In Over My Head? Long

Decorating By evbunt Updated 7 Apr 2009 , 8:21pm by evbunt

evbunt Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 11:11pm
post #1 of 46

Okay, hopefully this is an okay place to post this...I just have some issues and they fall into multiple categories so slap my wrists if this needs to be elsewhere! Okay, here's the deal, I am planning on making my daughter a castle cake for her b-day next week. i am a very inexperienced baker, but am fearless as a "cook". So, after spending over 25 hours on cc in the past week and getting internet disconnection threats from my husband, i thought I had figured out what I was gonna do and understood why i was doing them. So, to practic today, i marched myself to the store to get what i needed. Without a list.

So, to decide which cake I wanted, I bought the following: all duncan hines (on sale??)...

White cake mix, mixed in cheesecake pudding mix, 1/4 c oil, 1/4 cup water and 3 eggs (used whole thing, not just whites, so cake is not "white") and 8 oz sour cream.

Then, realized I am missing about 4 of my pans...where did they go? I don't use them much. So, since I was making 3 different kinds, I put this one in a 4 in round ceramic casserole dish and let it cook much longer. Result, little saggy in the middle, okay, thought I could deal with it, but then after cooling, when I went to level it...like soup in the middle. So, genius put it back in oven (yes after it had cooled). haven't cut into it yet, but the scraps are incredible! Now I have what looks like a bread bowl with crusted pudding in it.

Cake 2: devils food cake...am I really inexp or what - isn't it the same as chocolate?? Now, i realize I forgot sour cream at the store...so no more after cake 1... just used the pound cake recipe on side of box with the pudding. But, what exactly is the diff between pound cake? Put that in a 9x12 pan and looks okay, slightly droopy in middle, but not bad.

Cake 3: okay, this is where things got interesting. 2 pans left, one normal 8 in round and one kind of 3 or 4 inch quiche like glass dish. So, with no sour cream, I went online and couldn't find what I thought I had read, but came across something about melted ice cream but didn't have enough. So, yellow cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, 1 cup melted vanilla ice cream, 4 eggs and 1/2 c water, 1/2 c oil. Result, INCREDIBLE TASTE, perfect 8 in round, but the other one has a huge divet in center.

So, here's the deal....obviously, I am going to get the correct pans for next week, but I was going to do the 4 in squares, but considering all of my deep cakes have no middle or didn't cook...not too sure anymore. So here are my questions:
Why is devils food cake different than just a chocolate cake? I keeps seeing devils food cake with icing drizzled over it, so can I not stack it and ice it with buttercream like the others?
What does the sour cream actually do in these cakes? Because the cupcakes I used with the leftovers are awesome, but again, I have a "bread bowl"
How do you fix the hole in the middle...is it just the pan or time, etc?

I'm so sorry for all the questions, you people are absolutely amazing. Maybe they aren't even answerable questions and I'm just wondering if I'm crazy for attempting this. I am fearless with food and spices, i can add and substitute and not measure, but am so afraid with baking as obviously there is a purpose to each ingredient and amount...but I tried to improvise today and...it's a droopy day. Later, I'm gonna try to make some sort of stacking experiment with the cakes that are useable and try to use bc and practice getting it smooth (cheated, bought it from grocery baker cuz I have a hand mixer only and was afraid) and I attempted mmf, it's in the fridge now. MMF just for details, not that brave.
My main purpose of all the cakes was to find the one that tasted the best, then figure out if I can tackle a filling, but biggest problem is that the middles are so saggy and don't know how to fix that or what is going to happen when I try to stack and ice. now I'm rambling, so I'll just see if there is any advice...hopefully.

45 replies
evbunt Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 11:13pm
post #2 of 46

my own reply, the devils food is extremely light and fluffy...

bettinashoe Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 11:26pm
post #3 of 46

You need to put a rose nail in the middle of any large cake as it generates heat and helps to cook the middle of the cake. Also the cake strips (Wilton) placed along the outside of the cake will help with even cooking (follow directions on package).

