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Do you use Boxed Cake Mixes?

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#91 prasantrin

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 10:02 PM

Are you sure that others would not like the scratch cakes?  (Even if they are different than the mixss they are used to?) 

This isn't an accusation or even a suggestion!  :smile:  I guess it's curiosity that makes me wonder if perhaps they would enjoy a scratch cake.  Their opportunities for having one may be limited and having a friend like you that bakes could open up a new experience for them.

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Sorry! I should have clarified a bit more. I only use them when I'm pressed for time, and I know the people I'm baking for won't mind them. Otherwise I bake from scratch no matter who the cake is for.

I've actually only used a boxed cake mix once in the last 5 years (possibly longer, but I only know for certain the last time was about 5 years ago)--to make one of those pseudo-baba au rhum-type cakes. It was pretty horrible, I thought, but as I had predicted, the people I made it for liked it.

#92 Young2Cook

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 01:46 AM

Thanks for posting the links, Toliver. Maybe we could pin a list of "best of . . ." threads to the top of the forum, so that when new people come to the forum, and they have what they think is the best recipe for X, Y or Z, they would be encouraged to post it. Or maybe not.

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[/quote]


Great idea!

#93 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 08:32 PM

Just wanted to drop in and mention a couple things. First, we are working on an index (it takes time to undertake such a huge task). Second, ideas like this should be sent to hosts thru our private messaging system, please. We are always open to ideas, but work very hard to keep threads on topic. Changes or suggestions for change are not topics open for forum wide discussion.

Thanks.

#94 Dailey

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 01:06 AM

i feel a bit hesitant posting about cake mixes on a site where there are so many professional pastry chefs! :unsure: actually, i love baking from scratch and never use cake mixes for my family, however, i sell cakes and have noticed many times that my friends (my official taste-testers) will pick out the cakes i make from a mix over my scratch ones. :wacko: i know its probably because they all grew up on mixes.

at any rate, i tried a new recipe yesterday that starts with a mix but had a really good flavor, unlike many cakes i have tasted that were from a mix . its basically a cake mix with 1 cup of flour and sugar added, dash of salt, 3 eggs, 1/3 cup water, 1/4 heavy cream, 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of butter and 1 T. vanilla. has anyone tried this recipe before? if so, what was your opinion of it? i'm kinda torn at this point, i'm not sure if i should offer scratch or cake mixes to my customers. i want to do scratch but i also want my customers to be happy. anyone else in this situation?

#95 K8memphis

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 06:36 AM

I'm not a pastry chef but I am a professional baker and professional cake decorator/sugar artist. Umm, the debate about mixes can get so emotional--it's so very interesting.

Y'know some people use purchased phyllo leaves, some people make da schtrrooodel from 'scratch'.

Although not too many of us actually plant and harvest the grain for the flour y'know??? I mean there's that other debate about how much itch makes it scratch? :biggrin:

So all that said, I do employ pre-measured ingredients in my widening repetoire. Why should I limit myself to satisfy someone else's religious belief? :rolleyes:

That is a nice formula you posted. That cake is user friendly for decorated cakes in a lot of ways. It slices and serves without an over abundance of cake scrabbles that reduce your servings and so caterers and cake severs everywhere appreciate that not to mention the brides. It makes a nice secure tasty tangy serving. It's a beautiful canvas too--you can paint a lot of different flavors with it from fillings & stuff.

However, I use self-rising flour in that one because I feel that the additional flour would make it too heavy. It's a nice formula though.

I hope you hear from a lot of people who have tried it. :wink:

edited to say: In particular, for the wedding & celebration cake makers of the world who need a product like I said, that serves beautifuly and expeditiously to possibly hundreds of quests, that needs to stack up securely in that engineering feat of magic that is a wedding cake. Plu-us, you need a product that will survive the distance albeit with pinpoint freshness accuracy. The distance of from oven to forkful having endured the filling, stacking, storing, decorating and delivery. And if you have four or five events to celebrate per weekend...come on, having a stable secure reliable formula to use is freaking invaluable. There's so much more to a wedding cake, celebration cake than a tossing a few ingredients in the oven y'know?

