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Cake Rise Issue

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I hate to give up on this recipe because it really produces a nice flavored cake but it is sunken in the middle. I think it is something to do with the leavening and need some input. It is baked in a loaf pan and overflows slightly so I'm getting a good initial rise. I'm thinking that I need to cut back on the baking soda and add a little baking powder to sustain the rise.  Here's the ingredients:

 

1 c boiling water

4 oz chocolate

2 c flour

1t baking soda

1/2 c butter

1 3/4 c brown sugar

2 egg

1 t vanilla

1/2 c sour cream (I've also subbed buttermilk)

 

I'm also thinking about cutting back the water to 3/4 c as I think that should be enough to melt the chocolate. Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

post #2 of 13
Since the recipe uses chocolate instead of cocoa powder, you could try 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp baking soda since there is still the acidity of the sour cream or buttermilk.
I make a chocolate stout cake that would always sink in the middle. So I reduced the baking soda by a 1/2 tsp and it bakes nice and flat now. It could be as simple as just reducing it to 3/4 tsp.
post #3 of 13

Since you've not included the technique here are thoughts:

do you typically combine wet and dry ingredients for this recipe?

how hot is your water chocolate mixture before you add?

do you cream your butter with the brown sugar?

are the eggs beaten, separated?

do you use double acting baking pwd (typo corrected from soda) ?

was this recipe from a reputable source?

has this recipe work before and no longer works to your liking?

Are you using a metal or pyrex pan?

are you using AP or cake flour?

 

My thought is if the batter overflow but caves in the middle is probably because your batter is too warm when you mix it which make the baking powder react in the wet and warm environment too early before the egg and flour set.

 

The are many pros here.  Posting your complete recipe (and source) is to your benefit to obtain an answer.

 

Thanks!

Luc H.


Edited by Luc_H - 4/22/15 at 6:52am
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post #4 of 13

@JanetMoh I agree with you and @rlyv to reduce the baking soda by three quarters to a 1/4 tsp. and add 1 tsp, of baking powder 

 

Let us know how it goes :) 

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your feedback. I'm going to try reducing the baking soda to 1/4 and adding baking powder. I will let you know how it goes.


Luc_H: Here are the answers to your questions:

 

I cream the butter and brown sugar, add eggs whole one at a time. Add vanilla & chocolate cooled to warmish. Combine dry ingredients and add by alternating with buttermilk or sour cream. AP flour. I have not tried this with baking powder - only baking soda - is there such a thing as double acting baking soda?? I can't remember where I got this recipe from. It has worked slightly better other times - not as large of a sunken hole ;-) but still have an overflow problem. As I've said I hate to give up on it so have accepted the overflow as a fact of life :lol: because it comes out so moist and delicious. I have tried both metal pan and glass - not too much difference.

Thanks!

post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by JanetMoh View Post

Thanks for your feedback. I'm going to try reducing the baking soda to 1/4 and adding baking powder. I will let you know how it goes.


Luc_H: Here are the answers to your questions:

I cream the butter and brown sugar, add eggs whole one at a time. Add vanilla & chocolate cooled to warmish. Combine dry ingredients and add by alternating with buttermilk or sour cream. AP flour. I have not tried this with baking powder - only baking soda - is there such a thing as double acting baking soda?? I can't remember where I got this recipe from. It has worked slightly better other times - not as large of a sunken hole ;-) but still have an overflow problem. As I've said I hate to give up on it so have accepted the overflow as a fact of life lol.gif because it comes out so moist and delicious. I have tried both metal pan and glass - not too much difference.
Thanks!

Could it be that you should use a bigger pan? It may just be too much batter for the pan. Also, depending on how long the butter and sugar are creamed together, it could be a factor. Over creaming would cause too much air to be incorporated and causing the collapse as well.
post #7 of 13

@JanetMoh I actually went and calculated the ratios in this recipe as to the eye it seemed a little off to me. It turned out to be very unbalanced. The flour to sugar ratio was off as sugar should weigh the same as, or slightly more than, the flour and the eggs should weigh the same, or slightly more than, the fat in a recipe. Also, the liquid (including the eggs) should weigh the same as, or slightly more than, the sugar. The ratios do not have to be perfect but if they go over 20% of each other then problems arise. And, of course, the leavening should be approximately 1 tsp. (up to 1 /14 tsp. max.) of baking powder per 1 cup of flour and 1/4 tsp. of baking soda per 1 cup of flour. 

