Dry And Dense Cupcakes

Baking By JENN0224 Updated 27 Mar 2011 , 4:45am by scp1127

JENN0224 Posted 10 Mar 2011 , 12:37am
post #1 of 22

I recently started baking scratch cake and cupcake recipes. I find that they are much more dense and dry than a mix. Do I need to whip the butter more to incorporate air into the batter? Would it also help to fold in whipped egg whites into the batter in place of adding the whole eggs? Just need a few pointers to get started. Thanks

21 replies
LindaF144a Posted 10 Mar 2011 , 1:42am
post #2 of 22

Can you post your recipe and how you mixed it? What oven temp and for how long?

That way we can get a better help you.

scp1127 Posted 10 Mar 2011 , 8:08am
post #3 of 22

I have found that more published scratch recipes are bad than good. And that goes for books too. If you ask, most scratch bakers will tell you that it starts with experimenting with recipes, studying the science of scratch baking, and finally, you will be able to "read" whether a recipe is bad or good, or know how to adjust for your style. A good way to start is to get a recipe that is a guaranteed good recipe. I always suggest Food Network, Southern Living, and Better Homes and Gardens websites. They rate their recipes and give good instructions. Sometimes the recipes on this site assume you already know how to mix and bake different cakes, so there is less instruction. These other sites gear the recipes to the novice, even if it is a more difficult recipe.

LindaF has already volunteered her help and she has proven she knows how to analize a recipe. She can help you if you want to stick with your recipe.

LindaF144a Posted 10 Mar 2011 , 2:57pm
post #4 of 22

Scp1127- thank you for the compliment. And well said too. You are correct about published recipes. Sadly we find out the hard way. I always ask the questions I did first so that I can have a starting point. I wouldn't want t direct them some where only to find out that is where they started. And how you mix and oven temp are just as important in figuring out what could have gone wrong too. Hopefully we will hear from the OP soon so we can all help her.

scp1127 Posted 10 Mar 2011 , 3:23pm
post #6 of 22

I think it is a shame that cookbooks are produced with bad recipes. A baker can decide to try scratch, make the recipes, and after awhile, decide that he/she just can't scratch bake. Or they come on here and say, "Box cakes are better. I made a scratch cake and my customers chose the box. So everyone likes box better." No, they just like box over bad scratch. Example: I think many of Martha Stewart's recipes are very poorly written, many too dry and off-tasting. I have learned to go to the pros who are also science oriented for advice and starter recipes in any given flavor. With all of the bad recipes out there, no wonder the box has such a following. In the past, we just had Grandma's, BH&G, and Betty Crocker, and we could all bake. Now people want to get a book published or post on the internet and there are too many options, most of them bad.

There have been many discussions about great cookbooks and knowledgeable authors. To anyone who wants to bake a cake from scratch, look up these discussions or ask again. Don't wait until you have to make the cake for a client. We all love to praise our culinary mentors and will share these great books. The advantage of the books over even recipes on this site, are their in-depth instructions on executing the process.

JENN0224 Posted 10 Mar 2011 , 11:49pm
post #7 of 22

I got the recipes from the www.thecupcakerecipe.com and I made the Heavenly Chocolate Cupcake recipe and the yellow cake recipe that I think was written by Martha Stewart.

I baked the cupcakes on top rack of oven at 350 for about 16 minutes. I let them cool on cooling rack in pan for 5 min and them took them out and cooled completely on cooling rack.

I think I will look on some of those websites and check out more recipes.

In the meantime I think I am going to try the Chocolate WASC cake. It sounds divine and much easier. I will still experiment with the scratch reipes though.

LindaF144a Posted 11 Mar 2011 , 12:09am
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by JENN0224

I got the recipes from the www.thecupcakerecipe.com and I made the Heavenly Chocolate Cupcake recipe and the yellow cake recipe that I think was written by Martha Stewart.

I baked the cupcakes on top rack of oven at 350 for about 16 minutes. I let them cool on cooling rack in pan for 5 min and them took them out and cooled completely on cooling rack.

I think I will look on some of those websites and check out more recipes.

In the meantime I think I am going to try the Chocolate WASC cake. It sounds divine and much easier. I will still experiment with the scratch reipes though.




The chocolate recipe is a two-stage method recipe. I can see where you would not like the results of that kind of recipe. It can be tempermental. It sounds like something that came out of The Cake Bible. Her cakes made the two-stage method are completely different than a cake made the creaming method way. You can change that by making it like the Yellow Cake recipe was made, or you can try another chocolate cake recipe. Search the internet, there are a ton of them out there. If in doubt before you make it, post it here. Someone will be able to tell you if it is a good recipe or not. Or try to find a website that has reviews, like Epicurious.com. I always check the reviews either there or on Amazon before I try a recipe any more. I have been burned too many times, so now I check and double check before I use a recipe no matter who posted it.

The Yellow cake recipe has been discussed here. I can't remember what was said. But I believe it was not one of the better recipes. At a quick glance of the weight of the flour vs the sugar in that recipe, there is more flour than sugar which means it will taste less sweet and IMO they also taste a little dry to the mouth. This could also explain the density too. And I am also going to assume a little bit that because you are a beginner, you probably did not cream the butter and sugar long enough. Most beginners don't and that can give a denser cake.

I do know there are scratch yellow cake recipes on here. I don't have one i can give you because I formulate my own. Plus I am starting a cupcake/cake shop and this is proprietary material right now. If this falls through I swear I might write a cookbook. There are so many published recipes that are just plain wrong. It is a wonder anybody delves into scratch baking at all.

I hope you take the advice SCP1127 gave and do some more research. Read up on baking from scratch some more and have fun testing.

