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READY TO GIVE UP AND RESORT TO BOX MIXES- HELP! - Page 2

post #16 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakediva View Post

1. Look for an oil based recipe vs a butter based recipe.

2. Consider adding a cake enhancer like they sell at King Arthur Flour.

Anyone tried something like this? Is it like the chemicals they use in packet-mixes or something? 

 

Thank you so much for the suggestion!

post #17 of 39

Hello!  Thank you for trying my recipe, and I'm sorry you are having problems - if the batter looked curdled then your butter was too warm.  It needs to be 68 degrees or slightly colder.  

 

Some words of love:  if you don't make the recipe as written, you can't get frustrated that it does not turn out as great as people say it is.  I'm sorry, but that is the harsh trust about baking scratch recipes.  You need to make the recipe exactly as written, at least for the first time, and make it to the letter before proclaiming it a failure to you.  Think about your scientific method here: you could have spent under $5 just buying a few readily-available ingredients, made the recipe exactly as written and had a success the first time out.  Instead you decided not to spent the extra few dollars initially in favor of trying how many different recipes?  Not following them to the letter, burned thru countless hours and money in ingredients - and are now completely frustrated because they didn't work.  You see?  

 

I go to really great lengths to explain why I use the ingredients I use, and I let you know when you can use substitutes and when you can't.  The recipe on my blog is written using cake flour, and I say on the blog post that you should only use cake flour.  No substitutions.

 

As for buttermilk, I also go into a lengthy explanation on why we use buttermilk.  If you don't have buttermilk use whole milk.  I admit, I need to write an update to that post addressing the insanity of people doing the vinegar+milk thing.  IT DOES NOT WORK.  Vinegar does not produce cultures.  Cultures are emulsifiers.  Emulsifiers are the good bits that we want in the cake.  What vinegar does do is kill your the leavening, kills the remaining emulsifiers in the sour cream, and jacks up the pH.  I know the internet says this works, but I assure you, it does not work as a replacement for buttermilk in a cake recipe that relies on the cultures in buttermilk as an emulsifying agent.

 

It's also possible you are looking for a unicorn.  Scratch cakes are not "moist".  "Moist" is a BS term used by the cake mix industry to explain the mouthfeel of the antifreeze they put in cake mix that helps prevent the clueless home cook from baking their frankencake into a brick.  A good scratch cake has a soft, delicate mouthfeel that isn't dry, but it isn't "moist" and never will be.  

 

You need to let scratch cakes mature from the oven.  It's strengthens when your hot cake is popped straight the freezer for a few hours to a few days (wrapped in plastic).  If you leave your scratch cake out of the pan on a cooling rack for hours (like you can with a box cake) it will totally dry your cake out.

 

There are lots of recipes out there - my final words of wisdom for you is to pick one that uses the ingredients you want to work with.

 

Best of luck,

 

Jen

post #18 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF View Post

Hello!  Thank you for trying my recipe, and I'm sorry you are having problems - if the batter looked curdled then your butter was too warm.  It needs to be 68 degrees or slightly colder.  

 

Some words of love:  if you don't make the recipe as written, you can't get frustrated that it does not turn out as great as people say it is.  I'm sorry, but that is the harsh trust about baking scratch recipes.  You need to make the recipe exactly as written, at least for the first time, and make it to the letter before proclaiming it a failure to you.  Think about your scientific method here: you could have spent under $5 just buying a few readily-available ingredients, made the recipe exactly as written and had a success the first time out.  Instead you decided not to spent the extra few dollars initially in favor of trying how many different recipes?  Not following them to the letter, burned thru countless hours and money in ingredients - and are now completely frustrated because they didn't work.  You see?  

 

I go to really great lengths to explain why I use the ingredients I use, and I let you know when you can use substitutes and when you can't.  The recipe on my blog is written using cake flour, and I say on the blog post that you should only use cake flour.  No substitutions.

 

As for buttermilk, I also go into a lengthy explanation on why we use buttermilk.  If you don't have buttermilk use whole milk.  I admit, I need to write an update to that post addressing the insanity of people doing the vinegar+milk thing.  IT DOES NOT WORK.  Vinegar does not produce cultures.  Cultures are emulsifiers.  Emulsifiers are the good bits that we want in the cake.  What vinegar does do is kill your the leavening, kills the remaining emulsifiers in the sour cream, and jacks up the pH.  I know the internet says this works, but I assure you, it does not work as a replacement for buttermilk in a cake recipe that relies on the cultures in buttermilk as an emulsifying agent.

 

It's also possible you are looking for a unicorn.  Scratch cakes are not "moist".  "Moist" is a BS term used by the cake mix industry to explain the mouthfeel of the antifreeze they put in cake mix that helps prevent the clueless home cook from baking their frankencake into a brick.  A good scratch cake has a soft, delicate mouthfeel that isn't dry, but it isn't "moist" and never will be.  

 

You need to let scratch cakes mature from the oven.  It's strengthens when your hot cake is popped straight the freezer for a few hours to a few days (wrapped in plastic).  If you leave your scratch cake out of the pan on a cooling rack for hours (like you can with a box cake) it will totally dry your cake out.

 

There are lots of recipes out there - my final words of wisdom for you is to pick one that uses the ingredients you want to work with.

 

Best of luck,

 

Jen

 

YOU HAVE BEEN SO HELPFUL I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH! :)

post #19 of 39
Thread Starter 

Oh my and I just realised it was you! I'm thinking I'll try the recipe again.. I definitely did not do it right. 

