vgereis Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 1:27pm
post #1 of

Hi all!

This is sort of leading on from whisperingmadcow's post above about just giving up.... The other day I needed to make a cake for my nephew's 1st birthday. It was just going to be made using the wilton 3d choo-choo pan.... I'd used it for my son's own birthday a couple of months ago. However.... a few days previously, I'd made a dark chocolate mud cake for my mother's birthday, so this time I decided to use a recipe that got great reviews here... a vanilla bean cake. Sounded soooo nice and aromatic and the reviews were great. Wasn't sure how much batter it would make... so doubled the recipe, thinking I could use the extra batter to make some easter cupcakes for the kids in the family. Poured the batter into the tin.... in the oven.... and baked it for the time recommended.... checked it a minute or two before was due to be done... and was still a bit uncooked... so put back into the oven. Perhaps 10 or more mins later, it was done when my tester came out totally clean..... Cooled the cake as suggested for the tin.... and when I opened it.... the cake was totally deflated! icon_cry.gif

By this time... I had already poured batter into the cupcake cases... but luckily still had some batter left over... just not quite enough... ughhh... icon_confused.gif So made up an extra half-batch while the cupcakes baked.... filled the tin.... back in the oven... and this time kept it in probably a good 20 mins more.... followed all instructions again etc.... it was somewhat better this time... or at least I thought so.... one side was fine... the back... well... also a bit deflated.... but everyone said it was fine and I should just decorate it. (it was just going to be a small family thing) Have to say.. by this time... I had already gotten quite upset... but couldn't give up as I really wanted to make this cake special for my nephew's birthday!

Anyway... with my mom's cake... everyone had said that the BC was too sweet... so I had heard about Italian Meringue BC... that it was far less sweet.. and frankly... DIVINE! lol!! So set about making it.... all was fine.... was definitely delicious... until the moment when I tried coloring it... and everything was just separating and the colors were separating from the icing etc! No idea what went wrong... is IMBC not "colorable?" Or did something go wrong with the icing itself?? If it is colorable.. is it also ok for piping or is it more like a covering/filling?

Needless to say... I was distraught by this point... and just decided to make my usual bc frosting... which... was made fine.... but when it came to decorating the cake after coloring... realised the heat from my hands (and it was relatively warm that day) kept melting the icing! So kept having to shove it in the fridge to firm up! lol!! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry!

In the end.... I cried.... when it came time to cut the cake... and the centre just wasn't done....and therefore inedible..... I tried it... and it really does taste good... but no idea what went wrong... how I can fix it another time? Does this batter just not work in tins like this? Would it be better in a plain tin? How should I have known not to take the cake out of the oven if the tester came out clean?

If anyone has any ideas.. please do let me know.... Not sure I want any repeats of any of these disasters!

Thanks for listening!!

Vicky

31 replies
VanillaCoke Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 2:20pm
post #2 of

I'm sorry! Is the choo choo pan a big one- maybe it needed a heating core?

SecretAgentCakeBaker Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 2:23pm
post #3 of

I'm sorry to hear you had such trouble. I don't know the answers, hopefully someone else will.

As for the warm hands melting the frosting, here are a few tips for that. You can make up 2 or even 3 piping bags with your frosting. Use one and keep the other either in the fridge or lay it on a block of ice (freeze some water in a square container or cake pan; it doesn't have to be really thick.) Switch between the bags often. I also will run my hands under cold water before picking up the new bag.

kmstreepey Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 2:45pm
post #4 of

So sorry this happened to you! This has happened to me, too. Both problems, actually, but not at the same time. The first time I tried to use IMBC it melted all over and was terrible to work with! I had such a hard time, I haven't tried it again, but I will use some of the tips from others here! As for the sinking cake, that can be caused by too much leavening or too much sugar. I looked at the recipe and the proportions all seem okay. Is there a chance you put in more baking powder or subbed baking soda? To fix it, you could try using a little less sugar or add an egg yolk or two (for structure without drying). HTH!

vgereis Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 9:22pm
post #5 of

Thanks everyone so much for your tips and most of all... for the sympathy! lol! I have to say... this incident definitely shook my baking confidence to the core! I'm not an expert by any means, and am only starting out on the "decorating road".... I've only done a few cakes for my son and some friends etc... but this was the first time for such a disaster... and now part of me is somewhat scared to make a cake for anyone else! Especially if it's for some big occasion and they are paying me for it!!! (having said that.. I currently have a choc/chip banana bread in the oven for my son's class and playgroup! lol But it's just a snack... so if it doesn't work, there are still the veggie sticks & fruit to fall back on! hehe!)

