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Sylvia Weinstock Classic Yellow Cake Failure

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Let me say upfront that I'm sure this is a problem with me, not the recipe. I've been following The Great Scratch Off Yellow Cakes with great interest, but I"m not a good scratch baker, so I don't want to ask this there, because I'm sure it is my problem, not the recipe's.

When I was making the cake, I had to cream the butter and sugar. It never got totally smooth - it still had bits of sugar in it when I tasted it. I looked light yellow and fluffy. Was that OK or should I have creamed longer?

When I added the egg yolks, it looked "curdled". What's up with that? Normal? or again a problem with me?

The cake tastes wonderful and is marvelous, except it shrank both height and width wise. What did I do wrong?

I appreciate your reading this and any ideas you can give me. I do so want to be a better scratch baker. Thanks!
post #2 of 16
No the sugar does not dissolve completely--so if it's grainy that's fine.

How loose was your butter? I have a cake buddy who feels that the planetary action of a KA type mixer kind of negates the need to get everything room temp. I only let my butter out for maybe 15 mins or less before cubing it and putting it in the mixer when I'm baking this cake. I let the mixer do it's thing.

Was your butter maybe too warm?? And what size eggs did you use?

Did it get nice looking--did it uncurdle--after you mixed it?

A tip for you is that the superfine granulated sugar makes a better cake--regular sugar does fine I'm just giving you an extra tip.
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post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delie


When I was making the cake, I had to cream the butter and sugar. It never got totally smooth - it still had bits of sugar in it when I tasted it. I looked light yellow and fluffy. Was that OK or should I have creamed longer?

When I added the egg yolks, it looked "curdled". What's up with that? Normal? or again a problem with me?

The cake tastes wonderful and is marvelous, except it shrank both height and width wise. What did I do wrong?

I appreciate your reading this and any ideas you can give me. I do so want to be a better scratch baker. Thanks!



Hi Delie,

I just finished mixing up Sylvia Weinstock NEW Yellow Cake (the one with the ginger and milk), and I also noticed that the batter had a curdled look once I added the milk. I have never seen batter look that way before.

The cakes are still in the oven, so I don't know how they will taste or if I would call mine a failure also.

I will let you know the final results later.

Carol
post #4 of 16
Were all your ingredients at room temperature? Usually batter curdles when some ingredients like milk or eggs are cold. Cold batters can be problematic for some cakes because the air cells in the batter may not expand as easily as batters at room temperature. Usually cakes made with cold batter have poor volume, feel less tender and will have a denser, tighter grain, with a possibly sunken center.

Another cause for curdling can be that the eggs were added too quickly, breaking the sugar-fat emulsion. In this case, curdling isn't necessarily critical because additional fat and liquids from the other ingredients like milk or cream can help re-set the emulsion. But if the recipe has a fine balance, like Sylvia's which already has a high proportion of liquid to begin with, curdling creates too much "loose" liquids which more readily turn to steam in the oven creating a puffier, lighter cake which is prone to shrinkage as it cools.

Most cakes do shrink as it cools though. But it will an even shrinkage all around, not like one side collapsing.

Hmmm...I'm thinking now I probably should have measured my cakes for shrinkage when I tested recipes for the scratch off.

Edited for clarity
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post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you all! icon_biggrin.gif I feel like I've been thrown a life preserver.

K8Memphis said : No the sugar does not dissolve completely--so if it's grainy that's fine.

Great - I've always wondered about this.

Was your butter maybe too warm?? And what size eggs did you use?
The butter was definitely at warm room temperature - it is hot here. I used large eggs - more about eggs later

Did it get nice looking--did it uncurdle--after you mixed it?
Finally it uncurdled, mostly

TheCasualKitchen said: Were all your ingredients at room temperature?
I thought they were. They sat out for 90 minutes in a warm kitchen, but perhaps they were still chilly

Another cause for curdling can be that the eggs were added too quickly, breaking the sugar-fat emulsion.

I think you hit on one big problem - though I didn't know enough to realize it was important when I was doing it. I forgot to mix between eggs. I was focused on separating the whites successfully and got happy when I did that, so forgot to turn on the mixer between yolks

Ladies, thank you so much. I appreciate your time and work to help me become a decent scratch baker. This was the best cake! I can not stay away from it. Now if I can just iron out the kinks.... thumbs_up.gif
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCasualKitchen



Another cause for curdling can be that the eggs were added too quickly, breaking the sugar-fat emulsion.



I think this is your key issue here... eggs, no matter if they are going into a mix or into a scratch cake should always be added one at a time and thoroughly incorporated into the batter before the next one is introduced. I know others will probably argue that it does not make a difference, but it truly does in the end.

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They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the flour for the grain offerings, the unleavened wafers, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size.
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1 Chronicles 23:29
They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the flour for the grain offerings, the unleavened wafers, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size.
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post #7 of 16
I've found that it's an 'absolute must' to add the eggs one at a time. Makes a big difference.
post #8 of 16
If you only have regular granulated sugar you can run it through your food processor for a minute to make it fine.

I don't follow the suggested creaming time for the butter/sugar. I cream my room temp butter/sugar on speed 3 of my KA for a good 5 minutes. It is almost white in color and double in volume when it's ready.