HTH

aces413 Posted 11 Mar 2011 , 1:49am
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144a

And I am also going to assume a little bit that because you are a beginner, you probably did not cream the butter and sugar long enough. Most beginners don't and that can give a denser cake.




How do we tell if we've creamed the butter and sugar long enough?

thanks icon_smile.gif

LindaF144a Posted 11 Mar 2011 , 2:04am
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by aces413

Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144a

And I am also going to assume a little bit that because you are a beginner, you probably did not cream the butter and sugar long enough. Most beginners don't and that can give a denser cake.



How do we tell if we've creamed the butter and sugar long enough?

thanks icon_smile.gif




basically the best way is time. I don't agree when recipes say 3 minutes. At a minimum about 5 minutes or up to 8 minutes. A good book to research this is Bakewise by Shirley Corriher. She talks about this at length. I have changed the amount of time I have done this so many times, but now I have settled on 5. Your butter and sugar will look fluffier, lighter, a very pale yellow. I know this sounds like paint drying, but the best thing to do is set a timer and watch it for 5 minutes. You will see it change color, lighten up, get fluffy and increase in volume.

HTH

aces413 Posted 11 Mar 2011 , 5:15am
post #11 of 22

awesome, thanks!

dulce_suenos Posted 15 Mar 2011 , 8:38pm
post #12 of 22

I'm new to this forum and I find all the tips extremely helpful! Great job everybody!!!

I need your help though. I usually make my cakes and cupcakes from cake mix. I just find it convenient, especially since I have another job. I tried to make Martha Stewart's Vanilla Cupcakes and they are dry and dense. I'm looking for a light and fluffy cupcake with simple ingredients. I need to make 30 of these by Friday. Please help!!!

Vanilla Cupcakes-Martha Stewart

Makes 24

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk (I used whole milk)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated; scrape down sides of bowl, and beat in vanilla.
Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.
Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes(I baked them for 18 mins), rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan, and let cool completely on wire rack.


I followed the recipe and the steps to a tee, so I don't know where I did wrong. The first batch I made was a little bland, so I made another batch using whole milk. It tasted a little better, but it was still dense and dry.
I really need your help guys icon_sad.gif

scp1127 Posted 15 Mar 2011 , 11:35pm
post #13 of 22

In my opinion, Martha Stewart is the number one culprit for writing dry, poor tasting recipes. Look around on this site for the Sylvia Weinstock recipe and the wealth of information provided for the recipe.

LindaF144a Posted 15 Mar 2011 , 11:42pm
post #14 of 22

Tis is almost a classic 1 2 3 4 cake, which I find to be dry. In this case she has taken away some of the fat added more liquid. It will still be dry.

Try Sylvia's recipe as SCP1127 suggested.

But if you have not made scratch before, it could be your method. Beat til light and fluffy tells you nothing about how long to mix. If you use a hand held mixer, you may need to eat for a good 8 minutes. For a stand mixer you could beat for 5 minutes.

If you can bring any cupcake flavor, try a chocolate cupcake recipe. I find chocolate to be a little bit moister than vanilla.

Good luck.

dulce_suenos Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 1:13am
post #15 of 22

Thanks for your suggestions!

I have a tried and tested chocolate cupcake recipe which is just what I want in a cupcake, moist and fluffy. But with vanilla, this is my first time to make it from scratch!

I have a ton of All-Purpose Flour and I'd like to use this in baking. Sylvia Weinstock's recipe calls for cake flour. Can I just substitute with All Purpose Flour?

MBHazel Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 1:49am
post #16 of 22

Linda is so right about the importance of creaming. Once you see it right the first time, you'll be a pro-creamer.

I also wanted to add that you can really mess up a cake by over mixing after you have added the flour. This will cause the gluten to develop and you will end up with a tough cake.

Hazel[/i]

scp1127 Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 12:43pm
post #17 of 22

You really must use the correct flour. The success of the recipe rests on following a formula. All yellow cake rcipes have essentially the same ingredients. Follow Sylvia's and any other successful recie exactly. Only after much experience in successful scratch baking is anyone qualified to change these much loved recipes.

Caz0108 Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 7:41am
post #18 of 22

Hi, just my two cents worth..I also learnt the hard way, since I am a recipe book addict...I can just buy every recipe book that looks nice...but not all books have flop proof recipes. I found Martha Stewarts 175 cup cake book the BEST!!!! And I mean the best...she is so accurate with her yield, that if she says the recipe makes 24 cupcakes, it makes 24! I have tried several of her recipes, and all of the caupcakes were a success. She even tells you which cupcakes will dome, and which will not dome...Also there is frostings that goes with the different cupcakes..A book worth buying.

dmenifee Posted 21 Mar 2011 , 11:03pm
post #19 of 22

Hey Ladies, Thanks for the wonderful advice I am also a beginner! If anyone knows a good chocolate cake recipe please let me know.

LindaF144a Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 12:10am
post #20 of 22

Go to the Martha Stewart website and try any of hers. That would be a good place to start.

ritterwoman Posted 27 Mar 2011 , 12:59am
post #21 of 22

I know how you mean. I made a yellow cake last week from scratch and although it had a good flavor it was so dry and crumby. I am making cocount cupcakes tommorrow changing the recipe to using cocounut milk and will add oil and shortening to it as well. I used the shortening last time so maybe if I add some oil to it it will make it moist. we shall see icon_redface.gif

scp1127 Posted 27 Mar 2011 , 4:45am
post #22 of 22

This is just my opinion, but I do have years of scratch baking exprience. When learning to bake from scratch, it is better to work with successful recipes. Once you get good at baking the good recipes, and have adequate knowledge of the science of baking, then you can work on changing recipes. Trying to change a bad recipe to make it work can be very frustrating. You may give up, thinking you can't bake from scratch, when the problem is the recipe.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%