This Is Why I Don't Bake From Scratch....

Decorating By twooten173 Updated 16 Jun 2008 , 4:10am by HeatherC

twooten173 Posted 13 Jun 2008 , 2:51am
post #1 of 31

I make the Pastry Queen's white cake exactly as stated. I cook them andviola - the ones on the left <- started shrinking after I rotated them in the oven. They weren't done at that point. So I bake another batch (->icon_wink.gif....I took them out when they started to shrink. They weren't even done. icon_confused.gif

I had more batter so I just threw it in a 1/4 sheet pan. It's downstairs shrinking as we speak. icon_cry.gif

For the record they taste good and are very light. They also aren't dry icon_confused.gificon_confused.gif . I guess I'll have them as cake balls. Man I was even going to make the SMBC to put on the cake - one disaster per day is enough thank you!

If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them. icon_sad.gif

Duncan Hines here I come!
LL

30 replies
gottabakenow Posted 13 Jun 2008 , 10:21am
post #2 of 31

if it ain't broke, don't fix it! I'm kinda the opposite, bake from scratch, but if you're happy with mixes, why change? Sorry, no clue why it happened. Maybe something with the oven temperature?

playingwithsugar Posted 13 Jun 2008 , 10:22am
post #3 of 31

Hey, if boxed mixes work better for you, then by all means, use them. Whether you use them or not is between you and whoever is getting the cake, right?

I'm sorry to hear that you had this problem with the scratch recipe, but perhaps that just wasn't the one for you. Don't give up on scratch, just try again when you have the time, with another recipe, and see if that one works for you.

Do you have a copy of The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum? If not, I suggest you get one. She not only offers recipes in the book, but teaches and explains techniques and why cakes sometimes fail.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

Shola Posted 13 Jun 2008 , 1:19pm
post #4 of 31

I was interested in why this would happen, it looks like someone popped in your kitchen and scooped out half the batter while you wern't looking!Lol icon_biggrin.gif

I did a search and found :-

Shrinkage:
Too little batter in pan
Pans greased too heavily
Pans too close together in oven
Extreme overmixing
Too much liquid
Overbaking - too long or too high temperature

But did say sometimes it's just a bad recipe.
Anyway sorry about your cakes, hope you find a solution! icon_smile.gif

2sdae Posted 13 Jun 2008 , 1:36pm
post #5 of 31

without seeing the recipe I cant really say. BUT deff odd that they shrunk that much!

wgoat5 Posted 13 Jun 2008 , 1:36pm
post #6 of 31

I seem to have the opposite problem.. my cake batter multiplies LOL ... cake batter on Viagra is what I have icon_biggrin.gif

Ironbaker Posted 13 Jun 2008 , 1:50pm
post #7 of 31

That looks like quite a bit of shrinkage. Was this the first time you made this recipe? I want to see what it looks like also (recipe).

The first thing that popped into my head is that you opened the oven door and "rotated". And they weren't done at that point...so the structure probably wasn't set yet. Heat escapes when you open the oven door and if the cake/cupcakes aren't set, they will sink in the middle. But yours seem to have shrunk all around.

Hmm.

lardbutt Posted 13 Jun 2008 , 1:55pm
post #8 of 31

I was just thinking...........and I never rotate my cakes or cupcakes while they are baking. I've always heard you aren't suppose to open the door until they are finished cooking.

I use to only use scratch recipes, but they were never consistent. I finally broke down and tried the WASC! The first bite, I didn't really like it. I was looking for a consistent recipe for a wedding cake that was due. I felt so bad to use a mix, I took some cake to the MOB for a taste.(w/o telling it was a mix)

SHE SAID IT WAS THE BEST CAKE SHE EVER TASTED!!!!!!!!!!!!

