lkern777 Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 5:41pm
post #1 of

I have always been paranoid of over-cooking my cakes and having them be dry. I tend to lean the other direction toward under-baking.

 

This particular cake was terribly under baked and I don't understand it.  

 

It is a 7" cake. It was supposed to be marble, but as you can see, it mostly just mixed together (that is another issue that I fixed when I re-baked the cake).

 

I used parchment lined pans and an Ateco heating core in the center of the cakes. I usually use baking strips on the outside of the pans, but forgot to put them on. 

 

I know that the baking strips make a difference because when I re-baked I used them and the cake was better, but not perfect. There was still a very small area in the center that was not baked completely when I torted it.

 

Here's my problem.....I checked the cake with wooden toothpicks and pulled the cakes out when the toothpicks came out clean....not with a few little crumbs on them, but clean. I even checked in a couple of places. The tops were springing back like they should and the sides were pulling away from the pans.  WHY where they NOT done? Why would the toothpick come out clean if it was so underdone (see photo below).

 

I'm so frustrated because I don't know how to fix the problem.  Can anyone help me?

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 replies
Sassyzan Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 6:02pm
post #2 of

AI cannot understand what your picture is of. Did you cut the cake in half horizontally? What are all the holes?

denetteb Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 6:07pm
post #3 of

It almost looks burnt on the edges.  Rather than it being undone in the center, could it have fallen and give the appearance of underdone?

JamAndButtercream Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 6:13pm
post #4 of

I agree, I think the cake is more overdone icon_sad.gif

denetteb Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 6:18pm
post #5 of

Either way, you should check your oven temp with a separate oven thermometer.

lkern777 Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 6:21pm
post #6 of

It is not burned. That is dark chocolate cake that you are seeing.

 

It didn't fall, I had to cut a slight dome off to level.

 

This picture is of the cake sliced through them middle horizontally to add filling.

 

I have no idea what the holes are, unless they were air holes. I always tap my pans on the table to try to remove air bubbles before I put them in the oven, so I'm not sure what that is about.

 

I forgot to mention that this was a recipe that I had never tried, but gets good reviews. It was Martha Stewart's marble wedding cake recipe. I did have to make a change from using half heavy cream and half milk to all milk because I didn't have the cream on hand. It made the batter really runny, so the vanilla and chocolate parts ended up blending together instead of marbling.

 

I tasted the dome that I cut off and it tasted great, was not overcooked or dry. I just want to know if anyone else has had their cake testers come out clean and the cake was still basically raw in the center.

lkern777 Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 6:24pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by denetteb 

Either way, you should check your oven temp with a separate oven thermometer.

I had an oven thermometer in the oven all the time. The temp was right on. I am using a commercial convection oven.  

 

The 5" cakes that I baked on the top rack were fine. I removed them earlier than the 7" when they tested "done".

 

The 7" cakes were on the middle rack and remained in the oven for a while after the 5" came out.

cakeyouverymuch Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 6:43pm
post #8 of

Are you using a single batter, dividing it, and adding chocolate to part of it, OR are you using two different recipes one white, one chocolate?

lkern777 Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 6:47pm
post #9 of

I am using a single batter, separating it, and adding chocolate to it. I had to triple the recipe for the cakes I was doing and had a little left over.

 

Here's the recipe I used (except for the cream part, I used all milk):

http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/224423/marble-cake

denetteb Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 6:48pm

I'm stumped.  Bad recipe?  A 7 inch really shouldn't have that much problem, especially with a heating core.  And I think the air holes, tunnels can be caused by overmixing.  At least that is what we were taught in 4-H many years ago.

denetteb Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 6:50pm

Even the little guy in the picture looks like the edges are really browned.

Sassyzan Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 6:54pm

ADid you flip it out of the pan when it was still hot? Maybe it was cooked but it got compressed after it was cooked, before it was cool enough to set.

Stitches Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 7:07pm

I'm familiar with this. It isn't under baked. It's a problem with your leavening, I'm 100% certain. The tell tale sign is the deep tunneling wholes in the center. If it was under baked the wholes would have collapsed and you wouldn't see them at all. Instead the batter did complete baking and it isn't falling in on itself.

 

Usually it's too much leavening that causes this. Too much leavening and the tiny air bubbles in a cakes structure over pop as it bakes collapsing the batter on itself, making a dense cake center. Usually it's a balance problem in the recipe itself. Too much liquid, too much acid, too many eggs, or too much baking soda.