Devil's food is usually richer and deeper in chocolate taste than regular chocolate. I use a devil's food cake for all of my chocolate cakes and have never had an issue with icing it. Sour cream usually adds more moisture to the cake in addition to making it denser (pound cake is very dense and holds up well to stacking). For your castle, I would recommend a pound cake, whether you're using devil's food, yellow or white.

Good luck on your castle. You'll do well. They really aren't that difficult; just remember buttercream roses hide a lot of issues. If in doubt, stick a rose on it.

JGMB Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 11:27pm
post #4 of 46

Well, I'm FAR from being an expert, so hopefully someone more knowledgeable will come along. icon_rolleyes.gif

In the meantime, though, I think that a Devil's Food is just a darker chocolate.

Did you use a heat diffuser thing in the bottom of your pan? I think that's what it's called -- I actually just use a metal flower nail. It helps to spread the heat evenly within the pan so that the middle bakes at the same pace as the outer edges.

Hope this helps a little and that someone else comes to your rescue!

I can't wait to see that castle cake -- you can do it!!!!!!!!!! thumbs_up.gif

MnSnow Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 11:28pm
post #5 of 46

ok a few suggestions for your droopy centers.
1. bake even strips. If you don't have any, use a raggy old towel cut into strips, wet them and wrap them around the cake pan.
2. you can use rose nails upside down in the center of your cake batter. Just make sure to grease them well. It helps distribute the heat more evenly
3. Bake at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. 325 usually works best

Most of all...Don't give up!! 99% of education is experience

ThatsHowTcakesRolls Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 11:30pm
post #6 of 46

Ok...I'll be honest...I'm not really sure where to start! I applaud you for taking this on for your daughter...you'll be hooked for sure after your successful cake, and trust me, you will be successful with all the knowledge on here...lol

It's good you started early. My first thought is...why once you were out of the Sour Cream for the cake mixes...why didn't you just do the water, oil & egg recipe on the box? Much easier than trying to jimmy rig a recipe that you are experimenting with... Devil's Food Cake is chocolate cake but it's a little more chocolaty in my opinion.

For the cake that you put back in the oven after it cooled...you will definitely find that the edges are drier than dry, most likely. The middle probably is Ok, though I can't be sure the texture would be the same...

As for the divets in the center...What temperature are you baking at and how tall is the pan? I have no idea what quiche pan is which is why I'm asking. Usually when there is a divet it's because it wasn't completely baked and when you take it out the oven it will eventually stop cooking itself and the part that hasn't baked completely will sink.

For the comment about seeing Devil's Food cake with icing drizzled over it...um, I think that's just a way some might prepare it. If it's the icing that looks like a glaze and is drizzled down the size, you would want to drizzle that over a cake that you are planning on icing & stacking. You simply just want to fill your cake with either a filling or icing, stack it and then ice it. That's it...

Good Luck to you!

Tammi

evbunt Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 11:32pm
post #7 of 46

THANK YOU...how did I miss putting something in the bottom of the pan in all of my hours on this website?? I will try that on round 2. And the strips, too. I've never heard of either of those so thank you so much for your quick replies. I've informed my husband we are eating cake for dinner, and breakfast, lunch tomorrow. And rest of the week!

So, I guess if I just get the sour cream and put it in the devil's food it will work better. but I have to say, this ice cream one is really rather good. go figure!

indydebi Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 11:36pm
post #8 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by evbunt

my own reply, the devils food is extremely light and fluffy...




Me, too. Devils Food, to me, is very bouncy. I haven't used this flavor for years because of the bouncy texture. For my chocolate cakes I always use Betty Crocker CHocolate Fudge .... not devils food, not milk chocolate, but Chocolate Fudge. It's more chocolatey to me and a little more firm.

Deb_ Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 11:40pm
post #9 of 46

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif WOW.......do you speak as fast as you type? icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

OK here's the most IMPORTANT piece of advice that you'll get, so are you ready? Be sure you're listening now..................

You said you've spent 25 hrs on CC and your hubby threatened to disconnect your internet............

~Solution~ It's very important to get some *laundry* done BEFORE you spend 25 hrs on CC. We need to keep the hubbies happy so they don't notice how many hrs we spend on CC. icon_biggrin.gif

15 minutes of *laundry* = 25 hrs on CC........it's all good icon_lol.gif

Good luck!

