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Butter Cake = fail

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Ugghhh, help please So my butetr cake came out with an edge that you could seriously hurt someone with. The taste is fantastic but I would have to saw off a half inch all around the cake. It was baked at 350 for about 68 minutes in a shiny 9" springform pan. I don't know what I did wrong, all measuremnts were exact I think. Dry and milk were added alternately to creamed mix stirred in by hand. The batter was quite thick now that I think back, could that be part of the problem? I need to get this cake recipe sorted out and quick! Any help would be appreciated.
post #2 of 40
Señor Partagas,
Please post your recipe and techniques,
That way we all could better assist you

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

Reply
post #3 of 40
Thread Starter 
Sorry yes I should have done that. I used the standard Wilton recipe : Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar 5 eggs 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Easy-Add pure vanilla extract Add to shopping list pure vanilla extract 3/4 teaspoon No Color Almond Extract Easy-Add No Color Almond Extract Add to shopping list No Color Almond Extract 3 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup milk Makes: About 7 1/2 cups cake batter. Instructions: Step 1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray pans with vegetable pan spray, (I rubbed with butter) or use Cake Release. Step 2 In mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and almond flavor. Mix flour with baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, starting with the flour; mix well. (I did this mixing by hand) Pour into prepared pans. Step 3 Refer to baking chart, for baking times and temperatures for specific pans. Step 4 Cool 10 minutes in pan. Loosen sides and remove. Cool completely before decorating. Sorry I should also mentioned I halved this recipe as it was a trial cake. Every measurement was exactly half except the eggs. I used 2 instead of 2.5
post #4 of 40

SenorPartagas,

 

You will find a no-fail recipe in this thread that I posted awhile back if you would like to try it.

 

cakes dont rise

 

As for your recipe, 68 minutes is a Long time for a cake to bake. I think that is your problem.

 

Petals.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #5 of 40
Thread Starter 
Petals thanks for your reply. I agree 68 minutes seems long but I was testing it every 10 minutes and it was still sticky in the centre up until the 68 minute mark. I will def check out your no fail link :)
post #6 of 40

I would start testing the cake only after the time limit was up on the cake.

By opening the door that many times, the oven temp must readjust to 350 everytime. No steady heat for your cake to bake and rise.

 

If you get a chance to try that recipe let me know, I have never had a problem with it ....yet.

 

Petals.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #7 of 40

It sounds to me that three possible problems could be happening:

1. Your oven might be running hot. Use an oven thermometer to test the accuracy of your thermostat. 

2. You may have used too much flour due to measuring by volume. Do not scoop flour-that compacts it and adds more into the mix than you really need. You should sift the flour into the measuring cup, then level off by scraping the excess off with a knife

3. Using fewer eggs than the recipe called for. One large egg is about 1/4 cup. Removing 2 tablespoons of texturizing, lifting liquid from a small quantity of batter can make a huge difference in the end result. 

 

One other thing-

Using unbleached all purpose flour will make for a drier, denser cake as the flour grains are more round, uniform and absorb more liquid. Try bleached AP flour for more tender cakes. The bleaching process roughs up the surface of the grains leading to a softer, finer crumb.

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply
post #8 of 40
Thread Starter 
This is all great info, thanks: Petals: I started testing the cake after the inition 30 minutes, should have mentioned :) Food: I will check my oven, it could be off. Good info on the flour, I never even considered it really. I think it is unbleached AP. What about cake flour?
post #9 of 40

Another question for you SeñorPartagas: are you pour the entire batch of batter into that one, and I mean to say singular, 9 inch spring form pan? 

That sounds like alot of batter for one pan, no?  Was there a reason as to not using multiple, standard 9 inch cake pans? 

I am no baker by any stretch, but you got me thinking.

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

Reply

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

Reply
post #10 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohegirlinaz View Post

Another question for you SeñorPartagas: are you pour the entire batch of batter into that one, and I mean to say singular, 9 inch spring form pan? 

That sounds like alot of batter for one pan, no?  Was there a reason as to not using multiple, standard 9 inch cake pans? 

I am no baker by any stretch, but you got me thinking.

Yes it was all in one pan but the recipe I posted is for a full batch.....I only made a half batch

post #11 of 40

let me ask you another question than:the recipe you were following,

did it say to pour the entire batch of batter into one 9 inch spring form pan? 

That's not normally how a cake goes ... just wondering? 

The recipes that I have call for 2-3 nine inch cake pans

and then my next thought in regards to your comment on how your cake came out

with an edge that you could seriously hurt someone with ".

Again, I do not claim to be a baker, but how much butter did you use to prep the pan with?

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

Reply

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

Reply
post #12 of 40
Thread Starter 

The recipe said to put in pans as per Wilton chart, didnt seem like too much batter for a 9" pan but it may very well have been. As the pan wasn't "non-stick" I did use butter liberally.

