Cupcakes Made With Cake Flour?

Baking By PoodleDoodle Updated 30 Apr 2011 , 3:33pm by PoodleDoodle

PoodleDoodle Posted 25 Apr 2011 , 4:28pm
post #1 of 25

I love the texture of cake made with cake flour, but my cupcakes made with cake flour always shrink as they cool. If I add more batter then I get the "Muffin" hang over.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

24 replies
FromScratchSF Posted 25 Apr 2011 , 11:10pm
post #2 of 25

It's not the flour, it's your recipe. Your levening is off.

Some recipes just don't convert from cake to cupcakes.

Post your recipe and I can offer adjustment advice.

Jen

PoodleDoodle Posted 26 Apr 2011 , 1:25pm
post #3 of 25

Here's my yellow cake recipe that I use for cupcakes:

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
3 teaspoons vanilla extract


(Not sure if this makes a difference - I make buttermilk with whole milk & vinegar)

Thanks a million Jen

FromScratchSF Posted 26 Apr 2011 , 4:40pm
post #4 of 25

OK! Looks like a basic 1-2-3 recipe. My suggestions:

1. Butter should be 68 degrees or colder, NOT "room temperature". If you can pick the pieces of butter up with your fingers and leave a slight indent, it's perfect. If it's too soft to pick up then it's too soft to use in a cake.

2. Generally, buttermilk in cake is to add an additional flavor component and a little acid, so the the DIY fix by adding vinegar to milk to make buttermilk is probably causing problems. First, the acid in vinegar is much higher then the acid in buttermilk and depending on what formula you are using you are probably adding way too much vinegar... and acid neutralizes baking powder. You could try to add some baking soda to neutralize the vinegar to cancel it out (start with 1/8 tsp per 2 tsp. of baking powder). But second, vinegar in milk tastes nothing like buttermilk, so to me this is a waisted effort. I think you'd just have better results using real buttermilk or just your whole milk. Contrary to what people think, buttermilk has no actual butter and adds no fat to your recipe for "moistness".

3. If a recipe does not indicate size of the egg, it means large eggs, not extra large.

4. Flour measurements can really mess up a cake, especially if you are doing it by the cup and not by weight. If you really want to nail a recipe, weigh your flour. If it calls for 1 cup cake flour, it means 3.5 oz. It's really easy to over-do it because if you scoop your flour or spoon it, you can get as much as 1 oz too much per cup - in this instance that could be 3 oz, or almost a full cup too much flour per batch of cake!

Good luck!

Jen

zespri Posted 26 Apr 2011 , 8:23pm
post #5 of 25

I love these posts of yours FromScratchSF, you're a scientist in the kitchen icon_wink.gif I can't say I will remember what you've just taught to be able to apply it to my own recipes, but I do find it very interesting!

May I ask, if you didn't have buttermilk, what would you substitute with besides whole milk?

Another Question: I've read in so many places that one cup of flour = 120/125gm (4.4oz), but you've said it's 3.5oz (100gm). That's a significant difference.....? Especially when you consider that when scooping with a cup you can end up with more like 150gm (5.3oz) if the flour is settled.

Alfiesmom Posted 26 Apr 2011 , 8:53pm
post #6 of 25

I had a recipe recently that said "1 cup AP flour; if using cake flour only use 3/4 cup"
is that for scientific reasons? Perhaps the OP's substitution was off because it's not a equal amount replacement. ??? I don't know

FromScratchSF Posted 26 Apr 2011 , 9:03pm
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by zespri

I love these posts of yours FromScratchSF, you're a scientist in the kitchen icon_wink.gif I can't say I will remember what you've just taught to be able to apply it to my own recipes, but I do find it very interesting!

May I ask, if you didn't have buttermilk, what would you substitute with besides whole milk?

