6" Cake Shrunk To 5" ??

Baking By craftybanana2 Updated 13 Aug 2015 , 1:59am by Norcalhiker

craftybanana2 Posted 6 Aug 2015 , 9:53pm
post #1 of 13

My 6-inch cake shrunk to 5-inches! Is that normal of butter cakes? I like the flavor and lightness of the cake recipe by Sarah Phillips, but I can't get it to not shrink! I think I may need to switch recipes. I made the WASC Cake on here once and it was good. I don't recall if it shrank though. :( I just don't like cakes where I have to fold in egg whites. Should I just give up and use the WASC cake? I need to make a piano-shaped cake at the end of the month and trying to get prepared now. And no I don't bake for money, this is for a church piano recital/concert.


I wasn't keen on buying a recipe, but I keep seeing Bratko's recipe pop up as people's go-to cake. Is her method a standard creaming method? I will shell out the dough at this point since I'm getting frustrated, but with my little one climbing the furniture and getting molars in right now, it's been hard to test other recipes. Does Bratko's recipe shrink or is there one that doesn't for a yellow cake?

Board question: I'll be putting two 8" squares together and carving the shape of a grand piano. It will be a one or two layer cake, not sure yet. Would I need to double up on the board for an 8"x16" cake? or will a single board be fine? A week ago I made an 8" round by 4-5" tall cake with ganache and it seemed okay on a single board, but I didn't trust it since it was heavy! I never knew cake could be that heavy.

12 replies
costumeczar Posted 6 Aug 2015 , 11:15pm
post #2 of 13

I've never had a cake shrink that much...Jennifer's recipe is more like a cookbook, and it has a ton of information about why the recipe works the way that it does, and variations on the basic recipe. It's well worth the cost and it shouldn't  shrink like that if you follow the instructions!

*Last edited by costumeczar on 6 Aug 2015 , 11:16pm
kakeladi Posted 6 Aug 2015 , 11:34pm
post #3 of 13

Of course you should have stuck with my *original* WASC recipe! :) 

It is natural for cakes to shrink but that does sound a bit excessive.  What temp are you baking at?  It might be that it is overbaked but I am not familiar with the recipe you used.

I see no need to buy recipes - there are sooooooo many available on the web - especially right here on this site! 

It never hurts to double your boards.  Much better to be safe than sorry :)  An 8" round 4 to 5" tall is meant to be on one cake board.  It is not that heavy but the size of your piano creation - especially when using 2 layers pushed together, 4" tall  that extra support is needed .

craftybanana2 Posted 7 Aug 2015 , 2:56am
post #4 of 13

Thank you both! I will put her recipe on my wish list for now and do another trial of Kakeladi's WASC, which is the one I have I think....

I am baking at 325F with the Wilton 6" pans. Recipe says 350, but with my Fat Daddio pans I bake at 325F, so I baked my Wilton ones at 325 since they look similar in color. My cupcakes shrunk too.... didn't even stick to the cheap-o Wilton paper liners. But I did learn that if I want them to stick to the liners I need to fill the cupcakes all the way up (with this recipe).

I did over bake it a little, had to carve the edges off (now the cake is down to 4"). My cupcakes shrank just as much and I didn't over bake those (no brown edges). I filled the cupcakes half way and got half full, yet fully baked cupcakes. I thought with 3tsp baking powder they should've risen more?

Hopefully I won't do 4" height on the piano cake, but I will do two boards just in case! Especially if it's one of the younger guys who moves the cake onto the table when I'm not there. Eeek! This is the second time anyone has requested me to make an actual cake, so a bit nervous. Usually I make cookies, cakes are a whole different ball game! Batter up!

craftybanana2 Posted 8 Aug 2015 , 3:21pm
post #5 of 13

@kakeladi  Turns out, it was not your recipe, but a scratch WASC by edencakes that I had used. I will try yours when the cake mixes go on sale. I haven't had a use for cake mixes since I discovered a few good scratch recipes. But this may be a way to cut down on the cost of the cake :)

Shockolata Posted 8 Aug 2015 , 10:36pm
post #6 of 13

If you are beating the egg whites into a meringue and then folding in the rest of the cake batter, then you must not line/grease your pan. The cake needs to stick to the sides and climb up. Then when you get it out of the oven, you must immediately inverse it and support it on four cans so that air can circulate freely. You do not inverse it on a rack. Nothing must touch the cake top whilst it cools. Then you'll find your cake will not shrink nor drop but will stay lovely and fluffy. Hope this helps.

craftybanana2 Posted 8 Aug 2015 , 10:57pm
post #7 of 13

@Shockolata  My cake wasn't an egg white cake where you fold the whites in, it has you putting whole eggs into the batter one by one, then adding the dry/wet ingredients. The batter was indeed very fluffy and airy, but it said to grease the pan, maybe if I try it again I won't grease the sides. Funny thing is, when I used my mini bundt pans with it, it rose and didn't pull away from the sides even though I thoroughly greased it. It came out the same color as the 6" one too. So I don't know, I think this recipe is too fickle for me to mess with right now since I'm on a deadline.

