I made a beautiful looking cake for my sister this weekend and made the mistake of using a recipe I had never tried out before. The recipe was from the WBH book. Chocolate chip pound cake, from scratch. It sounded great. The recipe had cake flour, cream cheese, 4 eggs unsalted butter, a little sour cream etc. How could a recipe with those ingredients turn out completely dry and very crumbly. I was so embarrased when she cut the cake. We're like wow, why is it so crumbly. Thats the crumbliest cake I've ever seen. You couldn't even pick up a piece in your fingers without it crumbling. I know that I was very careful to follow the recipe exactly. What went wrong??? People said, well it tastes good anyway. I thought, yea maybe if you close your eyes while you are eating it. I did know I have never had good luck with cakes from scratch and shouldn't have risked making this. Any pointers from scratch bakers would be apreciated!
Iam with you I don't always have good luck with scratch cakes either so I would like the answers to this also.
I have had unexplained problems too with scratch cakes. I am trying to get to the point where I have a few good tried and true scratch recipes that I use and that's it. I can't explain what went wrong for you.
I know that the first few scratch cakes I made were horrible...to me...but everyone else liked them. I just was not used to the texture difference. But it kindof sounds like maybe there was an oil or butter problem. I hate when you follow a recipe to the T and then in the end you are second guessing if you did or maybe didn't...that happens to the best of us. Maybe it was a simple measurement issue with the flour even....
Hmmmm...lets see what others say....I have only been doing my cakes from scratch for about a year now...
It's hard to say if it's an ingredient problem or mixing problem without seeing the recipe. Can you post the recipe and explain exactly how you mixed and baked it?
Here is the recipe: Grease and flour two 9x2-inch round pans. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have the ingredients at room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat at high speed until light and fluffy:
8 oz. unsalted butter(two sticks)
Add and beat well at high speed:
8 oz. cream cheese
Add and cream at high speed until light and fluffy:
1 1/2 cups sugar
Add and mix well at medium speed:
2 T. sour cream
1 t. pure vanilla extract
Add one at a time, mixing well after each addition:
4 large eggs
On a piece of wax paper, sift together:
2 1/2 c. cake flour
2 t. baking pd.
1/4 t. salt
Add the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture and beat on low speed until smooth.
Stir in by hand:
1 c. semisweet choc. chips
For the 9-inch round pans, put a scant 3 cups in one pan and the remainging batter in ther other. Bake the less full pan for 25 to 30 minutes and the fuller pan for 30-35 minutes. or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes on wire racks for 15 minutes before turning them out of their pans.
Top of the page says:
The secret of our unbelievably moist and delicious pound cake is cream cheese. For casual entertaining, this cake can be baked in a bundt pan and simply dusted with confectioers sugar or surprisingly good choice for wedding and special-occasion cakes.
For the life of me I cannot figure out anything I did different!
It looks like a good recipe. Usually cream cheese not only gives cake a nice moistness and flavor, but I find that cakes made with cream cheese usually have a fairly tight crumb...the opposite of crumbly. Did you cream the butter and cream cheese until they were smooth and fluffy...no lumps of butter or cream cheese?
The only other thing that I can think of is the chocolate chips. Did you use regular size chocolate chips? I always use mini chips in my cakes because the larger chips sometimes sink in the batter. Also, I could imagine full size chips causing the cake to crumble apart while being cut.
Especially because you said that the cake tasted moist, I'm inclined to think that maybe the chips cause the problem.
Does this make sense based on how it looked when you cut into it?
Was the butter the right temp? it should yield when pressed firmly, but not so warm as to be very soft. And was the CC at room temp? did you really beat them well? the mix should have been fluffy and almost white, if so.
I tend to beat in sugar gradually (1/4 cup at a time).
Did you really do the eggs one at a time, beating weel and scraping the bowl after each one? You should have a batter that "ribbons" after the eggs are beaten in well.
after adding the flour, I use the lowest speed and only beat a few seconds, until it is mixed. Beating oo hard or long as this stage makes the cake tough and crumbly.
so - just my thoughts.
...I did cream throughly, and used regular choc. chips. The flavor of the cake tasted good if you closed your eyes. I can see the mini chips would have been a better choice. But that wasn't specified in the recipe. The cake was definally very dry and crumbly. I can't see that the reg. choc. chips would make the cake so dry. Does it make sense that the cake had a good flavor but very dry and crumbly. Thanks for taking time to help me figure this out!
I agree, it sounds like the butter may have been too warm or cold (I bend my butter, and if it breaks, its too cold, and if you cannot handle it its too warm) and adding the eggs one at a time, (I also have them at room temp) also helps prevent a dry cake.
Dont be discouraged though, try the recipe again and pratice it..it sounds like a delicious recipe!! (I also use mini chips and sometimes They are too big! I have been experimenting with trying to make chocolate chunks..anyone had any luck with that? Mine come out too fine...)