 

Today I bought some thermal bands to wrap around the pan and help dissipate heat.

post #13 of 40

I think it sounds good. I like "edgy" cake. 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #14 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

I think it sounds good. I like "edgy" cake. 

Yikes ice-man, I do too but not for a wedding cake. Its REALLY crusty, also as I decided today after a good cooling it is just a little too dense for my liking

post #15 of 40

Using butter instead of shortening or the baking spray can make the sides brown a bit too much, too, especially for a cake that is in the oven for that long. Butter browns more than shortening or baking spray.

post #16 of 40
  • I think that since you halved a recipe for two 9 inch pans, using one 9-inch pan should be perfectly fine
  • If it's a standard recipe that lots of people use and have success with (i presume wilton would have every interest in making such a recipe so they can sell their products) then i think the small variations of ways of measuring flour and size of eggs is completely irrelevant.  I have 40 years of home baking experience and i can say that this small variation in quantities is not relevant, unless you have a particular kind of recipe, one not tested very well, one that you find on internet, randomly, one that says that it's particularly delicate
  • the thing that does make for crispiness is sugar, and if there is a lot of sugar in the recipe you may have to be careful, but as i say, a good recipe would not have too much sugar. 
  • I always use butter to grease my pan and i never have any strong browning - i would notice because i don;t like my cakes to brown too much around the edge and anyway, brown edges are not hard edges.
  • i've cooked things at friends' houses where they have a fan oven.  I notice everything comes out dry in these ovens, though i would think the fan would affect the top surface rather than the sides that are protected by the metal.  But this might change the cooking time and the temperature required.  I have too little experience with these to know.
  • finally, i think the real culprit comes from the baking.  You may not have preheated your oven long enough, your oven may not hold its temperature well enough, you may have opened the door too often, but that seems unlikely because at 30 minutes at most you'd need another 10 to cook it inside and opening it once should not affect it that much unless you leave it open while you look for a stick to test it with etc).  Dry (hard) crust comes from too long baking at a low temperature, and the low temperature would prevent the kind of rising you would want and would keep the inside more damp.  Preheat your oven well, if it;s electric it may be even slower than mine is, but at least ten minutes for sure, with the oven door closed.  A too high temperature would cook it to a crisp all the way through in 60 minutes, so that is not the problem.  But a too low temperature (below 350F) would make it not get cooked inside while it dries out the outside
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #17 of 40

Lots of great info above.

I do have one thing to add.

7.5 cups of batter seems a lot for a single 9in layer.

Get thyself to a supply house (or borrow!) the pans you will need for the final product!

Another tip.... check for done with a wooden skewer or toothpick in the middle of cake layer at the lower time of recipe. (most recipe times have a range)

You are looking for some dense crumbs, not wet batter.

You can pull your cake and the carry over will finish the bake while maintaining a moist interior.

Get the layers out of the pans and onto a cooling rack ASAP (10 min is my usual) to ensure the carry over heat does not get too carried away, lol.

I have made this recipe without problems, recommend you scoop the flour into measuring cup with a big spoon (scooping from the canister is a major baking faux pas) and then level with the back of a knife.

We are watching you, senor :)

 

OBTW... if you have not opened those pan thermals, take them back. If you follow good baking habits you will not need crutches!

post #18 of 40
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the great info everyone, this is the most informative forum I have ever belonged to. I will be trying the "no-fail" recipe today and see how that works out. Trying to borrow pans as well. The local place wants $5 per pan per day to rent them....ridiculous. I would rather just buy them at that price. Also today going to be making some gum paste to start experimenting with decorations, made some buttercream last night and will also be practicing at roses.

 

One thing I didnt mention that may very well have been part of my previous cake problems is that I have a pizza stone in the oven. Could that have made a difference? I will pull it out today maybe. 

post #19 of 40
Thread Starter 

well the "no-fail" recipe is in the oven. The batter looked perfect! Much lighter than the previous one I had tried. I did 2 small 4" tester cakes and put  leftover batter into an 8" tin. The tester cakes will be split and filled (one with lemon curd, one with buttercream) and sent over the the B&G for approval. so far so good, these look wonderful.

post #20 of 40
Quote:
If it's a standard recipe that lots of people use and have success with (i presume wilton would have every interest in making such a recipe so they can sell their products) then i think the small variations of ways of measuring flour and size of eggs is completely irrelevant.  I have 40 years of home baking experience and i can say that this small variation in quantities is not relevant

 

This statement is patently false.

