• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
pam claughton

Do you use Boxed Cake Mixes?

231 posts in this topic

Scratch!! :biggrin: When I first encountered my love for baking, I used to use box mixes. Back then, there was no cake mix doctor. I remember making a banana bread....from scratch. It came out greatl and gave me the boost and confidence to try other scratch recipes. It wasnt easy. I cannot blame my failure soley on the recipes. Alot of them were messed up b/c I didnt know what I was doing!! :biggrin: Early on, I really didnt know what I was doing. As I learned more, it became easier.

I would often bake cakes (from a mix) and take them to functions. People would rave and say how great they were. Then, the compliments were always followed by "Did you bake that from scratch?" Well, I didnt know what to say. :shock: I didnt want to lie, knowing that I didnt deserve the credit -- Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines did. :blink: That was the final push that I needed!

Now, when someone says, "oh, that is good. Did you bake that from scratch?" I can proudly say yes! Some people cannot tell the difference between scratch and mix. And I know some people who prefer a mix cake. However, I personally prefer the taste of a good scratch cake. Oh, and as far as cost, cake mixes are expensive in my area.

Personally, I enjoy baking. I enjoy the challenges that comes with it. I love cake decorating, too. But, I am a baker first.


Edited by BROWNSUGA (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've written this before, but I'll add it again. I do use some cake mixes......for various reasons. Only white cake and yellow cake................I've yet to find perfect recipes for those two flavors that people like better then what I can get out of a mix. I only use those on wedding cakes, I make everything else from scratch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've written this before, but I'll add it again. I do use some cake mixes......for various reasons. Only white cake and yellow cake................I've yet to find perfect recipes for those two flavors that people like better then what I can get out of a mix. I only use those on wedding cakes, I make everything else from scratch.

I can understand that. Yellow and white have been a challenge in finding the "perfect recipe". I have read the thread on the "best white". How did the "best white" compare to the mixes that you use?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are some family recipies handed down from my grandmother who only used mix cakes that I would not attempt to duplicate from scratch. They are all made in a bundt pan and use apricot nectar, pudding, etc.

I made a rum cake this Christmas several times. Recipe was printed both ways...from scratch or using a mix and pudding mix. Without exception everyone prefered the "scratch" cake. The consistancy and taste were superior.

Next year I'll stick with the "scratch" version and just experiment with flavored rums.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is a myth, perpetuated by many including Alton Brown and armies of cake decorators, that mixes yield better cakes than from scratch.

Bullshit.

Just keep trying. Egg foams are not easy to pick up and occasionally you are going to have a dud, but keep at it.

Cake from a mix is better than my genoise?

Hell no!

Are you fucken kidding me?

I'd like to hear more about this. Does anyone know exactly what chemicals do exactly what to cakes that makes AB say that boxed is superior?

Is your objection to boxed mixes because they use inferior ingredients or because of the chemicals inside them or because from scratch is just inherently superior?

If KatieM put her home-made mixes in a box and sold them, would they still be inherently worse than from scratch? What if we got KatieM's mix and doctored it up with all those chemicals that AB claims makes cakes better?


PS: I am a guy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Last month I did a wedding cake for a woman who wanted Duncan Hines Golden Butter cake mix.  A Big.  Fancy.  Wedding.  It was what she grew up with and what she wanted for her wedding.  She searched high and low and could not find a single baker in NYC to make it for her. 

I did. 

And she LOVED it.  Her guests LOVED it.

That reminds me of a friend of mine who was having a big fancy wedding in Cincinnati (country club, the works), but she wanted her wedding cake to come from Kroeger's, because all her birthday cakes growing up were bought at Kroeger's. It was a sentimental thing.

Actually, it was a pretty cake (especially when considering the source), and it tasted like birthday cake and we had vanilla ice cream.


S. Cue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I make the majority of my cakes from scratch. But, recently I have tried 2-3 doctored cake mix recipes- one is a Strawberry cake and they are good. I'll use a cake mix for cupcakes unless I want chocolate cupcakes- then I just use my regular scratch chocolate cake recipe because it is soo easy and soo good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Karaoke of Pastry.........too funny!