Ain't no time to plant wheat, render the fat, cut cane and gather the eggs.... :laugh:

Edited by K8memphis, 21 November 2005 - 07:04 AM.


#96 alanamoana

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 07:20 AM

with all the added ingredients, it sounds more like "scratch" to me!

i recently made two wedding cakes (for my own wedding!) from "scratch"...but to be honest, they tasted like "mix" cakes to me. not in the the wierd chemically way, but in the pleasant bring back the memories kind of way.

i guess what i'm trying to say is that if you feel the recipe tastes good, then go ahead and do it. that's ultimately what it comes down to, right?

#97 theabroma

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 08:32 AM

Cast my vote for "semi" scratch as well. That's a lot of basic ingredients to add to a mix!

I confess to being a scratch snob, but after some totally memorable Pyrrhic victories in that department, including a notable one involving 3 full-sized sheet pans of pistachio baklava, where I made ALL of the bleedin' phyllo from scratch, and since I couldn't find shelled pistachios at that time, I shelled the suckers by hand (blisters for weeks), I have had to get real about some things pertaining to the juncture of scratch, clients, and a food business.

The comment about clients loving the mix cakes was interesting and telling, and a great point for recovering scratch snobs like me to contemplate: so many people are so used to eating "x" made either ready made or from a box, that when they do eat the "real" from scratch item, they don't identify it as being "x", or if they do, they don't think its that good. I do a lot of traditional regional foods of Mexico and fight the "it ain't enchiladas unless it's got yellow cheese" belief all the time.

The ongoing engineering of ingredients (high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated lipids, weird flaked fats in biscuit mixes)and from the laboratory taste profiles are creating a palate which a chef has to deal with. And this is especially so I find for caterers, or "hit and run" chefs where you have only the one event or especially so, cake, to put out there as your calling card.

What to do? Go over to the Dark Side and sully your hands w/mixes? Be a culinary Luddite, and just pray that the scratch cake behaves and is consistent? It's a tough choice, and a good topic for discussion.

It is especially pertinent to cake decorators - whose task is to dazzle with the cake's external presence and not with the cake's innards. It is difficult for those with bakery/pastry shops or businesses. And for those from the hot side who might feel the urge to tsk-tsk: how many establishments out there make a full complement of stocks from scratch, along with a true demi, and glace de viande? I ask you, would we find no Haco or Hero products on your shelves? No pre-made praline paste?

I have never tried that particular cake, and I like the idea of using self-rising flour. I want to give it a test run ... it sounds like a winner for a durable layer which will be handled, decked out, stacked, and schlepped, and still be expected to taste just from the oven fresh.

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#98 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 09:11 AM

I'm a professional pastry chef and I use cake mixes.

I hate to get into the debate making it a "snob' type issue or not. I just don't see it that way at all.

I've been searching my whole life for the perfect white cake and the perfect yellow cake and haven't found them yet. I've got many 'close to' cakes, like great pound cakes, butter cakes, genoise, etc.... but nothing that matches what consumers like/want in white and yellow cake mixes. The day I have recipes for the perfect white and yellow cakes, I'll be thrilled. I'll use them as much as I can, just as I currently make every other cake then white and yellow from scratch.

But that leads me into a current issue I deal with.

I do make a damn good chocolate cake from scratch. But sometimes my job is so over whelmingly hard to keep up with the demand placed upon me, that I still have to resort to using a chocolate cake mix from time to time. This past week prepping for Thanksgiving has me turning to a mix for corn bread. It's not that I can't make a darn good one from scratch. It's about doing what one has to do to survive. In a perfect world I wouldn't choose to work for an employer that forces me to make that decision, but I don't have that option either.

Your never going to please all the people all the time. Theres tons of aruguments one can make with people who act like snobs about using convience products. I'm not going to go there, it's a rediculous argument......some are good some are bad, it's a really long winded discussion that will end up with no real answer. I think it's safe to assume your not intentionally looking to do something less then your best and if your best involves a mix, it's your business not anyone elses.

