Shrinking Yellow Cake - Too Much Moisture?

Baking By Nigel1985 Updated 2 Apr 2016 , 1:17pm by kramersl

Nigel1985 Posted 30 Mar 2016 , 9:27pm
post #1 of 14

I am working with a scratch yellow cake loosely based off the 1-2-3-4 cake. Overall, I am pretty happy with it in terms of flavor, texture, etc. However, I noticed the cake does shrink a bit when cooling. Now, this isn't a sunk center. In fact, the cake still has a nice dome but it feels like the cake pulls in about 1/4" to 1/2" when cooling. Do you think this is due to too much liquid or perhaps the extra egg yolks?

Appreciate any thoughts!

Note: I use 128g (4.5 oz) = 1 cup cake flour (based on the weight measurements on the box of the King Arthur Cake Mix)

Here's the recipe:


MeasureGramsOzButter1 cup2278Sugar2 cups40014Eggs4 + 2 yolks2348.4Cake Flour3 cups38413.5Baking Powder3 tsp12
Salt.5 tsp3
Milk1.25 cups28310Vanilla2 tsp
10ml

13 replies
Nigel1985 Posted 30 Mar 2016 , 9:30pm
post #2 of 14

Not sure why the recipe pasted like that...trying again

Butter - 1 cup

Sugar - 2 cups

Eggs - 4 + 2 yolks

Cake Flour - 3 cups

Baking Powder - 3 tsp

Milk - 1.25 cups

kramersl Posted 31 Mar 2016 , 10:42am
post #3 of 14

yes, the problem is that there are too many structure breakers as opposed to structure makers in this recipe. It wouldn't be a problem if you are using a chlorinated cake flour though (hi ratio flour). Check your cake flour to make sure it is chlorinated, if it isn't then switch to all purpose flour and use 420g. 

Nigel1985 Posted 31 Mar 2016 , 12:55pm
post #4 of 14

Thanks for the reply.

I am using King Arthur's Unbleached Cake Flour (not the blend variety), so you think this recipe would be fine if I used a bleached flour like Swans?

I originally tried this exact recipe but switched out the cake flour for 390g of AP (2.75 cups @ 142g per cup). Overall, I felt that the cake was too dry and coarse.

A few questions:

1) Should I alter this recipe to decrease the milk to 8oz for 384g (3 cups) of unbleached cake flour? Will that help set things up structurally?  Or should I change the 4 eggs + 2 yolks to 5 eggs.

2) If my AP version was too dry, should I look to decrease the flour more? Or add more liquid?


thanks!

kramersl Posted 1 Apr 2016 , 9:16am
post #5 of 14

I think if you use swans cake flour you should be fine with the way the recipe reads, just make sure you use less than 400g of the cake flour overall. In hi-ratio recipes the sugar by weight can be greater than the flour by weight.

If using all purpose flour, try swapping half the butter for oil and make sure that the amount of flour by weight is greater than or equal to the amount of sugar by weight. A whole egg as opposed to the 2 egg yolks would add more structure as well. Also, with the AP version, swap out the milk for buttermilk and reduce the baking powder to 2 tsp and add 1/2 tsp baking soda. The acidity in the buttermilk will neutralize long strands of gluten that will be more present in the AP flour making the cake more moist. 

Nigel1985 Posted 1 Apr 2016 , 1:48pm
post #6 of 14

Thank you!

I assume that I would add the oil to the buttermilk and mix that when alternating the dry and wet ingredients?

Also in a high-ratio formula I know the eggs + liquid >= the sugar. Would the oil count as liquids here or fat? I am seeing the following ratios based on the recipe below.