 

Your recipe converted to weight/volume:

 

1 cup (8 oz) boiling water                           

4 oz chocolate

2 cups (8.82 oz) flour

1 tsp BS

1/2 cup (4 oz) butter

1 3/4 cup (12.35 oz) brown sugar

2 eggs (3.75 oz)

1 tsp (.17 oz) vanilla

1/2 cup (4.32 oz) sour cream or buttermilk

 

Flour to sugar: 8.82 oz to 12.35 oz as you can see the ratio is well over 20% difference....it is hovering around 40%!

Eggs to fat: 3.75 oz to 4 oz this is close to perfect so no worries there.

Liquid to sugar: 20.25 oz to 12.35 oz another area where the ratio is unbalance to the extreme at 64%

 

So what I have done is adjusted the whole recipe to a more balanced one. You seem to be doing everything else right by the way you describe your mixing process. Now you can experiment with just reducing the BS and adding some BP in your original version or you can make a more balanced version and see how it goes if the other doesn't work.

 

1/2 cup (4 oz) hot water

4 oz chocolate

2 1/2 cup (11.02 oz) flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt (flavour enhancer)

1/2 cup (4 oz) butter

1 3/4 cup (12.35 oz) brown sugar

2 eggs (3.75 oz)

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup (2.16 oz) sour cream or buttermilk

 

Flour to sugar: 11.02oz to 12.35oz

Eggs to fat: 3.75oz to 4oz

Liquid to sugar: 14.09oz to 12.35oz

 

 

:D

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by JanetMoh View Post
Luc_H: Here are the answers to your questions:
...- is there such a thing as double acting baking soda??

Thanks for pointing that out. The answer is no. I corrected that typo/slip in my original post.

Luc H.

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post #9 of 13

reviewing your post again.

Have you seen a difference between using sour cream vs buttermilk?

Like @Fablesable pointed out, the recipe does appear heavy in liquids however sourcream is less liquid and more acidic per oz than buttermilk.

 

My take is if your chocolate is not added to hot (as per your instructions) then the sourcream will make your soda react more quickly than buttermilk however the buttermilk would make your batter more liquid. Both cases could result in a similar failure although for different reasons.

 

whatever the reduction you make on the soda side, I would reduce proportionally the buttermilk\sourcream.

Since you indicate that you seem to like the cake's properties overall, I would propose not to deviate too far away and I propose a middle ground solution to Fablesable.

Reduce soda to 3/4tsp and sourcream/buttermilk to 1/3cup (which is almost proportional) this will reduce the overall liquids and leavening at the same time.

If not entirely satisfied, your next step then could be 1/2 tsp soda and 1/4 cup sourcream/buttermilk

 

But I'm no pastry chef.... just a experimenter.

Luc H.

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post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

Luc_H:

 

Thanks for the clarification about the double acting baking soda - thought I was going to have to go on another quest ;-) I hope to give this another try over the weekend (it's been too crazy of a week).  I think I might just try playing around with the baking soda and baking powder first. If that is not successful, I will play around with the liquid/flour ratio. Hey the worst that can happen is there's more cake I have to eat.

 

To answer your additional question - I did not see much of a difference with using sour cream or buttermilk.

post #11 of 13

Hi folks.   Just my two cents.  If your getting that baking soda anywhere near your boiling water, It's gonna gas out.  You didn't mention how you put it together but if you put the baking soda in once it cools a little, it may help.

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

OK so I tested it out with 1 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 t of baking soda. This was not the same cake. It browned a bit more (obviously because of the baking powder) and was definitely not as moist and fudgey. I think I will try a different pan the next time and 1 tsp of baking soda with 1/2 of baking powder? I first need to get some more brown sugar.  While this cake was edible - it was no where near as good as the other version.

 

DonutFlipper - No I am melting the chocolate with the boiling water and cooling at least 10 minutes (I am usually gathering my other ingredients, preheating the oven while the chocolate is melting so sometimes it is even longer than10 minutes). So the baking soda is not near the boiling water.

post #13 of 13

@JanetMoh why don't you just cut back on the baking soda itself to 1/2tsp with no baking powder with your same pan you always use and see what it does. If fudge-y is how you want it and not a more cake crumb consistency then it is the amount of baking soda itself that is causing the sinking in the middle. Also, use just hot water, not boiling, for melting your chocolate as I agree with donut flipper about it being a wee bit too warm and the rise already happening before it gets into the oven. Give it a go before anything else and see ;)

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