wyovol Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 2:07pm

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I'm making a cake for my kids' school this week and decided to use the Heavenly Pumpkin spice Cake recipe from CC. Three of the cakes came out perfectly. One of my 10" cakes, however, has a major crack along the bottom. Like, fault sized crack. I'm pretty sure the cake will split in half. The top of the cake has no cracking and seems perfectly fine. The crack seems to have started from the area around the flower nail.

Is this bad luck or is there something I can fix in my preparations? I used 2" deep pans, a flower nail in the center, baked for around 60 minutes at 325 degrees, let the cake cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and then flipped it out onto a cooling rack. The flower nail was slightly tipped when I flipped the cake over, so that could have started the problem, I guess.

I'm just going to slap some buttercream on this cake and bring it into my work. They won't care if the cake is falling apart. icon_razz.gif

22 replies
Mensch Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 2:09pm

I line my pans with parchment and let the cakes cool in the pan. I then stick them (pan and all) in the fridge overnight and remove them fron the pan next day. They never crack that way.

kjskid Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 2:38pm

I'm about to use the same recipe for a 10", so I'm interested in the replies. Here's a bump.

Loucinda Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 2:46pm

You do not need a flower nail in a 10" pan - they will bake just fine without it.

As far as the crack goes, you can spackle it together and it should be fine.

sweetcravings Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 2:48pm

I always develop massive cracks in my chocolate cakes just as you describe. This does not happen to my vanilla cakes. When i asked why it happens someone recommended thinning my batter a bit..add more water. I haven't perfected how much i need to add yet as i don't make choco cake often but it has helped a little. Was the batter really thick?

wyovol Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 2:51pm

Thanks for the replies. I'll try the parchment paper trick next time. That sounds like a perfect solution for me.

No flower nail in a 10"pan? OK. I'll give that a try next time too. I'm teaching myself as I go along -- well, Cake Central is teaching me as I go along. icon_smile.gif

Yes, this batter was extremely thick. I made it in two batches and was surprised at how thick it was. It is delicious, though. I had enough left over to make a few cupcakes and I had to stop myself from eating them all last night. icon_redface.gif

Callyssa Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 3:56pm

Sorry that happened to you; I had my own 'crack' disaster a few weeks ago, after the cake was all iced and decorated. I had to start all over again....icon_sad.gif
I've found that anything with pumpkin is extremely soft. It tastes wonderful, and gives a great softness to cakes, but it just makes them extremely soft, and if you take them out of the pans while they're a little too warm you can have big problems. I've also tried several cookie recipes that just won't turn out like cookies; more soft and fluffy, like a cake, so I really do think pumpkin itself is the culprit.

kjskid Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 4:01pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loucinda

You do not need a flower nail in a 10" pan - they will bake just fine without it.




Do you bake at a lower temp so the middle gets done? I've never done a 10" before, but I'm going to this weekend. A wee bit nervous about it!

wyovol Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 4:06pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Callyssa


I've found that anything with pumpkin is extremely soft. It tastes wonderful, and gives a great softness to cakes, but it just makes them extremely soft, and if you take them out of the pans while they're a little too warm you can have big problems.




The 10" was the last cake I baked and it wasn't quite as cool as the others when I took it out of the pan. So you're probably right about the pumpkin contributing to the softness.

I'm really glad I noticed before I assembled the cake. I have time to try and fix it (or rebake!)

Loucinda Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 4:30pm

Yes, you bake at a lower temp. (325) for a longer period of time. I take the cakes out when there are still some crumbs on the tester. I don't have an exact time, I just can tell when they are getting close to being done by the smell. They are not hard to do at all. The only size I use a nail it is the 16" round.

Callyssa Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 5:09pm

Oh, baking strips are very nice also; they help keep the outsides of the cake from baking too much while the inside is still working on it. I got mine with a 40% coupon from Michael's.

indydebi Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 5:19pm

I also never use flower nails, no matter how big the cake is. I do, however, always use baking strips. THe original thread was lost in the crash, but fortunately I saved the narrative for something else I was writing.

Here's the science of how and why baking strips work:

Quote:
Quote:

The science behind the baking: The reason the baking strips help reduce doming is because they cause the cake to bake more evenly.

Metal is a conductor of heat. THe batter next to the metal will heat up and bake faster than the batter in the middle of the pan. Once the cake on the outer perimeter is baked, then the cake is set and not flexible. Because the cake has baked faster on the outer perimeter, the cake has not had a chance to rise to it's full potential, thus resulting in outer edges that are one to one-and-a-half inches tall.

