What's That Smell?

Baking By CutiePieCakes-Ontario Updated 27 Aug 2010 , 4:08pm by LindaF144a

CutiePieCakes-Ontario Posted 21 Aug 2010 , 10:13pm
post #1 of 7

I apologize in advance for the length of this post.

So, for the first time, I decided to try making a cake from scratch. Yes, I'm a member of Boxed Cake Mixes Anonymous. My small kitchen doesn't allow for much storage space, and I've never had reason to make a multi-tiered cake, so I just stuck with boxed mixes (occasionally using an enhancer).

I'm having a surprise 50th b'day party for my hubby next weekend (the big surprise is that his real b'day isn't until Dec. 23), and I wanted to make a 12" high beer stein cake, using 3 different flavours stacked. So, I decided to try and make a chocolate banana pound cake from scratch.

Found a great recipe (or so I thought - not from here, though), bought all my ingredients and Thursday night, got it together.

First problem: Instructions say "add eggs one at a time" - but there were no eggs listed in the ingredients. Since boxed mix uses 3 eggs, that's what I added.

Second problem: Ingredients say to use espresso extract or mix 2 tsp. instant coffee with 1 tsp. buttermilk (this is what I did). BUT nowhere in the instructions did it say to add this in - so I just added it when I realized it (along with the buttermilk so all liquid was going in together).

Third problem: I had purchased 'cake flour' but the recipe called for 'all purpose'. I checked online and found that you can compensate for this: 1 cup all purpose = 1 cup + 2 tbsp. cake flour. So I did this.

In the end, the batter looked, smelled and tasted great! Used two 8" X 3" pans, preped as usual and filled 2/3 full. Oven at right temp. All is good.

About 20 minutes later, we're all in the livingroom. Me: I smell coffee. Husband: I smell chocolate. Daughter: I smell smoke. Oh Crap!

Sure enough, the oven was billowing grey smoke. Open the oven door to find that both pans are bubbling over - they look like 2 huge chocolate lava cakes in full motion. Slide a cookie sheet onto lower shelf to catch anymore dripping, and once they stopped bubbling transferred them to another cookie sheet to remove from the oven.

My wonderful hubby scraped the oven out for me, but the cake was a write-off. (On the up side, we discovered that the smoke alarm needs replacing - it didn't go off.) I tried to salvage what was left of the batter, but by then the baking soda in the mix had expired and it wouldn't rise again. A blessing in disguise, perhaps.

SO ... what went wrong? I measured the baking soda and baking powder correctly, made sure the pans were no more than 2/3 full, oven at right temp. I'm so tempted to just use boxed mixes, and internal (plastic) stacking for this. I don't have the time to experiment over and over again.

6 replies
Jenniferkay Posted 21 Aug 2010 , 10:21pm
post #2 of 7

well i think the problem lies in your recipe. it doesn't sound complete and i'd go on the hunt for a new one with good instructions. if you're not a scratch baker all the time then you're not used to the chemistry involved with improvising.

it's alright...i can't make chocolate cake work for the life of me. I don't know why. it's my nemesis.

look for a recipe with every detail and i like to find one with reviews too! good luck!

CutiePieCakes-Ontario Posted 21 Aug 2010 , 10:35pm
post #3 of 7

Thanks for the tip. I do a lot of scratch baking (my Italian DH says I make the best biscotti (and me being a mangacake!)), so I alter recipes all the time to suit.

Worst case - if I can't get a decent recipe this weekend, I'll buy some Wilton plastic supports and cut and insert them. So long as I get my height, I'm good.

[BTW: "Mangacake" = English/Cake Eater.]

cakeprof Posted 22 Aug 2010 , 2:43am
post #4 of 7

Pans could have easily been overfull. Most of the scratch cakes I make only fill the pan 1/2 full and rise to fill the pan. If I filled them 2/3s of the way they would spill out of the pan. This is not the case for every scratch cake however.

CutiePieCakes-Ontario Posted 22 Aug 2010 , 3:44pm
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeprof

Pans could have easily been overfull. Most of the scratch cakes I make only fill the pan 1/2 full and rise to fill the pan. If I filled them 2/3s of the way they would spill out of the pan. This is not the case for every scratch cake however.





I hope that was the only problem. Next time (if there is one), I'll only fill 1/2 way instead of 2/3. I know that baking soda is a rising agent, but WOW!

Jenniferkay Posted 23 Aug 2010 , 7:41pm
post #6 of 7

I'm sorry, I thought I had read you mainly did boxed not scratch...sorry.

LindaF144a Posted 27 Aug 2010 , 4:08pm
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by CutiePieCakes-Ontario

Thanks for the tip. I do a lot of scratch baking (my Italian DH says I make the best biscotti (and me being a mangacake!)), so I alter recipes all the time to suit.

Worst case - if I can't get a decent recipe this weekend, I'll buy some Wilton plastic supports and cut and insert them. So long as I get my height, I'm good.

[BTW: "Mangacake" = English/Cake Eater.]




I'm confused then, because in your original post you say you mainly use box mixes all the time and not scratch. So which one is it. icon_wink.gificon_rolleyes.gif

And can you post the recipe?

And I agree with Jenny. With all the errors in the recipe on how to prepare the cake it sounds like you have the wrong recipe and should research and find a new one.

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