Sugar > Flour = 14 oz > 13.75 oz

Eggs >= Fat = 8.4 oz > 7.5 oz

Eggs + Liquid >= Sugar = 18.4 oz > 14 oz


Recipe

Butter - 1/2 cup (113g or 4 oz)

Veg. Oil - 1/2 cup (110g or 3.5 oz)

Eggs - 4 + 2 yolks (223g or 8.4 oz)

AP Flour - 2.75 cups (390g or 13.75 oz)

Baking Powder - 2 tsp

Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp

Buttermilk - 1.25 cups (283g or 10 oz)


kramersl Posted 1 Apr 2016 , 3:24pm
post #7 of 14

The oil would count as fat. And you are correct with your ratios. I think those changes will work (unless you are in high altitude).

kramersl Posted 1 Apr 2016 , 3:26pm
post #8 of 14

Also, I beat the butter and sugar until fluffy then slowly drizzle in the oil while the mixer is running and beat for about another minute before adding the eggs. It ensures the fats fully emulsify with the sugar.

Nigel1985 Posted 1 Apr 2016 , 3:50pm
post #9 of 14

Thank you for all your help! Here are the two recipes I've landed on. Anything look off with the amount of eggs, fat, etc?  I changed the eggs on the Cake Flour to add a bit more structure. Think that makes sense? Again, much appreciated!

Cake Flour Recipe

Butter - 1 cup (227g or 8oz)

Eggs - 5 eggs (9oz) 

Bleached Cake Flour - 3 cups (384g or 13.5 oz)

Baking Powder - 3 tsp

Milk - 1.25 cups (283g or 10 oz)

Cake Four Ratio

Sugar > Flour = 14 oz > 13.5 oz

Eggs >= Fat = 9 oz > 8 oz

Eggs + Liquid >= Sugar = 9 oz > 14 oz


AP Recipe

Butter - 1/2 cup (113g or 4 oz)

Veg. Oil - 1/2 cup (110g or 3.5 oz)

Eggs - 4 + 2 yolks (223g or 8.4 oz)

AP Flour - 2.75 cups (390g or 13.75 oz)

Baking Powder - 2 tsp

Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp

Buttermilk - 1.25 cups (283g or 10 oz)

AP Ratio

Sugar > Flour = 14 oz > 13.75 oz

Eggs >= Fat = 8.4 oz > 7.5 oz

Eggs + Liquid >= Sugar = 18.4 oz > 14 oz

kramersl Posted 2 Apr 2016 , 1:16am
post #10 of 14

Everything looks good except for one thing… I am not sure why I didn't catch it before. In the AP Recipe, the weight of the sugar needs to be less than or equal to the weight of the flour, so either reduce the sugar a little or increase the flour a little. Other than that they look good! 

Nigel1985 Posted 2 Apr 2016 , 12:45pm
post #11 of 14

Thanks again. One last question, why does the the weight of the sugar needs to be less than or equal to the weight of the AP flour but not the cake flour? I thought the sugar > flour in a high-ratio recipe.


kramersl Posted 2 Apr 2016 , 1:00pm
post #12 of 14

High ratio recipes need to use bleached (chlorinated) cake flour. The fat in the recipe adheres to the smaller particles of the bleached flour to create a stronger structure and smaller air bubbles which allows you to be able to increase the tenderizing ingredients (sugar, egg yolk, liquid). Since AP flour is not ground as finely as cake flour and isn't chlorinated the tenderizing ingredients cannot exceed the structure ingredients. If they do then your cake will sink while cooling and/or be very soggy and fragile. 

Nigel1985 Posted 2 Apr 2016 , 1:06pm
post #13 of 14

Ok, I will increase the AP flour recipe to 3 cups of AP (426g or 15 oz)


Sugar > Flour = 14 oz < 15 oz

Eggs >= Fat = 8.4 oz > 7.5 oz

Eggs + Liquid >= Sugar = 18.4 oz > 14 oz


kramersl Posted 2 Apr 2016 , 1:17pm
post #14 of 14

That should do it. Let me know how it goes. If the cake falls a little when cooling decrease the baking soda to 1/4 tsp. Recipe development is all about trial and error. 

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