I now have my no fail secret, I mean recipe! icon_wink.gif

wgoat5 Posted 13 Jun 2008 , 2:01pm
post #9 of 31

Actually if you think about it the WASC is a scratch recipe lol... when you add the cake mix it's flour, sugar, baking powder etc... and then you are adding flour, sugar, eggs, liquid icon_wink.gif

When I make the WASC I call it scratch icon_rolleyes.gif

Petit-four Posted 13 Jun 2008 , 2:49pm
post #10 of 31

I've always wondered...do you think perhaps the scratch recipe you used was for larger cakes, and not for cupcakes? Some scratch recipes adapt well to either, but some are so "fine-tuned" that they are best for larger pans.

Then, again, there are scratch recipes that are just for cupcakes. I figured they are designed to be moist, even when baked with more "crust."

My second guess would be too high a temperature, or, when you rotated them, the oven temp dropped, and then, the oven coils (or gas) kicked in at a super-high temp to get the temp back up.

My mother's stove is prone to this, so I learned NEVER to open the door, otherwise we'd get the crusting/shrinkage that you may have encountered.

My oven does not do this...so it of course varies.

Hope this helps!

lardbutt Posted 13 Jun 2008 , 6:12pm
post #11 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by wgoat5

Actually if you think about it the WASC is a scratch recipe lol... when you add the cake mix it's flour, sugar, baking powder etc... and then you are adding flour, sugar, eggs, liquid icon_wink.gif

When I make the WASC I call it scratch icon_rolleyes.gif




You are exactly right! But I still sneak through Walmart with the mix on the bottom of the cart! Then make sure all five of my kids are between me and the customer behind us! icon_wink.gif

Gefion Posted 13 Jun 2008 , 6:31pm
post #12 of 31

Is there any particular reason you rotate them? Opening the oven door too early will cause the cakes to deflate and shrink. Maybe box cakes are more sturdy that way. I wouldn't know as we don't have them here, but just a thought.

shisharka Posted 14 Jun 2008 , 7:29am
post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gefion

Is there any particular reason you rotate them? Opening the oven door too early will cause the cakes to deflate and shrink. Maybe box cakes are more sturdy that way. I wouldn't know as we don't have them here, but just a thought.




I definitely second that! Rotating is good for example for breads, but I never rotate cake or cupcakes⦠When I first got into baking X number of years ago (scratch only), Iâd make the same recipe as my mom, and hers would end up TWICE the size of mine! Why?! Too much peeking in the oven, it turned out⦠I guess I was too impatient to see my creations materialize and we figured that out after several mishaps⦠I do use some doctored box mixes now, and theyâre most definitely designed to turn out better regardless fluctuations in baking temperature or mixing procedures. So, Iâd say skip the rotating in the oven part â set timer to about 5 minutes less than what your recipe calls for just in case and donât peek in - or rotate - until then! And then, maybe try a different recipe? Iâve had my fair share of âIâm never making this againâ recipesâ¦

If you've never made SMBC -- try this one, it cannot possibly end in a disaster:


HeatherC Posted 14 Jun 2008 , 4:21pm
post #14 of 31

I've tried that 1-2-3 SMBC several times and no one liked it! They thought it was too buttery, I think my family is too accustomed to "American" buttercream. On the other hand, they now love Sugarshack's icing made with high ratio shortening; with Crisco, it's nasty. I would save the experimenting for another day. Just my personal opinion.

FromScratch Posted 14 Jun 2008 , 4:35pm
post #15 of 31

That 1-2-3 SMBC doesn't have enough flavoring in it.. and if you use salted butter.. it tastes like butter. I use only unstaled butter and a lot of vanilla (1.5 - 2 TBSP for a 5 egg recipe). The flavoring makes ALL the difference as does using sweet butter ratehr than salted. If you add enough vanilla it tastes like vanilla ice cream.

FromScratch Posted 14 Jun 2008 , 4:36pm
post #16 of 31

White cakes tend to shrink a little and it is very obvious when you bake it into cupcakes. The shrinkage is worse if you over mix them when you are folding in the egg whites.

twooten173 Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 5:30am
post #17 of 31

ok everyone here's the recipe:
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/3 cups sugar
3 large egg whites
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Yes this was my first time making this recipe.

