Frustrated With Cake Recipes

Decorating By Denae Updated 13 Jan 2009 , 5:16am by mom2rascals

Denae Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 2:49am
post #1 of 33

ok...i have tried bunches of scratch cake recipes, but i keep going back to the doctored up recipes. they are so MOIST!!! what in the heck does betty crocker put in her mix? i heard martha stewart's recipes were good, but i have tried them too. every scratch recipe i have tried it doesn't compare to the doctored up one. scratch is dry and box is moist. anyone have any ideas or suggestions or any GREAT recipes?

32 replies
montanabaker Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 3:03am
post #2 of 33

I've sort of been doing lots of research and experimenting, and it seems to me that when you use oil instead of butter or shortening, it helps to add moist consistency to homemade cake. Also, for my chocolate cake recipe i add one cup of hot coffee right at the end and fold it into the batter just before it gets poured into the pans. It is super moist and the coffee brings out the chocolate flavor alot.
Good luck.

Denae Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 3:11am
post #3 of 33

does it taste like coffee though? because i though about using elisa strous's recipes, but it called for coffee as well. i hate the taste of coffee.

dmich Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 3:18am
post #4 of 33

Elisa Strauss' chocolate cake recipe is delicious and does not taste at all like coffee. It's the same deal as the recipe montanbaker mentioned; the coffee gets added in at the end of making the batter. The cake is moist and dense, and not too sweet.

Denae Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 3:19am
post #5 of 33

what brand of coffee?

dmich Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 3:22am
post #6 of 33

It just calls for strong coffee. I happen to use Starbucks Sumatra.

sweet_teeth Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 3:23am
post #7 of 33

Almost all chocolate cake recipes call for coffee.. i promise you they do not taste like coffee, at all. It just brings out the richness of the cake. My all time favorite chocolate cake recipe is this one:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Double-Chocolate-Layer-Cake-101275

I'm telling you it's to die for. I don't use "high quality" chocolates.. instead simply Hershey's cocoa, and nestle mini semi sweet chips for the melted chocolate.. and it works flawlessly. It's one of my only scratch recipes that I like better than a doctored box. It's insanely good!! Also, I usually don't use the ganache, but instead a chocolate buttercream.

Good luck!

melysa Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 3:30am
post #8 of 33

i LOVE chocolate cakes that call for coffee (enriches the chocolate), butter (rich flavor) and buttermilk (moistness) and pure vanilla.

do you have the "techniques" down for making scratch cakes? i used to hate baking from scratch because i just dumped it all in a bowl (like when doing a mix) and expected it to come out perfect. however making sure to follow instructions really makes a difference. sift and aerate your flour and dry ingredients before measuring (weigh if possible). cream, i mean really cream your butter and sugar...eggs too. alternately add dry and wet ingredients (by hand, makes a more tender texture), always dry first-and last...

here are my favorite recipes:

yellow: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/MOIST-YELLOW-CAKE-109358

chocolate: (scroll down) http://lick-the-spoon.blogspot.com/

carrot: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Best-Carrot-Cake-Ever/Detail.aspx w/ vanilla smbc or whipped cream/cream cheese frosting

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-901-Whipped-Cream-Frosting.html
http://www.cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-6927-1-Very-Vanilla-Swiss-Meringue-Buttercream.html

melysa Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 3:32am
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmich

It just calls for strong coffee. I happen to use Starbucks Sumatra.




i agree to use a good coffee. i like using starbucks house or breakfast blend.

as for cocoa, i like using hersheys special dark. i dont have fancy brands available to me, and i like the rich dark color and flavor it gives to chocolate cake.

MacsMom Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 3:35am
post #10 of 33

I totally feel your pain... That is why I never bake from scratch! lol. I've heard said a few times here that a box cake is just scratch ingredients put together for your convenience anyway icon_razz.gif

I use the WASC recipe for everything, varying flavors of mixes, extracts, and liquids. I even swap sour cream for flavored yogurts when I think it will heighten a cake flavor.

And ditto on the coffee. I've added tablespoons of Nielsen Maseys chocolate extract trying to make a mocha flavored cake - it took so much to get it taste like coffee!

FromScratch Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 3:36am
post #11 of 33

Scratch cakes aren't dry, but they do have a different texture than mixes. They tend to be tighter crumbed and people translate that to being "dry" when they aren't. Now that's not to say that things can't go wrong and make them dry too. Over-baking is usually a big problem. Over-mixing is another. You have to know what you are doing.. it's not rocket science, but there is a method and you have to know when it looks right. Trial and error are a big part of the learning process. The chocolate cake that was linked above is a great cake and pretty fail proof. icon_smile.gif

Ruth0209 Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 3:46am
post #12 of 33

That recipe looks spectacularly good. Thanks for posting it!

MacsMom Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 4:07pm
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacsMom

And ditto on the coffee. I've added tablespoons of Nielsen Masseys chocolate extract trying to make a mocha flavored cake - it took so much to get it taste like coffee!




Oop's! I meant COFFEE extract... icon_redface.gif

Jeaucl Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 5:42pm
post #14 of 33

I find that my scratch cakes tend to be more moist than box cake. Though I am extremely anti-mix in the first place. I do prefer to make cakes from scratch. However, I am still searching for that perfect, go to white cake recipe.
Anyway, I do find that adding coffee into my chocolate cake does indeed make the cake taste like coffee, I have tried watering it down, or making a weak brew, tried not using as much coffee and using plain water to make up the difference, but I still get that coffee taste. I personally prefer it, but the wife doesn't much care for it.