Another Question: I've read in so many places that one cup of flour = 120/125gm (4.4oz), but you've said it's 3.5oz (100gm). That's a significant difference.....? Especially when you consider that when scooping with a cup you can end up with more like 150gm (5.3oz) if the flour is settled.




Thank you! Lots of trial and error and I type really fast - hence the long-winded posts icon_biggrin.gif

I almost always have whole milk, cultured buttermilk, and heavy whipping cream on hand in my fridge. I generally don't make substitutions because I want consistent flavor and texture. If I am making white cake (all egg whites, no yolks) I use whole milk. Yellow cake (all egg yolks, no whites) I use buttermilk. So I guess if I'm out of milk I'd make my yellow cake, if I was out of buttermilk I'd make white cake. icon_biggrin.gif They have different texture/flavor from one another but I know what to expect with no surprises and no having to adjust the alchemy of my recipes to get results. What I have done is if I don't have enough milk or enough buttermilk for any one recipe, I'll supplement with the other, or I'll add heavy whipping cream if I need just a little bit more. You have to be careful with that though because if you use too much HWC your cake will taste more like shortbread and not cake. Or, if I'm being really picky I'll churn my heavy whipping cream to butter, pour the leftover buttermilk into the store bought buttermilk, and use it in a cake. This is especially useful if I have cream that's about to go over and no use for it.

Hint - if you make a chocolate cake, try subbing HWC for the milk or buttermilk it calls for - OMG yum yum.

In the US cake flour weighs 3.5 oz per cup, All Purpose Four (as we call it in the states) weighs 4.5oz/cup. Different recipes call for different flours. Flour mills and weights differ from county to country so you'd need to check with your fellow countrywomen to get your weights correct based on what's available to you.

Jen icon_smile.gif

FromScratchSF Posted 26 Apr 2011 , 9:14pm
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiesmom

I had a recipe recently that said "1 cup AP flour; if using cake flour only use 3/4 cup"
is that for scientific reasons? Perhaps the OP's substitution was off because it's not a equal amount replacement. ??? I don't know




Cake flour is milled much finer and from different wheat. Cake flour also has a much lower gluten content giving it a finer more delicate texture. By volume, the two do not weigh the same (3.5oz CF vs. 4.5oz APF for 1 cup). I always weigh my flour to get the correct amount, so if I have a recipe that calls for 10.5oz APF, I know I can use 10.5oz CF and get a good result, but it depends on the cake I am making. Cake that I need to suspend nuts or veggies I stick with APF because the higher gluten bonds help suspend the nut or carrot pieces and prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the cake (ever had that happen?).

I have successfully converted most of my other recipes to using cake flour by weighing 1>1 to what it calls for in APF. Make sense?

Jen

PoodleDoodle Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 3:41pm
post #9 of 25

I'm trying all your suggestions today. Will let you know if they makes a difference.

FromScratchSF - what's your thought about refrigerating batter between baking pans of cupcakes?

FromScratchSF Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 4:26pm
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoodleDoodle

I'm trying all your suggestions today. Will let you know if they makes a difference.

FromScratchSF - what's your thought about refrigerating batter between baking pans of cupcakes?




Depends on how warm your climate is - normally don't unless I am making large cakes that will sit in the cake pans waiting for oven space @the bakery where the kitchen gets really warm if there are a lot of people in there that day and my pans are going to sit for over an hour. But 19 minutes for cupcakes in SF where it's about 65 degrees @ my home kitchen I have no problems.

Keep me posted!

LindaF144a Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 5:54pm
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiesmom

I had a recipe recently that said "1 cup AP flour; if using cake flour only use 3/4 cup"
is that for scientific reasons? Perhaps the OP's substitution was off because it's not a equal amount replacement. ??? I don't know



Cake flour is milled much finer and from different wheat. Cake flour also has a much lower gluten content giving it a finer more delicate texture. By volume, the two do not weigh the same (3.5oz CF vs. 4.5oz APF for 1 cup). I always weigh my flour to get the correct amount, so if I have a recipe that calls for 10.5oz APF, I know I can use 10.5oz CF and get a good result, but it depends on the cake I am making. Cake that I need to suspend nuts or veggies I stick with APF because the higher gluten bonds help suspend the nut or carrot pieces and prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the cake (ever had that happen?).

