I am baking a (scratch yellow) baby shower cake for a party I am hosting on Monday...a 10'' and a 6'' stacked. The first 10'' layer is all messed up, I don't know what I am going to do =( The pan was too large for one bake even strip (Wilton's) so I followed the directions and hooked two together and overlapped them. Unfortunately, using one strip would have left me only about 2 inches too short, so most of the pan was double wrapped with two. I didn't think it would cause an issue, oh BOY was I wrong.
The cake looked perfect, baked to the brim of the pan, the stick came out clean. Perfection. Then, the cake started to shrink up all around the edges, and I could see the edges inside pulling away from the pan looking all gummy and loose crumbed. I don't know how else to describe it. After determining the sides were undercooked, I put it right back into the oven for 10 minutes. It seemed set up, but once again when I allowed it to settle the sides fell apart. So, I baked as much as I could without sacrificing moisture and the center being overdone...I flipped it upside down onto saran wrap, like a video taught me to. The sides had a weird ring that fell right off, of cake about 1/4 inch thick. I have a cake now, that is firm in the center, crumbly around the edges, and smaller than 10 inches due to loss of the edge.
My thought is that it was the bake strip overlapping. I omitted the strip for my 6" cake because that too would have overlapped and I am not ready for part two of my nightmare just yet! We will see how the next one comes out sans strip. If it repeats, I may have overmixed my batter or something. Ugh. Makes me wonder why I do scratch cakes. I would have been done HOURS ago with a box. Ugh.
Needing encouragement and perhaps insight. I use wilton's butter cake recipe, btw here:
Stay tuned, others are in the oven now....God Save Me!
One thing I forgot to mention...I am going to trim the second layer 10 inch down to suit the first's size, making it a 9.25 x 6 two tier.. Luckily I am making a cake WAY too big for the expected amount of people, so they shouldn't miss the 3/4 of an inch of cake lol. If the difference isn't too crazy when I stack them to make the bottom tier, I may even just use BC to smooth out the gaps so to speak.
I am sorry to hear that this happened to you. Most of my cakes turn out great with Bake Even strips but I do find yellow cake for some reason likes to stay a bit gummy around the edges. I do not make yellow cakes very often. The overlapping of the strip could definately be a big part of the problem. I know it works okay if a little bit of the strip overlaps - up to about 1/4 distance around the pan - but basically the strips are designed to slow down the cooking of the sides of the cake by keeping the pan sides cool compared to the bottom. This allows for the cake to rise evenly. Usuallly the strips "dry" out towards the end of the process allowing the sides to cook and brown. With double wrapping it is possible that the strips stayed cooler and the sides never got hot enough to cause the browning of the cake sides.
Okay I think I babbled a bit much there - I really hope the rest of your cakes turn out wonderfully. I can't speak for that particular recipe though as I have not tried it personally.
Got my fingers crossed for you! Not really sure what happened - but I had the same thing with a cake last week - black velvet. Hadn't made it before. The outside edges didn't cook on the first one - so I baked next one without it - came out fine. I always lower the temp by 25 degrees also and let it bake longer.
Good luck - I hope it works out for you!
Cake sides separating (no bake even strips used):
Handy cake troubleshooting charts:
cake-angel, LeckieAnne and JanH: Thank you for your words! The helped bring comfort to me in my baking fiasco. Well the three cakes I baked after the nightmarish one had their own adventures but are done baking anyway and usable. I made two 6 inch rounds, the tops ballooned up terribly and were done long before the middle. I have an oven thermometer I monitor, I just don't seem to know which temp is best. I've tried 350, seems too hot. 325 doesn't seem to work either (drier). In the middle somewhere around 340 I get cakes that give me less hassle than others, but honestly, I think I just need a new recipe. I wish there existed a recipe for whole egg cake that just...worked. Moist, firm but soft, flavorful, solid shape etc. Guess I will keep searching!
The last 10 inch cake I made with the strip again (the 6 inch pans domed too much for me to risk it) but I let the excess strip hang off onto the rack instead of wrapping it around the pan again. That cake turned out the best of the four.
So, now onto the decorating. Wish me luck, I have to make sure it's done tomorrow night or bust. Baby shower is Monday at 3. Pray!
I've also had issues with the strips so lately I've started taking them off around 20 minutes before the cake is done. That way the edges have a chance to catch up with the rest of the cake if they need it. Since I started doing that, I've been really happy with the results.
I'm not so sure it had anything to do with the strips, but if the 2nd one worked better, then go with that method!
I use the strips religiously. Will not bake a cake without them. With my super large pans (16" round; 14x22 sheet), I frequently have to double layer the strips, depending on what sizes I have available, and I've never had any underbaked or odd baking issues because of it.
I also have TERRIBLE issues anytime I do a yellow cake. To the point that I just don't do them anymore. If someone wants yellow, I add yellow food coloring to my white cake. (Yellow isn't a flavor anyway - it's a color.)
i usually always do a victoria sponge like this one http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/victoriasponge_13555.shtml (i prefer not to use vanilla though)
never had a problem with it that wasnt obviously my fault - like putting in double ingrediants!
I often wrap the strips around more than once, and have never had a problem.
Thank you all for the replies, if anyone else out there has insight for me too I'd love to hear it, especially what your go to vanilla cake recipe is (just the name, I have no prob looking it up myself hehe, I know that writing out recipes is tedious lol)
You all are so wonderful, I love cake central, and you guys =)
Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party cake regularly bakes up well for me. It was the first yellow scratch cake I've made and even with no experience it was perfect. You can find the recipe if you goggle it. It uses lemon zest, but you can leave that out and replace with vanilla or whatever you want. Also, the Whimsical Bake House Golden Butter Cake is very versatile and bakes well (also online somewhere).
That same thing happened to me and I thought I put too much "wet" in the recipe by accident. But looking back I too doubled up on the bake even strips because I only had a super long one left! I wonder if that was it?!?! Same thing. Looked perfect, then as so as I took it out it shrunk and was gummy and loose crumbed. Couldn't even get it out of the pan. I am still not convinced it is the strips. But if you are looking for a consistent vanilla cake recipe try fromscratchsf's recipe. It is on many threads here. It is a recipe that uses weight versus measurements. Very consistent recipe that can be converted to over 20 flavors. It is more of a scratch WASC recipe! I love it. Good luck!
And not to be a downer, but yellow cake is a flavor I think, because it is made with egg yolks vs whites and therefore has an entirely different texture, and in my opinion taste, than a white cake. Just my two cents. But this recipe allows you to use either all whites for a white cake, or all yolks for a yellow cake.
Here's the recipe:
Well the three cakes I baked after the nightmarish one had their own adventures but are done baking anyway and usable. I made two 6 inch rounds, the tops ballooned up terribly and were done long before the middle. I have an oven thermometer I monitor, I just don't seem to know which temp is best. I've tried 350, seems too hot. 325 doesn't seem to work either (drier). In the middle somewhere around 340 I get cakes that give me less hassle than others, but honestly, I think I just need a new recipe. I wish there existed a recipe for whole egg cake that just...worked. Moist, firm but soft, flavorful, solid shape etc. Guess I will keep searching!
Your oven has a problem. The thermostat probably has a loose connection that means that you never get a stable temperature. Depending on what kind of oven, this can be checked with a standard electrical circuit tester by a handyman. No recipe is gonna fix this.
Your baking pans may not be the best. They may be overheating at the edges because they are dark or nonstick or way too flimsy. The world's most perfect cake batter isn't going to be happy in trashy pans.
There is another issue with looking for a "magic" recipe: how you mix cakes. Overmixing and too much flour cause many problems similar to yours.