Vanilla Cake Shrinking Mystery

Baking By Cakejeanie Updated 19 Mar 2014 , 7:50pm by Cakejeanie

Cakejeanie Posted 18 Mar 2014 , 4:25pm
post #1 of 15

I made the Woodland Bakery's vanilla cakes today:

 

 

I followed the recipe to a T.

 

Here is what I did after making the batter:

 

Put bake even strips on both pans. Cake on the left went in first. Baked at 350F for 25mins, then 325F for 20mins (did I overbake? I've turned it over to cool and it doesn't look overdone from underneath, if that helps). When it cooled it shrank a LOT at the top of the pan (about 3/4inch).

 

Turned the oven up to 350F and put the 2nd cake in the oven. Baked at 350F for 25mins, then 325F for 15mins (TBH, I can't be totally sure if I baked at another 15 or another 20mins, ooops). 

 

Anyone have any idea why first cake (the left one) shrank a lot more than the 2nd cake? They are both the same in height.

 

Has this happened to anyone else and how did you rectify it for future cakes? Any thoughts from the scientific bakers out there? I'm assuming nothing is wrong with my batter because cake number two turned out alright!

 

Thanks in advance :)

14 replies
Rfisher Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 3:30am
post #2 of 15

AI've not made this one, but I do want to in the future. It's a sponge right? I don't think that type of egg foam cake takes kindly to sitting around before being baked. The brown, wrinkly top leads me towards oven temp, or too near the top of oven? Did you use parchment at the bottom, is that why the bottom did not shrink at the same rate as the ( untethered) top?

Cakejeanie Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 7:43am
post #3 of 15

A

Original message sent by Rfisher

I've not made this one, but I do want to in the future. It's a sponge right? I don't think that type of egg foam cake takes kindly to sitting around before being baked. The brown, wrinkly top leads me towards oven temp, or too near the top of oven? Did you use parchment at the bottom, is that why the bottom did not shrink at the same rate as the ( untethered) top?

Rfisher, the cake was put in the oven as soon as they were poured in the pans. I placed them in the middle of the oven. Yes they had parchment paper. I am going to try a lower temperature next time. I've kind of been ignoring the wrinkly top! Hopefully that is down to oven temperature!

Does putting parchment paper on the sides of a pan help stop shrinkage around the edges.

AZCouture Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 9:34am
post #4 of 15

ABake at 325 the whole time, that may help. Amd if you're depending on times given for baking, forget it. You eventually develop a sixth sense and just know when it's done.

Rfisher Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 11:04am
post #5 of 15

AOops, I mis read your post regarding when you put the 2nd cake in the oven. I understand now. I do want to try this one.........

Cakejeanie Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 11:40am
post #6 of 15

Rfisher and AZCouture,

 

I sent a message to Gretchen of Woodland Bakery as well as posting on this forum, with the same pic and the same tale about the two cakes coming out differently. She said it looks like I overbeat the eggs. I noticed that I didn't actually tell Gretchen that the cakes were made from the exact same batter- just divided into two pans- so I let her know. 

 

AZCouture, I will definite try baking at a lower temp next time. Hopefully this solves the over shrinkage problem! With my other recipes I definitely know when they are done, and know exactly what temps to bake them in, etc- each to their own oven so to speak. Hopefully I get the hang of this vanilla recipe soon, because it is lovely.

 

RFisher, try the recipe! Apparently this is the latest tweaked version of her vanilla recipe. Its lovely and moist. I watched Gretchen's video and also printed out her instructions. The only problems I've ever had so far is the shrinking.

Rfisher Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 11:42am
post #7 of 15

AI've not looked at the woodland recipe in awhile, does she specify the oven temp change for commercial oven or residential? I can't imagine she does it in the commercial oven, but maybe she does....could it be a egg folding fussy thing causing the excessive shrinkage? Maybe look through the UK sponge threads for some insight? I think that's what I will do before I try a sponge.

Cakejeanie Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 11:53am
post #8 of 15

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rfisher 

I've not looked at the woodland recipe in awhile, does she specify the oven temp change for commercial oven or residential? I can't imagine she does it in the commercial oven, but maybe she does....could it be a egg folding fussy thing causing the excessive shrinkage? Maybe look through the UK sponge threads for some insight? I think that's what I will do before I try a sponge.

 

In the video she is baking in her bakery, so I'm assuming commercial oven.

 

I've just finished watching her video again and after reading your post, I do wonder if I overbeat the batter after the 'liaison' stage. I notice in her video, she folds the liaison into the batter, whereas I used my mixer although on a very low speed. The cakes have a good height- they are both 1.5" high. It's just that one cake that shrank so much from the sides at the top! But perhaps I didn't actually follow her recipe to a T as I'd thought and my oven was just that bit too hot. Vanilla and chocolate are my two top flavours so I'm determined to crack this one! 

Stitches Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 2:56pm
post #9 of 15

The shrinking has to do with how the eggs cooked (protein contracted). I can tell just by looking at them, the recipe is high in egg content. I can't tell you for certainty with-out replicating the recipe multiple times but you said the only factor that changed was the one on the right sat for about 45 minutes before being baked (correct). In that time the egg structure must have relaxed.

 

So if you whip your eggs less your first cake will turn out more like the second one baked. BUT than who knows what your second cake will look like once it sits longer with less egg structure........

Rfisher Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 5:19pm
post #10 of 15

AStitches, I thought the same thing when i read the original post, but she corrected me in stating that they went right in the oven.

Stitches Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 5:29pm
post #11 of 15

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cakejeanie 
 

I made the Woodland Bakery's vanilla cakes today:

 

 

I followed the recipe to a T.

 

Here is what I did after making the batter:

 

Put bake even strips on both pans. Cake on the left went in first. Baked at 350F for 25mins, then 325F for 20mins (did I overbake? I've turned it over to cool and it doesn't look overdone from underneath, if that helps). When it cooled it shrank a LOT at the top of the pan (about 3/4inch).

 

Turned the oven up to 350F and put the 2nd cake in the oven. Baked at 350F for 25mins, then 325F for 15mins (TBH, I can't be totally sure if I baked at another 15 or another 20mins, ooops). 

 

HUM............the OP needs to decide how she baked the cakes because she posted two different things in this thread (I bolded the type in her description). Above is her first post saying how she baked them.

 

Putting parchment paper around the inside of the pan will really make the cake cave in on the sides! You can try not greasing the pan at all, so the cake can cling to the sides of the pan while baking. BUT that doesn't always work with a batter like this.

 

A cake high in egg content bakes a lot like a custard/cheesecake. The bottom line is, if the cake tastes great who cares if it caves in on the sides of the pan....frost it and no one will really know.

Rosie93095 Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 5:41pm
post #12 of 15

No where in that recipe does it say to heat your oven up to 350 then down to 325 again. I have made this cake several times and it turns out well.

AZCouture Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 5:53pm
post #13 of 15

A

Original message sent by Rosie93095

No where in that recipe does it say to heat your oven up to 350 then down to 325 again. I have made this cake several times and it turns out well.

That too. That kind of temperature manipulation is usually reserved for cupcakes, to blast it for a few minutes to make it dome, then settle back down and bake at a lower temp so it doesn't burn. Definitely not something you want your cakes to do, unless you WANT a domed top.

AnnieCahill Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 5:53pm
post #14 of 15

The first thing that came to my mind when I saw those is that you over-beat the eggs. Also calibrate your oven to be sure it's baking at the proper temperature.

Cakejeanie Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 7:50pm
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches 
 

HUM............the OP needs to decide how she baked the cakes because she posted two different things in this thread (I bolded the type in her description). Above is her first post saying how she baked them.

 

 

My story telling skills leave a lot to be desired! Ok just to clarify:

 

I made a batch of vanilla cake batter. Divided into two pans.

Put the first pan in the oven. Baked at 350 for 25 mins, then 325 for 20mins.

Turned oven up to 350 again.

Put second pan in the oven. Baked at 350 for 25mins, then 325 for 15mins. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosie93095 
 

No where in that recipe does it say to heat your oven up to 350 then down to 325 again. I have made this cake several times and it turns out well.

 

Rosie, here is the link to the particular recipe I used : http://www.woodlandbakeryblog.com/vanilla-sponge-cake/. It tells you further down what temperature to bake it in. 

 

Quote:

The bottom line is, if the cake tastes great who cares if it caves in on the sides of the pan....frost it and no one will really know.

 

I've torted, filled and crumb coated and yes you're right! It doesn't look as bad as I thought. Its now in the fridge to firm up before the final coat of SMBC.

 

You must all think- just get another recipe!  I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps I should 8O LOL. However, I think the answer may lie in less beating and lower temperature. I do not know how to calibrate an oven, so will look that up (hopefully that's not too technical gulp). 

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