Need Help From Scratch Bakers

Decorating By sugarshack Updated 20 Jan 2010 , 7:54pm by cakesweetiecake

sugarshack Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 6:09am
post #1 of 31

Hi guys!

I nevr bake from scratch but just tried a simple pound cake and it baked up with a lot of air holes in it, from small to large.

Can you tell me what I did wrong:

--one pound soft butter creamed with one pound sugar
--then added one pound eggs (cold) one at a time, mixing after each one
--then added one pound of sifted AP flour and mixed on speed one for maybe 2 minutes?

baked at 325

Thank you!

30 replies
cathyscakes Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 6:43am
post #2 of 31

Do you think it was mixed well enough. I know that lumps could cause air holes.

LeanneW Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 6:45am
post #3 of 31

hmm, I'm not a pastry chef but I'll try and help.

I think maybe you mixed it too long and incorporated too much air. after adding the flour i mix until it is just incorporated.

also, you may have air bubbles if you let the batter sit too long in your mixer before filling the pans or let the batter sit in the pans too long before baking.

i mix my batter as mentioned above then give a good stir with a spatula right to the bottom of the bowl, fill my pans, smooth the batter with a small offset and then give then two or three good hard bangs on the table to knock out any air bubbles.

hope that helps.

JasonR Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 7:31am
post #4 of 31

In my experience it has usually been over mixing that has caused this problem. Banging the pan on the table as leannewinslow mentioned is also a good preventative method.

Bunsen Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 8:16am
post #5 of 31

I would agree, over mixing could be the culprit.

I recently got a kitchenaid after years of mixing either by hand or with a handheld and you have to be really careful not to overmix in those things!

janeoxo Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 8:35am
post #6 of 31

I'm not saying that this caused the bubbles but your eggs should really be at room temp not cold.

Mike1394 Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 9:29am
post #7 of 31

Cream the butter, and sugar till light in color.

Give your eggs a hand whisk. They incoporate better than whole eggs. this will cut down on mixing time.

When putting in the flour mix just long enough to incorporate. If you need to fold some more by hand after mixing is better than over mixing.


Bluehue Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 11:45am
post #8 of 31

Mixing on level 1 for two minutes wouldn't *whip* alot of air into a batter -
I am actually wondering whether it was mixed enough as that is alot of batter to be mixed on level 1 for only 2 minutes.
Level one is JUST barely bringing everthing together - well on my KA that is.
Can't remember the last time i used level 1 for bringing a batter together - level 2 is what i always use.

OR ... adding alot of cold eggs, even one at a time would create your problem.

The eggs wouldn't of incorporated into the batter thoroughly -
Thus shrinking in the batter whilst cooking, leaving all different size air holes.

Depending on the type of cake i am making, depends if i whisk my eggs prior to adding to the creamed sugar and Mike said.

The lighter the cake = i whisk first.


leah_s Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 12:28pm
post #9 of 31

OK, I have been baking from scratch for 40+ years.

Pound cake is *different* from other cakes. From what you described, this cake was severely undermixed. And for pound cake, AP flour is fine. The point of a pound cake is to get a really fine, dense crumb and, typically you want a bit of a dome on top, especially if you are baking it in the traditional loaf style. The crumb and the dome are achieved by two things - long mixing and stronger flour (higher protein = AP flour)

Generally speaking, pound cake gets mixed for 15 minutes, once all the ingredients are in.

And that recipe is one of the oldest around. It's why pound cake is called pound cake - a pound of each of the main ingredients.

