So I just moved to NJ from the MD/DC area and just started baking again. I am using an electric stove now, previously had a gas convection oven, and can't get my cakes to turn out right. I have tried twice to bake a box cake and the first time, the cakes sank like rocks about 10 minutes after I took them out of the oven. I figured it was because I put too much sour cream, so the second time I tried, I only used 1 tablespoon instead (first time I used almost the whole container). This time, the cakes rose but not very high and just didn't look right. I cut one and the bottom was still very soft. I also made cupcakes that rose nicely and then sank in the middle shortly after coming out of the oven.
I have the oven set to 325 and have had it calibrated. It's a brand new oven! I also have checked both the cakes and cupcakes after about 20-25 mins of baking. I don't open the door unless they look nice and golden on top. When I test them, the tester comes out clean.
I know that I am out of practice, haven't baked in about a year, but this sucks. I am about to just give it up and sell all of my stuff. I don't get to bake often with my new job so I get excited when I have the opportunity to do so, and this problem is stealing my thunder!
Also, anyone know of a cake supply store in northern NJ, like Jersey City, Newark, Hoboken?
I don't use box mixes, but it could be something "off" in your doctoring formula... baking is a science and you can't just add things in random amounts and expect it to still work. I would post the full recipe of what you are adding to the mix and we can see if adjustments need to be made.
Also, a cake tester (skewer/toothpick) is only one test. Press gently ont he top of the cake. Does it feel firm? Does it spring right back. Then it should be done. What size pan are we looking at here, generally? At 325 (in my home oven), most of my recipes bake for an hour or more in anything larger than an 8" pan (obviously less when I'm using the commercial convection).
I live in Essex county, and there are NO good retail cake supplies in north jersey that I have found, but I order most of my stuff wholesale anyway. Check out Candyland Crafts in Somerville... it's a bit of a hike from your area, but in a pinch it's worth the trip--it's my go-to place when I need something last-minute. www.candylandcrafts.com
if the bottom of your cake is still soft, it sounds like its not cooked enough.
That was my first thought....that they aren't being baked long enough. At 325 degrees, I bake mine for more than 30 minutes depending on the size.
Thanks for the suggestions. I thought maybe it was that I wasn't leaving them in long enough, I will try again. As for the recipe used to doctor the mix, I use milk instead of water and only added the additional tablespoon of sour cream. In the past I have doctored a cake mix this way and didn't have these issues so that is why I am at a loss. Baking is a science, and I think that maybe I am not judging something properly. I will try again this weekend.
Thanks for the responses everyone. And Pink Ziab, thanks for the store info. I have seen the candyland crafts website. I think I may just have to plan ahead and stop in the city on my way home from work.
I figured it was because I put too much sour cream, so the second time I tried, I only used 1 tablespoon instead (first time I used almost the whole container).
Too much fat, sugar and/or leavening will cause a cake to sink or fall..
Adding almost a whole container of sour cream seriously compromised the cake mix formula.
baking is a science and you can't just add things in random amounts and expect it to still work.
Handy cake troubleshooting charts:
However, 1 Tbsp. probably wouldn't have done much damage as cake mixes are VERY forgiving... so it's likely that you overmixed the batter.
My first recommendation would be to use a recipe.
Here's a thread that should be helpful.....
Everything you need to know to bake, assemble and decorate tiered/stacked/layer cakes:
This thread has popular CC recipes for: doctored cake mix (WASC and flavor variations), crusting American b/c's and fondant.
Also has links to Wilton's cake preparation and servings guides.(Gives batter requirements by pan sizes, as well as recommended baking times and temps.) And so much more.
Additional WASC chocolate variation by Cakepro:
When I make any of the WASC cake recipes, I sift all the dry ingredients together into a large bowl, and mix all the wet ingredients in a second larger bowl.
Then I add the dry to the wet and beat for 2 mins. using a HAND mixer at medium speed.
If using a STAND mixer, I would mix at the lowest speed for 2 mins. or less.
Thread with all the enhanced/extended doctored cake mix recipes:
If you'd like to learn more of the science behind baking and the use of ingredients, I'd recommend www.joyofbaking.com
This site also has info that will help you understand basic concepts and techniques of baking.
You CAN do it.
Thanks Jan! You're the best!