Ugh The Trouble With Scratch Cakes / New Recipes

Decorating By imartsy Updated 22 May 2008 , 2:51pm by mogzilla

imartsy Posted 18 May 2008 , 5:30pm
post #1 of 15

So frustrated. I made a "lemonade layer cake" last night from Cooking Light. Smelled good - batter tasted alright, and then I level the cake and eat a piece of the top - gummy and eggy! What the heck? I think I probably beat it on too high a setting or something.... I don't know but it's very disappointing to spend all that money on ingredients and all that time and get a crappy nasty cake that I can't use. So I'm going back to a cake-mix version. I really want to make cakes from scratch, but it's so hard to find a good recipe - and then even if the recipe is good, seems really easy to completely screw it up. icon_sad.gif I measure my ingredients - I followed the directions to a tee - but maybe the "mixer instructions" were for a hand mixer..... I dunno. Just disappointed.

It just took me so long to find a lemon recipe that actually had lemon in it (and the lemon part of the cake wasn't just the "lemon curd" - it had actual lemon in the cake itself). Now I just have $30 to throw out in the trash icon_sad.gif

I'm trying tres leches cake for the first time today too - please pray with me that one turns out ok - I don't know what I'll do if it doesn't - I don't have a cake mix version of that icon_sad.gif

14 replies
JanH Posted 18 May 2008 , 7:00pm
post #2 of 15

I know your frustration.....

Have been baking since I was 9, so I've made just about every mistake possible!

However, you do sometimes come across "bad" recipes (either the formula is unbalanced or the directions are not complete).

Here's a doctored cake mix recipe for tres leche that might be helpful:

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-2411-1-Tres-Leches-Cake-Mix-Cake.html

HTH

imartsy Posted 18 May 2008 , 7:35pm
post #3 of 15

Thanks Jan - I've got the tres leches in the oven now.... so if it doesn't work, I'll be trying that doctored cake mix - thanks!

And yeah - the reason I always search for the "star" ratings on websites is b/c I'm hoping people have figured out if the recipe is bad.... this one was supposedly really good - but I don't understand how. Even if I hadn't overbeaten it, I don't taste much lemon in it at all icon_sad.gif

peanut123 Posted 19 May 2008 , 11:15am
post #4 of 15

Imartsy,
Is this the recipe that you used?
http://www.recipezaar.com/23384

Lemonade Layer Cake
Cooking Light
April 2002

Cake
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons thawed lemonade concentrate
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 cups fat-free buttermilk

janebrophy Posted 19 May 2008 , 11:37am
post #5 of 15

It does take a lot of trial to find a good scratch recipe. Especially with the internet, anyone or their dog can post a recipe and say it's good! I've tried so many recipes, and my fam and friends still prefer box cakes, no doctoring allowed! Go figure! Here's a lemon cake I've been meaning to try:
http://www.cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-6967-Lemon-extreme-with-lemon-bc.html
I think I'll try it today. The tres leches from a mix is one I've been wanting to bake too!

Good Luck!

costumeczar Posted 19 May 2008 , 7:50pm
post #6 of 15

Get a copy of The Cake Bible and use it...It has a great selection of recipes and also explanations of why certain formulas work the way that they do. Personally, I wouldn't trust a cake recipe from Cooking Light, since I'm the all-fat full sugar more butter baking type! icon_smile.gif Just looking at the recipe posted makes me suspicious that it was low on the fat, which is great if you're trying to watch your weight, but not so great to make a good cake.

indydebi Posted 19 May 2008 , 8:52pm
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

.... since I'm the all-fat full sugar more butter baking type! icon_smile.gif



Yeah, baby!!!! thumbs_up.gif

Mike1394 Posted 19 May 2008 , 9:40pm
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Get a copy of The Cake Bible and use it...It has a great selection of recipes and also explanations of why certain formulas work the way that they do. Personally, I wouldn't trust a cake recipe from Cooking Light, since I'm the all-fat full sugar more butter baking type! icon_smile.gif Just looking at the recipe posted makes me suspicious that it was low on the fat, which is great if you're trying to watch your weight, but not so great to make a good cake.




WooooHoooo icon_biggrin.gif

With the extra egg whites ?????, and the two cups of flour. That's an awful lot of protien w/ nothing to balance it out. If you like that recipe, the "concept" I would up the sugar to 1-3/4, and either add the fat back in the buttermilk, or add 1/4c H Cream.