I agree though.

You can taste a box from a mile way. Chocolate is hard to detect, but White/Yellow you can.

I'm all for scratch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe the answer really lies in whether or not you are a cake person or a frosting person. :hmmm: For instance, if a mediocre (not, bad -- but not great) cake has a spectacular frosting, then I'm likely to forget how mediocre the cake part was. Given that, I'm not as picky about whether a cake is scratch or box as some others might be. You'll never catch me scraping the frosting of a piece of cake or leaving it behind -- unless it was really nasty frosting. However, I could see myself eating the frosting off and leaving the cake behind.

I wish we could all get together for a big cake taste-off and see how many of use really could taste the box taste :biggrin:.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a cake mix if I need two dozen cupcakes for a preschool class, tomorrow. For family I make cakes from scratch. The texture of my homemade cakes is rarely as reliable as the box.

Even with a cake mix I always make my own frosting, because buttercream is easy and canned frosting tastes like shortening.


Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scratch, definitely, with one exception, and even then, one of these days, I will develop a more grown up version of the lemon jello cake my mom always made for me for my birthday that doesn't involve a box of lemon jello and a lemon cake mix.

I stopped making box cakes probably by the time I was 8 or so and ran out of the mixes from my Easy Bake Oven (their cakes were too small anyway). I loved poring through my mom's cookbooks for cake recipes (chocolate was a favorite). I did have a taste for the canned frosting, though, because I didn't like the extra work of melting squares of chocolate for the traditional American powdered sugar-based "buttercream."

I like cakes like genoise because you can control how sweet you make them by how much syrup (and how strong it is) you add. That and the versatility. Take a plain genoise, and you can transform it any number of ways depending on how you flavor the syrup and what you fill the cake with. Try that with a box mix.


"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

99% of the time I make cakes from scratch.

However I do keep a couple of boxes of pound cake mix on hand for baking something quick that is going to be used under fruit or custard or whatever, where the flavor of the cake is not so important as the stuff that will be soaking into it.

I use it for an applesauce/applebutter stack cake using very thin layers.

The point is that the flavor of the cake is completely overpowerd by the flavor of the "filling" so the pound cake mix is just fine and saves a considerable amount of time.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would often bake cakes (from a mix)  and take them to functions.  People would rave and say how great they were.  Then, the compliments were always followed by "Did you bake that from scratch?"    Well, I didnt know what to say. :shock: I didnt want to lie, knowing that I didnt deserve the credit -- Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines did.  :blink: 

Actually, nowadays in the era of Semi-Homemade cuisine, many people consider boxed mixes to be made "from scratch." :blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scratch. I have a Kitchenaid stand mixer, and it takes close to the same amount of time to get out the ingredients and mix them as it does to do the same with a package. I will add that I would much rather have cake made from a mix than canned frosting on anything, from scratch or not. That stuff is truly vile.


Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use cake mix all the time especially the lemon .....to make cookies from the Cake DR with poppy seeds I scam from the supermarket bakery.....

open stir plop bake ...lemon poppy cookies in 12.5 min :raz:


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only use scratch, I learned to bake from my granmother in England, I had never seen or used a box mix till I came to the states for the first time in the early eighties. Went through a period of using them for my job. I used to be a chef on private yachts and untill I started working on large power boats with "kitchens" not galleys there was no stand mixers therefore no scratch cakes.

That said I went out for dessart the other night to a coffee shop where people love the cake, my companions all raved about the choclate cake, it and the frosting both came from box and can, didnt do anything for me.

