Over my lunch break today, I mixed up the Hershey's Best Chocolate Cake - 2 batches, actually. I used about 1.5 batches to half-fill a 3" tall, 10" round cake pain. Baked at 325 degrees for 70 minutes, with a flower nail in the middle. It looked great even at 60 minutes - while baking through the closed oven door. Level and gorgeous.
When I removed it (clean toothpick), there was a little sinkage in the middle, but not enough to not use the cake.
One hour later, it is unusable. The middle has collapsed a LOT. Am I unable to mix up two batches of a recipe to fill a pan? (I need 8 cups for this pan, so I mixed up two separate batches). I now have to rebake tonight - AFTER I get home from taking my elderly mother to the dentist after work at 6 PM. The whole reason I baked over my lunch hour, was because I knew I'd be too tired to start baking at 8 PM tonight, since I never got to sleep till after 3:30 this morning.
What can I do to stack the odds that this new cake will work? I still plan to use the 3" high 10" round pan. Thank you so much for any assistance you might offer.
Sounds like it may not have been completely done...sometimes the toothpick method does not work...I like to use skewers because they are slightly larger and tend to pick up any un-doneness there is....
So that's the only thing you think it could be: not totally baked? Does that mean when I rebake tonight and remember to appy my baking strips, it is no problem to make two batches of the cake recipe? No altering of recipe?
I've had the same thing happen with this same recipe. That was when I used milk in the recipe. I was using 1%, which I think was the issue. Then, someone suggested substituting sour cream instead of using milk. I did that and haven't had any problems since. I'm not sure if this could be your issue, but it's worth giving it a try.
I have had the same thing happen to me when I have made the Hershey cake. It is definitely not cooked enough. You need to cook it an additional 5 to 10 minutes, and I agree, the toothpick method does not always work.
I love this recipe but had the same problem as well - I am going to try the sour cream substitution. Good luck
Not that recipe, but I have had this happen to me like 3 times recently and it is very frustrting when you have been so careful and it looks beautiful and then it sinks. I can guarantee you that you do not want to use a cake that is even only partially sunk in the middle.
I would use a heating core in the center of your pan as you have a 3" deep pan and I do believe that that will help part of your problem. I know a lot of people use flower nails. I tried that once and had more problem with the cake tearing up than the heating core and plug problem. I have also had issues with the bake even strips. these are mainly personal issues not necessarily baking issues.
Good luck. I know what you mean about starting to cook when you are already tired. I seem to make more mistakes that way myself.
Aww, I feel for ya. I've done 1.5 batches before, but it was in a 12" so not as thick. You could try using 2 nails to make sure the center gets more done this time if you don't have a heating core.
Thank you all for these replies. I have a newbie question to ask, and am somewhat reluctant to ask it. The one poster said you definitely don't want to use a cake that has sunk - even a little - in the middle. Is that because it'll be gummy? Each time I've made the WASC (a different cake from this one), it always sunk a little, but the cake was never gummy.
What am I risking by using a cake with a little sunken area? Thank you.
that has happened to me lately with that same recipe.. but i was using a really thin cake tester.. I think for that recipe, you should use a skewer or something a little thicker...
After seeing all the great advice here, I did use a thick skewer on my THIRD attempt at this stupid cake. It came out clean, so I thought I was home safe. However, even these sunk a little and they were only 8" pans. I love the flavor of this recipe, so I'll try the sour cream substitution next time.
You experienced cakers, do you never use a cake that has sunken a little in the middle? Please talk to me about this, as I need to know!
Sorry to hear you had such trouble with this cake.
I'd love to hear the answer to using a sunken cake too.
Try using magic strips around the outside of the pan. That prevents the outer edges from cooking faster and rising faster than the center. Double walled pans do the same thing, but I have only been able to find them in 9" sizes.
If it sinks a tiny bit it's fine to use... but if you have a crater... then no.
The texture will be off and it will be heavier in the middle and it just isn't good.
Another thing to do it to check your leavening. If it's old, it may no longer work properly. BP you can test in water... if it doesn't fizzle up then it's junk. BS you can test in some vinegar... same deal.
I was having trouble with my vanilla cakes sinking and it was the baking powder... so frustrating that it was something so simple and I was tearing my hair out.
I would not personally use a sunken cake of any dimension for a paying customer. I would find a way to use it for home. Maybe make cake balls out of the done part. I would not throw a cake away unless it was burnt to smithereens. I don't know if gummy is the way I would describe it, but
doughy might be a better term. You never know who might get that doughy piece and ask where did you get this cake? I will not ever use them. This is gross. So I personally would not take the chance even on a little sunken. Best luck.
BP you can test in water... if it doesn't fizzle up then it's junk. BS you can test in some vinegar... same deal.
Thanks for the helpful and simple tip! I'm sure I'll be using that one in the future!
One thing to consider is if the cake is attached to to the sides of the pan when you remove it. If it is, when the cake cools it contracts, the sides will hold on and the cake will sink in the center. So take a knife and run around the edges when you remove the cake to make sure this isn't an issue either.