In the meantime, the batter in the center is still baking and expanding, but since the sides of the cake have already set, then the cake has nowhere to go but up, thus creating the doming effect. The center of the cake is potentially 3 inches high or more.

The baking strips, when wet in cold water, help keep the metal pan a little cooler. Therefore the outer edge of the cake is not baking a lot faster than the center of the cake. The batter temperature on the outer edges is roughly the same as the batter temp in the middle of the cake. So the cake is baking at an even rate .... the sides are not baking and setting faster than the center of the cake ....the cake is rising at an even rate .... Thus even baking AND a nice side effect is reduced doming.


wyovol Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 5:36pm

Thank you! The science of baking strips makes sense to me...I think I just found something to add to my Christmas wish list. icon_biggrin.gif

cas17 Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 5:40pm

you said the crack was along the bottom of the cake? i have cracked my cakes a couple of times while flipping them back over from being upside down (after initially flipping them out of the pan) and pressing too hard on the bottom when they were top side down and the top has a slight dome. cracked the bottom quite badly. also a good reason to not cool a cake upside down. another way i have cracked the bottom edge by not pulling straight up on the pans when flipping them out of the pan (this only happens on the larger size cakes tho.) hopefully i explained this okay, lol.

indydebi Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 5:44pm

cas17, do an initially leveling while they are in the pan. Then place a cooling rack on top of the (now leveled flat) cake, pick up the cooling rack and the pan; flip cake out; then immediately place another cooling rack on the bottom side of the cake (which is now facing up); pick up both cooling racks, holding the cake securely between them, and re-flip the cake so it's sitting on it's flat bottom.

You are correct ..... the Law of Gravity will cause a cake to crack if the cake is sitting on a dome (i.e. it's a domed cake and it's sitting upside down). The corners are not supported and gravity will pull on the corners, causing the cake to crack.

wyovol Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 5:45pm

Yep...crack is along the bottom of the cake. It probably happened due to a combination of things. icon_smile.gif But at least I've learned some things to try differently next time.

cas17 Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 5:54pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

cas17, do an initially leveling while they are in the pan. Then place a cooling rack on top of the (now leveled flat) cake, pick up the cooling rack and the pan; flip cake out; then immediately place another cooling rack on the bottom side of the cake (which is now facing up); pick up both cooling racks, holding the cake securely between them, and re-flip the cake so it's sitting on it's flat bottom.

You are correct ..... the Law of Gravity will cause a cake to crack if the cake is sitting on a dome (i.e. it's a domed cake and it's sitting upside down). The corners are not supported and gravity will pull on the corners, causing the cake to crack.




thank you debi! i learned learned the hard way, lol, but it was a while back. i never flip cakes anymore without the steps you gave icon_smile.gif hopefully it will help others as well. thumbs_up.gif

indydebi Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 6:03pm

icon_lol.gif I remember the days when I had no idea what I was doing and would flip 14" and 16" cakes over by hand ... no cooling racks, no cardboards, nothing. WTH was I thinking? I tend to put this kind of info in my "duh!" column .... once I learned the secret, it was a "how come you couldn't figure that out, ya twit?" thing!!! icon_lol.gif

All part of our learning process! thumbs_up.gif

sweetcravings Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 8:48pm

Ahhh the cake crack was at the bottom..guess i misread the OP. I bet ya it's just as Indydebi stated. I've done that too icon_wink.gif Flipped the cake out onto a cooling rack with a domed top..made the whole thing crack. Only have to do that once to never do it again. Now i ALWAYs level the cake first before flipping it.

wyovol Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 10:50pm

I thought that I had mooshed it enough so that the top was flat enough to flip out. Oh well. Live and learn! At least it will still taste good even if it does have a crack on the bottom. icon_smile.gif

cas17 Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 10:56pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by wyovol

I thought that I had mooshed it enough so that the top was flat enough to flip out. Oh well. Live and learn! At least it will still taste good even if it does have a crack on the bottom. icon_smile.gif




quite right thumbs_up.gif

wyovol Posted 18 Nov 2009 , 6:39pm

So I bring the one lowly cake with simple buttercream icing into work this morning at 7:30. It was gone within two class periods (by 10 am).

And two of my fellow teachers said that I should feel free to practice any cake technique and bring the samples in for them to eat. icon_biggrin.gif

cas17 Posted 18 Nov 2009 , 7:29pm

awesome!! icon_smile.gif

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