Love2BakeCakes Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 12:51pm
post #10 of 31


Both my butter and eggs are room temperature everytime I bake. I also drop my filled pans on the counter top at least 2 times to bring as much of the air out as I can; then I smooth the batter out by either gently shaking it even in the pan or using my off set spatula. Hope this is helpful.

still_learning Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 3:29pm
post #11 of 31

The recipe I use for pound cake calls for the cake to be mixed for long periods of time at medium-high speed so I also don't think that over-mixing is the likely problem. It also says to rap the filled cake pans on the counter to get rid of air bubbles. I'd start with that and see how it goes - besides - banging the cake pans is fun! Gets out some of the cake-making frustration icon_wink.gif

lilthorner Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 3:38pm
post #12 of 31

i would agree with Leahs.. sounds like not mixed enough.. the butter/sugar should be mixed around 4 and can (should) be mixed until light and fluffy, whihc could be like 5 minutes plus..

most of the time, my eggs are room temp also, but I doubt that caused any issues here

snowboarder Posted 5 Jan 2010 , 3:41pm
post #13 of 31

I also agree with Leahs.

Ursula40 Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 12:41am
post #14 of 31

I only bake from scratch as well, all ingredients room temp, break up the eggs before adding one at a time. Pound cake is a bit denser, so mix longer, but also very good for carving as well. banging on the counter helps and if the batter is thick (mine is), just make a well in the middle if you don't want that much of a dome. Also when the cake is just out of the oven, gently press down the dome to even out a bit. You have to do that right after taking the cake out of the oven

prterrell Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 12:43am
post #15 of 31

Never, ever, ever bake using cold eggs. Ever.

Also, yes, was not mixed enough.

jammjenks Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 1:10am
post #16 of 31

Was there not any milk or other liquid? I've just never seen that.

prterrell Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 1:12am
post #17 of 31
Originally Posted by jammjenks

Was there not any milk or other liquid? I've just never seen that.

Traditional pound cake only contains butter, eggs, sugar, and flour.

lilthorner Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 1:27am
post #18 of 31

I don't want to start a debate, but you can bake with cold eggs.. you get more volume from room temp eggs

jammjenks Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 1:35am
post #19 of 31
Originally Posted by prterrell

Originally Posted by jammjenks

Was there not any milk or other liquid? I've just never seen that.

Traditional pound cake only contains butter, eggs, sugar, and flour.

Well, I guess I learned something new today. I've never seen a recipe like that.

FACSlady Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 1:37am
post #20 of 31

Air holes in cake (or muffins or quick bread) is called tunneling and is often caused by overmixing. Mix for only the amount of time stated in the recipe.

sugarshack Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 6:29am
post #21 of 31

Seems we have a debate as to whether it was overmixed or undermixed. LOL

today I tried again with very soft room temp butter and room temp eggs. I mixed only long enough to incorporate each item. This time it made less batter by volume, did not rise as much and was very flat.

when leveled, it seemed a bit denser but still had the air holes.

should I try again with the same technique except this time mix longer? if so, how long after the flour is in?

Thank you all very much for the help!

itsacake Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 7:32am
post #22 of 31

I think it may be a combination of over and under mixing.

In school we made a really good pound cake, though it had a few more than the traditional ingredients-- But the technique should be similar.

We beat the room temperature butter for a couple of minutes and gradually added the sugar until the mixture was very light and fluffy-- probably five minutes of beating to get a really good emulsion. Both Chefs Bo Friberg and Cindy Mushet say the butter mixture should be very light and almost white in color. The eggs get added very slowly while still beating. It can take almost five minutes to add them. Cindy says to do it by Tablespoon, beating all the while. BTW, room temperature is defined as 70-72 degrees so plan accordingly. If your room is hotter or colder, your ingredients still want to be about 70-72 degrees.

It is worth noting that if your butter is the perfect temperature and you add cold eggs, you can break the emulsion and get little bits of cold butter back into the mixture. It will smooth out again when you add flour, but it isn't as perfect.

Chef Bo then folds the sifted flour in thoroughly, a quarter of it at a time. No more beating at this point. Cindy has some liquid alternately beaten in with the flour, but at low speed.

I looked in several books and none of them actually used the traditional recipe, though Chef Bo's was closer than most. These days, it seems, most bakers add some extra ingredients for a moister, lighter cake. Shirley Corriher, the food chemist, has a pound cake recipe with 15 ingredients!!!!!

