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Jan 8, 2003 10:35 AM

Article about cake mixes in the New York Times

  • s

This article really infuriated me. Sometimes I feel like there's an ongoing plot afoot trying to convince people that really easy cooking tasks are incredibly difficult. The author keeps going on about the tyranny of sifting flour. I mean, yes it's true that sifting your dry ingredients can add extra lightness to a cake, but it's really not necessary to sift anything to make a basic cake that's 3 million times better than a cake mix cake. Not to mention the fact that the cake she raved about (banana cake) is probably one of the easiest, no fuss cakes for anyone to make from scratch. Is it just me who feels this way?


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  1. I completely agree! plus I would add that sifting flour is really not that difficult of a task. How lazy are people becoming?

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      Seattle Rose

      Sharon, I agree with you. The "prepared" foods industry has tried to convince us that cooking real food is just too difficult and time consuming for today's adult to deal with. Making a cake from scratch in reality takes little more time than a cake mix and is better and less expensive. Also no artificial flavors, preservatives, etc.


      9 Replies
      1. re: Seattle Rose
        AGM/Cape Cod

        The sad thing is that now a cake made from a mix is considered a homemade cake.

        1. re: AGM/Cape Cod

          Same with pies - people say a pie is homemade if they bought the crust at Safeway and then put filling in it. No way as far as I'm concerned.

          1. re: Celeste

            I'll let them off if the crust is store bought (it's a task I see people screw up many a time) BUT the filling has to be handmade. No opening of a can of pie filling and dumping that in. Do SOME work for goodness sakes.

            1. re: SisterT
              Ann Vuletich

              There's a huge difference between the frozen pie crusts (not very good) and the ones in the red box (Pillsbury, but there may be others as well) which are actually pretty good. Probably don't compare to home made, if you know how to do pie crusts well, but they're not bad.

              1. re: Ann Vuletich

                I agree with you about the Pillsbury refrigerated crusts. They are so much better than frozen, although I have frozen and thawed them with fairly good results. Glad to hear that someone else shsares my opinion. D.

                1. re: Donna - MI

                  I agree too! I cannot make pie crust - but I love pie, so the refrigerated ones work for me, with real homemade fillings.

                  1. re: Barbara

                    Thanks for agreeing! I can make pie crust - but have since passed the honor to my oldest daughter who makes it divinely from the recipe I gave her.

                    I absolutely make my own fillings and egg white meringue when called for. It's just the crust I hate to make anymore. At age 60, I have passed the torch - and the Dough Boy fills the bill. D.

                    1. re: Donna - MI

                      I use prepared pie crusts for savories (like quiches), but one quibble I have is that it's very difficult to find ones without lard, even Pillsbury. This is especially important when I make things for my vegetarian friends. I've been able to find ones with shortening at my local health food store but not at my supermarket.

                      1. re: Chorus Girl

                        I was surprised to read the label and learn that lard is an ingredient. Not an issue for me, as I grew up on lard pie crust, I just said, "no wonder it tastes so good."

                        My boss (previous to that time) always bought those for the restaurant she ran, and enjoyed them. She considered herself to be a vegetarian. Maybe she hadn't read the label.

      2. a
        Ann Vuletich

        I had the same thoughts. As I am just starting to become a bake a holic, it mystifies me how people could think that adding ingredients to a prepared mix is any easier than mixing the ingredients from scratch. I guess it is the power of the media as others have pointed out.

        1. Yoiks, that is irritating. I just walked my roommate, who is a mix-only baker, through a from-scratch brownie recipe last night. She was astonished at how easy it was (and how similar to using a mix), and how much more delicious the final product.

          1 Reply
          1. re: persynna

            With brownies, there's a big difference. Mixes only use as much chocolate (cheap cocoa actually) as will color the product brown. Scratch recipes start much higher and move up from there.

          2. And then she (the writer) was bummed that the first cake "tasted like a mix". I mean, DUH! it WAS made from a mix! Just because you baked it yourself doesn't mean it's not going to taste like the five thousand chemicals that went into the box. Also, if you're going to the trouble to mash the bananas and 'doctor" up your cake, why not just take the extra three minutes and put the baking powder into the flour yourself?