Birthday Cake Is Dry At Party

Baking By KMKakes Updated 17 Oct 2010 , 12:16am by Renaejrk

KMKakes Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 7:13pm
post #1 of 14

I delivered a birthday cake this weekend. I made and decorated the cake about 10 hours before the party. When I received a slice of the cake at the party, the cake seemed a little dried out and the frosting seemed a little grainy. Generally, as with this cake, the I'll taste the parts from torting the cake. It was very light and fluffy. My frosting, I learned from tasting a store bought piece of cake was grainy. No one at the party said anything about it, it was thought of as delicious. However, I know that I will run into that someone who loves and KNOW cake. How can I decorate ahead of time without the cake drying out and how do I get around the grainy frosting?

13 replies
tcwheeler Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 7:31pm
post #2 of 14

Did you refrigerate the cake?

artscallion Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 7:34pm
post #3 of 14

I'd say that most people on here decorate their cakes at least 10 hours ahead of time without them being dry.

For us to better help you, you need to give us more information, like what recipe you're using and the time line and how you handle the cake from baking to delivery. Otherwise we're really just grasping at straws, guessing.

KMKakes Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 10:56pm
post #4 of 14

Well I used the WASC recipe. It was baked and cool per the recipe directions. I used Wilton Buttercream recipe with the exception of whipping my shortening a little longer (3 minutes) than what the recipe calls for. I delivered the cake in one of those cardboard cake boxes from a chain store. I did not refrigerate my cake. I was told that it would dry it out. I am wondering if I need to wrap the box in saran wrap? Thanks ahead of time.....

tcwheeler Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 11:05pm
post #5 of 14

hmmmm.....Did you have a filling? Was it layered?

indydebi Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 11:14pm
post #6 of 14

you baked per recipe directions ..... I usually lower my temp by 25 degrees, rather than bake by recipe directions.

Some things I look for to determine if it's overbaked (instead of following directions):

- was the cake pulling away significantly from teh sides of the pan?
- When you trimmed it, was there a ring of "brown" right under the crust (assuming this is a white cake? hard to determine if it's chocolate)?
- If you used the toothpick test, was the toothpick perfectly clean or were there a few crumbs attached? If you didnt' use the toothpick, how did you determine if it was done?
- Did any of the edges seem to "toughen up" as it sat and cooled or did they remain soft thru the whole icing/decorating process?

I think all cakes taste "fresh" when we sample the trimmings. I mean, it just came out of the oven, so it better taste fresh! icon_biggrin.gif

Bear in mind that I'm a "until it looks right" cook and when someone asks me "how long do you bake it?", my answer is always "until it's done". So in my experience, following a recipe "exactly" is no guarantee at all, simply because of too many variables ..... oven stability and accuracy of temp being one of them.

indydebi Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 11:15pm
post #7 of 14

one more question....

I'm not familiar with the recipe so "cooled per recipe directions" .... what does that mean?

leily Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 11:17pm
post #8 of 14

how did you store your cake between baking and decorating?

did the customer refrigerate the cake at all?

was there any cake "exposed" to the air? (wasn't covered completely from the buttercream?

tcwheeler Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 11:20pm
post #9 of 14

All excellent information indydebi...same here; didn't think of sharing. Another thing...don't leave it sitting out without being covered somehow (plastic, icing, etc.). icon_smile.gif

KMKakes Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 1:54pm
post #10 of 14

tcwheeler- It was a white 1/2 sheet cake with no filling and with buttercream frosting and decorations.

leily- I delivered the cake. My friend never handled the cake except for cutting purposes at the birthday party.

tcwheeler and indydebi- I cooled the cake in the pan for 10 minutes then I took it out of the pan to cool down for a little over a hour (kept checking it by touch to see if it was still warm while it was on the cooling rack on the counter). I crumb coated the cake and then decorated it with buttercream frosting. No cake was left unfrosted (or rather exposed to air). Lastly I place it in a cake cardboard delivery box with the window on the lid. I am starting to wonder if I should have wrapped the cake while in the box in plastic wrap (Saran wrap). Maybe that could have been my culprit?!

indydebi- I actually baked the cake twice. The first time I bake the 11x15 cake at 325 (I saw that in the back of one of wilton's yearbooks). Yet it said to bake for 80-85 minutes. I did the toothpick and the light two finger touch (to see if it springs back up method I was told this by my wilton instructor) to see if it was done. At a hour and twenty minute mark the center was still UNDONE! The center was wet (and I mean barely cooked poured into the pan wet with a crust on the top) and it was obvious to see the minute you looked at it. Longer story short, I had to cook it for a total of 1hr. and 45min. The cake was good but the edges and corners where tough. Once it was completely cooled and trimmed of the hard edges the WASC resembled a pound cake in texture.
So I decided to redo the cake and doubled the recipe again, filling the pan a little more than half full (it wasn't more than 2/3 full though and that was all of the batter). This time I baked it at 350 to try that out. It cooked up great in 45 minutes (checked to see if it was done the same way as above). Then I crumbed coated it, etc. as mentioned above.

Again now I am wondering if I needed to wrap the delivery box with the cake inside in plastic wrap. I hear of how individuals are able to bake their cakes more than a day or so ahead and everything comes out fine. So I figured a 1/2 of day shouldn't be bad at all to bake ahead of time.
(just thinking about this)...the WASC recipe calls for 1c. flour per cake mix maybe that needs to be adjusted? (still researching a homemade version of white almond sourcream cake or white cake for that matter, that is just as light, soft, fluffy and tasty) To mention, I don't believe that I am over mixing it . I mix it on low just until blended and then I mix right at a 2 mins. thinking that over mixing it could make it tough.

Most of everyone at the party though that it was fine. Yet I could tell the difference of this cake compared to my others.

Thanks again ladies for your supportive help, it means a lot! icon_smile.gif

Karen421 Posted 13 Oct 2010 , 12:11am
post #11 of 14

You might want to use a couple of flower nails next time. When I bake large cakes, I will bake it on a lower temp, for longer, but with flower nails to help it bake evenly. You can also try the bake even strips. icon_lol.gif

Ruth0209 Posted 13 Oct 2010 , 12:28am
post #12 of 14
Originally Posted by Karen421

You might want to use a couple of flower nails next time. When I bake large cakes, I will bake it on a lower temp, for longer, but with flower nails to help it bake evenly. You can also try the bake even strips. icon_lol.gif

That's good advice. I'd definitely use two flower nails in a cake that size along with bake even strips around the pan.

sugarshack Posted 13 Oct 2010 , 6:39am
post #13 of 14

I do not think wrapping the box in plastic is the answer. Once the cake is iced, it is sealed for days. The cake will not dry out just from being in the box if it was ok before that. If the cake was dry, it was prob a baking issue, IMHO>

Renaejrk Posted 17 Oct 2010 , 12:16am
post #14 of 14

WASC is always so extremely moist for me I can't imagine it being dry. There could have been a problem with one or more of your cake mixes maybe?

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