Hello, All! I have been using the same Simple Yellow Cake recipe for some time now. I use the same brand of ingredients, the same equipment, oven, etc. I decided to alter the cake recipe by using Almond extract instead of Vanilla extract, and the cake sunk in. I figured I may have been distracted and made a mistake, so I waited a couple of days and tried it again. Again, my cake caved in. Could the extract have had something to do with it? I bake every few days and none of my ingredients are old...! I just don't know what it is, and I am not a happy camper. Please help!!
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I have never heard of almond extract doing that to a cake. I have to ask if you are doing ANYTHING else differently at all?? I know of a few people who come on this site and say the same thing as you only to learn that they changed or tweaked a couple of other things as well, not saying you have I am just checking to make absolutely sure.
I would say that if all the ingredients, method and equipment are the same except for the almond extract, I would go buy another almond extract to see if it is a batch thing that has gone bad on the shelf. Also as time goes by, and you have mentioned you bake often, if you do not have an internal oven thermometer then I would get one of those as well as it sounds to me like it could be your oven is not as hot as it says it is. This happens with ovens that are used frequently.
So you can make the same cake again, with vanilla extract at the temp that you usually bake at to see if the cake is fine at that same temp, therefore the oven is fine. Then go out and get a new almond extract and use that to see if it works.
A teaspoon of extract would never adjust the structure of baking, that's why we only use a tsp-tbsp per batch. You must have done something different with the the mix, possibly over mixing the batter OR you didn't bake it long enough. Over mixed batter makes it more dense and deflates the structure and the gluten ends up forming early. So if you're simply timing the cake at the same rate, then you're actually going to need to test it with a tester. If it's over mixed, it's going to take longer to bake. If you pull out the cake at the time the recipe says to, and its over mixed, it'll be underbaked causing the cake to sink.