Mike

KoryAK Posted 19 May 2008 , 10:50pm
post #9 of 15

Um... yeah... sorry but you got a recipe from a diet cooking magazine and ended up with a diet cake... which we all know can suck pretty bad. Sorry you had such trouble.

imartsy Posted 20 May 2008 , 12:30am
post #10 of 15

Hey yeah - that's the recipe I used. And I've used recipes from Cooking Light before - they have an awesome Italian Cream cake.

And I did look in the cake bible - I didn't see a lemon one icon_sad.gif maybe I missed it..... oh well..... I made the 7UP one that I posted here and it turned out great icon_smile.gif

Sarsi Posted 21 May 2008 , 5:59pm
post #11 of 15

Hey- the lemon cake from Martha Stewart is THE BEST!! I've not had good luck with Lemon Cake recipes, but this one is the best and the only one I'm making from now on....I can go find the link in a sec...

fondantfrenzy Posted 21 May 2008 , 6:17pm
post #13 of 15

Try this one for lemonade mind you its not "LIGHT"
INGREDIENTS
1 (3 ounce) package lemon flavored gelatin
3/4 cup boiling water
1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 (6 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
3/4 cup white sugar


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DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 10 inch tube pan.
Dissolve lemon gelatin the boiling water. Set aside.
Combine cake mix, vegetable oil, and eggs. Mix well and add gelatin mixture then beat for 5 minutes. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour. While cake is still warm and in the pan, puncture cake with the tines of a fork. Then pour lemonade glaze over cake. Let cake cool completely before removing from pan.
To Make Lemonade Glaze: Combine the thawed frozen lemonade with the white sugar and mix thoroughly.
_____________________________________________________________

this one for Tres Leches, althought one one on ehre got good ratings

INGREDIENTS
1 cup white sugar
5 egg yolks
5 egg whites
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream
10 maraschino cherries


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DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter and flour bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
Beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar until light in color and doubled in volume. Stir in milk, vanilla, flour and baking powder.
In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat until firm but not dry. Fold egg whites into yolk mixture. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 to 50 minutes or until cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 minutes.
Loosen edge of cake with knife before removing side of pan. Cool cake completely; place on a deep serving plate. Use a two prong meat fork or cake tester to pierce surface of cake.
Mix together condensed milk, evaporated milk and 1/4 cup of the whipping cream. Discard 1 cup of the measured milk mixture or cover and refrigerate. Pour remaining milk mixture over cake slowly until absorbed. Whip the remaining whipping cream until it thickens and reaches spreading consistency. Frost cake with whipped cream and garnish with cherries.


Good Luck

jennifer7777 Posted 21 May 2008 , 6:21pm
post #14 of 15

I FEEL you on the problems of trial and error with scratch cakes. I was of the mindset that I wanted all of my cake orders to be scratch, ensuring that my customers get good quality, homemade cakes. Let me just tell you I have liberated myself!!!!! Too much can go wrong with scratch sometimes, and people's palettes are so different, that I got sick of varied opinions (which wasn't much...but I want EVERYONE to like my cakes).

So, I said the heck with it and have decided to go back to box for orders and just try different scratch recipes for family/friends. Now, if I do find a scratch that seems fool-proof I'll be happy, but can't say that I'll use it (for orders) because I just feel like I lifted the burden off of myself, and using box does take less time! As I've discussed with several people, it's your icing that makes or breaks your cake when it really comes down to it.

Don't burden yourself too much...keep trying scratch for the challenge and experimenting process, but don't feel bad about using box, either.

Lastly (and maybe ironic), I do have a wonderful "scratch" icon_rolleyes.gif recipe for tres leche that I have used several times with no fail! It is great. PM me if you want the recipe, which even includes my whipped cream frosting.

mogzilla Posted 22 May 2008 , 2:51pm
post #15 of 15

Hi! I'd just like to point out that all buttermilk is "fat-free" as it's what's left over after cream is churned into butter. So all the fat has gone into the butter. Modern buttermilk from the supermarket is really "better buttermilk through chemistry" -- skim milk with some enzymes addded to give it the same properties as true buttermilk, but still fat free.

The ingredients list looks to me like a modified genoise cake recipe with the extra egg whites (were they whipped then folded into the rest of the batter?) and the low quantity of flour. In a genoise cake, the whites act as the leavener.

Actually, looking more closely, this recipe really resembles a classic yellow cake with two yolks and A LOT of butter left out. I bet if you increased the butter to 2 sticks (16 tbsp), the cake would be much better.

As for good scratch recipes, I urge everyone to pick up the Best Recipe (Cook's Illustrated) baking book. It does not include exotic recipes, but foolproof basic cake recipes. If you take the time to read the essays preceeding each recipe that explain how they derived it, it will leave you with the knowledge to alter the recipes to your liking.

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