I rotate the cuppies (or anything I bake for that matter) because my oven sucks! icon_mad.gif When I don't rotate, the top is burnt, the bottom is under cooked, and one side is way darker than the other. I made four cakes today and rotated all of them and not one shrank.

I wish I'd taken a picture of the 1/4 sheet, it shrank too. icon_cry.gificon_cry.gif

Lastly, I'm going to get the cake bible from the library tomorrow. I still have some cake flour left so I will give this one more shot icon_confused.gif

Oh for the record, I made sure all of my ingredients were room tempature when I started.

One last thing... what am I going to do with all of these egg yolks?

playingwithsugar Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 5:43am
post #18 of 31

Egg yolks? icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

There is another question which gets asked about once a month here! icon_lol.gif

I make pastry cream, but there are yolk-only sponge cake recipes and yolk-only cookie recipes out there.

Some folks also add an extra yolk to their cake batters to make them more dense.

They can be frozen, and there is a link or two in CC on the procedure for that.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

playingwithsugar Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 5:47am
post #19 of 31

How are they telling you to prepare the batter? Are you beating the egg whites separately, then folding them in?

Can you post the directions, also?

BTW - I had an oven which sucked just as badly as yours does. I can sympathize. Is it electric? If so, how old is it, and have you ever changed the calrods in the oven? If not, it's time for new ones. And they're not cheap.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

twooten173 Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 6:14am
post #20 of 31

I'm not putting another dime into that stove... it will be in someone else's kitchen soon. I've been saving my profits for a new stove - I think I'm going to get an Electrolux icon_smile.gif

Here are the directions:
To make the cake: Place one baking rack one-third from the bottom of the oven and the second two-thirds from the bottom. Preheat the oven to 350-f degrees. Line three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper rounds, grease with butter, and dust with flour (or spray with Pam with Flour).

Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl on medium speed about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg whites and vanilla and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add about one-third of the flour mixture to the batter and beat on medium speed until incorporated. Add about half of the buttermilk and beat on medium speed until incorporated. Continue adding dry and wet ingredients alternately, scraping the bowl down and beating until incorporated after each addition. End with the dry ingredients. The batter will be thick and glossy.

Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Stagger the cake layers on the oven racks so that no layer is directly over another. Set two layers on one rack and the third on the other. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean and tops are flat and browned. Monitor the layers carefully for doneness; each one me be done at a different time.

Set the cake pans on racks to cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks and cool completely before frosting. At this point the cakes can be tightly wrapped in a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil and frozen up to 3 weeks.

And I followed them to the letter!

FromScratch Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 9:50am
post #21 of 31

When you beat the sugar and butter does it get really fluffy? It really has to get fluffy and it can take more than 2 minutes even with room temp ingredients. It changes.. one minute it looks clumpy and grainy and the next it is fluffy and lighter in color.

How long did you mix your batter once you started adding the dry ingredients?

The WBH white butter cake is good and works well..

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-4093-2-WBH-White-Butter-Cake.html

It could very well just be your oven though.. if it is that uneven then some of the cake might be more done than other parts. Have fun oven shopping.. icon_biggrin.gif

Leftover egg yolks usually end up as lemon curd (but I know you don't do lemon curd icon_wink.gif ) or pastry cream in this house. They freeze well if you add 1/2 tsp of salt or 1 TBSP of sugar per cup of egg yolks.. I freeze them in ice cube trays so I can use a couple at a time. One regular sized ice cube tray cup holds 2 yolks.

Mike1394 Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 10:18am
post #22 of 31

A few things here. Like Jeanne said when creaming the sugar, and butter. It has to be light, airy, and I wait till mine changes to a bright white. You will do no harm in over mixing butter, and sugar. There are no protiens to over work.

This was assuming the the BP, and BS were working correct. Since I started to weigh everything, and toss the measuring cups. Things like this don't happen. Get a scale, if your going to bake from scratch you need one. The reasons box mixes work 99% of the time is for this reason. There is nothing magical about them.

