Cake Sunk -- Can I Still Use It?

Baking By BusterSmith Updated 2 Jul 2015 , 10:35pm by SquirrellyCakes

BusterSmith Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 6:21am
post #1 of 15

I am making my first three tiered cake -- 8", 10" 12".  Both layers for the 12" sunk.  I made from scratch, doubled the recipe for both layers, used baking strips but no nail or core which I think was my problem.  Can I still use the bottom layers and fill the crater with buttercream or am I going to have a problem with supporting the upper tiers even with doweling and cake boards?

14 replies
Jedi Knight Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 6:30am
post #2 of 15

Oh, by all means fill the craters with icing.

Let us know what your client says.


*evil grin*

Pastrybaglady Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 8:49am
post #3 of 15

^^^ Hee hee, so evil!  

Please do not try to spackle your way out of this problem!  That's not the way to make a good name for yourself.  You want the cake to be beautiful when it's cut too!

freesia777 Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 1:13pm
post #4 of 15

How deep is the crater?  Is it possible to trim the layers even to the lowest point and go from there?  I think that would give you a more consistent looking and stable result than filling the crater with buttercream- although the finished result would be shorter than planned.   Since it is the bottom tier, what if you then placed it on a 12 inch foam core round (ore two) so it will be closer to the height of the other two tiers?  Or rebake?

I sometimes use an upside flower nail even in my 9 inch cakes, so while I don't know if that was specifically the cause of your sinking, I think it would certainly help in the 12 inch in the future.  

SquirrellyCakes Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 1:49pm
post #5 of 15

I don't actually use flower nails, heating cores or bake even strips for my cakes. I know a lot of people swear by them and that is fine, I just never found I needed them. I think that as long as you don't overfill the pans and you cook them long enough, you shouldn't get this sinking problem. But by all means, if it gives you better results - go for it.

Though some really rich recipes end up with a slight decline in the centre, I would say that in this case -  the centre of the cake likely wasn't cooked enough.

Was this a three inch deep cake or two inches? 

It sounds like your recipe is fine since you only had this issue with the 12 inch layers. Did you bake several layers at one time or separately? Did you bake on convection? Do you lower your temperature for the larger layers?

I would bake new layers, unless the cake was just for my own home use. I have to agree that I wouldn't want to represent my business by something I knew started out less than perfect. I would worry that even if that part was levelled off, the centre of the cake might not be cooked properly and that might present a safety risk. Or at best might be a bit of a weird texture.

BusterSmith Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 1:59pm
post #6 of 15

There is no client. Not ready for that...obviously.  I planned on decorating with Stars and Stripes and if cake is eatable and presentable taking it to my mother's assisted living home on Friday or Saturday. 

I recognize that filling the crater is not a good idea but there is a lot of cake there that I would like to use if possible. Current thought is to torte both 12" layers, and bake/add a third but shorter layer.  Upper layers are different flavors so only bottom layers would be chocolate and triple. Seems like my mistake wouldn't stand out?  

costumeczar Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 2:13pm
post #7 of 15


Quote by @BusterSmith on 12 minutes ago


I recognize that filling the crater is not a good idea but there is a lot of cake there that I would like to use if possible. Current thought is to torte both 12" layers, and bake/add a third but shorter layer.  Upper layers are different flavors so only bottom layers would be chocolate and triple. Seems like my mistake wouldn't stand out?  

That's what I would do. You can probably cut the sunken layers so that the sunken center part isn't on there anymore and use the bottom part of the layer, then bake a third one and cut it in half for the other two torted sections.

BusterSmith Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 2:31pm
post #8 of 15

I just cooked one layer at a time; did not use convection; did not lower the oven temp.  Went at 350 but appears I needed to go to 325.  I cut in to the middle of the chocolate 12" and it was a smidge fudgy.  Squirrellycakes reference to a potential food safety issue is worrisome.  Just what I need to is make the old folks sick at the senior place.  Maybe I do need to toss them and start over....ugh.  Of all weeks.  It's been 109 where I live and not the greatest time to be baking.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 2:41pm
post #9 of 15

Awwh, rotten heat and bad luck - I feel for you! Kind of worrisome if the centre isn't fully cooked and it is hot there and the cake still has a few days to go.

I was also going to suggest that you check with the facility as to whether or not you can bring things in from the outside unless they come from a licensed bakery. Sometimes due to liability issues, you cannot. 

But I have to say, your heart is in the right place and it is very thoughtful of you to want to do this.