-K8memphis Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 11:40pm
post #10 of 46

Chemically, baking needs balance similar to cooking where the flavor needs balance.

So the sour cream plus the water in any cake is most likely a mis-step, the sour cream replaces the water.

When you're gonna carve or create like this, you can cheat with the oil (when using mixes) Because oil fluffyfies a cake--tenderizes it and it's ok if it's a little heartier for your purposes. Like you can use half the oil or something. You can use it all too--but I often use less.

Again, the ice cream would replace the water.

So the holes in the middle are either from the extra water or from underbaking. When you bake off a real deep thick spot--you need to add something metal in the middle like an upturned rose nail so the heat condcuts from the middle of the cake somehow. Also after the outside of the cake is done and the middle is not done, you can lower the oven temp and watch and wait for that sucker to set up--just give it what time it needs to be done.

So I see some possible re-baking in my crystal ball/bowl. You can probably do a mix & match patchwork with the parts you can carve out around the gooey middles. But just watch out for too much improvising before you get the chemical balances down first.

I'm glad that you aren't discouraged. Keep going you got a great start--it's gonna be awesome!!!

Niliquely Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 11:44pm
post #11 of 46

I don't know if this is crazy or not - but I CANNOT use DH mixes with sour cream (I just blogged about this today) because they always collapse on me!!! I have used other mixes with the same recipe and they always turn out fine. So maybe Duncan Hines was a little to blame???

JGMB Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 11:58pm
post #12 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niliquely

I don't know if this is crazy or not - but I CANNOT use DH mixes with sour cream (I just blogged about this today) because they always collapse on me!!! I have used other mixes with the same recipe and they always turn out fine. So maybe Duncan Hines was a little to blame???




The Duncan Hines were on sale a while back for 99 cents a box, so that's what I've been using in kakeladi's WASC recipe. They've turned out great!!! So, I haven't seen a problem with Duncan Hines & sour cream.

i_heart_pastry Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 11:59pm
post #13 of 46

You've gotten good advice! Just a note on the ice cream. Melted ice cream will give you both your liquid and your fat, so you don't need to add water, oil, sour cream or anything else to your mix. Just add 3 eggs and 1 pint of melted high-quality ice cream (like Ben and Jerry's). The premium ice cream has less air in it. If you use a lower-quality ice cream, you'll need more of it and your cake won't be quite as good.

I'm typically a scratch-baker, but sometimes I will make my family a cake mix with ice cream because if there is anything better than Cherry Garcia, it's Cherry Garcia cake (with a scoop of Cherry Garcia on the side)! lol

Bec

pastryjen Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 12:05am
post #14 of 46

I've heard that devil's food got it's name because the the "chocolate" flavour comes from cocoa (not chocolate) which can have a red tint/colour to it.

janebrophy Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 12:25am
post #15 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif WOW.......do you speak as fast as you type? icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

OK here's the most IMPORTANT piece of advice that you'll get, so are you ready? Be sure you're listening now..................

You said you've spent 25 hrs on CC and your hubby threatened to disconnect your internet............

~Solution~ It's very important to get some *laundry* done BEFORE you spend 25 hrs on CC. We need to keep the hubbies happy so they don't notice how many hrs we spend on CC. icon_biggrin.gif

15 minutes of *laundry* = 25 hrs on CC........it's all good icon_lol.gif

Good luck!




icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif LMAO!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Niliquely Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 12:30am
post #16 of 46

It took me too long to figure out what *laundry* was...man am I tired!

MBHazel Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 12:38am
post #17 of 46

I think in the scratch world Devil's food cake is generally made with DUTCH processed cocoa. Others are typically, regular / natural cocoa.

In my experience:

DUTCH PROCESS= More $$$$$$$ and hard to find

Natural= Cheaper and you can find it anywhere.

Dutch process gives a stronger taste and richer color. I think the texture is softer too.

xstitcher Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 6:50am
post #18 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif WOW.......do you speak as fast as you type? icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

OK here's the most IMPORTANT piece of advice that you'll get, so are you ready? Be sure you're listening now..................

You said you've spent 25 hrs on CC and your hubby threatened to disconnect your internet............

