I need help from all you fruit cake bakers out there.
Lately my fruit cakes are not cooking. They are very moist and do not know for what reason. I am doing the same recipe each time and cooking at 140deg but they are for ever taking time to cook slightly.
I have tested my oven with a thermometer and it reads the correct heat. Did use High grade flour in one recently and this is when the problem was bought to my notice. It was not a complaint as such but the customer said she wanted it a bit more cooked. I blamed the High grade flour as someone said the cake doesn't crumble so much when you cut it so I gave it a try.
So last night I did an experiment making 2 6" square cakes one with the high grade flour and one with plain flour. Yes the plain flour one did cook better but still not dryer if you know what I mean. I know in the past I have worried about the cake being dry on the outside but nothing like this now.
Can anyone give me some help please as to the reason this is happening. I have wedding cakes coming up and need a fix.
Well, until you get some advice from someone familiar with your types of flour, I can offer some general baking hints...
What your customer is euphemistically calling moist is probably a gummy center caused by underbaking.
Most people in the U.S. make fun of fruit cake because it's usually as dry and flavorless as a hockey puck. So here, a moist fruit cake would be a definite plus.
I have been experimenting with a few different types of fruit cake recipes over the last year or so. My opinion is much more favorable now that I've found an applesauce based recipe which is almost impossible to overbake.
I bake all my fruit cakes in tube pans and use multiple bake even strips as well as lining the pan bottoms with several layers of parchment. If I made a fruit cake in a regular cake pan, I would probably throw in a couple of inverted flower nails to help distribute the heat more evenly.
With fruit cakes, low (temp.) and slow (time) is the way to go.
Have you changed any of the other ingredients? Possibly a bigger egg size or different fat (eg marg instead of butter) - something that would add more moisture?
Is anything else taking longer in your oven - can't help but think it's an oven problem, maybe not keeping the temperature constant over time, or air not circulating so you have cold spots.
I never use flower nails etc in fruit cake but I do wrap the outside of the tin in newspaper to keep the edges from over cooking.
If you cook for longer how do they turn out?
Thank you all for your suggestions. I think I know what I have changed. I now realize that I have been putting a tray on the rung above the cake and of course the moisture is going back into the cake as it can't escape. I have made an 8" this afternoon and it is so much better. I cooked it for 4 hours at 140 deg but feel it is a little bit crumbly but otherwise it is okay. Thank you all again.
Glad you figured it out! It's funny how something minor like that can effect the cake so much.