That topic aside. I've tested many many cakes. Mixes aren't any different in that some are better then others. I'm not crazy about the recipe you mentioned, just my personal take on it. I was raised on the following doctored mix and like it alot:

1 DH cake mix
1 pkg instant pudding
4 whole eggs
1 c. water
1/2 c. oil

But now as I've had the chance to work for others (in a bakery settings) there are commercial cake mixes you can buy that are just as good or if not better then the type of mixes you get in your grocery stores. So I think you'd be wise to test out as many recipes/mixes as possible before you settle on one.

#99 Dailey

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 09:11 AM

thanks for the input everyone! i guess since i've been a "scratch" baker for so long, i feel guilty for using a mix. :unsure: i don't know why i'm having such a hard time getting over that. my husband loved, loved, loved the doctored mix, he said it tasted so good that it didn't need frosting, and he never would eat one of my scratch cakes w/o icing! i guess what it all boils down to is i consider myself a "baker" as well as a "cake decorator". can i really call myself a "baker" if its not from scratch? :blink:

#100 K8memphis

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 09:20 AM

   i guess what it all boils down to is i consider myself a "baker" as well as a "cake decorator".   can i really call myself a "baker" if its not from scratch? :blink:

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Yes, if you want to.
You can do anything you want to do.

Edited by K8memphis, 21 November 2005 - 09:21 AM.


#101 Dailey

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 09:28 AM

wendy,
i'm glad to hear your feelings about this particular topic! i've had alot of people ask me if my cakes are from scratch or mix, when they are made from a mix, i get the feeling they are no longer "impressed". i hate when people ask me because i would never lie, but it makes me feel like i "cheated". i actually used the recipe you posted for my 3-D cakes because i like the texture, very nice for carving. do you mind telling me what you don't like about the recipe i posted? does it "taste" like a mix to you or is something about the texture/ crumb? i would love to hear your opinion. i made 2 cakes, one white and the other with the butter mix. i always used DH because i can never get the other brands to behave!

as far as chocolate cakes go, i rarely used the mixes because i've had such good luck with scratch. actually, i must say thank you because my favorite all time no-fail chocolate cake now is the one you posted by scott wooley, i wanted so badly to make it yesterday as a matter of fact, but find i cannot stop after one piece! not a good thing when you are 7 months pregnant with high blood sugars! :raz:

#102 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 09:44 AM

I guess I'm lucky because no one asks me if my cakes are scratch or mixes.........so I don't have that problem. I think the best way to handle it is to side step the issue. I think it's sort of rude for someone to ask if it's a mix or scratch.........are they judging your ability to bake or are they looking to see if you'll give them the recipe.

If they are judging you, ignore them (they must be mean spirited). If their looking for a recipe they can reproduce it's up to you if you want to share.

Why I'm not crazy about the first version of a doctored mix you mentioned: I can bake a great scratch cake that's dense and easy to cut for shaped cakes. Most butter cakes and pound cakes work well for that purpose. That doctored version is very heavy and just not my ideal cake for that purpose. When I'm using a white or yellow cake mix I'm using them because I can't achieve the lightness and moisture balance the mix has, that I can't find in a scratch cake.

#103 K8memphis

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 10:20 AM

Well, I wrote the following then decided to put it in the circular file. But since Wendy suggests the same thing -- here are some 'how to's'...

... i've had alot of people ask me if my cakes are from scratch or mix, when they are made from a mix, i get the feeling they are no longer "impressed".   i hate when people ask me because i would never lie, but it makes me feel like i "cheated".  

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You don't have to lie but you don't have to tell either.

Like,

"Oh you know better than to ask that!"

"Well, what do you think?'

"What a controversial subject, which one does your wife/Mom bake?"

"Which do you prefer?"

"Hey, y'know, just like Mom's"

"Can't you tell?" (which one)

"It's an old family secret."

of course there's always

"I could tell yah but then I'd have to shoot yah." When really they qualify for execution just by ASKING!!!

With the climate of baking such as it is with all the things that have already been discussed in this thread--it's tantamount to asking, 'boxers or briefs'--it just should not be asked. If you encounter a cad who asks, they are just making conversation, blow them off--pick a line from above and smile, laugh, talk about it without answering, blow them off, change the subject.

If it's a client, say, Oh you've had my cake before at such & such an event. Or, here's a sample...stuff like that.

