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Old 02-07-2008, 08:30 PM   #11
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I love the way boxed cake mix is. The texture is very fine and they have lots of flavor. I'm always trying to find a recipe for cake that tastes like boxed cake mix.
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:32 PM   #12
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What kind of flour are you using, all-purpose or cake flour?
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:56 PM   #13
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making a quick chocolate or yellow cake from scratch is no harder than mixing up a box, there's really no time saved with the stuff.
and, you know what exactly it is you're eating!
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:14 AM   #14
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I agree about the not saving time with boxed mix. I use all purpose flour. Some recipes i sift it many times and others i don't.
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:17 AM   #15
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You know i really think its my oven and not the ingredients. I will be getting a new one sometime in 2008. Do you think a new oven will be right on with the temperature? Also my oven doesn't brown anything on the bottom, not pizza, cookies, nothing. I have tried different pans, but it just won't do it.
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:56 AM   #16
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Ok, you probably want to use cake flour instead of all-purpose. All-purpose flour is a blend of soft- and hard-wheat. Hard wheat gives more gluten. Hard wheat is what Bread flour is ground from. The higher gluten content gives the dough more elasticity, and more strength to trap air bubbles as the dough rises. Cake flour has very little gluten, but since cakes use chemical leavening, not yeast, you don't want strong gluten in your cake batter.

Could you possibly be overmixing the batter once you add the flour. Once the flour is added, the longer you work it, the more the gluten develops. This is good for bread, but yields a tough cake.

Do you have an oven thermometer? I never trust what the dial says. I always keep an oven thermometer in the oven, and go by that. Most ovens I've had burn a little on the hot side, sometimes as much as 35 degrees F above the temperature on the dial.
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Old 02-08-2008, 03:35 PM   #17
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I have the money right now to buy an oven thermometer. Also i would like it not to have to buy cake flour when every one says that you can just sift, sift, sift.
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Old 02-10-2008, 05:45 PM   #18
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Go ahead and get the oven thermometer. In my professional opinion, everyone should have one anyway as part of their standard kitchen equipment.

Odds are, this is one of the reasons why commercial cake mixes are so popular, as the average cook doesn't have to worry about what kind of flour are they using, humidty/temperature/static on the day they bake, etc. Just add the milk/oil/egg called for, and the cake will turn out.

Personally, I don't use cake flour, myself. I rarely ever bake, and we have such a problem with weevils that that cake flour would be badly infested with them by the time I actually used it all. There's a few cakes that I make completely from scratch, and yes, they are a little denser than what I could get out of a box. I even have one recipe for a cake from scratch, that the original author made a comment that this cake is "the usual country-style cake, rich and very dense." This leads me to believe that a lot of the cakes made from-scratch in-home where nowhere near the soft texture that today's commercial boxed mixes can produce.

In the end, you'll have to make a decision. Pay the extra money for a different kind of flour, and see if that gives you the results you are looking for; or just accept what you can make.

In all fairness, while I don't bake that much, when I do bake, my kids, spouse, and MIL don't care about the texture, they like the flavor of my cakes.
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Old 02-10-2008, 09:53 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by stassie View Post
I'd love to know what they are! There sure is something that makes them different.

At the same time, I find box mixtures have this kind of 'bought' taste. Not sure how to describe it better than that... it's not bad or anything, just different.
add a little vanilla to box cake. even the chocolate ones. tastes home made.

very rarely do i make from scratch. why be surprised by results from scratch cake and cupcakes. when the mixs turn out the same , time after time.

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Old 02-10-2008, 10:49 PM   #20
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Um, did the original thread topic get lost? LOL. Scratch or boxed, if the tops are turning out hard or dry, I can think of two reasons: Not enough moisture, and the oven is no longer working properly.
If the oven is no longer working properly all the heat may rise to the top and overcook the top. Try lowering the rack further and using lard or shortening instead of butter.
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