First Time 'scratch' Cake Sunk In...help???

Decorating By USMC_SGTs_Lady Updated 2 Oct 2008 , 11:55pm by sugarlove

USMC_SGTs_Lady Posted 30 Jul 2007 , 1:38pm
post #1 of 13

So yesterday i tried to make a scratch cake....i made the following cake recipe at the link below and i need someone to tell me what i did wrong???
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/101275

i baked the cake in 2-7 inch round pans and in one 8 inch round pan...baked it at 300 degrees like it said, i first set the oven timer for 35 minutes b/c i was using smaller pans then the recipe requested...of course they weren't done yet...so i baked for another 10 minutes, then another 10 minutes and then they were done BUT the middle of each cake was sunk in...I have never ever had this happen before....what can i do to avoid the cakes sinking in next time? i tried the cake and it tasted wonderful, way better then the chocolate box cake mix i usually use. Please help, i really want to use this recipe for a fulls sheet cake i have due this friday, but i don't want to loose half the cake b/c the middle sunk in and i have to try to level it out......i have heard that people have tried cutting the amount of oil used in a recipe and that fixes the sunken cake problem...should i try that, and by how much should i reduce the amount of oil....

12 replies
jmt1714 Posted 30 Jul 2007 , 2:11pm
post #2 of 13

First - make sure your oven is calibrated correctly. I also find it is important not to disturb the pan at all unti the cake is done. All that opening and checking could sometimes cause it to sink (but not always) and if you were making smaller but deeper cakes, I think it would take longer, not less time, to cook.

rits Posted 30 Jul 2007 , 2:12pm
post #3 of 13

Hi there,

According to Rose Levy Beranbaum (yeah, I know, i quote her all the time, she is my cake mentor), here is some advice:

"Dipping is always a structural problem. It can be either of the following

The Wrong Type of Flour
If using unbleached flour for a butter cake in which the butter is used in softened form, as opposed to melted as for a genoise, the cake will dip in the center about 5 minutes after baking. This is because the smooth flour particles of unbleached flour cannot effectively hold the butter is suspension. So use bleached cake flour or bleached all-purpose flour.

Too Weak a Structure
This is usually due to too much leavening. Try dropping the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon.

The larger the cake, the less amount of baking powder per cup of flour is used. This is because the distance from the sides of the pan to the center are greater so that they batter needs a stronger structure to support itself."

HTH

Jen N

dabear Posted 30 Jul 2007 , 2:32pm
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by rits

Hi there,

According to Rose Levy Beranbaum (yeah, I know, i quote her all the time, she is my cake mentor), here is some advice:

"Dipping is always a structural problem. It can be either of the following

The Wrong Type of Flour
If using unbleached flour for a butter cake in which the butter is used in softened form, as opposed to melted as for a genoise, the cake will dip in the center about 5 minutes after baking. This is because the smooth flour particles of unbleached flour cannot effectively hold the butter is suspension. So use bleached cake flour or bleached all-purpose flour.

Too Weak a Structure
This is usually due to too much leavening. Try dropping the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon.

The larger the cake, the less amount of baking powder per cup of flour is used. This is because the distance from the sides of the pan to the center are greater so that they batter needs a stronger structure to support itself."

HTH

Jen N




Very interesting!

snarkybaker Posted 30 Jul 2007 , 2:33pm
post #5 of 13

I use that recipe and it is a sinker icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif . It does not like to bake in 3 inch pans. Make sure that you are using bleached all purpose and add a little extra baking powder.

USMC_SGTs_Lady Posted 30 Jul 2007 , 2:44pm
post #6 of 13

HMMM....so my problem could be the flour then huh...i'm not sure if i used bleached or unbleached flour...(at work right now)....have to look when i get home. Ok so one of ya said to reduce the baking powder and one said to add a little extra???....I'm going to be using a 12x18 pan when i use this recipe again on thursday night....so should i add more baking powder or take away some????

julzs71 Posted 30 Jul 2007 , 3:02pm
post #7 of 13

what about using wet strips to cause even cooking and a heating core for even baking.

USMC_SGTs_Lady Posted 30 Jul 2007 , 3:11pm
post #8 of 13

i used the bake even strips and will use then again when i make the 12x18 cake i plan on using a flower nail....its something to do with the recipe i think...can't be my oven...never had a problem with it before....
also after i checked on the cakes after 35 minutes they were already sunken in (i hadn't checked on them prior to the 35 minutes...), so i don't think i had anything to do with it when i checked on them and then baked them for another 10 minutes...(you know opening the oven, pulling out the oven rack and seeing that they were not baked...)

alimonkey Posted 30 Jul 2007 , 3:35pm
post #9 of 13

So are you using 2" or 3" deep pans??
Even though you haven't had problems with your oven before, I would still highly recommend spending a few dollars on an oven thermometer. Some cakes are pickier than others and the temp increase will kill them. About a year ago I got completely discouraged from baking, scratch cakes especially, because I didn't have an oven thermometer and therefore didn't know my oven was baking waaaay too hot sometimes. Recipes that had turned out fine before were suddenly sinking.