There's no good answer to that question.

Edited by K8memphis, 21 November 2005 - 10:22 AM.


#104 Jeni Hicks

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 11:49 AM

I'm predominantly a scratch baker - due mainly to the fact that I love to bake, and so really enjoy the process of all that measuring, sifting, mixing, folding, etc. It relaxes me, so I do it :smile: And, I admit that I generally prefer both the texture and taste of a good old fashioned scratch cake - interestingly enough, that is what I grew up with! I do believe it's all about what you're used to - so many people who grew up on straight mix cakes (ie: no doctoring) find the texture of full scratch cakes to be heavier, drier.

I think people are asking you because,

a) people are just nosey sometimes :raz:
b) they're confused! Your cake doesn't taste like the cake they make from the box (with all those added ingredients, why would it?)....yet it's lighter and has a softer crumb than most scratch cakes they've tasted. How do you DO it??? :smile: (Hence, my opinion that they might be subversively digging for the recipe, as Wendy suggests!)

Also - if you're selling cakes, I think people sometimes ask because they believe that your prices should be less if you're using a mix. Never mind all those eggs you add, or the butter and sour cream you doctor it with, the costs of your equipment, or powering an oven for an hour, or those endless hours spent decorating it beautifully.........Betty Crocker was on sale this week for .69 a box, so you should be selling that cake for lots less than the bakery down the road! :hmmm:

I wouldn't feel guilty at all - and I wouldn't hesitate to call the doctored cake you're making "scratch", at least as far as a customer is concerned - customers don't appreciate the difference between a straight up cake mix, and a doctored one, and I don't think that's fair on you. You're adding a heck of a lot of stuff to some pre-measured dry ingredients, and that makes it a heck of a lot more than a standard mix, IMO.

The point about "when is scratch truly scratch" is a good one, too - the fact is that we all use convenience products where we seek convenience. If I use pre-made tart shells for my (from scratch) frangipane and cherry tartlets, can I really consider my tarts as made from scratch? To that end, I've never even been in a bakery that didn't sell tartlets in those well-known little foil cups, with their perfectly crimped little edges! Know what, though? Many of those tarts have been darn tasty! :wink:

Jeni

#105 shaloop

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 04:43 PM

with all the added ingredients, it sounds more like "scratch" to me!

i recently made two wedding cakes (for my own wedding!) from "scratch"...but to be honest, they tasted like "mix" cakes to me.  not in the the wierd chemically way, but in the pleasant bring back the memories kind of way.

i guess what i'm trying to say is that if you feel the recipe tastes good, then go ahead and do it.  that's ultimately what it comes down to, right?

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Is there any way we can get your recipe for a "Scratch" cake that tastes like a mix? Does it have the texture of a mix? It's funny that we're even trying to make a scratch cake taste like a mix, isn't it? :huh:

#106 -sheila mooney

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 05:34 PM

where I made ALL of the bleedin' phyllo from scratch, and since I couldn't find shelled pistachios at that time, I shelled the suckers by hand (blisters for weeks)

Theabroma

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whoa! RESPECT.

#107 Dailey

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 06:09 PM

kate, i really like "can't you tell?" the best! i'm gonna have to used that! also, jeni really hit it on the head, i think customers think that if my cakes come from a mix, then they should be cheaper. but the recipe i posted is definitley not cheap! that particular recipe cost more then my scratch cakes.

i really appreciate all the feedback , thanks everyone! :biggrin:

#108 theabroma

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 07:31 PM

where I made ALL of the bleedin' phyllo from scratch, and since I couldn't find shelled pistachios at that time, I shelled the suckers by hand (blisters for weeks)

Theabroma

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whoa! RESPECT.

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You are kind. But what I really deserve is the Bronze Nutshell for Stupidity!!!


Theabroma
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#109 jgm

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 10:31 PM

Several years ago, when I ordered my wedding cake, I sat down and talked with the baker/chef at length. I wanted a "scratch" cake; one that had good, pure flavor. And I wanted buttercream icing made with butter, and not with shortening. Again, a flavor issue.