 

If the recipe normally works for you and this just happened as a surprise it can be that you grabbed for the baking powder and accidently used baking soda.

lkern777 Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 7:14pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassyzan 

Did you flip it out of the pan when it was still hot? Maybe it was cooked but it got compressed after it was cooked, before it was cool enough to set.

I flipped it out of the pan after 12 minutes. I did press down on the dome right after it came out (Sharon Zambito does that in her "Back to Basics" video), so I guess it could have gotten too compressed. I don't usually do that, but since I had forgotten to put the baking strips on the outside I had more dome than I usually do.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by denetteb 

I'm stumped.  Bad recipe?  A 7 inch really shouldn't have that much problem, especially with a heating core.  And I think the air holes, tunnels can be caused by overmixing.  At least that is what we were taught in 4-H many years ago.

It's definitely possible that I over-mixed it. I'll keep that in mind going forward.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by denetteb 

Even the little guy in the picture looks like the edges are really browned.

I think the edges just look really brown in the picture because of the chocolate in the recipe. They were not crusty or hard. And I just ate some of the edge to see and it tasted good, not over-done. icon_wink.gif

Stitches Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 7:15pm

Ah, I just re-read one of your posts when I checked the recipe. 

 

"Here's the recipe I used (except for the cream part, I used all milk):"

 

That's where you went wrong. You can't use all milk, milk doesn't have as much fat as the cream. Believe it or not, that small chemical difference is all that it takes to change the chemistry of that batter. All milk made the batter leaner and wetter so the tiny air pockets collapsed on each other as the cake baked. 

 

lkern777 Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 7:22pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches 

Ah, I just re-read one of your posts when I checked the recipe. 

 

"Here's the recipe I used (except for the cream part, I used all milk):"

 

That's where you went wrong. You can't use all milk, milk doesn't have as much fat as the cream. Believe it or not, that small chemical difference is all that it takes to change the chemistry of that batter. All milk made the batter leaner and wetter so the tiny air pockets collapsed on each other as the cake baked. 

 

Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply to this.  This was a new recipe for me and when I had to rebake it I had to go back to the store for more cake flour and decided to get the heavy cream too.  The second try came out much better.

 

I will also remember to double-check my leavening agents going forward. When I tripled the recipe I could have mis-measured.

 

I appreciate everyone's replies and help. I love Cake Central!

cakeyouverymuch Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 7:34pm

All that chocolate came from ONE cup of batter mixed with chocolate?  Did you stir the chocolate mix into the batter by hand, or did you use your mixer?  Given that the chocolate is concentrated in the center and it domed, you may have over mixed the chocolate part, or mixed it too vigorously.

 

I'll agree that using the milk rather than the cream would have upset the fat balance and led to issues.

 

I will also say that I would NEVER compress the dome on my chocolate cakes, especially not while they're still warm.  The result would be a dense soggy mess. 

 

I also note that the recipe says to allow the cakes to cool completely in the pan, are you sure the 12 minutes was long enough? 

tarttokig Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 7:53pm

A similar thing happened to me a few weeks back. I checked with a stick and it came out dry, but once it had cooled and I sliced it it wasn't baked in the center. I figured out that it was because I dropped the oven door (by accident) during baking. Maybe something similar might have happened to you??

lkern777 Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 10:06pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeyouverymuch 

All that chocolate came from ONE cup of batter mixed with chocolate?  Did you stir the chocolate mix into the batter by hand, or did you use your mixer?  Given that the chocolate is concentrated in the center and it domed, you may have over mixed the chocolate part, or mixed it too vigorously.

 

I'll agree that using the milk rather than the cream would have upset the fat balance and led to issues.

 

I will also say that I would NEVER compress the dome on my chocolate cakes, especially not while they're still warm.  The result would be a dense soggy mess. 

 

I also note that the recipe says to allow the cakes to cool completely in the pan, are you sure the 12 minutes was long enough? 

I tripled the recipe, so I used 3 cups of batter mixed with the chocolate (x3).  I stirred the chocolate by hand and just until it came together, not vigorously.