I just think that boxes are an aquired taste and to many people cake is the flavour of a boxed mix, its what you get from supermarket bakerys, and many small bakeries as well. (I wish criollo was located near me ) :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wow. i haven't realized this until now, but for years i've been avoiding eating box mix cakes.

in the back of my mind i would be wondering why i didn't like the fanciful creations made by local bakeries, why the birthday cakes catered at the office had no appeal, why someone bringing in cake or cupcakes or whatever didn't tempt me at all.

someone upthread mentioned the cloying taste of box mixes, and frequently the too-sweet taste. +never+ in my mind had i even thought about whether any of these cakes were from mixes or from scratch...i just know that they gave me no gustatory pleasure -- and that's saying a lot, since i really like baked goods.

when i was very young i baked from mixes all the time. then at some point, i discovered a chocolate cake recipie from "the joy of cooking" and without even realizing it, i was at a fork in the road (no pun intended). i haven't made a mix cake for years and years, but i don't even think about it. i have no from-scratch-snobbery. i just stopped making mix cakes because on a basic (and unconcious level) i thought they didn't taste good anymore (or, to flip this ironically...i didn't think +mixes+ were worth the effort anymore).

and i'm not going to say that i can tell a cake mix just by tasting it. i don't know if i can. just looking back at what i've been avoiding all these years...i think they've been mixes. (btw, mark me as one of those folks who does not care for buttercream icing; in general, i find most icings far too sweet.)

this thread has been un petite revelation.

cheers :)

hc


Edited by halloweencat (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never used a boxed cake mix, ever, except for the one for No Pudge Brownies (which I like, cos I can make one, single brownie if I have a craving).

I don't like boxed mixes. That weird sweet taste, the funny kind of noncrumb dissolve-in-the-mouth quality -- bleeeyuch. I tend to like a heartier, European kind of cake, and actually really enjoy my own foolings around with whole-grain cake baking.

And I loathe that horrid "buttercream" made of white shortening and sugar more than I can even describe. I do not get the appeal of that stuff, at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From scratch for me. I grew up on mixes and thought that making a cake from scratch was "too hard." Then my college roommate whipped up a sheet cake in the same time that it would take me to use a mix so I asked me to teach me and I've been doing it from scratch ever since. Plus, most mixes use partially-hydrogenated _______, something I work very hard to avoid; give me butter or give me death!


Thou Shalt Not Eat Food By DuPont. - Barb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I grew up on home made cakes, and lots of them were European in style--denser, finer crumb, ground nuts, etc. I've never really liked the taste or texture of cakes mixes; people have described the difference pretty well above. (and forget canned frostings). So it's not been something I've done. (I do think that people's taste can be affected if that's what they grew up with--i.e. to like the texture and certain *other* taste of cake mixes better).

I tend to make cakes with butter; not oil, so I'm not sure if some of what I associate with cakes mixes is the texture/flavor of using oil.

When and if I have kids maybe I could see it if as someone mentioned above I needed to whip up some cupcakes at the last minute, but probably I'd find a reliable recipe and perhaps even make up my own dry "mix" at home to have at hand. (I've done that with cornbread and it has worked out really well).

My mom did have one "doctored" cake mix recipe that she made alot and that I have continued to make--it was called "whiskey cake". Uses a plain yellow cake mix, vanilla pudding, whiskey, walnuts and butterscotch chips. It uses butter rather than oil. (It's a great long-lasting coffee cake, sturdy enough to bring along for a week at a cottage or the beach).


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When and if I have kids maybe I could see it if as someone mentioned above I needed to whip up some cupcakes at the last minute, but probably I'd find a reliable recipe and perhaps even make up my own dry "mix" at home to have at hand.  (I've done that with cornbread and it has worked out really well).

I have a basic cookie mix I make up in 10 quart batches, however it has to be kept refrigerated.

It does make it easier to scoop out the number of cups I require and add the "wet" ingredients.