Hugs

Webake2gether Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 2:52pm
post #10 of 15


Quote by @SquirrellyCakes on 52 minutes ago

I don't actually use flower nails, heating cores or bake even strips for my cakes. I know a lot of people swear by them and that is fine, I just never found I needed them. I think that as long as you don't overfill the pans and you cook them long enough, you shouldn't get this sinking problem. But by all means, if it gives you better results - go for it.


I just wanted to add that I don't use flower nails, cores, or baking strips. Although I've tried all of them because I've read that people swear by them. I noticed no difference in the final product. I've only ever had sinking issues with red velvet cake from scratch and I'm pretty sure both times were my fault Because the second attempts both turned out great. 

As far as using them I probably wouldn't mainly because I would want to try again to see where I went wrong or what went wrong. Not implying you did anything wrong but I usually am the one who messes something up :) 

BusterSmith Posted 2 Jul 2015 , 4:10am
post #11 of 15

Thank you all for your help.  In the end I think that my biggest issue was over-filling my pans in an effort to ensure that I got a full two inches for each layer.  I am now wondering why I bought all those 2 inch pans and if I should have gone with three inch to ensure deeper tiers.  

SquirrellyCakes Posted 2 Jul 2015 , 10:47am
post #12 of 15

Well, I have both. I can tell you something interesting about using three inch pans. If you measure out and use the same amount of batter required for a two inch pan and put it in the three inch pan - you will get a higher layer than in the two inch pan. You get somewhere between a 2.25 and 2.5 inch layer with most batters. This is because the batter has more space to rise or displace.

You will find that most people on this site don't recommend the three inch pans because they take a long time to bake and people find it hard to get good results. Personally, I am fine with them. You bake them at a lower temperature - 300-325F for best results and fill them only about 1/2 full.

But most people use the 2 inch pans and by the time you fill two layers or tort the two layers to get four and fill those - you will get a nice high cake.  

One thing to think about regarding the height of your finished cake is  - if it is too high - you will need to serve the pieces on a dinner plate or plates with no rims because most dessert plates cannot accommodate 6 or more inches of cake.

Jinkies Posted 2 Jul 2015 , 10:54am
post #13 of 15

  Hi BusterSmith!  have you tried putting a collar on your pans?  I have the same issues every time I try a new recipe. My regular recipes, I know how much to fill the pans to get the perfect height.  Some are only 1/2 way, some 2/3rds, etc.

I had issues recently with a new strawberry cake recipe.   I could not seem to get the height I wanted without the sinking. I tried collaring the pans and it worked great.  Just line the sides with parchment paper as well (maybe a good inch or so over the top of the pan so if the pans are over filled the cake can still continue to rise rather than sinking back down.  


BusterSmith Posted 2 Jul 2015 , 8:00pm
post #14 of 15

Well this is an experience!  Jinkies I normally use the collar and did so two weeks ago when I baked a  two-layer, 12 x18 lemon cake from scratch and had no problem.  That was my first experience baking anything more than an 8 or 9 " cake and it went well so it bolstered my confidence. 

For the cake I am working on now, I had two recipes both of which I had baked before in 8 and 9".  First one was a 12" round chocolate (one ingredient was Hershey's syrup which could be a factor).  Baked it first with collars and it didn't cook in the middle; also likely overfilled the pan; it sunk.  Second cake was a 10" white cake and I also used the collar and likely overfilled.  It cooked in the middle but the sides weren't strong and too moist; it sunk.  I later cooked the white cake again in 10"; used the core; no collar and it's good.  Just baked the first layer of white cake in 12".  Used the core; didn't use the collar.  Top is a bit dark but I can torte it off.  Sides were okay.  Made two 8" whites with collars and they were fine.  All of these were at 350.  For the second 12" layer I turned the oven down to 340.

The chocolates will remain in the freezer and I may try to use them at some point in the future but for this July 4th cake I reverted to all three white layers with sleeve fillings.  Lesson learned -- originally made this project too complicated with multiple flavors, etc and have gone back to basics.


Squirrelycakes I did check with the executive director of the assisted living center before I started and he approved but I think as you suggested that they normally don't allow outside food in.  He knows me well having worked together on a project in the past so he is said okay.  Even more reason that I am not using the chocolates and trying to be cautious.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 2 Jul 2015 , 10:35pm
post #15 of 15

Well it sounds like you have learned a lot from this experiment. I still think it is lovely that you are making all this effort for the seniors' home. I know they will appreciate the fact that someone has made a special effort for them. Little will they know just how much effort! I think you must be a really nice person! Kudos.

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