Funnily, my father had also mentioned the "too much baking powder" thing... but am sure I measured it right.. and definitely used baking powder as baking soda isn't so easy to come by here in Paris... and I have it in a separate little container. hmmmm.... might have to try the cake once again in a normal pan and see what happens... and perhaps just leave it in that bit longer... and perhaps add the egg yolks as was suggested?? Will let you know what happens! lol!

Thanks again!

Vicky

FromScratchSF Posted 28 Apr 2011 , 9:37pm
post #6 of

Sorry you had so much trouble!

Meringue buttercreams don't tint easily, and you have to use oil-based colors, NOT your regular gel colors. Why? Well, when you make crusting buttercream, the color attaches to the sugar crystals from the powdered sugar. But in a meringue buttercream you have no crystals, so the color has nothing to grab.

I have heard of people taking a tsp or so of buttercream, adding regular color to it, popping it in the micro to melt it and slightly heat it up, letting it get back to room temperature then using that to tint their meringue buttercream, but I've never personally tried it.

Better luck next time icon_biggrin.gif

Jen

vgereis Posted 3 May 2011 , 8:53pm
post #7 of

Hi Jen and anyone else that can answer!!

Just thought of something... as I still have the IMBC that I had made.... was going to use it as a filling in another cake I am due to make.... just wondered if it needs to be refrigerated once it's in? Or is it like normal buttercream and can stay out?

Thanks
Vicky

FromScratchSF Posted 3 May 2011 , 9:01pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgereis

Hi Jen and anyone else that can answer!!

Just thought of something... as I still have the IMBC that I had made.... was going to use it as a filling in another cake I am due to make.... just wondered if it needs to be refrigerated once it's in? Or is it like normal buttercream and can stay out?

Thanks
Vicky




I only cover and refrigerate to save the cake from going stale, not to save the buttercream. So no, once the cake is finished it does not have to be refrigerated. I have eaten a cake with unrefrigerated SMBC 7 days after it sat on my counter and it was fine.

Jen

vgereis Posted 3 May 2011 , 9:07pm
post #9 of

Thank you thank you thank you!!! I just love the taste.. but was worried about leaving it... will probably be decorated the day before... so wanted to make sure it wouldn't spoil by the time I got it to her!! Had enough disaster already with the cake above! lol!!

Best,
Vicky

ps - gosh you're fast! lol!

FromScratchSF Posted 3 May 2011 , 9:14pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgereis

Thank you thank you thank you!!! I just love the taste.. but was worried about leaving it... will probably be decorated the day before... so wanted to make sure it wouldn't spoil by the time I got it to her!! Had enough disaster already with the cake above! lol!!

Best,
Vicky

ps - gosh you're fast! lol!




You are welcome!

LOL I'm fast cuz I'm sitting on my bum on maternity leave waiting for this baby to decide to be born icon_biggrin.gif Can't really do much else these days.

Jen

vgereis Posted 3 May 2011 , 9:16pm

Awwwwww... how exciting!!! Do we know if it's a pink bump or a blue one? heeh! Congrats in advance!! Can't wait to hear the good news!! Only question is.... who's making your baby shower cake? hehe!

Take care!

Vicky

FromScratchSF Posted 3 May 2011 , 9:19pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgereis

Awwwwww... how exciting!!! Do we know if it's a pink bump or a blue one? heeh! Congrats in advance!! Can't wait to hear the good news!! Only question is.... who's making your baby shower cake? hehe!

Take care!