I can put together a batch of cookie dough in a tenth of the time and can have them baking in the time that usually would be spent just gathering the ingredients.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cakes from scratch are all I make. I like watching people eat it when I take one someplace. They know it is different, and some are not sure if it is better or worse. My scratch layer cakes are lighter and have a more open crumb than box mixes. I think beating the egg whites and folding them into batter at the last makes a differnce, though I have read cake books that claim no benefit is derived by this method

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cakes from scratch are all I make.  I like watching people eat it when I take one someplace.  They know it is different, and some are not sure if it is better or worse.  My scratch layer cakes are lighter and have a more open crumb than box mixes.  I think beating the egg whites and folding them into batter at the last makes a differnce, though I have read cake books that claim no benefit is derived by this method

Guess it depends on what recipe, right? I have a scratch recipe that involves folding in beaten egg whites, and it's definitely one of my best scratch white cakes. I'm surprised a cake book would say it "makes no difference" whether you fold in whites, because adding egg whites to a batter (you'd think, right?) would make a cake lighter and airier. My best scratch cake recipes involve 3 things.

1) bringing all ingredients to room temperature (something I must plan ahead of time)

2) sifting, sifting sifting (something messy, which I don't enjoy, which leads to more cleaning)

3) and using beaten egg whites, which leads to more appliances and more cleaning

Doing those 3 steps gets me the results I'm looking for, but including those 3 things is NOT *as* or even close to as convenient as dumping a box of cake mix in a bowl and beating it up with oil, eggs and water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I tend to make cakes with butter; not oil, so I'm not sure if some of what I associate with cakes mixes is the texture/flavor of using oil.

There are several cake mixes now that call for butter instead of oil.


Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't bake a lot of cakes but when I do it's from scratch. I love the experience of making from scratch and I know what's in it. I'd lose out on the experience of it if I used a mix. The only exception is angel food cake. I can't be bothered breaking all those eggs and then trying to figure out what to do with all the left over yolks, so I use a box. (Not that I do that very often since I can only find angel food cake mix in the US and don't get back that often.)


A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness. – Elsa Schiaparelli, 1890-1973, Italian Designer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Similar Content

    • By Kasia
      Small stracciatella cheesecake with fruit.
       
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for a dessert which I prepared for the beginning of the holiday. The last school tests are behind us, the school reports received, the suitcases almost packed, so now it is time for a reward. My little stracciatella cheesecake isn't that healthy, but sometimes we can overlook one small culinary peccadillo. After all, it is supposed to be a reward. For sure it was light as air, fluffy and melted in the mouth. And the pieces of the dark chocolate were so nice and crunchy. Try it yourself and like me you will fall in love with this dessert.

      Ingredients (17cm cake tin)
      100g of oatcakes
      50g of butter
      250g of mascarpone cheese
      200g of 30% sweet cream
      100g of white chocolate
      100g of dark chocolate
      fruit for decoration

      Put the cookies in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin, and then put them into a small bowl and mix them with the melted butter. Cover a cake tin with the dough. Leave it in the fridge for an hour. Melt the white chocolate in a bain-marie and leave to cool down. Break the dark chocolate into small pieces. Whisk the cream and then add the mascarpone cheese. Add the white and dark chocolate and stir it gingerly and thoroughly. Put the mixture on the bottom with the oatcakes and leave in the fridge overnight. Decorate with your favourite fruit.

      Enjoy your meal!
       
       

    • By Kasia
      Cheesecake muffins
       
      Ingredients (6 muffins)
      1 lemon jelly
      10 big strawberries
      200g of vanilla fromage frais
      grated skin from half a lemon

      Dissolve the jelly in 250ml of hot water. Leave to cool down (not to set). Wash the strawberries, remove the shanks and blend them. Mix half of the jelly with the strawberries. Put it into the silicon pastry cases. Leave it to set in the fridge. Mix the rest of the jelly with the vanilla fromage frais. Put it on the strawberry jelly. Leave it to set in the fridge. Immerse the silicon pastry case in hot water for a while to get the dessert out of the dish.

      Enjoy your meal!

    • By MelissaH
      I was catching up on my blog reading, and hit a post about icebox cakes. I've only ever made one icebox cake in my life, and it was delicious, using the classic chocolate wafers and whipped cream but flavored with Red Bird peppermint puffs. (I got the recipe from an article about the company that makes the candy.) Anyway, while the blog post itself was interesting, the first comment (at least as I currently see it) caught my attention, because it described a Mexican icebox cake that looked very different to me because it didn't use whipped cream. The commenter called this icebox cake a carlota de limón, and described it as being made from maria cookies, lime juice, and sweetened condensed milk. I adore limes!
       
