I'm in the middle of baking for my first wedding cake, and I'm having some trouble with my big cake pans. I'm using Magic Line 3" deep pans, in 10", 8", 6" and 4". The first recipe I used http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-742248.html came out sunk in the middle in all four cakes. I did use a heating core in the 10" one, but it still sunk in the middle. All of them came out too moist also, and I followed the recipe exactly.
The second recipe I used, one that has always worked like a dream in the past, came out VERY undercooked in the middle, and sunk in as well - but it tested done when I checked. It was also too moist. The only change I made was using yogurt instead of sour cream, and white chocolate flavoring (like for coffee) instead of water. And I didn't use the heating core this time.
Any ideas what I'm doing wrong? I've never struggled so much with getting a cake to bake right![/url]
I think the problem is the 3" deep pans. Some experienced bakers can deal with them. I never could. The cakes just never baked right.
You have to set the oven at 300-325F and bake until the cakes test done. The magic strips sort of help.
I adore 3" pans, but I only try to bake a nice, full 2" layer in each pan, NEVER a 3" layer.
I use a flower nail(s) depending on the size of the pan (1 for 6", 8", 10" pans, more for larger pans).
I looked at the recipe and personally, I'd be leery of it. I think it has too much liquid in it.
I'd use water, not milk.
I don't like the "syrups" in cakes, as I think they can make them gummy, so I'd eliminate it and just use the melted chocolate, also adding 2 tsp. of natural raspberry extract and 2 tsp. of white chocolate extract.
I think the yogurt brand can be an issue, too, as some are very thick and some are runny. I'd probably just go with sour cream, with a much lower ratio of water to fat.
I use lots of 3" H pans but I have learned to use enough batter to bake up a 1" or 2" H cake. It took too long to bake cakes in 3"H pans. They cook fast on the outside and the middle is always just wet and undercooked. I have ruined many cakes baking with batter to rise to be 3"H. I now use my own home-made bake even strips. I have noticed my cakes bake faster and better and I use only enough batter to bake a 1 or 2"H cake. I prefer to bake fruit cakes up to the mark in 3" or 4"H pans.
I use alot of 3" pans. I use the collaring method, fill 2/3 full, use a heating core for anything over 10", under that I just use a flower nail. I bake at 325 and have never had a problem. I bake with just cake mixes or use the following recipe:
1 box cake mix: follow directions on box and add to it:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup water
1 TBLS. vegetable oil
I switched to 3" pans recently because I like having a full 2" layer even after I level my cake. I bake my cakes at 325, use baking strips and switched to rose nails after reading that tidbit on CC I haven't had any problems, thank goodness.
I bought 3" pans and since then have often wished for 2" pans. So for the most part I try to fill so I get a 2" layer. When I have filled for a 3" layer, I always use 2 flower nails in all of my pans. I only have 2 right now, so I put one in my 6" and 8" and I put 2 in my 10". But I still find they take a long time, much longer than expected and I do back at 325F for the larger pans. I used to use metal skewers to test cakes as they were longer than a tooth pick but I've switched to long bamboo skewers for testing and find that I'm getting a much better "read" on doneness that way. Plus the top should spring back when done, not remain indented when you touch the top. That might be a good way to test as well.
Thank you for all the advice. Baking good cakes is much harder (at least for me) than the decorating part of cakes! I pm'd a few of you with some follow-up questions, I hope nobody minds.
Thank you again for all of the help and ideas! It turned out pretty good in the end - if you're interested, I posted some pictures: