I am a very accomplished baker. However, when it comes to baking cake from scratch they all sink in the middle. Any ideas? The oven temp is correct, I have a thermometer. I bake until tester comes out clean. I have baked at 350* for prescribed time, at 325* and added time. I have baked and used convection but nothing I do seems to fix the problem. I have used new baking powder, fresh eggs, old powder, older eggs. I have used the flower nail method, nothing works. It happens on 6", 8", 10". 12" 14" cakes I use recipes from trusted sources, King Arthur, professional bakers, nothing I do seems to keep my scratch cakes from sinking. Box cake mixes bake up perfect, however, nobody wants to buy a boxed cake when they are paying big bucks for their wedding cake. I have been getting by with the sinking by adding additional filling and icing. It's time to fix the problem. Any ideas. Oh and I live at 2516 ft elevation. Could this have anything to do with it. I don't have any problems with other recipes, brownies, cookies, pies, breads if we are considering elevation, so I don't make any adjustments. As I write this I have just now come up with the elevation idea and haven't checked into making adjustments. And.....discuss........
Thanks in advance for your help.
1-Do you over mix once you add the dry ingredients? Beat the butter, sugar and eggs as much as you want, but you need to just mix in the dry ingredients and stop as soon as it is combined. You can beat a cake mix smooth but not a scratch cake.
2- Have you checked the accuracy of your oven? An oven that is even 25 degrees off can really mess with cakes.
I did a bit a research on the altitude issue. Every thing I read talked about no problem before 3000 ft. However one of the problems mentioned for cakes was sinking in the middle so that might be the culprit.
You might want to contact home economics teacher/professor who lives at your elevation and see if he/she has the same problem. Good luck on your quest.
AI've lived at a variety of elevations, from near sea level to 7200 feet. It doesn't seem like you're high enough for elevation to be a problem. I grew up at 3400 feet, and we never adjusted recipes. You could always play around with high altitude adjustments to see if it helps, though. I've read that overmixing can cause cakes to sink.
I used to have the same problem with chiffon cakes, sometimes they would sink and sometimes I got lucky, couldn't figure out why but now that I use this method I don't have any more sunk cakes.
As soon as it comes out of the oven I place a cling wrap across the cake only covering the center. The both sides of cling wrap should remain open to allow steam out and not create a vacuum and then flip the pan resting onto two spoons or some kind of prop to hold the pan a little off the counter again to prevent a vacuum seal. Let the cake cool upside down in the pan. Give this method a try, it might work for you too.
AWhen you say "All scratch cakes" do you mean you have tested various recipes? Or is it just one that you want to work?
I say this because I read in the book "How Baking Works" that a sugar excess can be culprit in cakes sinking.
Try a pound cake recipe.
AI remember having a problem with this. I can't remember where I read the solution, but it turned out that I was just checking on the cake too often! Make sure you don't open your oven at all for at least the first half-hour of baking. I hope that helps! :)