First Scratch Cake!

Decorating By sweet1122 Updated 14 Apr 2009 , 12:41am by jensenscakes

sweet1122 Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 1:41am
post #1 of 14

My first made from scratch cake is in the oven. I'm kind of excited and nervous at the same time. It really wasn't too big of a deal. Its a lemon cake and I even grated the lemon peel and juiced the lemon. Big deals for me! icon_lol.gif Next time I will be better organized. I learned quite a bit. The batter definitely doesn't look like a box mix at all. Its so grainy so I'm very nervous about it coming out. I pulled the recipe from a better homes and garden cookbook I have. Its meant for 3 nine-inch round pans and I dumped one batch in a 10 inch square and made it again for a 2nd 10 inch square. I hope that won't make any difference.

I just wanted to say thanks for all the inspiration. I have been inspired to try new things. The gourmet flavor thread got me thinking to try new fillings so I'll also be making a lemon curd filling tonight icon_smile.gif Here's hoping I don't have to post in the disasters forum later. icon_lol.gif

13 replies
katwomen1up Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 2:34am
post #2 of 14

Good luck, I'm sure it will turn out. It's now hard just a little more time consuming. Lemon curd is awesome, I'm sure they'll love your cake.


__Jamie__ Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 2:40am
post #3 of 14


sweet1122 Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 3:58am
post #4 of 14

Okay, here's the thing with the cake. It looks beautiful. A gorgeous golden brown. But it seems really extra dense and pretty rock hard icon_confused.gif It hardly rose at all. It seems like the batter I poured just baked as is. Its very different from what I'm used to. Hope it'll be alright. icon_cool.gif

lostincake Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 4:10am
post #5 of 14

Well...first off congrats on taking the leap. I personally prefer to bake scratch if I can although I am not opposed to a cake mix and have used them.

Second, when I want to see how a cake's turned out but can't wait (not even for it to cool), I usually take a bit off the top where it's domed, since that will be leveled off anyway.

Hope it turns out well for you.

l_m_mena Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 4:23am
post #6 of 14

Okay, here's the thing with the cake. It looks beautiful. A gorgeous golden brown. But it seems really extra dense and pretty rock hard Confused It hardly rose at all. It seems like the batter I poured just baked as is. Its very different from what I'm used to. Hope it'll be alright. Cool

I am a scratch baker, and I also had problems the first time I tried a lemon cake using fresh squeezed lemons and zest. No problems with the other flavors, but lemon did not rise much, although the flavor was amazing and consistency was good, a little dense but not heavy, actually moist. I believe that the acidity of the lemon changes the pH of the mixture and it doesn't rise as much. I overcame this by adding extra baking soda only to lemon cakes. They don't come out with as strong a lemon flavor but they rise very well and are still quite lemony.

Hope this tip helps if you try again. Also, I'm not sure if you did but using a heating core for 10" or larger cakes helps them rise too.

sayhellojana Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 4:36am
post #7 of 14

Its likely because you baked a 10 square. Did you use a heating core or flower nail? Those are helpful. Did you lower the oven temp? I deffinantly would have done that to let allow it to bake evenly. That could be why the cake didnt rise much. I will say, Ive tried a few recipes from Better Homes and Gardens and have never been impressed with their cakes.

Welcome to scratch baking, btw! Wait till you pull out your first really amazing scratch cake from the oven, its a whole new, super awesome, feeling.

I love Serious_Cakes yellow cake recipe for lemon cake - I add a whole bunch of zest (3 or 4 lemons at least) and 2 teaspoons lemon extract. Always bakes up nicely.

sweet1122 Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 5:09am
post #8 of 14

I've seen that recipe, but I didn't feel right about shortening IN the cake. I hate shortening. I can't stand it in my icing, and use as little as possible. The thought of plopping that IN my cake grossed me out... Can you substitute something in place of the shortening that is called for in cake recipes?

I didn't use a flower nail or heating core. It seems to have baked evenly and well though. Its perfectly level, just didn't rise and feels really dense and heavy. Its not bad enough to toss, right? Am I embarassing myself by taking this to work Tuesday? icon_redface.gif

Thanks to everyone for all the helpful advice. I'm trying really hard to branch out into a new world outside of my normal undoctored cake mix and regular buttercream icing and filling. icon_lol.gif

sweetiesbykim Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 5:31am
post #9 of 14

Welcome to the "scratchies" world, sweet1122!!

Without seeing your recipe, or how you executed the directions, it's hard to tell why the cake didn't rise. If you're not used to using fresh baking powder, soda, etc., they might be a little old. Also, eggs used cold right out of the fridge don't rise as much as almost room temp eggs. If the batter felt grainy, you might need to beat longer to dissolve the sugar crystals. It might also just be a not-so-good recipe.

I have substituted butter for shortening in cake recipes -butter has water in it and shortening does not. You might want to subtract a little liquid from the recipe (just a tsp or Tbsp) per my Cake Bible cook book. I have just done a plain sub though, and it still works fine.

Cake flour also makes a big difference in the texture. Someone posted a pic of 2 baked cakes, cut, side by side, and there are inconsistent holes in the all purpose flour cake. The cake flour pic had even, tiny holes and looked more fine and delicate.

Hope that maybe helped a little.

sayhellojana Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 6:11am
post #10 of 14

Sweet - that is exactly what I thought before I tried this recipe. I won't use shortening in my icings, ever. No margarine, either. Just real butter. But the shortening is important when baking, shortening has a much higher melting point than butter so you're changing the whole chemistry of the cake. I strongly recomend this recipe, but if you just can't get your mind around using shortening in cake, dont try to modify this recipe. Substituting a small ingredient in a cake is one thing, but one of the main ingredients is a bad idea.
Good luck!

sweetiesbykim Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 7:24am
post #11 of 14

I found this on the food network: Substitution: Substitution: BUTTER 1 cup (2 sticks; 16 Tbsp) = 1 cup margarine OR 7/8 cup vegetable oil, lard or vegetable shortening

From Land O'Lakes: Shortening:
1 cup butter or margarine can be substituted for 1 cup shortening. When using shortening in place of butter or margarine, 1 tablespoon milk or water for each 1/2 cup shortening used may need to be added. DO NOT substitute vegetable oil for shortening when recipe calls for melting the shortening.

the cake comparison pic was done by czyadgrl and is called
Cake Flour VS. All-Purpose Flour. Very interesting! I had never seen a comparison, even in a pastry text book icon_smile.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 2:43pm
post #12 of 14

Grainy.....didn't notice that in your post when I read it the first time. When you cream the butter and sugar together, really let it go in that mixer. Stop a couple times and scrape down the sides and mix up the bottom of the bowl too. When it's done creaming, the color should be very pale yellow, and be fluuffy and almost doubled in volume. That should kill that grainy problem next time.

sweet1122 Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 4:26pm
post #13 of 14

Thanks everyone. I think I've decided I'm going to cut into this cake tonight and bake another cake for tomorrow. I was at the store today and picked up two boxes of lemon cake. I went through the store and then picked up a bag of lemons and put the cake boxes down. I'm determined. thumbs_up.gif

I'm going to say its not the best recipe OR I shouldn't have changed it from its intent to being a 3 layer cake into one big cake... I'm going to find something else to try. My family has cake for breakfast this week. icon_lol.gif

jensenscakes Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 12:41am
post #14 of 14

Scratch cakes are always going to be denser than a cake mix and have a different texture. I have found that using half all purpose flour and half cake flour really helps in the texture and stability area.

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