~Solution~ It's very important to get some *laundry* done BEFORE you spend 25 hrs on CC. We need to keep the hubbies happy so they don't notice how many hrs we spend on CC. icon_biggrin.gif

15 minutes of *laundry* = 25 hrs on CC........it's all good icon_lol.gif

Good luck!




Deb, I'm thinking that's the solution to anything DH's have to complain about! Keep them in line I tell ya....BTW, how come all the laundry threads seem to have your name linked to them lately icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif...

xstitcher Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 6:59am
post #19 of 46

I got so caught up with Deb's laundry post I forgot to answer the OP's ?

I wanted to add one thing to the great advice about the upside down flower tip and the baking strips (or towels) and that is to pic up a oven thermometer from Walmart to make sure your the temp in your oven is working properly too.

Good luck!

Deb_ Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 1:04pm
post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by xstitcher



Deb, I'm thinking that's the solution to anything DH's have to complain about! Keep them in line I tell ya....BTW, how come all the laundry threads seem to have your name linked to them lately icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif...




tapedshut.gificon_lol.gif

Cakepro Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 3:56pm
post #21 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis



So the sour cream plus the water in any cake is most likely a mis-step, the sour cream replaces the water.




Sour cream does not replace the water in recipes. In fact, in her first cake, it sounds like she added too little water.

Take for example the WASC recipe:

2 boxes DH white mix
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1.5 tsp salt
16 oz sour cream
2 2/3 c water
4 Tbsp oil
6 whole eggs or 8 egg whites
2 tsp each vanilla & almond extract

That recipe right there is perfect. (Here's the recipe, OP: http://cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-2322-1-White-Almond-Sour-Cream-Cake-WASC.html)

And the chocolate WASC recipe found here is perfect too: http://cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-7367-0-AMAZING-Chocolate-WASC-Cake.html

Cakepro Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 4:01pm
post #22 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niliquely

I don't know if this is crazy or not - but I CANNOT use DH mixes with sour cream (I just blogged about this today) because they always collapse on me!!! I have used other mixes with the same recipe and they always turn out fine. So maybe Duncan Hines was a little to blame???




I don't think DH can be to blame, because I have been using DH mixes exclusively with the various WASC recipes for several years now with beautiful results.

julzs71 Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 4:21pm
post #23 of 46

A cheap alternative to bake even strips is old wet towels cut into strips.

solascakes Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 4:47pm
post #24 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by julzs71

A cheap alternative to bake even strips is old wet towels cut into strips.


you don't even need to cut them just fold in half

GI Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 4:57pm
post #25 of 46

I applaud you as a novice baker. I have family members who do not bake, so I can appreciate your inexperience.

You have received a lot of great advice.

Best thing you can do for yourself is to get yourself a good set of baking pans. You said you used bowls...purchasing a good set of baking pans and store them in the drawer under your oven, if you have a drawer! And while your at it, get a nice set of cooling racks if you don't have those, either.

For pans, Magic Lines brand is by far the best. They make a true 2" pan size. Fad Daddio's has 3" pans. Because you are so new at baking, I would recommend you stay with the 2" size. 8 or 9" rounds are common recipes. For family cakes, 9" round is the best. Even if your family is small. Stay away from the Wilton pans. They will just disappoint you. (The edge of their pan is rounded, and as you get better at baking, it will bug the crap out of not to have a nice crisp edge on your cake.)

To compare:
This cake I used a Wilton pan (not a great looking cake anyway, but wanted to show the edge-look that I'm talking about):
http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-photo_762593.html

This cake I had used Magic Lines pan (notice the difference of the crisp edge it gives)
http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-photo_1176671.html

If you don't have a Magic Lines store, then purchase them on-line. Really are not that expensive. This place is quick, inexpensive, gives terrific customer service:
http://cooksdream.com/store/ha.html

Also, use shortening (not PAM-type spray) and grease the crap out of your pans and line with parchment paper. You don't need to grease/flour the parchment paper, just pour your batter right in! This keeps your cakes from sticking and also doesn't dry out the cake. Keeps them nice and moist, too, while they are cooling.