I've found this recipe is weather sensitive. For some reason if it's raining outside, the cake does not do as well. Humidity, barometric pressure...who knows!? I love it though.
It's been raining every day for almost a week. No wonder....
Thanks to everyone for your great advice. I've decided I really suck at this....
I wasn't talking about a cake that has a crater in in. I was speaking of when it dips in only a teeny teeny bit. I torte 90% of my cakes and the ones that have had a VERY minor dip were not doughy or under done in the center at all. Now if it had sunk in considerably then yes I agree... rebake it 100% of the time, but sometimes if you knocked into it before it was 100% set up it will fall in the center a wee lil' bit and that is not the same as if it sinks in to oblivion.
I was just stating what I would personally do. some cakes do fall a teeny teeny bit and you know they are done. That is different. But I think that if we have been cooking for very long at all we will know the difference. I am not knocking anyone else's personal decisions about how they handle things like that. I just was stating how I would do it. So I hope no one took offense.
I made this cake today, and substituted the milk with sour cream. It was probably THEE best cake I've ever tasted. My husband told me it was the best cake he'd ever eaten, too. Fabulos!!!!!
How much sour cream did you use instead of milk? Was it 1 for 1 subsititute? I would love to try it for a cake for next weekend.
The Hersey cake is a wonderful chocolate cake I to had this problem twice a sticky center so I changed to skewers much better for testing and also using the heat strips around the outside of the pan for even baking.
I have a question I have never used the rose nails for any cakes do you put them in upside down?
Candace, I do not know how the others do it, but I had nothing, but problems when I did a flower nail instead of the heating core center. It tore my cake all to pieces. It wasn't because I had not lubricated it as well with the cake release, but because when the cake was done it did not come up to the top of the flower nail and when I went to release the cake from the pan the flower nail stuck up and messed up the cake coming out smoothly. Maybe someone has a fix for it, but I had to patch my cake up with extra icing and I did it, but it was a mess. I would have been better off to just redid the cake(making another) So I will not use the flower nail. I don't have money to throw away on cakes that tear up coming out and I certainly don't want that much cake hanging around. If I have to rebake something I am hoping that the other is so ir-replaceable or un-fixable that I can throw the original out. As far as I am concerned the little piece of cake that you get out of the heating core is much easier to work around and fit into the cake than messing with a flower nail. more power to the ones that successfully use them. Good luck Candace.
Jules 5000 thanks for the reply I was wondering if the rose nail works that great or not I can not afford to waste any ingredients either.
It is not just that I don't want cake to sit around and tempt me, but I don't want to have to start all over again and I have just personally found the heating core thing to work better.
What I find helps is I usually pour more in the heating core than what I actually think I will need. It gets taller than the cake, but then you have a fuller piece of cake to work with when making your plug to put back into the cake. When the cake and the plug have cooled enough to turn out then I let them cool until completely cooled. I think it is easier to turn the cake back to it's original side up and measure by putting the plug in. I have learned not to cut it yet. when you take it out of the hole. You measure the amount that was sticking out of the cake and cut that amount off the bottom. put the cake plug back in and flip the cake again. this way the plug is closer fitting to the hole than it would be if you just used a very small amount of batter in the core. I usually have no problem disguising my plugs. No one ever has complained about it yet. Hopefully this will help you more if you haven't worked that much with the heating core.
well I'm sold on the heating core.
I love the Hershey's chocolate cake recipe but I have the same problem with them sinking in the middle lately! I'll have to try it with the sour cream, and see how that goes, I'd love to be able to use this recipe again, I had pretty much given up on it cause it hasn't come out well at all lately!
I use the flower nails in most of my cakes, a few in larger cakes. The way I do mine is I cut my parchment circle, poke the flower nail through the center, and place the two in the pan. The flat part of the flower nail sits in the bottom of the pan. Then, I spray my Baker's Joy on the parchment paper, the sides of the pan, and the entire exposed portion of the flower nail. I then fill and bake according to my recipe. Then, once the cake is done, the tip of the nail sometimes has a little cooked batter on it. I pull that off because it is usually hard and will tear your cake some. Once the cake has cooled a bit and I'm ready to flip the cake out, I flip it on to a rack, pull the nail out, and flip it back over. Never had one mess it up at all. I swear by it! It also helps the cake rise more evenly while helping the center cook faster. And there is no guess work, which is why I personally don't use the heating core.
Anyway, I hope that helps. For me, a 12 inch round usually gets 2 or 3 nails in them, especially chocolate which has a tendency to either be undercooked or burnt if I don't.
just remember candice that you have to use your same stuff inside and out of the heating core . I always use cake release. I like the one-step process and do not trust just baking spray on cakes. I guess a lot of it is that I just really have nothing that I can afford to lose and have to start over with. I know what I can do with the cake if any of it is good at all, but I prefer not to have that sitting around tempting me either. Cake balls are so good. I wish you good luck and wonderful baking. Julie