I Think I Give Up On Bakikng

Baking By 0930 Updated 10 Feb 2011 , 8:40pm by cakenovice2010

0930 Posted 8 Feb 2011 , 5:21am
post #1 of 15

hope that someone out there can shed some light or i swear that i will never bake another scratch cake again and do boxed mixes only

lately everything that i bake does not seem to rise or ends up with a cheese cake consistency almost as if the cake is not cooked yet when tested it is

tried yet another recipe this weekend in hopes that it would work. was recipe for chocolate cake in 2 9 inch rounds that would later be cut in half to end up with 4 layers.

needless to say it does not rise at all and really looked like extra thick pancakes and greasy as heck. i thought perhaps i did not use enough flour or too much butter. looked back at everything i had used and it was all right on

i have 2 ovens in the house - one is convection and the other regular - have tried in both and same thing. the flour, baking soda and powder are all new and fresh so not the issue


14 replies
Frecklysmom Posted 8 Feb 2011 , 5:37am
post #2 of 15

Nothing wrong with doing box mixes! I use doctored Betty Crocker and everyone loves them. Virtually no stress and they turn out great every time. Don't be so hard on yourself. You obviously enjoy baking so don't give up! icon_smile.gif

jo3d33 Posted 8 Feb 2011 , 5:58am
post #3 of 15

I have tried TONS of scratch cakes and I honestly dont like them as much as the WASC cakes. Dont give up. One thing I learned from this site (Im still pretty new at this) is NEVER open the oven door! If you open the door before they are done, or at least really close to it, to check on your cakes they will not bake up properly. I accidentally did just that while making my last cake and it did not rise, and was just plain gross. I had to toss it. Im sure you will get the hang of it. Good luck!!!

CakeMixCakery Posted 8 Feb 2011 , 6:00am
post #4 of 15

Scratch baking is HARD!!! I have tried it on more than one occasion and it did not taste right (my MIL said it takes like corn bread)
I use my Betty Crocker box mix as my base and i alter it as i see fit. Never had a complaint!

soledad Posted 8 Feb 2011 , 6:23am
post #5 of 15

Whenever I do scratch I bake it at 325 and for a longer period of time usually 55 min. , just because to me the mixture looks thicker . I Do not open the door for the first 35 min. HTH icon_smile.gif Good luck thumbs_up.gif

Apti Posted 8 Feb 2011 , 6:33am
post #6 of 15

I just doctor Duncan Hines mixes and everybody loves them. I am a hobby baker.

scp1127 Posted 8 Feb 2011 , 6:42am
post #7 of 15

Don't give up on scratch. First, your ovens may not be the correct temperature. A box mix is designed to withstand many mistakes, so don't assume the temp is correct. Next, you need a tried and true recipe. Many scratch recipes, even in books, are awful.

I would suggest the book, Cake Love, by Warren Brown, because you can go to his site and see a video of him making the batters. Also, many people on this site have reviewed this book's recipes to be exceptionally good, including me. There are many other books out there that go deeper into baking technique, but he is so easy to follow. You will need potato starch to do his recipes, but every store has it in the natural food isle.

Next, set your DVR to every show that Alton Brown (Good Eats, Food Network) does concerning baking. Watch them again and again, taking notes. He has a baking book, "I'm Just Here For More Food", that easily explains the science of baking and works as a companion to the methods on his shows. I am an accomplished scratch baker and I still study his shows.

Baking from scratch is a learned science, only perfected by practice. There are no shortcuts. But when you start to get good at it, the feeling of accomplishment is the same as how you feel about the many hours learning the art of cake decorating.

Last suggestion... cheap or dark pans do not work well with scratch recipes.

Good luck and remember, there are many scratch bakers on this site, ready to help you as you learn.

The_Puzzler Posted 8 Feb 2011 , 6:46am
post #8 of 15

Hi, just wondering: do you have an oven thermometer? I always had to bake my cakes twice the amount until I got the termometer and discovered my oven ran cooler than it should be.