Send any PMs if you wish, or just keep posting as I'm sure more novice bakers will read all the replies, too. thumbs_up.gif

Cakepro Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 5:07pm
post #26 of 46

LOL, what is really going to overwhelm the new girl is how different people SWEAR by different things!

I love my Wilton pans (and I love my Magic Line pans too, but not enough to replace my Wilton ones) and I NEVER grease/flour my pans because I hate a dense crust. I always use Spray Pam. The only time I take the time to cut & butter parchment is when I bake cheesecakes.

So, as a newbie, you will have to do lots of experimenting and figure out what works best for YOU! icon_smile.gifthumbs_up.gif

-K8memphis Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 5:27pm
post #27 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakepro

Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis



So the sour cream plus the water in any cake is most likely a mis-step, the sour cream replaces the water.



Sour cream does not replace the water in recipes. In fact, in her first cake, it sounds like she added too little water.

Take for example the WASC recipe:

2 boxes DH white mix
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1.5 tsp salt
16 oz sour cream
2 2/3 c water
4 Tbsp oil
6 whole eggs or 8 egg whites
2 tsp each vanilla & almond extract

That recipe right there is perfect. (Here's the recipe, OP: http://cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-2322-1-White-Almond-Sour-Cream-Cake-WASC.html)

And the chocolate WASC recipe found here is perfect too: http://cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-7367-0-AMAZING-Chocolate-WASC-Cake.html




Yes of course what was I thinking--I worded that wrong didn't I.
I didn't follow closely enough.

She said she was a good cook, kinda new to baking. I was just trying to make the distinction that you can't necessarily approach baking exactly like cooking where you can toss in this & that. There's the chemistry thing.

Had she added flour to her process she might have had different results. She added pudding in some cases. Bad formula for whatever reason or underbaked or both. Needs to adhere to a recipe like the ones you've provided.

I mean making them all different sent my head spinning.

The Sylvia Weinstock yellow cake recipe uses sour cream only with no added liquid. I guess that's what I was thinking about.
(I make wasc all the time--duh, Kate!)

all4cake Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 5:32pm
post #28 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niliquely

It took me too long to figure out what *laundry* was...man am I tired!




Don't feel bad....I had to read your post to realize laundry wasn't laundry but 'laaaaaaaaaaundry' icon_eek.gif My thought was daaaaaaaang who can do laundry in 15 minutes???? But now that I see that it's 'laaaaaaaaundry' icon_eek.gif I understand (I'd really get it if someone was looking over my shoulder as I typed that last part! lol)

GI Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 5:53pm
post #29 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakepro

LOL, what is really going to overwhelm the new girl is how different people SWEAR by different things!

I love my Wilton pans (and I love my Magic Line pans too, but not enough to replace my Wilton ones) and I NEVER grease/flour my pans because I hate a dense crust. I always use Spray Pam. The only time I take the time to cut & butter parchment is when I bake cheesecakes.

So, as a newbie, you will have to do lots of experimenting and figure out what works best for YOU! icon_smile.gifthumbs_up.gif




Well said, Cakepro! icon_biggrin.gif

I hate the grease/flour and never do anymore. I had trouble with the Pam, but maybe I baked too long that day, who knows. icon_lol.gif

I love your flower spray in your pix. I wished I could see more of your work here on CC (not at all a shameless begging on my part! icon_biggrin.gificon_wink.gif ) I'll bet your cakes are beautiful....

Cakepro Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 7:21pm
post #30 of 46

TYVM! icon_smile.gif My cakes are pretty average, though (but I have had a few gems!).

I (deservedly) had the welcome mat yanked out from under my feet when I was rude and mouthy to an admin last December, and my pics (with hundreds of favorites and some of whom regularly appeared in the Most Popular Photos on the homepage) were deleted when my account was de-activated. icon_sad.gif I spent a lot of time detailing how I did things and whatnot and it makes my stomach knot up when I think about uploading some again. Some of those original pics are on a fubar-ed hard drive in which Windows had a fatal stroke (yes, I am an idiot for not backing up my HD). icon_cry.gif Lesson learned though! I do need to upload a few to show I have a wee bit of experience. icon_biggrin.gif

You certainly do beautiful work!!

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%