What I wanted to get away from, was artificial flavorings. I had strawberry filling between two layers, and lemon curd between the next two layers. I requested that these be made from scratch, again, as a flavor issue and also as a texture issue. The goo that many cake bakers put between layers around here is just objectionable. It's mainly sweet; sometimes you can also identify a flavor. But mainly, it's just sweet.

I got what I wanted, and both the baker and I were happy. She'd had few requests for this kind of baking, and she was happy to do it. The cake was spectacular in flavor and texture. Our guests loved it. And the neighbors to whom we gave slices, said it was the best cake they'd ever eaten. I was a happy bride. If people were going to get out on a sloshy weekend to come to my wedding, I wanted to treat them as well as I could. Some of them spent a lot of money to get here; others left professional activities and drove across three states to make it. Making the effort to give them really good cake (worth the calories!) was just one of the ways I could thank them.

If the woman doing the baking used any kind of mix, it certainly didn't show, and I wouldn't have objected.

A few weeks ago, my husband came home with a cookie mix he bought from a guy at work, who was selling it on behalf of his child's school. I couldn't believe he'd bring something like that home when I try so hard to make delicious things. I scanned the container to see just how disgusting it was going to be. To my complete surprise, the ingredient list included no artificial flavorings, colorings, or preservatives of any kind. My husband did the baking, so I don't know what was added to create the dough, but the cookies were delicious!

#110 mochihead

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 10:44 PM

theabroma, can I get you to come to Hawai'i and shell all the macadamias from my parent's tree in the backyard, too? :D

I feel your pain, though, about making phyllo from scratch. That's not something I'm going to repeat again anytime in the near future. Although it was really yummy!

I don't have any problems with using cake mixes, although like most of you here, I prefer the satisfaction of making my own cakes from scratch - plus it gives me more control over the quality of the ingredients that I use.

My sister-in-law decided for her birthday one year that she wanted chocolate cake from a box. With canned frosting. And sprinkles. Any dessert in the world I would have made for her, and she wanted that. :-/

#111 jturn00

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 09:33 AM

I think cake mixes speed the time it takes me to make a dessert for a party. I've been trained professionally and have worked in a few restaurants where everything was done from scratch.

Yet a recipe that I used many times when I am asked to make somethign for a party is a chocolate sour cream cake that uses a mix. (similar to Wendy's earlier post). Everyone loves it. In a crunch it is my go to recipe.

Has anyone tried using a Dunkin Heinz mix in the form of a bisquit? I am planning on making a buche de noel. Instead of a bisquit (or genoise) I was curious to see how spreading the mix onto a sheet pan and seeing how that would turn out.

#112 Sandra Levine

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 09:52 AM

I really appreciate the honesty of the professionals who admit to using mixes, and confirming something I've long suspected.

#113 Sugarella

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 12:28 PM

I'm a professional baker of the "wouldn't touch a mix with a ten foot pole" variety, but one thing I've learned over the years is that you just can't please every potential customer, so you might as well produce what you like, and your customers will follow suit. People will either like your cakes or they won't, and there isn't one cake or buttercream recipe that all people will enjoy, either. Some people like very sweet, some people prefer barely sweet.... and wouldn't you rather be producing cakes that you enjoy eating as well? You can't effectively represent and sell a product you don't really believe in. So if you think your doctored mix tastes better than any all-scratch recipe you've found for the same cake, then by all means use it and stand behind it. Just don't serve it to me. :biggrin:

..........

I think the best way to handle it is to side step the issue. I think it's sort of rude for someone to ask if it's a mix or scratch.........are they judging your ability to bake or are they looking to see if you'll give them the recipe. If they are judging you, ignore them (they must be mean spirited). 

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When really they qualify for execution just by ASKING!!! ....... 
With the climate of baking such as it is with all the things that have already been discussed in this thread--it's tantamount to asking, 'boxers or briefs'--it just should not be asked.

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I completely have to disagree with these comments though. It's not inappropriate at all to want to know what you're eating; it's not rude, and as professionals are we not obligated to disclose ingredients to those who ask? Mixes do contain emulsifiers and preservatives, and sometimes food dyes, and some people may be asking due to allergies. I don't think lying about the quality of your product is appropriate or professional at all. And if you do feel the need to lie, couldn't one assume you're not proud of the product you're using? If that's the case then you shouldn't be using it. If you don't have any issues with what you're using then you should unashamedly disclose it. I don't mean the recipe, I mean the ingredients, especially if those could be an issue for someone.