Vicky




A girl, and I already did - it's the owl cake in my photo gallery. It's the 1st time I've made a cake for myself icon_biggrin.gif

And I ate a TON of it. Ahem, BABY ate a ton of it.

Jen

vgereis Posted 3 May 2011 , 9:33pm

Awwwwww.... a little girly!!! How precious! I have a 3-year old boy... and all my caking interest started with his 3rd birthday when I made his cakes for nursery and home party!hehe! Love love loveeeee the owl cake!! OMG you are so talented!!! If you're ever in Paris... I'd love to get some lessons from you! ;o)

Just outta curiosity.... have any fantastic chocolate cake recipes you're willing to share? Moist, and chocolatey without being too rich cuz it's for kids? Normally I've used a dark chocolate mud cake... which always stays nice and moist.. but it's quite a rich and dense cake...

Anyway.. I guess if you do... you can pm me?

Thanks and good luck yet again!!! Get lots of sleep now.... it goes downhill after bubs is born! ;o)

Vicky

shyann_rayne Posted 6 May 2011 , 1:41pm

I just made this cake last night, and it didn't work for me either. I baked in 8x2 pans with wilton bake even strips. It only rose up to 1 1/4 inches. I baked for around 55 minutes, tester came out clean and it bounced back. I tasted a crumb and I agree it is very sweet. I have no time to rebake because I am going out of town. This cake is for family, I may have a very short underdone cake come Sunday icon_sad.gif

FromScratchSF Posted 6 May 2011 , 3:59pm

Which recipe are you talking about for the cake? Is it here on CC?

Jen

crystal2877 Posted 6 May 2011 , 4:07pm

I think with the size of the pan, you should try a heating core. That should prevent the cake from underbaking in the middle next timeicon_smile.gif

vgereis Posted 6 May 2011 , 4:21pm

Hi Jen,

It is a recipe on here... in the white cake section called Vanilla Bean Cake... got rave reviews.. so must be something I did wrong!? Perhaps too much baking powder? Though I followed the recipe to the T! Unless I misunderstood?

Vicky

specialtycakecreations Posted 6 May 2011 , 4:50pm

One thing that come to mind when you mention the baking powder is the problems we had when moving from Germany to Canada and trying German cake recipes with Canadian ingredients.
We always had to use more baking powder than the recipe called for to make it work. So either the baking powder was stronger in Germany, or the flour here is heavier. Probably both.
Maybe the same goes for France.
I am just wondering if you may be having the opposite problems now.
So I would definitely give it a try to decrease the amount of baking powder called for in American recipes.

FromScratchSF Posted 6 May 2011 , 5:15pm

SpecialtyCake, that's a really good suggestion, baking powder and flour is totally different from country to country.

Is this the recipe?

http://cakecentral.com/recipes/17133/vanilla-bean-cake

My thoughts on why/how it could fail...

If you notice the recipe, it says "butter, softened". People think this means "room temperature". That is incorrect. Butter should be 68 degrees or colder for cakes. If it's warmer then the butterfat starts to separate and the chemical composition completely changes. If your cake sunk or seemed "oily" this is probably why.

Recipe does not state cake or all-purpose flour. No origination from recipe, she says she uses all-purpose. Unusual for a white cake, that would make it more bread-like instead of cake-like which is what we expect from a white cake now. Anyway, overmeasuring your flour and adding too much is also a major problem. There is an art to measuring flour, and really the only way to do it right is to weigh. Just short of that, you should always sift into the cup if a recipe does not state how to treat the flour to get a consistent measurement.

I wold not mix this batter for longer then 20 seconds when adding flour, since it's AP flour you run the major risk of over-developing the gluten and making the cake really tough.

Only use whole milk in cakes, and make sure it's room temperature along with your eggs.

That's all I got for the moment.

Jen

vgereis Posted 6 May 2011 , 5:51pm

Thanks Specialtycake & Jen for your suggestions!

The baking powder thing sounds possible... though I've often used recipes from the US/UK etc and not had any problems before! That's why I thought that either I'd added too much (do you think the recipe really calls for 1 tbsp of bp? as is written? seems rather a lot but everyone else raved, so can't be just me that read it that way!?) or perhaps that it was the fault of the cake tin?