I never understand the part about rapping the pan on a table. All that trouble to make all those air bubbles and then you purposely deflate them! But I think it is because you want to be sure the batter is evenly distributed in the pan without big air pockets? Oh, and Rose Levy Beranbaum in the Cake Bible says something about not worrying about bubbles in your layers when you are leveling because when you slice normally the bubbles won't show up. I'm not sure how that translates into pound cake though.

Anyway, sorry for the novel. I didn't know what to leave out LOL

Anyway, hope this helps some.

JanH Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 7:37am
post #23 of 31
Originally Posted by sugarshack

today I tried again with very soft room temp butter and room temp eggs. I mixed only long enough to incorporate each item. This time it made less batter by volume, did not rise as much and was very flat.

The eggs are usually the only leavener in traditional pound cake. They need to be completely incorporated into thoroughly creamed butter/sugar in order to get the cake to rise.

If you're not using a bleached all purpose flour, I would strongly recommend that you switch to one. It really makes an incredible difference in butter cake (as noted by Rose Levy Beranbaum and Sarah Phillips.

See Sarah Phillips post dated 26 July 2005 - 03:04 PM in the following link:

Rose advises the use of bleached flour because the bleaching process causes the flour particles to develop rough edges so they can more evenly cling to the butter/be more uniformly suspended in the cake batter. (My unbleached AP flour pound cake was greasy toward the bottom section - but not the bleached AP flour pound cake in my side by side comparison.)

Sarah advises that bleached flour has a higher tolerance for overbeating, thus resulting in a better baked end product.


icer101 Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 7:55am
post #24 of 31

its been a while since i made pound cake.. yes, you beat the sugar and butter until it is lite in color and fluffy.. about 5 minutes.... then you beat each egg .. one at a time.. let each one be incorporated before adding the next one..turn your mixer down when you are adding the eggs. it will take a few minutes... then add your flour on low speed.. a little at the time. each batch you add.. let it all incorporate before you add the next.. until you use it all.. turn off mixer.. take a rubber spatula and fold over a couple of times.. then pour batter into pans... hth

tammi Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 12:20pm
post #25 of 31

I have had great success with making cake by following the Cake Bible. I prefer Rose's method of mixing cakes. All of my cakes have turned out wonderful and I have never had to worry about under mixing or over mixing. If you get a chance you should check her books out, they are wonderful because it explain the science behind baking in an easy to understand format.

itsacake Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 3:57pm
post #26 of 31

I have had success with Rose's recipes and I love all the instructions in her book, but when using cake flour, I have noticed that the crumb is so fine and it is so tender that when people take a bite, the cake crumbles into very tiny particles on the tongue, and some people perceive this texture as dry, even though he cake is actually very moist. It is the feel of the tiny particles that is deceiving.

Rose uses what is called the high ratio method even with her pound cakes. She also uses more ingredients than the traditional four, however.

_Jamie_ Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 4:08pm
post #27 of 31

Ditto Leah and pterrell.

_Jamie_ Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 4:19pm
post #28 of 31

Nope, no extra liquid, jamm. The butter and eggs and sugar combine for the most fabulously moist cake ever.

This is a GREAT example of why most scratch recipes will cost the baker much more than a box. Way more eggs are used, way more butter.....yeah.

When I bake one double batch of my fave white/buttermilk cake, I am using an entire dozen eggs and 1 pound of butter.

sugarshack Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 9:52pm
post #29 of 31

thanks for the help!

I will try again and this time mix the carp out of it! icon_smile.gif

icer101 Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 10:13pm
post #30 of 31

sharon.. there are several videos.. on internet.. showing how to make a wonderful and moist pound cake.. 3 people can be in the same room ..making the same cake.. going by same directions. it will be a little difference in them.. when i saw the thread ... scratch wasc cakes. i couldn,t believe it.. they are just putting everything together in the mixing bowl .. everything.. and mixing it.. they are not beating eggs and sugar . then adding eggs.. lol.. i tried one.. it was good.. so each to his own i say.. i like to try other peoples recipes . whether is is somebody i know.. or from the internet.. good luck on you cake..

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