@kakeladi  I ended up finding lemon Betty Crocker mix in my pantry so I will try your WASC this week. I'm thinking about pairing it with lemon/almond flavoring :) Too bad my leftover Oreo icing won't really work with it though.

Shockolata Posted 11 Aug 2015 , 11:14am
post #8 of 13

I will never say anything again, because the jinx of shrinking cakes has hit me! Two days baking, two days failing :( I did a search online and one site suggests that too much baking powder is to blame for this, so today I will reduce the amount a little and see how it goes. It is so difficult to do new recipes as the flour we get varies in different parts of the world. Add to this the different baking tins we each use and the variations in oven temperatures plus cooking with air vs up and down electrical elements vs gas... It's enough to drive one insane! LOL

Shockolata Posted 11 Aug 2015 , 2:22pm
post #9 of 13

I found this recipe online. It goes beyond what we have been taught. Using bread flour, bursting egg white bubbles, banging cake, but somehow she makes it work. Has anyone tried this recipe by any chance? I am worried about the absence of butter/oil. Maybe this cake is only good on the day and does not keep? It seems a bit like a pain d' espagne which is ideal for celebration cakes that you brush with syrup. (The syrup is used to counteract the dryness of the sponge.) Kitchen Tigress explains in her video that banging the cooked cake on the countertop stops it from sinking. Worth a try? What do you think?




*Last edited by Shockolata on 11 Aug 2015 , 2:26pm
imagenthatnj Posted 11 Aug 2015 , 2:56pm
post #10 of 13

Thanks for that Shockolata. Very interesting. I've seen Japanese cakes at the Minamoto Kitchoan bakery and Kinokuniya café in NYC, but never ventured inside. Maybe I'll start trying to bake these!

Did you see that when you go get the recipe, all the way at the bottom there's someone whose cake shrunk from the sides?

This does look a lot like a dessert my sister makes in South America, no butter or oil. Just eggs. The bread flour is really surprising here. And that other cake, Ogura Cake, on her other video is the tallest and fluffiest I've seen!

*Last edited by imagenthatnj on 11 Aug 2015 , 2:59pm
Shockolata Posted 11 Aug 2015 , 5:43pm
post #11 of 13

Hi @imagenthatnj  I did not notice that comment you mention but people were asking daft questions about not doing the recipe as she is giving it, e.g. not putting the cardboard and silver foil outside the cake... She does explain on the video that she does this to stop the cake from shrinking.  I have had Japanese sweets, they are mostly made of rice. They are not sweet, not in a Western kind of way. This cake she made is definitely a pain d' espagne, known as a genoise as well. Just a different way of getting there (instead of heating the eggs in a bain-marie, etc.) I am sure your sister makes the same cake, just probably she does not use honey? As for the Ogura, it is very much like the Joy of Baking's Orange Chiffon Cake. I did it recently and it was a roaring success. We kept squeezing it to see how much squeezing it would take and it kept springing back. Three days later, it was as tasty and fresh as the first day (kept in the kitchen, loosely covered by cling film.) The only thing I did differently from the recipe was use a square pan instead of an Angel Cake pan and I swapped the orange for clementines without any ill effects. I thoroughly recommend you try that recipe! In the meantime, if you do make the Castella, let us know your impressions.

imagenthatnj Posted 11 Aug 2015 , 5:57pm
post #12 of 13

As soon as I find time, Shockolata! I work in publishing and fashion magazines are a killer in September! I once went to the Japanese store to order Hidemi Sugino's book (The Dessert Book) that was translated to English. They had to order it from Japan! And it's been sitting on my desk for a few years already. I think I have too many hobbies and not enough time. Going to get the orange chiffon cake recipe now.

Norcalhiker Posted 13 Aug 2015 , 1:50am
post #13 of 13
Re: Bratko's cake recipe.  It's a take on high ratio, meaning:

Sugar =/>  flour 

Eggs =/> fats

All liquid (eggs included) =/> sugar

2-step mixing, all wet ingredients are mixed, then all dry mixed into wet

In a commercial kitchen, high ratio shortening instead of butter and high ratio cake flour ( low gluten flour, low ash) is used.  Since even soft wheat flour naturally contains about 9% protein, cake flour is produced by heat treatment, or more commonly, by bleaching, usually with a chorine chemical.  Clorination modifies the starch gelatinzation properties, which produces more rise.

bratko's recipe uses bleached cake flour, but is butter based.  I've used the original recipe she posted at least a dozen times.  While the flavor is good, I'm not a fan of the recipe for a couple of reasons.  I'm not a fan of bleached flours.  I find I get wonderful crumb and texture with a mixture of organic low gluten AP flour and pastry flour.  (I use Keith Gusito's Central Milling Beehive AP flour and Organic Pastry flour). 
I also find the sugar ratio a bit high.  Sugar is hygroscopic, so it attracts moisture from the environment. In combination with the high fat content, the cake crust is too wet.  The crust is so sticky I removed it before icing.  I'm also not a fan of the low baking temperature.  Given the high fat content, the cake needs to bake low and slow, otherwise the center will be under baked. Since I prefer the sheet cake method, I do a 2 step method, set my oven at 375, and my cake is out of the oven in 19 mins. 
*Last edited by Norcalhiker on 13 Aug 2015 , 1:59am

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