I have successfully converted most of my other recipes to using cake flour by weighing 1>1 to what it calls for in APF. Make sense?

Jen




This is the first time I have to disagree with Jen. I have found that Cake flour to weight 4.1 ounces. But 3.5 ounces is true too. How can that be?

Well if a recipes says 3 cups SIFTED cake flour, then it means they want a weight that is 3.5 ounces per cup. If a recipe says 3 cups cake flour, SIFTED (notice the sifted is after the kind of flour), then they mean that the weight is 4.1 ounces.

4.1 ounces is listed as the measurement in Shriley Corriher's book Bakewise. It is also my own personal experience when doing my own tests on flour weight.

If I see a recipe that has the word sifted before the word cake flour I multiply the amount of cups by 3.5 ounces. If I see the word sifted after the word Cake flour I multiply by 4.1 ounces.

In my own personal experience I have found that cake flour will rise more than AP flour. But then it cannot hold up that pretty dome that happens in the oven and it sinks when you take it out.

This is assuming that you have not underbaked the cupcakes. This is another culprit of why cupcakes will sink, even when a toothpick comes out clean.

With the amount of leavening listed here you are going to get a full open crumb. If your measurement is off (because I am assuming you are not weighing), it can be that because of the amount of leavening it is creating too open a crumb that it cannot support and then it sinks after taking them out of the oven. I actually got the trick of lowering the leavening from FromScratchSF.

I would suggest using only 2 tsps of leavening to start. You will get a bit denser crumb, but it should not mushroom out on you like you said. Plus you may also be putting too much batter into the pan. With the rise you are getting, it could be a simple fix of putting less batter. You do not state how you do it or how much. I personally use a scoop and a weight machine to insure uniform amount in every cupcake. Yes, I am anal. Why do you ask? icon_wink.gif

Personally I do not like the 1,2,3,4 formula as a cupcake. I started out using that formula for cupcakes, but after too many failures (dry, sinking, etc.) I formulated my own recipes. But at this time I am not sharing.

I am opening a cake shop soon and that is proprietary information. Someday I might write a book, then all cupcakes will be perfect! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif Hopefully you will realize that was said tongue in cheek as a way to impart some humor.

PistachioCranberry Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 6:46pm
post #12 of 25

@FromScratchSF and @LindaF144a I love you guys for your wealth of knowledge. I learn so much!

imagenthatnj Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 6:50pm
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by PistachioCranberry

@FromScratchSF and @LindaF144a I love you guys for your wealth of knowledge. I learn so much!




Me too; thank you!

Marianna46 Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 7:20pm
post #14 of 25

I'm having problems with my cupcakes, too, so this has been very helpful. Thanks, you guys!

PoodleDoodle Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 8:01pm
post #15 of 25

The results are in! Following FromScratch's suggestions, my cupcakes didn't shrink! Yeah!! They didn't dome up nicely either.

Regarding Linda's note about sifting - I don't understand what sifting has to do with weight. WHen you sift flour doesn't it just break up the clumps & add air to the flour? Air doesn't way anything but it does take up volume. I'm not very "scientific" so this is confusing to me. It's like saying a 10 pound bag of feathers weighs less than a 10 pound bag of sugar.

Linda144a - Are you a tease? You give us great info but not the "secret formula". You must be related to the Bush Beans guy!

Has anyone tried a recipe that uses both cake flour & AP flour?

LindaF144a Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 8:31pm
post #16 of 25

Sifting has to do with how you measure. If you measure by volume, then you will get an overall different weight when you sift the flour into the cup measure and then level off the top then if you dipped the cup measure into the bag or box of flour and leveled the top. You get more flour in the scoop thus the reason why the flour is lighter.