      So...I can find recipes on line, but has anyone made this cake before? Do you have a tried-and-true recipe that you'd be willing to share? Please?
       
      Thanks!
    • By Kasia
      As usual during the weekend I prepared a cake. This time it was a strawberry shortbread cake with blancmange and crumble topping. Everything fit together nicely. I think that this cake could be excellent with more sour fruit. Cherries, redcurrants or plums come to mind. I have to realize this idea.

      The idea for this cake comes from www.moniamieszaigotuje.blogspot.com.

      Ingredients:
      dough
      0.5 kg of flour
      1 teaspoon of baking powder
      200g of sugar
      200g of butter
      1 egg
      1 egg yolk
      3 tablespoons of cream
      blancmange
      2 packets of powdered blancmange
      0.75 ml of milk
      3 tablespoons of sugar
      additional ingredients
      strawberries

      Heat the oven up to 180 degrees C.
      Put the flour on a baking board, make a large dimple in the flour and put the other ingredients of the dough inside it. Chop it all up with a knife. When you have the consistency of crumble topping, you have to knead the dough quickly. Divide the dough into two parts – 2/3 and 1/3. Cover the pieces of the dough with plastic wrap and put them into the freezer. Prepare the thick blancmange. Stir the blancmange powder in 250ml of milk and the sugar. Cook the rest of the milk. Take the milk off the heat and pour the blancmange mixture into it. Boil for a while, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat. Clean the strawberries and remove the shanks. Cut the bigger strawberries in half. Grate the bigger part of the dough onto a baking sheet. Put the hot blancmange onto it. Arrange the strawberries on the blancmange and grate the rest of the dough onto the top. Bake for 50 minutes.

      Enjoy your meal!

    • By Kasia
       
      I prepared two versions: the first one with desiccated coconut and blueberries and the second with dark chocolate and strawberries. Choose your favorite dessert or go crazy and make your own version.

      Bright dessert

      Ingredients (for 2 people)
      200g of white chocolate
      100g of blueberries
      200ml of 30% sweet cream
      200ml of mascarpone cheese
      2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut

      Melt 150g of the white chocolate in a bain-marie. Draw six 8 cm circles on a sheet of baking paper. Put 2-3 tablespoons of chocolate on each of them and smear it around to cover the whole circle. Leave them at room temperature to congeal and then put them in the fridge for 2 hours. Melt the rest of the white chocolate in a bain-marie. Whisk the cream. Add the mascarpone cheese after whisking. Add the white chocolate and the desiccated coconut and stir thoroughly. Wash the blueberries and drain them. Put the first chocolate circles onto a plate, then a layer of the cream and a couple of blueberries and once again chocolate, cream and blueberries. Put the last chocolate circle on the top. 
      Decorate with the rest of the cream, fruit and peppermint leaves. Serve chilled.

      Dark dessert

      Ingredients (for 2 people)
      200g of dark chocolate
      1 tablespoon of cocoa
      a couple of strawberries
      200ml of 30% sweet cream
      200ml of mascarpone cheese

      Melt 150g of the dark chocolate in a bain-marie. Draw six 8cm circles on a sheet of baking paper. Put 2-3 tablespoons of chocolate on each of them and smear it around to cover the whole circle. Leave them at room temperature to congeal and then put them in the fridge for 2 hours. Melt the rest of the dark chocolate in a bain-marie. Whisk the cream. Add the mascarpone cheese after whisking. Add the dark chocolate and the cocoa and stir thoroughly. Wash the strawberries and remove the shanks. Leave 3-4 nice bits of fruit for decoration, and cut the rest into small pieces. Put the first chocolate circles on a plate, then a layer of the cream and a couple of strawberry pieces and then once again chocolate, cream and strawberries. Put the last chocolate circle on the top. Decorate with the rest of the cream, fruit and peppermint leaves. Serve chilled.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.