Cathy26 Posted 7 Feb 2009 , 9:28pm
post #1 of

Im seriously at my wits end - after a brilliant week last week, all three cakes ive done this week have been a nightmare. my fondant kept ripping and my cakes havnt been cooking properly.

I use Lindy Smith's madeira recipe which worked out great the first two batches i made but now its rising like mad in the middle which is still complely RAW in the middle even after the longer of the cooking times stated. then of course the outsides are overcooked so im having to use sugar syrup to try the salvage it. even though i do the wet towel thing to try and stop the edges cooking so much. im so depressed. im wasting loads of cake having to level them off so much plus im really worried that my cakes are too dry now due to the overcooking.

Please help! im cooking at 160 degrees.

Thanks in advance

16 replies
ernurse39 Posted 7 Feb 2009 , 9:44pm
post #2 of

I'm assuming that's 160 degrees celcius? What is that in farenheit? I bake mine at 325 degrees farenheit so they don't over cook on the outside and they still cook on the inside.

Eisskween Posted 7 Feb 2009 , 9:46pm
post #3 of

Try putting a greased flower nail head down or a baking core in the center of your cake, that should help with the even baking of the center. Also, if you have an oven thermometer, you should check and make sure that the temperature of the oven is correct.

HTH! Enjoy your day!

sweet_teeth Posted 7 Feb 2009 , 9:47pm
post #4 of

I'm assuming you mean 160C.. which would equal around 320 F. If that's the case, maybe you're oven temperature is off. Do you have an oven therm. inside your oven so you can check the accuracy? Even the best of ovens are notorious for cooking at the wrong temperature.

I have a thermometer in mine and in order to get 300 degrees on my oven I have to have the dial set at 250. Yet to get 400 degrees, I have to have the dial set at 425. It is quite bizarre!

evasmama Posted 9 Feb 2009 , 4:49am
post #5 of

I concur with Alexandra. An oven thermometer has been my best Christmas gift of 2008. I always wondered why things took much longer to cook than specified in recipes. It turns out that although my oven is digital, and it beeps to signal preheating at the requested temperature, it was only at 200 degrees when the beeper went off! All I do now is let it pre-heat for a good half hour and it's usually right at 350 according to the thermometer.

Cathy26 Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 6:48pm
post #6 of

Im still havng this problem, i just dont know what im doing wrong. the first batch of madeira cakes i made a few weeks ago were absolutly perfect but since then all the cakes im making are still raw in the middle after the cooking time with a flower nail and wet towels wrapped round.

the only thing i can think of is that i switched flours. i had bought a more expensive brand at a cash and carry and all the cakes were perfect but when i ran out im thinking that is when my problems started. im using a very cheap supermarket own brand self raising flour. do you think this could be why the middles are rising like mad and not cooking?

Thanks!

-K8memphis Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 6:55pm
post #7 of

An idea for you is to leave off the wet towels once and see if that doesn't improve your results. Those add a lot of moisture. Also be sure your oven is hot enough. I mean 160 C is 320- 325 degrees F in my oven and my cakes like 350 best. Just some ideas for you.

I mean your oven might be cycling slower--just slow enought to mess things up. I know you had good results previously but maybe try these two ideas.

Hope this all works out for you soon. (((hug)))

Cathy26 Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 8:01pm
post #8 of

lol, i was thinking of doing just the opposite - ie put extra layer of wet towels and lower the over to 145-150. i thought that would mean that the edges wouldnt cook so quick and the middle would have more time to cook.

Chocolate cakes, i cook at 170-180 but its the maderia cake im having problems with, its just so thick and dense it just seems to take an age to get the middle cooked.

il try both ways and see what happens.

at least im able to salvage the cakes with sugar syrup, all my customers are thrilled with the taste and texture but its the actual cooking thats causing me stress and having to keep checking the cakes, and standing by the oven and then wasting so much leveling them off.

-K8memphis Posted 14 Feb 2009 , 8:06pm
post #9 of

Another idea--fold a piece of aluminum foil and use this as a loose tent on top of the cake pan to help intensify the heat a bit. And leave it on there after you take it out of the oven. I usually put it on after the cake poofs up and crusts a bit on top but it's still wiggly inside.
Then after 15 20 mins I start turning the heat down.

Cathy26 Posted 18 Feb 2009 , 11:43pm

i actually am losing the plot now! i just defrosted and leveled and cut a cake in the middle and it was just raw hard dough in the middle so i had to bin it and start over, so much for being well organised this week. im so depressed. ive tried different tempretures, the more expensive flour, tenting with foil, flower nails, diffrent positions in the oven etc and im literally about to scream. my 10 inch cakes are now taking 2 hours instead of 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 and then they are really dry and need soaked in the middle.

il have to buy an oven thermometer right now, i cant take anymore of this, im constantly checking the middle to see if they are cooked to the point that the middles of the cakes are wrecked from having holes poked in them icon_mad.gif

Candy120 Posted 18 Feb 2009 , 11:58pm

While you are out getting the thermometer, get a HEAT CORE!!! I use one all the time, except on small cakes. Greatest invention since sliced bread!!

dance2874 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 12:20am

Where do you find a heat core? (online would be fine if you can tell me where) The flower nail doesnt always do the trick for me on my larger cakes.

SugaredUp Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 12:36am

Are you supposed to be using self rising flour in your recipe?

Candy120 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 12:44am

I got mine at my local cake store. Try Wilton's site. Maybe Google Heat Core for cakes....not sure where to go on line!

Marianna46 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 12:52am

I agree totally with SugaredUp, and I'm surprised nobody came up with this sooner. Never, ever use self-rising flour unless the recipe calls specifically for it! Just get plain flour, if you don't want to pay for -- or can't find -- cake flour. Self-rising flour is chock full of extra leavening ingredients that can wreak havoc with a cake (either drying it out excessively or making it fall, leaving it raw in the middle). Of course a lot of the things that have been suggested here are worth a try, too. Especially the heating core/flower nail, the oven thermometer and more -- not less-- towelling around the outside of the pan (especially toward the bottom edge), as you yourself suggested, Cathy24. I wish you the best, because I know just how frustrating trying something over and over and not having it come out can be.

This post has been edited because half or it was illegible and the other half didn't make any sense!

Cathy26 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 11:53pm

my oven thermometer is on its way, im shredding more towels tomorow, il keep you posted, thanks as always Cathy

PS yes, the recipe calls for self raising flour and plain flour about 3:1.

Cathy26 Posted 21 Feb 2009 , 4:40pm

Hi everyone, just to let you know i bought the oven thermometer and it turns out what i thought was 160 was actually 180! so that explains why my cakes werent rising so much and also why the middles were rising loads and cracking but were raw and doughy.

I twiddled with the oven until it was 160 and got perfect flat well risen (like almost an inch over the tin) cakes which cooked evenly. no more crispy tops with big mad pointed middles and raw insides. no more wasting half my cakes after leveling.

Cant believe this was what the problem was, i totally trusted my oven, obviously now its getting used so much its messed up a wee bit but thank goodness its fixed, it was literally on the verge of cracking up.

thanks for the advice!

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