If you are weighing your flour instead of scooping, then yes you are right the weight would not matter.

Sorry to be a tease. But I figure if the cake shop business doesn't work out I always have something that would make a great cookbook!

FromScratchSF Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 8:52pm
post #17 of 25

Linda, I love you!!!

I follow Rose Levi Bernbaum, she says to just round to 3.5oz for cake flour if the recipe does not specify sifted or not. The one posted did not so I just offered that up to keep it simple. I have never made a 1234 cake, I don't even know what creaming method it uses icon_biggrin.gif Regular?

OP I am SO glad you got results! I think your lack of doming could be fixed in two ways:

1st, try lowering your baking powder. My white recipe calls for 10.5 oz CF with only 2 tsp. baking powder and 1/8 tsp. baking soda. The soda is necessary since you are using buttermilk. Maybe try that next time?

2nd (I bake convection so I have never tried this but others swear by it) is to preheat your oven to 375, pop your cupcakes in then lower your temp to 350. Some claim this works to get a nice high dome without having to tweak the recipe.

I actually have 3 blog posts about white cake tips, so check out my blog and ignore my bad grammar icon_biggrin.gif

Jen

FromScratchSF Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 9:06pm
post #18 of 25

aaaaaand here's my hero on You Tube... check out how she (and I) make my white/yellow cake and shows the proper weigh to measure/sift flour.




Jen

LindaF144a Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 9:08pm
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

Linda, I love you!!!

I follow Rose Levi Bernbaum, she says to just round to 3.5oz for cake flour if the recipe does not specify sifted or not. The one posted did not so I just offered that up to keep it simple. I have never made a 1234 cake, I don't even know what creaming method it uses icon_biggrin.gif Regular?

OP I am SO glad you got results! I think your lack of doming could be fixed in two ways:

1st, try lowering your baking powder. My white recipe calls for 10.5 oz CF with only 2 tsp. baking powder and 1/8 tsp. baking soda. The soda is necessary since you are using buttermilk. Maybe try that next time?

2nd (I bake convection so I have never tried this but others swear by it) is to preheat your oven to 375, pop your cupcakes in then lower your temp to 350. Some claim this works to get a nice high dome without having to tweak the recipe.

I actually have 3 blog posts about white cake tips, so check out my blog and ignore my bad grammar icon_biggrin.gif

Jen




Jen,
I have seen that 1 2 3 4 cake written in so many variations and in many different variations on how to make it too. Someday I will try it by reverse creaming method. I have a old Doubleday cookbook that says this about this kind of cake: This cake keeps well if wrapped airtight; it also freezes well.

Talk about why people have problems with scratch baking? It is a recipe formula that trips people up. You are better off making a good scratch pound cake recipe than a 1 2 3 4 IMO.

And raising and lowering the temp of your oven does work. My problem is with an electric oven I got tired of waiting for the oven to reheat. But you know what, I am okay with a flat cupcake. I never hear any one complain about buying a cupcake and it is not domed. What you do hear about is a dry cupcake.

But a sinking cupcake, that is another story. I'll take flat over sinking.

BTW, if you go to TLC and watch the video of the DC cupcakes girls and how they fill their chocolate fudge cupcakes, take a good look at the cupcakes. They get a lot of shrinking cupcakes with their recipe....I'm just saying..... icon_lol.gif

LindaF144a Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 9:14pm
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

aaaaaand here's my hero on You Tube... check out how she (and I) make my white/yellow cake and shows the proper weigh to measure/sift flour.




Jen




Love that video. It is interesting on the weight. I know her and Shirley are good friends. I wonder if they ever discuss their differences on cake flour weight. It must make for some great conversation!