I mix this cake very slowly a good 2 minutes after each egg yolk addition and I add the milk about 1/4cup or less at a time and mix well after each addition of that.

The next time I make it I'll take pic's of the mixing process......the batter should be "shiny, "ribbon smooth" and very light yellow in color.

I think if you follow the mixing times they suggest you'll end up with a "grainier" texture batter that is sort of "curdled" looking.

*Note* ...............once I begin adding in the flour/sour cream I turn my mixer speed down to a 2 and keep scraping down the sides after each addition. Slow and steady!! icon_biggrin.gif
post #9 of 16
I really believe that creaming butter and sugar a long time makes a difference. the batter is just so silky smooth and the cake bakes up beautifully. I am so eager to try out this recipe, maybe next month I could. icon_smile.gif
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formerly known as cupcakeshoppe
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post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Cake Bakers - Thank you all! I have hope again. icon_biggrin.gif

Everybody's taste buds are different, but Mother and I both agree, this is the best yellow cake we've ever eaten.

In an attempt to not eat half of everything I bake, I repeat to myself "Nothing tastes as good as being normal weight feels". Alas, after baking this cake, I now say "Nothing tastes as good as being normal weight feels, except for SW's cake. " icon_rolleyes.gif

Thanks to all for helping me. I hope to try it again next week.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by moreCakePlz

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delie


When I was making the cake, I had to cream the butter and sugar. It never got totally smooth - it still had bits of sugar in it when I tasted it. I looked light yellow and fluffy. Was that OK or should I have creamed longer?

When I added the egg yolks, it looked "curdled". What's up with that? Normal? or again a problem with me?

The cake tastes wonderful and is marvelous, except it shrank both height and width wise. What did I do wrong?

I appreciate your reading this and any ideas you can give me. I do so want to be a better scratch baker. Thanks!



Hi Delie,

I just finished mixing up Sylvia Weinstock NEW Yellow Cake (the one with the ginger and milk), and I also noticed that the batter had a curdled look once I added the milk. I have never seen batter look that way before.

The cakes are still in the oven, so I don't know how they will taste or if I would call mine a failure also.

I will let you know the final results later.

Carol



I had the same problem. I am going to post my response to the main thread below:

I am an exclusively scratch baker. I am making Sylvia's new recipe now. I experienced curdling after adding the milk and vanilla. However, I wasnt too worried about it. I figured I'd continue on and see what happens. The mix came together just fine after adding the flour and sour cream. There are other recipes that I've made in the past that also curdled. However, there is usually a warning telling you, "the batter may look curdled". LOL! Perhaps, this is normal for the recipe and it just wasnt stated? In the recipe that I am thinking of, that recipe also calls for creaming the butter and sugar, adding the eggs and adding another ingredient before adding the flour. Adding that ingredient before the flour causes it to curdle in that recipe. While curdling may not be the norm in this recipe, it may not be cause for alarm.

In the end, it came together nicely. I pinched it and it tasted fine, but I dont want to give my results until I can slice it and eat it! LOL! So, I will report back here with my results, too!!
post #12 of 16
icon_cry.gif Here's my cry for help...I can't find the yellow cake recipe you are referring to and I want to try it. Can someone please forward me a link?

And since I haven't made this cake, I'll just generalize--beat, beat, beat, scrape, scrape, scrape! I also put my sugar through the food processor on cakes as it gets superfine and is very similar to the fine textured sugar which sells for double the price.

Bettina
post #13 of 16
I'd advise against using superfine sugar in a recipe that calls for creaming. The purpose of creaming is not to dissolve the sugar or make it smooth...or to make the butter smooth. The purpose of creaming the butter and sugar together, is that the sugar crystals drag through the butter as it beats, this pulls air into the butter, creating tiny air bubbles, making it lighter and fluffier, adding air to the final product.

The sugar should still be grainy and detectable when you're done creaming. Those crystals will melt away during baking. Using superfine sugar or running sugar through the food processor defeats the purpose of creaming.
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post #14 of 16
Just one caveate: don't beat for long after the flour has been added; that will develop the glutein and toughen the cake.

Having said that, nobody ever likes my scratch cakes as much as they like my doctored Dunkan Hines cakes. I think it's because people aren't used to the heartier texture of the scratch cakes. Not many people have scratch baked cakes any more.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by bettinashoe

icon_cry.gif Here's my cry for help...I can't find the yellow cake recipe you are referring to and I want to try it. Can someone please forward me a link?

And since I haven't made this cake, I'll just generalize--beat, beat, beat, scrape, scrape, scrape! I also put my sugar through the food processor on cakes as it gets superfine and is very similar to the fine textured sugar which sells for double the price.

Bettina



Here is a link to the "New" Sylvia Weinstock Classic Yellow Cake
http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/ild/2009/cakes/yellow-cake.html

And here is a link to the original Sylvia Weinstock Classic Yellow Cake
http://archives.cnn.com/2000/FOOD/news/02/09/sylvia.weinstock/yellow.cake.html

The difference between the two is that the "New" recipe adds 1 cup of milk and 1/2 teaspoon of ginger.

You may want to try the original recipe first, the new version has been getting mixed results.

Also read pages 11-13+ of this thread. There is a lot of discussion about the recipe.
http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=633981&postdays=0&postorder=asc&&start=150

Carol
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