Good Luck!

0930 Posted 8 Feb 2011 , 4:06pm
post #9 of 15

thanks everyone for the encouraging words - it is sooooooo disheartening to bake thinking you have a masterpiece and then it goes to the trash. i figured out that between the unsalted butter, eggs, flour etc etc that i tossed about 20.00 bucks down the drain

i am going to get an oven thermometer and see what the heck is going on with both my ovens

thanks again to all

Jennifer353 Posted 9 Feb 2011 , 11:53am
post #10 of 15

One other thing to consider is your measurements. Being in the UK (and a scratch baker) I weigh everything as opposed to using cups for flour, etc. I think it is more reliable because obviously a heavily packed cup weighs much more than a lightly packed one (I stand to being corrected on the accuracy of cups by those who know more about using them I dont mean this as an attack!). Could it be something to do with unintentionally using the wrong amounts of ingredients?

AnnieCahill Posted 9 Feb 2011 , 12:27pm
post #11 of 15

Ok, a few tips about scratch baking:

1. Yes, get your oven calibrated.

2. Make sure ALL of your cold ingredients (butter, milk, eggs) are at room temperature.

3. If you are unable to weigh your ingredients (I think flour is the most important), you can use a standard measuring cup. I learned this technique from one of Dede Wilson's books. Pour your cake flour into a bowl, whisk it for a minute or two with a wire whisk, then dip your cup into the flour and sweep the excess off with the back of a knife. This ensures that you are not packing in the flour.

4. Don't use cheap pans. Wilton ones are ok, but Magic Line is awesome. You want something that is light in color but heavy. Quality makes a difference.

ChilliPepper Posted 9 Feb 2011 , 12:39pm
post #12 of 15

I have always baked my cakes from scratch and would never in a million years use box cakes. Having said that, my lovely Mam taught me to bake when I was 10 so I've had many years of practice.

I always follow recipies to the 'nth' degree and weigh everything spot on. Baking is alchemy and if the ratios are not correct then it will not work. I also make sure my butter and sugar are beaten to within an inch of their lives and the eggs are added slowly.

I have never had trouble with any oven and I think the cakes need to be mixed with a little bit of love added and as previously stated - don't open the oven door until the end of the baking time.

CP xx

cakesnglass Posted 9 Feb 2011 , 1:18pm
post #13 of 15

Make sure your ingredients are fresh (baking powder and sodas) overmixing the batter can also affect the texture and heighth. I have a convection/gas oven. and I set my oven on 375 which converts to 345 auto adjust and it works great. Good Luck

tgress13 Posted 9 Feb 2011 , 1:28pm
post #14 of 15

My whole life my mom has been baking cakes and I never understood why they did not turn out like others i've tasted. Now that I bake constantly from scratch as well, and finally understand that baking is a science and you need to make sure you know what you're doing. In my experience, overmixing, oven temperature and opening the oven door in the first 20 minutes of baking are usually the culprit in cakes not coming out right.

Definitely get an oven thermometer. At least you'll be confident that the cakes are going in at the right temperature and that makes a big difference! Good luck.

cakenovice2010 Posted 10 Feb 2011 , 8:40pm
post #15 of 15

Was your butter at room temp? If it was, was it too soft. I've noticed when my butter has gotten too warm it's almost too soft and sort of melts while I'm mixing - this always results in a disaster for me.

The other thing is I stopped using convection, I couldn't seem to get that combination just right.

Baking strips, silicone strips around the pan also work well. Rose Barenbaum of The Cake Bible has them on amazon. Or just use soaked cake strips from wilton around the edges of the pan.

I did try the heating cores but I found the cake tasted amazing but was pretty soft and sometimes too soft for levelling. Tasted awesome though!

Don't overmix, use room temp ingredients and make sure your butter isn't so soft it's melting as you mix. You'll know because the mix will have little puddles of butter. Sometimes my kitchen gets overheated and I can tell right away I just need to throw the butter in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up slightly.

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