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Alton Brown reccommends box cake mix!

chiquiNO's picture

He was on last night .....but he did say to make frosting/icing from scratch!  He demonstrated buttercream and a ganache.  Glenys...maybe I need to send him the Sue B recipe??LOL

Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans

 

Ricks503's picture

(post #63945, reply #1 of 87)

In his blog on Top Chef, Tom Collichio says "Initially I was surprised to see boxes of the stuff, but frankly, it didn't trouble me. None of the chefs are bakers and white cake is white cake. A mix allowed them to turn out a decent product in a short amount of time. I wouldn't advocate this in other areas – say, substituting prepared food from a deli case for freshly made"

1 - measure the board twice, 2 - cut it once, 3 - measure the space where it is supposed to go        4 - get a new board and go back to step 1

 

 

" There'll be no living with her now" - Captain Jack Sparrow

Lee's picture

(post #63945, reply #2 of 87)

According to my former SIL who is in the business, lots of pros in the custom cake business use boxed mixes for simple yellow or white cakes.  They add premium flavorings, fillings and frostings, and no one is the wiser.  It's easy to detect a difference in a boxed mix for chocolate cakes, carrot cakes, and the like, are those are made from scratch.

dicus's picture

(post #63945, reply #3 of 87)

This is interesting. Why is it when somebody logs in and asks a boxed cake question there are all sorts of negative responses, but when Alton Brown says it, there is a more level-head discussion of the pros and cons?

AmyElliesMom's picture

(post #63945, reply #5 of 87)

Just because Alton says it okay, doesn't mean I'm going to make one. Now, if I was solely concentrating on decoration for some reason, then maybe.

But most of us here want all real food, all the time.

Frankly, I'm shocked that AB would do such a thing, and I wonder if he was compelled to by Food Network - I'm starting to wonder if certain companies aren't paying for subtle product placement.

 


"God is in the cosmic microwaves."

 

Save the Earth! It's the only planet with wine and chocolate.

MadMom's picture

(post #63945, reply #6 of 87)

I'm one of the few here who doesn't care for Alton Brown; he gives me hives just trying to watch him, so can't really comment.  I do think the question about why we are so offended by a "normal" person's use of a cake mix and so quick to accept what AB says is a good one.  Anyone care to answer that one?



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Marcia's picture

(post #63945, reply #37 of 87)

I don't much care for Alton, either. I can take him in very small doses, but that's all.


You should start watching Home and Garden TV which last night had a show called "I Want That" (kitchens). Isn't that awful? But there really was something I wanted....the most gorgeous glass (yes, glass) countertops. They were thick and many patterns were avaliable and the top and sides smooth. Very durable or so they said, and the price points are about the same as for high-end granite. Ah well, I'm always seeing things I can't afford and may learn some humility one day.


Anyway, to get back to the point, Alton can keep his cake mixes, but they are great for school bake sales.

Glenys's picture

(post #63945, reply #10 of 87)

Maybe like me, he doesn't see the redeeming value of white cake, so he's actually being subtly sarcastic.

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #63945, reply #12 of 87)

"Why is it when somebody logs in and asks a boxed cake question there are all sorts of negative responses, but when Alton Brown says it, there is a more level-head discussion of the pros and cons?"

It's because I haven't seen this thread yet! :-)

I don't care who advocates boxed cake mixes, they are still inferior to the real thing. I want my cake to taste like cake, not chemicals.

I do know that a lot of caterers, and most decorators I've encountered, use boxed mixes, but that doesn't make it right. It just means that their clientel don't know the difference, which is sad.

Chiqui, I am going to email Alton with the Sue B. cake recipe. I think that's a great idea.

Biscuit's picture

(post #63945, reply #13 of 87)

ITA.  I'm disappointed in AB - but then, I'm sick to death of FN in general, with the exception of Michael Chiarello and Barefoot Contessa.  I think FN is - generally speaking - appealing to the lowest common denominator of foodies; those that want good food, but don't actually want to invest the time and skill it takes to actually produce it.  Open a box!  Use a mix!  Nuke it in the microwave!  Let's all make it so easy that no one actually has to learn to cook!


I just about killed the TV a couple of weeks ago when someone - can't remember who - opened a bag of salad mix - you know, that pre-washed, pre-picked over (in theory), pre-mixed salad green bags??? - poured it into a salad bowl (without washing or checking it), tossed in some cherry tomatoes  and then said, "There, wasn't that the easiest salad you've ever made?" all proud-like.  As if it is so much work to wash some greens, dry them, and throw them and a few other things into a bowl!  And those bag-o-salads cost a small fortune!  Ridiculous. 


Ooops - starting to rant.  Sorry.  Done now.


"I wouldn't shop at Walmart.com if they were the last online retailer on earth and they shipped everything using chocolate chips as packing material. "  - Miss Alli of TWoP

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

Gretchen's picture

(post #63945, reply #14 of 87)

Alton Brown is a hopeless twit and I'm not surprised he uses box cake mix. As others said, doesn't mean it's "right", if you want real quality.

Gretchen

Gretchen
dicus's picture

(post #63945, reply #24 of 87)

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #63945, reply #30 of 87)

Edited because the confusion is cleared up.


Edited 5/4/2006 9:53 pm by CookiM0nster

RuthWells's picture

(post #63945, reply #33 of 87)

Could be that Dicus misinterpreted your comment (as I did initially) that you "hadn't seen this thread yet" to mean that you hadn't seen the earlier thread (which you obviously did, as you participated in it...).  I was reading quickly today and initially thought that you were saying that you hadn't seen the EARLIER thread on box mixes, and I assume that Dicus made the same error.


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

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CookiM0nster's picture

(post #63945, reply #34 of 87)

Ahh, thanks Ruth. That does make sense, and is a much nicer interpretation than the only one I could come up with. I hope that's it.

