Signed, Confused in Cakeland #3

“Signed, Confused in Cakeland” is a regular feature where I answer the small but important questions. Or just the funny questions. Or whatever questions you might have, really, which may not need a full on blog post.

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Dear Michelle,

Until recently I was using really good quality European chocolate in all my cakes, but it’s really expensive. I did some experimenting and realised that I can use a different (but still good quality) product and it doesn’t make the cake taste any different but saves me a lot of money. I’m going to change my recipes. Do I need to tell my clients?


Confused in Cakeland

Dear Confused in Cakeland,

You only need to tell your clients if you have been using the expensive stuff as a specific, advertised selling point. Even then, I wouldn’t go making a big announcement about it. New clients won’t know, old clients probably won’t notice – but if you feel that’s being dishonest somehow you can always say to them, “I’m using a different brand of chocolate in my cakes now – I’d love to know what you think!” It shows you’re always striving to be better and that really you want their feedback – both of which you should ACTUALLY be doing anyway.

I think most consumers (unless they are mega foodies) aren’t all that fussed by brand names of raw ingredients as much as they care about the end product. A lot of people are quite happy as long as their product looks and tastes brilliant – they’re not bothered by the ‘behind the scenes’ bit of it. However, if you are using your “100% organic, European, imported, exclusively exclusive, made by small protege children, travelled by extinct ferret along the tops of the Andes, translated into 16 languages” chocolate and you talk it up as your point of difference…you should probably come clean if you’re not doing that anymore. There are ways about this though – don’t talk down the old ingredient, talk UP the new one.

…and in my opinion, expensive chocolate is wasted when baked into a cake. Save it for eating by itself or for using in ganaches and fillings where it can actually be tasted.

Yours in cocoa dusted love,


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