Larger cakes require less leavening - weird, huh? Reducing oil and reducing leavening have the same effect. What happens when you make a bigger cake is that you have the same amount of air bubbles as the smaller cake but less structure (sides of pan.) A heavy cake (more oil) with the same amount of leavening cannot hold itself up. You can either reduce the oil, with unknown effect on texture etc., to make the batter lighter, or you can reduce the leavening to give the cake more structure and strength.

That's really interesting about the unbleached flour. That's what I usually use. I have the Cake Bible and have completely missed that.

Momkiksbutt Posted 30 Jul 2007 , 3:42pm
post #10 of 13

I'm a scratch baker first and foremost, it's just how I was taught. So here's my advise.

Scratch cakes generally will require more bake time than a box mix. And you definately will want to use either a heating core, or flower nail in the middle of the pan. While not as dense as a WSCA cake(that's White Sour Cream Almond), the one that uses boxed mix and an extender, they do tend to be more on the heavy side, thus needing more bake time.

And I've never heard of baking a cake on only 300 degrees. That sounds like it was suppose to come out more brownie like, or cheesecake like than regular cake. I'd check that to be sure. If that is the case, then perhaps some settling is just what should happen. Some recipes are meant to do that as well.

In any case, if you don't want the sunken middle style, then I'd say definately watch the amount of levening, and use a core, and then also bake it at a higher tempurature for at least 45 minutes if not longer. Also, you probably already know this, but, only bake one pan at a time, and right in the center of the rack.

My oven is right on the money temp wise, and it still takes at least 10 to 15 minutes longer for my scratch cakes to be baked all the way through sometimes. Depends on the size.

The recipe you posted sounds yummy, I'd just change the oven temp. and give it more time. Can't hurt........

USMC_SGTs_Lady Posted 30 Jul 2007 , 4:00pm
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momkiksbutt

I'm a scratch baker first and foremost, it's just how I was taught. So here's my advise.

Scratch cakes generally will require more bake time than a box mix. And you definately will want to use either a heating core, or flower nail in the middle of the pan. While not as dense as a WSCA cake(that's White Sour Cream Almond), the one that uses boxed mix and an extender, they do tend to be more on the heavy side, thus needing more bake time.

And I've never heard of baking a cake on only 300 degrees. That sounds like it was suppose to come out more brownie like, or cheesecake like than regular cake. I'd check that to be sure. If that is the case, then perhaps some settling is just what should happen. Some recipes are meant to do that as well.

In any case, if you don't want the sunken middle style, then I'd say definately watch the amount of levening, and use a core, and then also bake it at a higher tempurature for at least 45 minutes if not longer. Also, you probably already know this, but, only bake one pan at a time, and right in the center of the rack.

My oven is right on the money temp wise, and it still takes at least 10 to 15 minutes longer for my scratch cakes to be baked all the way through sometimes. Depends on the size.

The recipe you posted sounds yummy, I'd just change the oven temp. and give it more time. Can't hurt........




thats for all the advice gals! I will be using a 2" deep 12x18 pan with baking strips and a flower nail or maybe 2....

yeah i thought that 300 was a little low for tempature...i was going to bake the cakes at 325 but i thought no, i better not, the recipe says 300....so i baked it at 300 of course....

so should i alter the recipe at all....take away some baking soda, add some? reduce the oil?....or just turn up the heat to like 325...

rits Posted 30 Jul 2007 , 4:27pm
post #12 of 13

Hi again,

I have tons of experience with this cake, as it is the primary chocolate cake i use in my wedding biz. I've made it in everything from 6" to 18" size. So, my hints:

- Yes, 300 degrees is normally a low temp for cakes, but in this recipe it is important! Because it is a very wet batter, it wants a low & slow bake....you might nudge it up to 315 or 325 & see if this help you - but lower the temp to 300 halfway thru the baking. This has worked for me with large-size pans.

- 2" pans are absolutely crucial with this one!

- I had to tweak the leavening amount a few times for each size to see what works best in my oven (commercial, Deluxe brand). I find it easier to alter the baking powder amount, and leave the baking soda alone.

To alimonkey - that info was posted on Rose's blog, not in The Cake Bible, so that's probably why you haven't seen it!

HTH again
Jen N

sugarlove Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 11:55pm
post #13 of 13

What's wrong with baking this cake in 3" deep pans? I've baked it in both 2" and 3" deep pans with no problem...no sinking.

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