Read the recipe and Senor's post carefully. The fact that he halved it, AND that the batter was too thick would lead anyone with professional and seasoned baking experience to question how the flour is measured. With 40 years of professional pastry baking, recipe development/testing and food styling experience I can assuredly tell you that the difference in weight of 1 1/2 cups of scooped flour compared to 1 1/2 cups of sifted flour is probably about 2-3 ounces. That would make a huge difference in the thickness of the batter, the texture of the cake, the sufficiency of 3/8  teaspoon of baking powder to leaven it, and the time it would take to bake it until the center is done. In addition, decreasing the egg volume by 2 tablespoons (or 1 ounce) would have an impact too.

 

The first thing any experienced pro learns about baking cakes is to sift the flour before measuring it and to measure accurately. Small changes to a recipe have big impacts on the end result. 

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Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #21 of 40

Good luck amigo.     I still like the "edgy and dense"  idea myself though. 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #22 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by petalsandcoco View Post

I would start testing the cake only after the time limit was up on the cake.

By opening the door that many times, the oven temp must readjust to 350 everytime. No steady heat for your cake to bake and rise.

 

If you get a chance to try that recipe let me know, I have never had a problem with it ....yet.

 

Petals.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by petalsandcoco View Post

SenorPartagas,

 

You will find a no-fail recipe in this thread that I posted awhile back if you would like to try it.

 

cakes dont rise

 

As for your recipe, 68 minutes is a Long time for a cake to bake. I think that is your problem.

 

Petals.

Petals thank you! The recipe works like a charm! The cakes not overly sweet, it's light and airy with a great outside texture. It is exactly what I was looking for.

post #23 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodnfoto View Post

 

This statement is patently false.

Read the recipe and Senor's post carefully. The fact that he halved it, AND that the batter was too thick would lead anyone with professional and seasoned baking experience to question how the flour is measured. With 40 years of professional pastry baking, recipe development/testing and food styling experience I can assuredly tell you that the difference in weight of 1 1/2 cups of scooped flour compared to 1 1/2 cups of sifted flour is probably about 2-3 ounces. That would make a huge difference in the thickness of the batter, the texture of the cake, the sufficiency of 3/8  teaspoon of baking powder to leaven it, and the time it would take to bake it until the center is done. In addition, decreasing the egg volume by 2 tablespoons (or 1 ounce) would have an impact too.

 

The first thing any experienced pro learns about baking cakes is to sift the flour before measuring it and to measure accurately. Small changes to a recipe have big impacts on the end result. 


I think I've said this many times, that professional baking and home baking are two different arts.  Home baking deals with one 9 inch layer, or maybe two, while a professional bakery is dealing with many layers at once, dozens? scores? maybe more?  If you take the few grams of difference between a scooped cup and a poured cup and a sifted cup, you'll get huge differences in large baking, while you won't get any significant difference in a home cake.  I say it again.  I can say it with confidence because i have never sifted and measured in such a careful way.  I use a regular measuring cup and pour the flour in, and i even shake it lightly to level it.  I lost all my nesting measuring cups, haven;t used them in over 20 years.  And the only cakes that don;t come out are those that came from an inferior recipe.  The others come out all the time. 

 

I've been almost eyeballing cake recipes for years, because of the difference between american flour (called for in my recipes) and italian flour (which i have to use) and american butter (more water content) and european butter (less water content).  I have to adjust the recipes to make them come out, adding a couple of spoons of flour, decreasing a couple of tbsp of butter.  I have no ratio, i can't do math easily, and those little differences from one time to the other make no visible difference.  Recently i discovered that for the previous 30 years i had been happily using a conversion formula for cups to grams of butter that was wrong.  My cakes still rose and they didn;t have a thick crust. 

 

Some recipes give a watery batter and some a thick batter.  This often depends on other factors besides flour, like the coldness of the butter, the coldness of the milk, the amount of beating and other factors that work before the flour is even added.  I never used a walton recipe so i can;t say, but i;ve used many well-tested recipes.  Perhaps the walton recipe is lousy, that's possible, but it seems they would have every interest in giving a tested recipe. 

 

It seems patently false to ME that the small difference in quantity of flour that comes from weighing, scooping, sifting, etc, would 1. prevent the cake from cooking inside- if anything it would be an excess of liquid (or maybe sugar) that might do that, and 2. make a very hard crust.

 

The crust is from the temperature and cooking time.  I cooked for many years with a broken oven that was only on or off, with no thermostat, and would have to keep the door ajar to keep it from getting too hot.  When it was too ajar, it would produce an underbaked inside, and to bake the inside the outside crust would dry up.  I had to adjust the opening of the door with time and experience to find the right amount, and shove a ball of aluminum foil of a specific size in the oven door

 

The precise measurement stuff is important in a professional bakery.  If you never measured by eye, roughly, at home, you can't say that it doesn;t work.  And i think to scare people about how precise baking is discourages many people from trying to bake from scratch.  You have to be careful, you do have to measure, but not to that extent, except, perhaps, for a couple of very specific and delicate recipes.  I find the mistakes people make are more from the mechanics: bad technique, not following the procedure correctly, wrong pan size and oven temperature. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #24 of 40

Siduri you are soooooooooo right.  As a former benchmen for several bakeries in my career I couldn't have said it any better.