 

I honestly didn't notice that the recipe said to let cool in the pan. In the past when I have done that I wasn't able to get the cakes out of the pan without tearing them. I have started using parchment on the bottoms and sides of my pans, so that shouldn't be an issue going forward either. I was wondering if maybe I should have let them cool completely in the pan since the parchment would prevent them from sticking once totally cool.

lkern777 Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 10:08pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by tarttokig 

A similar thing happened to me a few weeks back. I checked with a stick and it came out dry, but once it had cooled and I sliced it it wasn't baked in the center. I figured out that it was because I dropped the oven door (by accident) during baking. Maybe something similar might have happened to you??

No, I didn't have anything unusual like that happen.

Elcee Posted 22 Apr 2013 , 2:31am
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkern777 

I am using a single batter, separating it, and adding chocolate to it. I had to triple the recipe for the cakes I was doing and had a little left over.

 

Here's the recipe I used (except for the cream part, I used all milk):

http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/224423/marble-cake

So, this is interesting. I have the Martha Stewart's Wedding Cakes book. I used the Marble Cake recipe from that for my daughter's wedding cake ( I used the mocha version). It has the same picture as this link but the recipe calls for buttermilk, not a mix of milk and water. The recipe in the book is on a larger scale but all the ingredients aren't exactly tripled so maybe something is off in the online, smaller version?

 

5 1/4 cups cake flour

2 tbs baking powder

1 1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter

3 cups + 3 tbs sugar

9 large eggs

1 tbs vanilla

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup + 1 tbs cocoa

(+6 tbs espresso powder for mocha)

3/4 cup boiling water

 

It's one of the few MS cake recipes that adusted well to my high altitude.

Chellescakes Posted 22 Apr 2013 , 5:22am
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkern777 

It is not burned. That is dark chocolate cake that you are seeing.

 

It didn't fall, I had to cut a slight dome off to level.

 

This picture is of the cake sliced through them middle horizontally to add filling.

 

I have no idea what the holes are, unless they were air holes. I always tap my pans on the table to try to remove air bubbles before I put them in the oven, so I'm not sure what that is about.

 

I forgot to mention that this was a recipe that I had never tried, but gets good reviews. It was Martha Stewart's marble wedding cake recipe. I did have to make a change from using half heavy cream and half milk to all milk because I didn't have the cream on hand. It made the batter really runny, so the vanilla and chocolate parts ended up blending together instead of marbling.

 

I tasted the dome that I cut off and it tasted great, was not overcooked or dry. I just want to know if anyone else has had their cake testers come out clean and the cake was still basically raw in the center.

If you change someone's recipe you are not using their recipe , that would be your problem. 

lkern777 Posted 22 Apr 2013 , 8:14pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elcee 

So, this is interesting. I have the Martha Stewart's Wedding Cakes book. I used the Marble Cake recipe from that for my daughter's wedding cake ( I used the mocha version). It has the same picture as this link but the recipe calls for buttermilk, not a mix of milk and water. The recipe in the book is on a larger scale but all the ingredients aren't exactly tripled so maybe something is off in the online, smaller version?

 

5 1/4 cups cake flour

2 tbs baking powder

1 1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter

3 cups + 3 tbs sugar

9 large eggs

1 tbs vanilla

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup + 1 tbs cocoa

(+6 tbs espresso powder for mocha)

3/4 cup boiling water

 

It's one of the few MS cake recipes that adusted well to my high altitude.

That looks like the one I had used in the past, found here:

http://www.marthastewart.com/339716/marble-cake

 

I tried the other one instead because it was listed as working well for wedding cakes. I used all milk in mine (not buttermilk) the first time because I was out of cream. In my head I had thought that it took buttermilk (now I know why I thought that) so I thought whole milk would work.

 

I noticed another difference in the 2 Martha Stewart recipes.....the one that contains buttermilk says to cream the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment and the one with heavy cream says to use the wire whisk attachment. I usually use the paddle attachment unless the recipe says to do otherwise.

 

Would the whisk cause the cream to thicken more than the paddle? It is not whipped by itself like whipped cream, but rather mixed with the milk and added in alternated with the flour. I prefer the paddle, but used the whisk the second time I baked when I used the cream/milk mixture. 

lkern777 Posted 22 Apr 2013 , 8:16pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chellescakes 

If you change someone's recipe you are not using their recipe , that would be your problem. 

I wasn't rating the MS recipe. I was simply stating what I had done so that people who wanted to try to help could do so with all of the information.  My question was why my cake tester came out clean as if it was done, but was not actually done.

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