes up beautifully without tunnels, cracks, high crowns or any of the other pitfalls that make us crazy. It also gives me enough batter to make thicker layers that torte well. So there you have it. The scratch cake came in 4th place! The worst one was the generic box mix. It was awful. There really is a difference between box mixes. The second best was Duncan Hines, followed by Pillsbury Moist Supreme. Hint: veg oil makes a moister cake than butter. So lay your guilt to rest and give your clients a great tasting, beautifully decorated cake!
Julie, the recipe is the WASC cake and I believe the recipe is in the FORUMS tab at the top...I have to look, but someone left it here on this discussion too.
Denise I'm trying to go the scratch route and follow the recipe to a T but it always comes out dense. I make cupcakes but I can't seem to get it fluffy or light texture. My biggest fear! Is ti because I'm using a hand mixer?

Denise said:
I must also add that I am and "organic" baker... hence the reason for my choice of NOT using a box mix. Again yet another reason why my customers are willing to pay the extra price for my product. Of course at my level I have that option. If I were mass producing cakes on a larger scale, I would have to cave and use a pre-made mix in order to keep the cost of goods down to a minimum and increase the bottom line.
Scratch -vs- Box is a personal choice. For scratch bakers once we find that perfect chemistry in a recipe, we stick with it. However it IS chemistry. Beginning with with room temp butter and eggs, all the way down to the order in which the ingredients are added to the bowl, including how long you mix or beat the batter and the temp and time that the project is baked. If there is one chemical imbalance in the formula the results are a poor crumb, to dense, or too soft cake, and sometimes even a cake that falls flat.

Jenifer said:
hmmm....so its a tie so far! LOL....keep em coming. :)
There are several possible causes for a recipe that isn't coming out right. If you don't sift your flour BEFORE you measure it, you may well be adding too much which will give the above result. If it calls for cake flour don't try to use all purpose. There IS a difference. Overmixing can be another culprit. Use a timer and mix at the suggested speed in the recipe. See if that helps. If not, perhaps you need to try a different recipe. Oh..get an oven thermometer and make sure you are baking at the correct temp. They are cheap and easy to find. MOST ovens do not bake at accurate temps, and that can screw you up as well. Good luck!

Hi Everyone!

I just came across this website and am so excited to be a part of a "baking community"!!! 

 

Now I bake everything from scratch...I started scratch baking because my youngest daughter has a nut allergy, and scratch baking allows me to control EVERY ingredient in the dessert so that she can enjoy it without fear of reaction. 

But over time, I found that scratch baking calms me...I love the final results (obviously)...but each stage is an amazing sensory experience...I love the smell of the butter after the sugar is beaten in!!!!  I have tried box mixes since scratch baking....and now I find the preservatives off putting, no matter how I doctor the mix!

I have also converted my family and friends...and now they turn their noses to box mix cakes!!!

I usually do a doctored cake mix. Not only for the time saving, but I have had times when I made scratch and people thought the cake was heavy. I too like to make pies, rolls ect from scratch. I started when I was 10 making cookies on Saturday. Saturday was the day my mother did baking when I was little.

SO I know where you are coming from but I will continue to make doctored cake mixes for most unless they request scratch.

I've never made a cake to sell that was done with a box mix. I always use my scratch recipes. I've always gotten great reviews on how moist my cakes are, and my brides love it! I've had them request the recipes, but since they're my Great Grandma's family recipes I don't share them out.

Don't get me wrong, I've used boxed mixes before, especially when I was doing my wilton courses. They were just easier to throw together at the last minute. I really don't like the taste of box mixes though. I'd rather scratch made cakes any day!

I guess it just comes down to personal taste.

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