Your next major cake decision, and one that tortures many a would-be DIY cake maker, is what kind of cake to make. In a later post we’ll go through flavor and filling options but this one’s devoted to the boxed mix or scratch dilemma.
There are few debates as heated in the cake world as the use of boxed mix versus scratch cakes. While I am a strong advocate of the latter, I do want to give a fair look at both sides to help you discover which option is best for your needs.
Box Mix Pros:
- Convenient, pre-mixed packages mean little measuring and no guesswork with ingredients yielding a pretty consistent result from cake-to-cake.
- Packages can be purchased way ahead of time and stored until needed.
- Box mixes are inexpensive, especially when purchased on sale.
- Most people are very familiar with box mix flavors and have fond associations of those kinds of cakes (reminds them of childhood, for example).
Pros of Scratch Mixes:
- Unlimited flavor options. If you can dream it, there’s likely a perfect cake flavor waiting for you to discover it.
- You control the ingredients and can add to or modify recipes to suit your needs. Wheat allergies? Vegan? Organic ingredients only? Carrot cake without nuts? No trans fats? Diabetic options? No problem!
- Freshness. Made-from-scratch cakes don’t need chemical stabilizers or preservatives. (Take a look at the ingredients on a box mix cake.)
- Pride. There’s definitely a satisfaction that one gets from making something that takes creativity, patience and skill that can’t be experienced with shortcuts.
Many box cake devotees argue that box mixes are faster. Over at Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn, they proved that wrong. [Do check out their other article about scratch cakes as healthier than boxed mixes.]
As for cake mix being less expensive than scratch, you may be surprised at what we found in the DIY Bride Test Kitchen. That’s another post, though.
My best advice is for you to do a taste and bake test with scratch cakes and box cakes to find the ones that fit the taste, texture, and budget that you’re aiming for. (Check back for the DIY Bride Test Kitchen results.)
Remember: a wedding cake needs to taste great, no matter how clever or fancy it looks.