I rotate everything I bake 1/2 way through the baking cycle. Pretty much the only thing the is going to get hurt by opening the door to soon. Is when air is used as the main leavener. Then by sloshing around some air is lost before the protiens have had a chance to set.

Mike

IHATEFONDANT Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 11:16am
post #23 of 31

My oven can be a PIA.

When I preheat I always wait at least another ten minutes, after it says it is at temp, before I put anything in there.

Yellow/white cakes tend to skrink. I had a big issue with a yellow cake recipe I was using until I just started putting the eggs in whole and stopped beating the egg whites separately and folding them in, like the recipe called for. I also don't ever open my oven door until the last few minutes of baking time.

Don't give up scratch just because one recipe didn't work. Scratch takes practice. That is why not everyone can do it. I would hate to tell you how many times I've done a certain recipe before I am happy with it. Thank goodness my dog loves cake. icon_biggrin.gif

twooten173 Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 2:52pm
post #24 of 31

Mike, I have a scale. I found a weight measurement for baking items online and I will weigh all of the items.

Jeanne, I don't know how long I beat the other ingredients. I just made sure the solid and wet ingredients were incorporated before adding the next set. The whites were pretty fluffy but I'll make sure to get the eggs whites and sugar REALLY fluffy next time.

Also, I've never had homemade lemond curd just the stuff from the grocery store. I'll try some and see if its any better.

Dailey did say this recipe was a little difficult so I'm going to try the WBH reciped on Tuesday. I'll let you know how it comes out.

twooten173 Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 3:12pm
post #25 of 31

Mike, I found a measurement guide on CC and one at http://www.dianasdesserts.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/tools.measures/Measures.cfm

Some of the weights are very different. Which do you use?

Mike1394 Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 3:22pm
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by twooten173

Mike, I found a measurement guide on CC and one at http://www.dianasdesserts.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/tools.measures/Measures.cfm

Some of the weights are very different. Which do you use?




The biggest one to give trouble is the flour. Try measuring out a cup of flour then weigh it. Have someone else do it. See what the differences are. The problem with recipes written given in cups is you don't know how they converted it. Measure your flour, Pwd sugar, sugar by the cup. Do it ten times take an average, and use that as your 1 cup weight. That way it's always the same for that type of flour. Or a much simpler way. Only use recipes that use weight, and don't use cups.

Mike

dhiaaah Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 3:46pm
post #27 of 31

i think the only mistake was not with the batter or the recipe itself, but with the fact that u opened the door whil ethe cake was still baking!
the number 1 golden rule my mom taught me for cake-baking was never to open the oven door until the supposed time for baking has elapsed or ur cake will become a pancake!
i love box mixes..they taste much better than cakes made from scratch!

twooten173 Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 4:04pm
post #28 of 31

dhiaaah - notice I didn't say the cake tasted bad or was heavy I said the problem was that it shrank. It was actually very good and had a beautiful texture. I pretty much won't eat yellow and white cake (too much testing) now and I actually liked this one.

Mike1394 Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 8:46pm
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by dhiaaah

i think the only mistake was not with the batter or the recipe itself, but with the fact that u opened the door whil ethe cake was still baking!
the number 1 golden rule my mom taught me for cake-baking was never to open the oven door until the supposed time for baking has elapsed or ur cake will become a pancake!
i love box mixes..they taste much better than cakes made from scratch!




Opening the door. Jumping up, and down in front of the oven. All of this has no effect on whether, or not a cake rises. it only matters when the main leavener is air I.E. cream puffs. If something happens to make the baked good lose air before the protiens set then it will fall.

Mike

snarkybaker Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 10:37pm
post #30 of 31

That recipe is an excellent one. We use the commercial version all the time with a few minor modifications. We do beat the sugar and eggs together for 5-7 minutes and add the last flour in by hand.

If you read the description of the cake, one of the characteristics of the cake is that it bakes up very flat- makes it a dream to stack an frost.

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