What's wrong with saying you use a doctored mix recipe? People do know what that means. There's only 2 good reasons for someone to ask:
1 ~ They want to know what they're eating, or may not want to eat cake mix - so be it. Be truthful.
2 ~ They're fishing for any excuse to lower the cake price. If that's the case and they found out you were actually baking from scratch, believe me, they'd find another reason to whine about how it's not fair they have to pay for something they ordered. :hmmm:

But finding good scractch recipes for cakes, like any good food recipe, are like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but they do exist. Too bad there's so many crap recipes out there that so many people give up and resort to mixes, simply because they don't have the time to wade through a million crappy recipes. :wink:

And as for comparing this to asking boxers or briefs..... uhm..... well, will they be eating the underpants?? :biggrin:

#114 alanamoana

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 04:16 PM

with all the added ingredients, it sounds more like "scratch" to me!

i recently made two wedding cakes (for my own wedding!) from "scratch"...but to be honest, they tasted like "mix" cakes to me.  not in the the wierd chemically way, but in the pleasant bring back the memories kind of way.

i guess what i'm trying to say is that if you feel the recipe tastes good, then go ahead and do it.  that's ultimately what it comes down to, right?

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Is there any way we can get your recipe for a "Scratch" cake that tastes like a mix? Does it have the texture of a mix? It's funny that we're even trying to make a scratch cake taste like a mix, isn't it? :huh:

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The chocolate recipe I used is a mayonnaise cake sort of like devil's food and the white cake I made was from Martha Stewart (I think...I'll have to check on that one). Both were completely from scratch with fresh/good ingredients but in my opinion tasted like mix. Not BAD, just a little like it came from a box. If you want exact recipes, I can PM them to you.

#115 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 07:00 AM

But finding good scractch recipes for cakes, like any good food recipe, are like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but they do exist. Too bad there's so many crap recipes out there that so many people give up and resort to mixes, simply because they don't have the time to wade through a million crappy recipes.  :wink:

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If your speaking personally to me, I have not given up. Not at all! In fact we have threads seeking the best scratch white cake and yellow cake recipes here in the P & B Forum. As of yet, I don't have that great recipe and none of the recipes offered were any better, in my opinion. If YOU have a great recipe for those two flavors please be generous and share yours.

I have plenty of time to wade thru a million crappy recipes and I have. But while I'm wading thru those crappy recipes I'm not going to serve them to paying customers if they don't exceed the mix I've got.

#116 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 07:27 AM

I think the best way to handle it is to side step the issue. I think it's sort of rude for someone to ask if it's a mix or scratch.........are they judging your ability to bake or are they looking to see if you'll give them the recipe. If they are judging you, ignore them (they must be mean spirited). 

View Post

When really they qualify for execution just by ASKING!!! ....... 
With the climate of baking such as it is with all the things that have already been discussed in this thread--it's tantamount to asking, 'boxers or briefs'--it just should not be asked.

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I completely have to disagree with these comments though. It's not inappropriate at all to want to know what you're eating; it's not rude, and as professionals are we not obligated to disclose ingredients to those who ask? Mixes do contain emulsifiers and preservatives, and sometimes food dyes, and some people may be asking due to allergies. I don't think lying about the quality of your product is appropriate or professional at all. And if you do feel the need to lie, couldn't one assume you're not proud of the product you're using? If that's the case then you shouldn't be using it. If you don't have any issues with what you're using then you should unashamedly disclose it. I don't mean the recipe, I mean the ingredients, especially if those could be an issue for someone.

What's wrong with saying you use a doctored mix recipe? People do know what that means. There's only 2 good reasons for someone to ask:
1 ~ They want to know what they're eating, or may not want to eat cake mix - so be it. Be truthful.
2 ~ They're fishing for any excuse to lower the cake price. If that's the case and they found out you were actually baking from scratch, believe me, they'd find another reason to whine about how it's not fair they have to pay for something they ordered. :hmmm:

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Honestly, your response feels like your trying to make a personal dig, instead of making a discussion. I resent you stateing that I need to "lie". I think your way off base.