I tend to use all purpose flour here as the "cake flour" (when am literally translating from the French) that I've found here... already has raising agents.. so is more like self-raising flour. There are other flours that are meant for "batters" that are more fluidy that need no lumps... like for crepes etc....

Jen... when you say softened doesn't mean room temp.... how is it best to know that it's ok? (short of sticking a thermometer inside it!) I mean... should you take it out from the fridge for a certain amount of time? or what?

And as for sifting into the cup... seriously? doesn't that make an almighty mess? Lol! I do tend to like weighing.. but when the measurements call for cups... I measure out the cups and then put those in the sieve to sift... hasn't particularly let me down yet... I wonder if this one would need your technique? What's best way to do it without covering my whole kitchen in flour? heeh!

I tend to use whole milk in my cakes too (unless I've run out!) and for the most part I try to have the eggs at room temp.

As for the mixing... a) I'm using a hand-held mixer (does that still count for the 20-second rule?) and b) do you mean 20 seconds after each addition? or total?

Now it's my life's challenge to make this cake and have it work! lol!

Your little "motto" is right Jen.... it really is a science! And one you seem to have worked out to a T! Wish I had your knowledge and talent! ;o)

Thanks again you guys!

Vicky

ps - Jen I tried the choc cake recipe you told me about... yummmmmmmm!! so nice and moist and light n soft! The playgroup I took it to all loved it! there was barely any left! It just made a nice 8" round cake.... if I'm going to go for the rectangular 14"x10" one... what do you think... double or triple the recipe? Or maybe 2.5? I'm never any good at estimating quantities!

FromScratchSF Posted 6 May 2011 , 9:19pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgereis

I tend to use all purpose flour here as the "cake flour" (when am literally translating from the French) that I've found here... already has raising agents.. so is more like self-raising flour. There are other flours that are meant for "batters" that are more fluidy that need no lumps... like for crepes etc....




Try and find out what the cake shops there use, or if they all use self-rising, if they do and that's all you can get your hands on, the yes your cake will be WAY over levened. I have zero experience working with self-rising flours so I am no help in how to modify your American recipe to work with French flour icon_biggrin.gif

Quote:
Quote:

Jen... when you say softened doesn't mean room temp.... And as for sifting into the cup... seriously?




I'm gettin lazy - here's my blog post about both things: http://fromscratchsf.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/scratch-white-cake-improving-an-already-good-thing-pt-2/

AND, here's a You Tube video of my hero explaining flour and showing how and why you sift to measure...




Quote:
Quote:

As for the mixing... a) I'm using a hand-held mixer (does that still count for the 20-second rule?) and b) do you mean 20 seconds after each addition? or total?




Yes, so add dry to wet in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of milk, so add dry, 20 seconds, milk, 20 seconds, dry 20 seconds and so on.

Quote:
Quote:

ps - if I'm going to go for the rectangular 14"x10" one... what do you think... double or triple the recipe? Or maybe 2.5? I'm never any good at estimating quantities!




I assume you want to make a single layer sheet-type cake? I think you'd be fine doubling it, but I'd probably stick my ruler in the pan after I poured all my batter in to make sure it reaches 1/2. If it's a little short that recipe is easy enough to whip up again and add to what you already made. But of course I'm a stickler for exact height cakes, I want all of them 2" when baked!

FromScratchSF Posted 6 May 2011 , 9:27pm

Oh, and this is how I make my white/yellow cakes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rwG-sg0QZk&feature=related

LisaPeps Posted 6 May 2011 , 9:38pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

Sorry you had so much trouble!

Meringue buttercreams don't tint easily, and you have to use oil-based colors, NOT your regular gel colors. Why? Well, when you make crusting buttercream, the color attaches to the sugar crystals from the powdered sugar. But in a meringue buttercream you have no crystals, so the color has nothing to grab.