Of course, by "this thread" I meant "this one I'm posting in now, the one about Alton Brown and cake mix."

dicus's picture

(post #63945, reply #35 of 87)

Oh sorry. My fault. I thought you hadn't seen the other other post in your reference to not having seen THIS thread yet. My bad.

I do like cakes from scratch and Many people I make them for can tell the difference. At my Neice's first birthday I made all the cakes and one Vietnamese girl invited me to make cakes for her wedding in Vietnam. I don't think I could have gotten that reaction out of boxed cake mixes. But if it isn't such a special occation, then why bother. Most people will eat it and think its good. They won't think its fantastic, or orgasmically good, but good. That's the difference here. it's all about time and effort. If you are baking a cake for the PTA meeting or to take to work, why not use a box mix? It is still good, just not as good.

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #63945, reply #36 of 87)

Phew.
I feel much better now. Thanks for clearing that up, and sorry for misinterpreting your response. Obviously I missed the ambiguity in my post.

chiquiNO's picture

(post #63945, reply #27 of 87)

Please do send him the recipe!!  He could certainly use it.

Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans

 

Jean's picture

(post #63945, reply #40 of 87)

While you're at it, send Chiqui's ice water white cake recipe too.



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CookiM0nster's picture

(post #63945, reply #41 of 87)

Good idea.
I couldn't find an address for him, only the Good Eats production team, so I sent a note to them yesterday about the chocolate cake. If I hear back from them I'm sending them straight to Chiqui.

Ricks503's picture

(post #63945, reply #47 of 87)

He took his email address off a couple of years ago, after he got some nasty, psycho emails.  He hated to do it, but felt his sanity called for it.

1 - measure the board twice, 2 - cut it once, 3 - measure the space where it is supposed to go        4 - get a new board and go back to step 1

 

 

" There'll be no living with her now" - Captain Jack Sparrow

MadMom's picture

(post #63945, reply #4 of 87)

Just a question, but we all know you can easily make up a "mix" to use at home by combining the various dry ingredients you'll be using.  Then when it is time to bake, you add the liquid stuff.  Perhaps the mixes used by the pros might have less chemical preservatives than the junk available to the average housewife?


When I used to bake lots of bread, before I started on my quest to lose half a Sally, I would make up lots of "nine-grain bread" mixes.  Since part of the time was spent getting out the numerous ingredients and measuring them, it took very little more time to measure out enough for several batches and put them into zip lock bags for later use. 




Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!
Glenys's picture

(post #63945, reply #8 of 87)

No, just as much crap.

Lee's picture

(post #63945, reply #15 of 87)

He was referring to the same kind of mixes available in any supermarket.  In fact, I'm pretty sure he said most of them use Pillsbury.  I'd like to  think I could tell the difference since I make cakes from scratch, but it would be an interesting taste test for those of us who wouldn't be caught dead using a boxed mix, wouldn't it?


Just remembered something else he said:  A lot of them use shortening (I think he also said lard, but I'm not sure) in their "buttercream" frosting, since you can't get a pure white buttercream using real butter.  No wonder wedding cakes are frequently awful!


Edited 5/4/2006 1:48 pm ET by lee

Adele's picture

(post #63945, reply #16 of 87)

Someone from here has made a couple from a box, don't remember exactly who.  Perhaps they will chime in.  Or maybe that was brownies from a box.


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

Biscuit's picture

(post #63945, reply #17 of 87)

Me.  I did it, as a test.  Found an article about "jazzing up" boxed cake mixes so that you couldn't tell they were from a box.  I experimented.  Made 3 different boxed "jazzed up" cakes, and their counterparts made from scratch. 


Result:  I could tell.  Even DH could tell, in a blind taste test.  I did NOT like the boxed version. 


 


"I wouldn't shop at Walmart.com if they were the last online retailer on earth and they shipped everything using chocolate chips as packing material. "  - Miss Alli of TWoP

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

mer's picture

(post #63945, reply #18 of 87)

I dont' like boxed mixes either.  I can tell by look, touch, the crumb and certainly the smell and taste. 

Biscuit's picture

(post #63945, reply #19 of 87)

He's right.  You can't get pure white frosting using butter, so many pro's use something called "Hi-Ratio Shortening" as all or part of the fat in their buttercream.  Frankly, I was turned off of it the first time I used it at school and then tried to get it off my hands - it was so sticky and so greasy it took me many washings with HOT water and soap to get all the residue off.  Nasty, nasty, nasty.  All I could think was - if it coats my hands like this, what is it doing to my insides????  Bleh.

"I wouldn't shop at Walmart.com if they were the last online retailer on earth and they shipped everything using chocolate chips as packing material. "  - Miss Alli of TWoP

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

evelyn's picture

(post #63945, reply #67 of 87)

I guess I'm not fussy with colour. Who wants pure white frosting anyway when you can have a gorgeous, pale, yellow frosting made with 100% real butter that makes you swoon with every forkful? (and the longer you beat the butter and sugar, the paler it becomes, although it will never come close to being white)

 

In life, learn the rules so that you know how to break them properly.
Biscuit's picture

(post #63945, reply #68 of 87)

That's certainly my philosophy, too! (G)  I love Swiss buttercream.  You can't tell its not "pure" white unless you put something really white up next to it.

"I wouldn't shop at Walmart.com if they were the last online retailer on earth and they shipped everything using chocolate chips as packing material. "  - Miss Alli of TWoP

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

Regality's picture

(post #63945, reply #69 of 87)

I happened to be at an event last weekend where chocolate cupcakes from a boxed mix were served and they reminded me of what Gertrude Stein said about Oakland, CA:  there is no "there" there.

 


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