I don't lie, didn't lie. That's why I stated right out that I use a mix for white and yellow cakes. And I have the guts to stand up to people that look to berate people that do. The vast majority of people use mixes and theres plenty of reasons why each person chooses that route or not. Because you don't approve of it, what gives you the right/higher ground to stand in judgement of people that do?

I am NOT proud that I use a cake mix for white and yellow cakes. This has nothing to do with pride or shame! I'd rather have a great recipe for those cakes if I had the choice, that's why I'm constantly seeking them.

If you have food allergies I can understand asking about ingredients in items your going to eat. Your free to ask me if I've added any emulisfiers or preservatives, ABSOLUTELY! Your free/welcome to ask me what ingredients are in ALL my baked goods. (I can't wait to tell you about the lye I use too.)

But asking if something is from scratch or a mix is a noisie question, in my opinion. It's not asking what's in the product for health reasons. It's asking if I cheated or if I'm posioning you, if I use your reasoning. Pastry chefs are not the only professional chefs that use mixes from time to time. Chefs often use batter mixes from pancake, waffle, fish fry batter to stuffing. Do you enter restaurants and ask chefs if they use mixes too?

Plenty of professional recipes include emulisfiers......they aren't horrible unnatural dangerous chemicals placed in the item to posion the consumer. Butter/fat and salt and sugar can do every bit as much if not more harm to the human body too.

I think the one thing most people don't like about cake mixes is the artifical taste. They do taste of fake vanilla. But the moisture and crumb of them make that factor override the fake taste for many peoples choice. If you can couple a cake mix with a great filling and frosting those flavors do help out the cake mix. They don't completely cover them. But it's a choice. And many people prefer that choice and I see no reason to judge others choice so long as it doesn't infringe on your choice not to make or eat that.

#117 Sugarella

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 11:44 AM

Well I'm a bit taken aback here. No, I wasn't speaking directly to you, Wendy, I was answering the question of the original poster and sharing my opinion, and that opinion was to be forthright about what you use and to be happy with your product. There was no attack intended, nor can I find one after rereading what I wrote several times. And although several people made statements to not dsclose the use of mixes, I chose to quote you and K8 because your quotes were more "to the point." I was trying to not have too many quotes in my post, that's all. No ill will intended to the people I quoted; I just found both of your statements more articulate.

Because you don't approve of it, what gives you the right/higher ground to stand in judgement of people that do?

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Nope, not standing in judgement or being on higher ground. Also not disapproving, either. I wrote that if Dailey prefers the mix cake then she should by all means use the mix cake.

(I can't wait to tell you about the lye I use too.)

It's asking if I cheated or if I'm posioning you, if I use your reasoning.

Plenty of professional recipes include emulisfiers......they aren't horrible unnatural dangerous chemicals placed in the item to posion the consumer.


Ok, 3 statements that I'd suggested cake mixes are poison and this is absolutely not the case. I never said anything of the sort and I have no idea how you get that out of what I wrote. Let me clarify....I don't think cake mixes are poison, nor do I think the use of them is criminal in any way. I don't think people who use cake mixes are bad people.

You work in a facility as a pastry chef....Dailey and I work for ourselves and sell made-to-order cakes directly to our customers. There's a difference there, in that we deal with customers face-to-face and therefore have to field many more questions about the product before we can sell it, as I'm sure you're aware. So my post was in response to Dailey, or to anyone reading who is in the same situation, to simply make the product you feel tastes the best and to stand behind it, whatever that product may be.

Hope that clarifies. Again, no ill will or disrespect intended to anyone.

:smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile:

#118 theabroma

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 12:14 PM

All too many years ago I read a marvelous article in the Sunday NYT Magazine, and the turn in this discussion has reminded me of it. The article gave serious thought, couched in light, well leavened language, with a smooth crumb, and delightful taste of when and how children should be taught the Ten Commandments.

The author (??) deftly pointed out that, while a child was able to know by example and to learn that hononring it's parents was commanded, that same child hadn't a clue one about all this adultery hoohah, so hammering into it that adultery should not be committed, opened the door for the parent to explain adultery and all pertaining to it! An excellent point, I thought.

