Boxed Cake Mix Better Than From Scratch ???

In article , snipped-for-privacy@sonic.net says...
The flaw in his argument is that he only tested box mixes against other box mixes. He may well have identified which box cake is the least awful, but he hasn't proved it was better than made-from-scratch because no such comparison was made.
I don't have any problem weighing ingredients exactly.
Janet
Reply to
Janet
This web site makes the bold claim that most home bakers
cannot make a cake from scratch better than from a boxed
cake mix.
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reasons are that the ingredients are better measured,and they use ingredients that you can't get.
He also says that making certain changes to the recipe
on the box results in even better cakes. He cites a
book, _The_Cake_Mix_Doctor_, which agrees with him and
describes some of these methods.
Most of his page describes the experiments he did to
verify the tips in that book, and to compare all of the
boxed cake mixes he could get his hands on. Most of
the tips didn't pan out, but the modifications he
developed worked very well.
I think this will come as a surprise to many bakers,
that making a cake from a box mix gives a better result
than most bakers can achieve from scratch with butter, etc.
Reply to
Mark Thorson
"MOST" bakers may be the key point. MOST people are lousy cooks in general. That doesn't mean that a good cook cannot prepare a dish that outshines something produced in a mediocre restaurant or a boxed mix. If people bake cakes from scratch using lousy technique, ingredients, recipes, and equipment, then indeed a box might be better, because it has been contstructed to be more or less idiot-proof.
I can assure you that I can bake a cake that is better than boxed mixes. I use cake flour and superfine sugar, I use real butter, and I use the excellent recipes and techniques found in The Cake Bible and some Maida Heatter books. I measure precisely. I use good cake pans and magicake strips. I am careful to remove the cake from the over when it is just done rather than letting it sit for another 5 minutes to dry out. And so forth.
Reply to
Janet
I've found MOST people to be good cooks in general, but I'm older so probably a lot more from scratch cooks around me.
Cheri
Reply to
Cheri
On Sun, 13 Mar 2011 12:00:19 -0800, Mark Thorson wrote:
As a market researcher of 35 years' experience, I say hooey to the broad conclusions.
The major flaw is that most folks were raised on mix cakes - doctored or otherwise - and that sort of taste and texture is what gets established as the gold standard in the mind of these beholders. Same reason that McD's usually wins in French fry contests.
Boron
Reply to
Boron Elgar
My favorite cake does indeed come in a box but it's a frozen Pepperidge Farms coconut three-layer cake. It's tasty and delicate and the right size - small. My mom used to buy frozen cakes back in the old days but it never occurred to me do such a quaint thing. I don't know what the hell they put in those cakes but I'm pretty much hooked. The lemon cake is good too. :-)
Reply to
dsi1
On Sun, 13 Mar 2011 12:00:19 -0800 in rec.food.cooking, Mark Thorson wrote,
It's not that people can't get cake flour, but why bother when they already have "all purpose"?
Reply to
David Harmon
On Sun, 13 Mar 2011 12:00:19 -0800 in rec.food.cooking, Mark Thorson wrote,
It's not that people can't get cake flour, but why bother when they already have "all purpose"? Janet replies to David: All purpose will make a far coarser cake than cake flour. If you want a fine cake, use cake flour. If you want to make carrot cake, or applesauce or zucchini, go ahead and use all purpose. Those cakes were never meant to have a fine texture. Janet
Reply to
Janet Bostwick
ISTR, that one can replace 2 Tbsps per cup of flour with cornstarch to approximate cake flour?
Reply to
Jean B.
I've used cake flour but didn't like the results. You get a finer texture which I think is proper for a pound cake but not good for a regular cake. I stopped using cake flour decades ago.
Reply to
dsi1
Maybe they used lousy recipes for the from scratch cakes. The best from scratch cake is going to be loads better than a comparable cake from a mix.
Reply to
djs0302
I have read that in many places. So back when I used to bake cakes, the only one I ever made from scratch was chocolate tweed because there was no such mix. But now that I think about it, I'll bet if I were to add grated chocolate to a yellow cake mix, it would taste the same.
Reply to
Julie Bove
Most people here do not cook! Or not what I would call cooking. Yes, they can buy some kind of Hormel precooked meat in sauce or gravy and then cook some pasta or potatoes or rice to go with it. And that's as close to cooking as they'll ever get.
Reply to
Julie Bove
I actually know quite a few people who say they prefer the type of bakery icing that has Crisco in it. Blech!
Reply to
Julie Bove
I used to buy the chocolate layer cakes. I too liked them for their small size. I don't eat cake but I would take them to work for parties and things. We didn't have a lot of people in our office. If I were to bake a cake, it would be too much.
Reply to
Julie Bove
Because they're not the same! Yes, you can use all purpose flour in some cakes. But if the recipe calls for cake flour then that is what you need. It won't work to substitute the other.
Reply to
Julie Bove
Who can't get the ingredients for cake?
Mark, I've always thought you were a bit paranoid. I have some perfectly good cake recipes handed down from my aunt that are absolutely delicious. They bake up wonderfully. The problem is, some people don't care about baking cakes. Cupcakes, maybe ;)
Reply to
jmcquown
My mother usually made cakes from scratch, except for chocolate. She figured that she would have had to pay extra for chocolate to flavour the cake, so chocolate cake mixes were a bargain.
Reply to
Dave Smith
How about precooked hamburger patties? Quoting from one of your posts today:
"That's what happened to me with hamburger patties. I kept buying these boxes of precooked ones at Costco. 12 patties to a box ... When I cleaned it [the freezer] out I gathered them all up and there were enough patties to fill three boxes!"
Felice
Reply to
Felice

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