I have heard of people taking a tsp or so of buttercream, adding regular color to it, popping it in the micro to melt it and slightly heat it up, letting it get back to room temperature then using that to tint their meringue buttercream, but I've never personally tried it.

Better luck next time icon_biggrin.gif

Jen




All the cupcakes in my pictures are IMBC tinted with normal gel paste colouring and I've never had any issues. That's using Americolor and the UK brand Sugarflair.

Maybe you could try adding the colouring before you add the butter?

FromScratchSF Posted 6 May 2011 , 10:14pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaPeps

All the cupcakes in my pictures are IMBC tinted with normal gel paste colouring and I've never had any issues. That's using Americolor and the UK brand Sugarflair.

Maybe you could try adding the colouring before you add the butter?




Interesting! I just checked out your photos, I see 2 bright colored cupcakes, you say one was strawberry and the other passion fruit - would you say that the addition of those fruits helped boost the color? I can get a really nice vibrant pink to my BC by adding strawberries, but I could not reproduce the same color by just using regular Americolor.

I think your government has different standards on what goes into your food dyes there (especially red), and it's possible the formulations are just more suited to European buttercreams since they are more popular there then here - but I cold just be talking out of my butt... I really have no idea icon_biggrin.gif

Jen

shyann_rayne Posted 6 May 2011 , 10:38pm

Thank you Jen!

I took the time to go ahead and rebake using some of your tips (I had no cake flour on hand) and it rose a quarter of an inch higher. Not a big differnce I know but the texture seems alot better and the top also looks alot differnt.

I do have a question, How much is a cup of AP flour suppose to weigh? Cake flour? You google it and you get about 15 differnt answers.

I am a hobby baker who uses doctored mixs and I am trying to get away from that a bit if I can. I thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with me!

specialtycakecreations Posted 6 May 2011 , 10:49pm

One cup of sifted cake flour is 100gr. Makes it easy to remember.
One cup sifted AP is a little more 125gr I think.

FromScratchSF Posted 6 May 2011 , 11:22pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by shyann_rayne

Thank you Jen!

I took the time to go ahead and rebake using some of your tips (I had no cake flour on hand) and it rose a quarter of an inch higher. Not a big differnce I know but the texture seems alot better and the top also looks alot differnt.

I do have a question, How much is a cup of AP flour suppose to weigh? Cake flour? You google it and you get about 15 differnt answers.

I am a hobby baker who uses doctored mixs and I am trying to get away from that a bit if I can. I thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with me!




I follow Rose's conversion chart from the Cake Bible, 1 c. cake flour = 3.5oz (100g), 1 c. APF = 4oz (114g). She says if you are converting recipes to use these formulas weather it says sifted or not. There are a billion other charts out there with conflicting numbers, but I have successfully converted all my family recipes using the above with 100% success.

Jen

specialtycakecreations Posted 6 May 2011 , 11:31pm

You are right Jen. Roses chart is what I use. Didn't have the cake bible in front of me but tried to recall from memory icon_wink.gif
But who can trust that?

But weighing definitely is so much easier and more accurate that measuring. It give me a lot more confidence with experimenting new recipes.

carmijok Posted 6 May 2011 , 11:39pm

I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet as a possible problem with your batter and sorry if it has....BUT, you doubled the recipe. In baking, that can screw things up. I am NOT the expert here on that, but I do know from experience that when you double everything in a cake recipe, there can be real problems. I defer to those who can explain why and how, but it could likely be the problem you had with your from scratch batter.

CarrotJockey Posted 7 May 2011 , 12:06am

The Vanilla Bean Cake recipe is my husband's favorite. Unfortunately, I don't have any answers for you in regards to what's going wrong other than what's been posted. But I can tell you that I have never had it deflate...in fact, the last one I made was in a shaped pan and I filled it a little too full- it rose above the sides of the pan. icon_redface.gif

For shaped pans I usually drop the temp to 325 and add to the baking time. I've made this as written, and I have also replaced the milk with french vanilla coffee creamer. I use all-purpose flour, and I always use room temp butter, eggs, and milk/cream/creamer.

Hope that helps a little. Good luck!

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