If I may shift the topic a bit and make a pitiful paraphrase of that statement's thrust: most, effecftively nearly all, of the consumers of our cakes and pastries, are 'children' in the field of pastry. There are lots of products out there in out dry storages and walk ins, even those of rabid members of the Scratch Society, which are not 'natural.' And then there are the really woolly ones: the mixes, etc. To try and explain to the cake consumer that what they are looking for can only, or mostly, reliably come from a box or jar will not make a lot of sense. They hear 'BOX', think "I could have done this!" (no, they could not have either for lack of time or lack of skill in assembly and decoration, or lack of interest in entering the arena of competitive cake wrangling) while staring at your bill, and they might get in a bit of a snit.

To try and explain is practically useless, unless you open the door and have the 'box/no box' discussion when they first come across your doorsill to order the %^&* thing. I say this because I have been in these shoes a couple of times. Generally, if their questions are motivated by food allergy concerns, they will state it up front and directly: no xyz, it gives me hives, etc. It's the sneaky, flabby, "I'm on a mission, but am not going to tell you" type questions that put my feathers up a bit.

The way I see it, if you owe the "truth" to the client, it should be delivered in the presentation before the deal is inked. After that, if questions come from someone else, I don't feel bound to answer; they are not my clients.

I still consider those professional sponge formulas w/SweetEx, etc to be on par with mixes (I said I was a recovering scratch snob!). I only wish Colette Peters or Sylvia Weinstock, or one of their confrerie were in on this discussion ... I feel certain that they have tales to tell. The only one out there who just may have Totally Pure Hands is Rose Levy Beranbaum. And I, for one, admire them all.


Theabroma
Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

#119 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 24 November 2005 - 06:47 AM

I do work in a place where I'm rarely face to face with my customers. But I started helping my Mother who was baking out our home, using cake mixes........back in the 1960's. Later she opened a bakery, where she further continued to use a cake mix and always was upfront about it. I've had people ask me if we/I use a cake mix for the majority of my life. When I became a pastry chef I desided to learn all I could and not follow in my Mothers foot steps exactly. The reason I use a mix for white and yellow cakes has nothing to do with her or my past, I just wanted you to know that I've been asked the question about scratch or box most of my life. When I get down to the reasons why someone would ask that question........it has never has made real sense to me.

It's clearly not about health reasons. If so, they'd just ask "do you use __ because I'm allergic to it.". None of the people I've ever met who have food allergies have started their inquiry beginning with the question "Do you use mixes?". One has nothing to do with the other because you can't know/assume that every box mix has the exact same ingredient your allergic to.

The real "arugment/discussion" I believe comes down to making some sort of judgement when you ask a baker if it's from scratch or a box. I don't want to start on this sort of discussion path with a client. Instead I want to know why are they asking (so I can answer any real health concern questions)........that's what I meant when I wrote before that I'd side step the question. Ask me the real question you have on your mind. I don't advocate lieing on any topic and I also don't advocate people asking mean spirited questions. Just tell me why you want to know, and I'll tell you.

#120 K8memphis

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Posted 24 November 2005 - 07:10 AM

To illustrate my point about declaring whether you use mix versus scratch, there's an old story about a mob that rose up to kill a man. He was clever enough to shout out that he belonged to same union half of the mob belonged to. The two unions were rivals in real life. The mob broke in two and he slipped out with his life.

Likewise, in the great cake debate (and this being business, not pleasure baking) if you declare which way you go, you run the risk of loosing business, sullying the water and getting lo$t in the shuffle, because of the touchy emotional division even as evidenced in this thread.

Sometimes it works in your favor but hot button issues divide people and dividing your clients is not business savvy.

Your potential client may think they want scratch but their taste buds want mix and vice versa. You can't tell by looking at them or by listening to them. You just never know and you don't want to draw & quarter your clients if you are serious about your baking.

It's an age old controversy, a roll of the dice, Russian Roulette, not a legitimate inquiry. It's a, "Tag, you lose!"

Edited by K8memphis, 24 November 2005 - 04:40 PM.






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