 

Mistake 1- halving the recipe

Mistake 2- the butter was probably too warm like you said 

Mistake 3- attempting to use whole eggs instead of following your recipe

 

I just have another question, is shortening the same as 'copha' in Australia? I've always used it as shortening, but I want to be 100% sure. 

 

And would using 'lite' sour cream instead of full fat affect the moisture/fat content of the cake, making it dryer right? (My mum is always buying it so that is usually what we have on hand) 

 

and what do you think of the cooks illustrated recipe? I've heard good things about that one as well and was also on my list to attempt next.

 

Again, than you so much for your help! I cannot believe how long I've been using that silly old milk + vinegar trick! 

post #20 of 39

LOL!

 

I'm not worldly at all so I have no idea what the brand in Australia is - I'm sure someone else can help.

 

The recipe should be fine halved or tripled, as long as you keep all your ratios correct.  Double check your math!

 

I've only made the CI recipe once.  I though it was OK, tasted a little hollow to me, like it was missing something, but it has great texture.  I obviously like mine better.

 

As for your sour cream, I always use full fat.  When they make stuff "lite" they replace the bits they take out with other bits and in the case of sour cream, it's gelatin and other filler ingredients that, yeah, on the label brings down the fat content, but isn't necessarily better for you.  

 

My recipe has both sour cream and buttermilk - the sour cream adds fat and flavor, the buttermilk adds emulsifiers.  Buttermilk is preferred, Bulgarian is best because it has the most active cultures, but milk works OK if that's all you have.  But think about the science behind this - you want one ingredient to bring fat, one to bring emulsifiers, so you can just as easily replace the buttermilk for kifer (even more cultures then Bulgarian buttermilk) and swap the sour cream for prepared pudding (homemade, of course) or full fat yogurt.  Either will work as your fat/flavor element.  I've even had someone use creme fraisch in place of the sour cream and claimed it turned out amazing.  One of these days I'm going to get brave and try cream cheese or marscopone in place of the sour cream and see how that turns out.  I suspect it will give this a rich pound cake texture that in my head would be divine.

 

Anyway, for our purposes, the fat is where all the good stuff is and as you can tell, I <3 fat in my recipe.  

post #21 of 39

Copha is solid at room temp, and is sold in a brick from the fridge section. From my reading, I believe that's very different to shortening.

post #22 of 39
Thread Starter 

Is it possible to get shortening in australia? It says 'vegetable shortening' on the packaging.. confused :(

post #23 of 39
You can get Crisco (which I think is the same as shortening, I'm only a beginner and haven't baked with it), from cake decorating shops in Sydney.
post #24 of 39

Your cake problem has four sources:

 

wrong kind of flour (need to use pastry flour if no sour cream or buttermilk or yogurt)

 

too much flour (it is supposed to be sifted before dry measuring) BETTER to use recipes by weight, lots of cakes at kingarthurflour.com with weight conversion

 

too much mixing (flour should be folded in by hand in 2 portions with liquid in between)

 

too much heat/baking time (start testing 9" layers after 20 minutes).

post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by kellie1996 View Post

Anyone tried something like this? Is it like the chemicals they use in packet-mixes or something? 

 

Thank you so much for the suggestion!

It's not chemicals but it's similar to what's used in boxed mixes.  It's an emulsifier made from rice starch and vegetable fatty acids. It's said to make cakes softer and moister.

post #26 of 39

FromscratchSF's a better white cake is so awesome.  I really appreciate the explanation about the buttermilk.  I have always used the Bulgarian type buttermilk, but never knew the reason why it works so well. Would the recipe  work with all butter, if there is a question about the shortening?

I'd rather be baking!
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I'd rather be baking!
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post #27 of 39

Wow! Thanks bunches, I learned a lot from your message. icon_smile.gif

post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by liz at sugar View Post

Kellie - I really like FromScratchSF's vanilla cake.  What didn't you like about it?  I make it as directed, and it comes out perfectly.

 

As far as cost, buttermilk isn't any more expensive than whole milk, and cake flour isn't any more expensive in bulk.  And I think the recipe only calls for like 8.75 ounces of flour - even from a box of Softasilk from the grocery store you would still get almost 4 recipe's worth from a box.

 

You could always use the doctored WASC recipe, but it may come out more expensive than this scratch recipe, because you still have to add flour, sugar, sour cream, etc.

 

Liz

Yep, what she said. FromScratchSF, love her white cake recipe and directions from her blog. (Wished she do one on chocolate, HINT,HINT)

Just when the caterpillar thought life was over it bloomed into something beautiful.
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Just when the caterpillar thought life was over it bloomed into something beautiful.
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post #29 of 39
Thread Starter 

So I got the buttermilk and cake flour and gave 'billy's vanilla cake' another go, (I probably should have just attempted fromscratchsf's first, but I liked how Billy's used whole eggs. And I didn't see too much of an improvement in texture to be honest :( I'm not sure if this is a great recipe.. I've been disappointed by it before, I just want that super fluffy texture they're able to achieve in bakeries, although I'm aware I'm probably comparing myself with box mixes, ugh. Another question- my chocolate cake (I use mccall's and it's wonderful) is always so moist and turns out perfectly. If anything I have to worry about it being TOO moist and the liners peeling back. What is it that gives this quality to the chocolate cake? Is it the cocoa? I'd love to be able to achieve a similar result with vanilla cake! 

post #30 of 39
Hi. Where can I find the McCall's chocolate cake recipe? Thanks.
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