I did my own test like Shirley suggests in her book and I consistently came up in the 4.1 ish range. I could not get a full cup by the scoop and level method to come to 3.5. I think I'll try again and see if I get the same results. And I love the idea of butter instead of shortening in the cake. I need a white cake, I'll put that on the top of my list.

PistachioCranberry Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 9:31pm
post #21 of 25

My mother has been making the 1234 cake on either the Swans Down or Softasilk box since we were kids and never had a problem. I truthfully never knew there were many variations until today.

hollys_hobby Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 12:15am
post #22 of 25

Jen and Linda, you are both a wealth of information!!! I LOVE reading your posts!
Question, for Rose's White Velvet Cake, if I don't need the true white color, could I use whole eggs, and would I just use the same weight as the whites(4.75oz)? Thank you!!

Evoir Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 12:48am
post #23 of 25

Jen - instead of running out of buttermilk, I keep a constant supply by making my own from full cream milk...

First you need to buy a carton of cultured buttermilk. Find a container about a litre in size. Place half a cup of real buttermilk in the empty container, then fill the container to about half way with fullcream milk. Put lid on and give it a swish/shake. Leave on your kitchen bench for a few hours (depends on the ambient temperature) until it has thickened into...buttermilk. Place it in the fridge and use as needed. Also - you can make any quantity you need - you just need the 'starter' as you do in making yoghurt, or sourdough bread etc.

I use this method all the time because in Oz, buying buttermilk is expensive, and I use it ALL the time, so its always fresh. You need to be aware of what 'off' buttermilk smells like - if your buttermilk turns, you need to discard it and start the process again. But in general it will last a week in the fridge. Everytime you go to use it up, pour off another dose of 'starter buttermilk' into as clean jar/container and add milk for the next batch. Never keep using the same container for subsequent batches.

I do everything from scratch including sourdough, pastries, all my cakes and cookies and all my cooking for the family. I use happy chicken eggs from our backyard when they're laying, roast our own coffee and make our own cheeses sometimes. I really need a cow, I think!!

Hope you give this a try - as I know we have the same philosophy on baking 'from scratch'!

- Eve

FromScratchSF Posted 29 Apr 2011 , 12:57am
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollys_hobby

Jen and Linda, you are both a wealth of information!!! I LOVE reading your posts!
Question, for Rose's White Velvet Cake, if I don't need the true white color, could I use whole eggs, and would I just use the same weight as the whites(4.75oz)? Thank you!!




You are welcome! I know I speak for Linda too that we LOVE helping others baking from scratch. icon_biggrin.gif

The White Velvet Cake uses only egg whites, her All-Occasion Downey Butter uses all egg yolks. The recipes are identical except the Downey Butter calls for 4oz. egg yolks. I don't know what would happen if you use whole eggs and at what weight you should follow. The white has a very fluffy texture, is super tasty as a vanilla cake but IMHO does not do well with strong flavors like chocolate buttercream - it gets lost. The yellow is awesome, is little denser, has a richer texture and holds strong flavor like chocolate buttercream better - you can taste cake and buttercream. It's my default vanilla cake only I use buttermilk (adding some baking soda as I've mentioned above to counter the acid) and it comes out super good. I use all my whites for SMBC. And BTW, both cakes are pretty white in color.

My suggestion is to stick with the recipe as written, it's kind of perfect as-is. If you are worried about waist make the yellow cake and use the whites for SMBC like I do, or make the white and use the yolks for lemon or lime curd.

PoodleDoodle Posted 30 Apr 2011 , 3:33pm
post #25 of 25

Thanks for the great tip on buttermilk. I'm going to try it. I may freeze some to see how it turns out.

Regarding the white cupcakes not doming- personally, I don't mind that they don't dome but when you have a box of white cupcakes (without a dome) and chocolate cupakes (with a dome) the size difference is noticable. People always ask why the white ones are so small. To me, taste & freshness is more important.

Thanks for all the wonderful comments. It's nice to have so many friends to get advice from!

Blessing to you.

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