FromScratch Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 9:07pm
post #15 of 33

I find if you eat it warm.. you can taste the coffee, but not after it's cooled. I'm not a big coffee fan at all, but I put it in all things chocolate.

__Jamie__ Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 9:29pm
post #16 of 33

I made two cakes last week. One was a butter yellow box mix, and one was a scratch cake. I could immediately notice the difference in taste and texture. Scratch for me, from now on! I will say I am going to try the WASC soon, just because I am curious, but when I had the two cakes next to each other, there was no arguing which one looked better and tasted better. But that's just me, so I don't want offend any die hard box mixers out there. icon_smile.gif

cakelass Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 9:30pm
post #17 of 33

I agree with the coffee. It makes the biggest difference!. Now that I use the cup of strong coffee it gives me a very moist and dense cake. Also seems to stay fresh for longer.
With every scratch recipe follow the instructions and although it takes longer they do taste better (I think). I also make sure I sift all my dry ingredients together and airate it using a whisk before adding to the liquid.
Another thing that I found helped was to buy a good quality oven thermometer as my oven was out by 10 to 15 degrees.
I also cook in the middle shelf.
I hope this helps.
Keep trying (this is coming from the former box queen) I was always too scared because I was also stuffing up. Now I only do scratch recipes.

FromScratch Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 10:40pm
post #18 of 33

The best thing you can do is get a digital scale and weigh your dry ingredients. But make sure you do aerate your flour.. if you scoop a cup of packed flour it will be too much. Run a whisk through it before you scoopand then run a knife over it to level it.. don't tamp it in. Too much flour will RUIN a cake. It will make it dry and like cornbread in texture..

-K8memphis Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 11:21pm
post #19 of 33

I just wanted to post because Sylvia Weinstock has a killer vanilla cake that I added to my signature down there because we are often frustrated by recipes and hers is awesome.

__Jamie__ Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 11:24pm
post #20 of 33

Yep...that one is on my list too!

-K8memphis Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 11:27pm
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie85364

Yep...that one is on my list too!




The Sylvia one?

__Jamie__ Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 11:31pm
post #22 of 33

Yes ma'am! I am so in love with scratch recipes and silky buttercreams now, I can't wait to try new ones! I would imagine anything Sylvia Weinstock endorses has gotta be good!

__Jamie__ Posted 12 Jan 2009 , 11:33pm
post #23 of 33

And...AND....how great to be able to know that I might not be able to twist out gumpaste flowers or pipe perfectly executed fleur de lis' like Sylvia....but I can make an exact recipe cake!

-K8memphis Posted 13 Jan 2009 , 12:02am
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie85364

And...AND.... I might not be able to twist out gumpaste flowers or pipe perfectly executed fleur de lis' like Sylvia....




You can so to!

ILE Posted 13 Jan 2009 , 12:06am
post #25 of 33

'Sylvia Weinstock Yellow Cake'its very good i have done it.and i had the pleasure of meeting her. her shop it's amazing. nice lady.

-K8memphis Posted 13 Jan 2009 , 12:12am
post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie85364

Yes ma'am! I am so in love with scratch recipes and silky buttercreams now, I can't wait to try new ones! I would imagine anything Sylvia Weinstock endorses has gotta be good!





Cool! Yeah for real, she's way amazing. Taught herself, deliver me!

Yeah, I've never been good at doing the eggs separate because I can taste that yuckbo egg white gak, blagh! And if I incorporate the egg white enough all the air dissipates so I just toss 'em all in minus half the yolks. It's a beautiful formula.

And y'know I just watch the emulsion so it looks like a cake mix all the way through and you're golden. But the cake ain't golden, the cake comes out white. icon_biggrin.gif

Hope you like.

-K8memphis Posted 13 Jan 2009 , 12:14am
post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ILE

'Sylvia Weinstock Yellow Cake'its very good i have done it.and i had the pleasure of meeting her. her shop it's amazing. nice lady.




Wow how cool!

Maybe if I ever get to New York...

FromScratch Posted 13 Jan 2009 , 12:37am
post #28 of 33

I use Sylvia's vanilla butter cake too.. it's 'da bomb! icon_wink.gif

JanH Posted 13 Jan 2009 , 3:08am
post #29 of 33

Scratch baking isn't rocket science, but it's not just dumping all your ingredients into a bowl and letting the flour fly either....

As has been said, correctly learning the basic techniques is crucial. Here's a very helpful website for learning how to scratch bake: www.joyofbaking.com

For even more technical info on scratch cake baking: http://www.bakingandbakingscience.com/Cakes.htm

Came across this article that explains why mix cakes will always be perceived as more moist than scratch cakes.

It appears that cake mix cakes should only be compared to other cake mix cakes (brands); and scratch cakes only to other scratch cakes (recipes).

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Desserts-747/BROWNIES.htm
(Scroll down just past "Answer".)

Secrets to making great scratch cakes:

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-161891-.html

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-365153-.html

Scratch cake making encouragement/bakeries also use mixes:

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-498523-.html

CC member contributed "best" scratch cake recipes:

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-440803-.html

HTH

__Jamie__ Posted 13 Jan 2009 , 3:43am
post #30 of 33

JanH: Queen of the helpful links! Man, I have marked so many of your posts just for the links! Thanks a lot!

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