After all these years I find I am able to feel the dough with the spatula or my hand and know when it needs more liquid or more flour to compensate.

Baking at home allows so much more lee way and a confident home baker can develop the same sense for the feel of doughs.

It just takes repetition and patience.

post #25 of 40

Thanks ChefRoss,

your comment means a lot to me. 

 

One doubt, food n photo - if you worked in a professional bakery, i imagine you used weight, not volume.  When you weigh flour, the quantity doesn;t change even a gram if you sift it or not, because it always weighs the same.  Do some professional bakeries actually use volume measures (cups) for measuring flour??

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #26 of 40

I've worked both in professional food service operations, measuring by weight as pounds and ounces, metric and volume and as a home cook. I work now as a paid freelance recipe developer and tester for food magazines and cookbook publishers and am quite aware of the difference between the home environment and a food service kitchen. Almost all the recipes I develop or test are targeted for the home cook.

 

Most home bakers do not do enough baking on a regular basis to "eye"-measure a recipe an end up with a successful result. 

 

Your assertions may be true for you, but having tested umpteen different ways of measuring flour by volume, I stand by my statement the the accepted standard method for measuring flour by volume when baking is to sift the flour into a measuring cup then scrape the rest off with knife or straight edge. I've tested it myself along with colleague and food scientist Shirley Corriher  who wrote BakeWise and CookWise. One will end up with quite a wide variance of weight when measuring only 1 cup-up to 2 ounces one way or the other. 

 

In addition, if you compare the recipe suggested by Petals, you'll notice that it uses 2 teaspoons of baking powder to leaven 1 3/4 cup sifted flour. Senor, after cutting his recipe in half, used less than half a teaspoon for the same amount of flour. That just wont work, leading to an uncooked center (because there are no leavened air bubbles in the batter) while the outer edge continues to dry into a hard crust. 

 

Susie Homemaker may be able to adjust cake recipes by eye and come up with an acceptable cake, but then have no idea why upon occasion it will fail. If someone is asking for advice on how to approach a recipe with the aim of making something wonderful, why not offer some useful advice based on tested and accepted standard procedures?

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply
post #27 of 40
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the valuable input. I will agree that while I consider myself an accomplished cook I do very little baking (less than a few times a year) and the input of professionals such as yourself is a huge help!

post #28 of 40

Foodnfoto,

 

Suzie homemaker?????

Really?

You are calling ME suzie homemaker?   

You have no idea just how funny that is. 

 

I guess insults are one way to argue a point.  And mentioning familiarity and friendship with famous experts is another kind of way to argue a point. Not much of a fan of  either arguments ad hominem or appeals to authority. 

 

Anyway, you are quite correct in saying that  measuring by scooping or spooning or sifting gives a different quantity of flour each time,

But that does NOT mean that  these very small differences (if done with the minimum of care) will make a difference in most cakes unless you've actually tried doing it the "wrong way" - which i presume, in your wisdom, you never have tried to do..  Flour is not all the same, and eggs are not all the same and butter is not all the same to begin with.  These are all natural substances and they vary very much.  Flour grown in a dry or cold or hot or wet year will be different.  Why don't you  take those differences into account too, like you do with the measures?   These differences are not big enough to make for a failed cake any more than the couple of grams difference you get by measuring by scooping or sifting unless you purposely go pressing the flour into the cup and smashing more into it as far as you can press it!  You can certainly lightly shake the measuring cup to make it more or less even and you'll be fine, it will not be the undoing of a cake.  . 

 

I don't know about the baking powder, i didn't analyze the recipe.  Certainly too little baking powder can make that difference of the wet interior, though it can be compensated for a little with the beating of the butter/sugar/egg mixture - but low temperature will do it too and is the most likely reason for the particular crust described. 

 

Anyway, i was certainly not suggesting that anyone eyeball a measure - i was saying something very specific: that if you measure with less than laboratory precision you will not get the result that senorpartagas described. 

 

and my apologies to senorpartagas for the polemics, but when i'm insulted like that i really can't step back.  We do try to keep a nice atmosphere here, even when we disagree. 

 

"Suzie homemaker", i can;t wait to tell my husband, he'll be rolling on the floor.  smile.gif

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #29 of 40

WOW.

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #30 of 40
Thread Starter 

Meh I don't take offence to threadjacks for the most part as long as it includes valuable information :)

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