I'm trying real hard to make a light, fluffy yellow cake from scratch. I want to start decorating classes in September, but I'd like to know how to make a good cake.:)
I only have all purpose flour in my country. I've tried creaming methods, purchased a brand new kitchenaid, but my cakes are still dense and not properly cooked in the middle. Any suggestions please?!
AFor almost all cake recipes you will need some kind of raising agent in addition to the egg white, and in addition to adding air by whisking or beating (which is what the creaming does).
I've googled all purpose flour and it looks to be the same as what we call 'plain flour' in the UK (no raising agent).
Can you get baking powder where you live? If so this is the easiest way to introduce a raising agent. If you can't buy baking powder pre-packaged, I have found the following recipe to make it, but please note I have not tried it myself http://frugalliving.about.com/od/condimentsandspices/r/Baking_Powder.htm
The reason your cake is dense is because it didn't rise. If you think of the structure of a foam sponge - when you squish it, you get rid of the air and it is then dense. That is the principle here all of the material make up of the cake is squished into a smaller space.
The flatness and rubberiness could also be due to the ratio of egg yolk and fat in your recipe being too high compared to the amount of gluten (in the flour). If there is not enough gluten to form bonds with the eggs and fats correctly in the cake structure then you will end up with something flat and rubbery. This is why pancakes are the texture and flatness they are. This issue also occurs sometimes when trying to make gluten free cakes. If you don't use something like xantham gum to replicate the properties of gluten.
The cake not being cooked is, I'm almost certain, due to the denseness caused by all the issues above. However there is a slight possibility that your oven temperature is too high. But I would only explore this possibility if you are still having this issue after you have made the other changes.
When you mixed the batter in your Kitchen Aid did you use the whisk attachment? The whisk attachment is great for getting air into your batter, but if you whisk for too long you can creat air pockets in the batter - I'm guessing that these are the 'tunnels' you refer to. Unfortunately you won't know they are there until the cake is cooked and you cut into it. Incidentally over whisking is another reason a cake may not rise.
A way to get rid of/ prevent air pockets is, once you have filled your cake tin, give it a few short sharp raps on the counter/work surface and the air pockets should work their way to the top and be expelled.
Try the recipe below. It's the most basic recipe you'll find and it never fails. It's been passed down from my Nan, to my Mum to me. Once you've mastered it you can start switching it up, e.g. Replace 1 ounce of flour with 1 ounce of cocoa powder to make chocolate cake. Or add lemon rind/extract to make lemon cake.
Oven preheated at 180 degrees centigrade (160 fan) / 350 f/ Gas mark 4. 2 lined 8 inch round tins
2 eggs 4 ounces butter 4 ounces caster sugar 4 ounces all purpose flour 1 teaspoonful baking powder 2 teaspoons milk (optional) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
*not sure if you can get this, but it's like granulated sugar but ground bit finer. You could use granulated at a push.
Whisk butter & sugar together until combined. Add eggs and combine. Sieve in flour & baking powder - whisk together. Add vanilla extract if using.
Depending on the size of the eggs you have used, you may not need to add the milk. I.e. if you use larger eggs the batter may already be runny enough.
Bake for approx 35 - 40 mins.
Traditionally we sandwich the 2 layers together with strawberry or raspberry jam & buttercream, but you could use anything really.
As you've probably gathered baking is more of a science than decorating is, but its well worth persevering! Good luck :)
AThank you lindseyjhills. Yes I did use baking powder in my recipe. And no to the whiskey attachment. I'm not sure about my oven temperature tho. Will see if I can find one. Thanks again for the tips.
ANo problem :) I didn't realise you you had already tried baking powder. I thought you meant you had only used all purpose flour without baking powder. Sorry for misunderstanding. If you have tried everything else then it may be a temperature issue after all.
This can happen if you beat the mixture for too long or too hard after you have added the flour. You really want to use the mixer on the lowest speed and only until the flour is just incorporated, or you can beat the air out that you carefully added in whilst creaming the eggs and butter.