Help From Scratch Bakers?...

Decorating By LeckieAnne Updated 24 Feb 2009 , 11:52pm by Deb_

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LeckieAnne Posted 18 Feb 2009 , 5:35am
post #1 of 14

I recently tried the WBH Vanilla Butter Cake (posted here on CC) - I've been looking for a vanilla cake to make a neapolitan cake. This recipe you beat up the egg whites and sugar and mix them in last. I reserved some and mixed red color and strawberry extract in part, and Hershey's syrup in part and marbled it. It was delicious - sort of an angel food cake texture from the meringue. And the marbling was pretty - exactly what I wanted, but...

the recipe says it makes two 3" tall 10" cakes. I put it all in one 9x13 (it was just to try it). It made one 9x13 - no extra, and not extra high. Did I do something wrong? I expected it to be much higher and lighter than it was. It says ingredients must be room temperature - I don't think mine were room temperature - could that be the problem? Or was it the extra stuff I added? I hate to make too many test cakes (I just eat them, and my butt's big enough! LOL). Thought I'd get some advice before my next trial.

13 replies
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kate6207 Posted 18 Feb 2009 , 12:50pm
post #2 of 14

I am a still just novice scratch baker but here are a few things that helped me get better results with my scratch cakes.

1. Room temp ingredients. Cold ingredients will mix up differently than those that are at room temp. If your ingredients weren't room temp than that could have definitely contributed to results. Also, egg whites that are cold won't whip up to the same volume as room temp egg whites.

2. Check your baking powder to make sure that it hasn't expired.

3. If you don't have one already, I would invest in an oven thermometer to check your oven temperature. An oven that is too hot or too cold can affect your results. An old oven of mine ran 20-25 degrees hotter than the temp I set it at.

4. Be extra careful with your measurements.

Scratch cakes can be tricky sometimes since there are a lot of variables that can affect the outcome. I have found that the website is fantastic for learning the ends and outs of baking.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your next cake!

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Deb_ Posted 18 Feb 2009 , 1:56pm
post #3 of 14

I do think the cold ingredients was the main reason it didn't yield the height and amount the recipe claimed.

When you make a cake with whipped whites, just fold them in to the other ingredients with a spatula, not your mixer. You want to keep as much air in those egg whites as possible and the more you mix and handle them the more air you push out of them.

I've never added color or choc syrup to my whites, this may have been another factor in the outcome. Next time I'd put the color and flavor in with your other ingredients and leave the egg whites as is.

Sounds delicious!

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sayhellojana Posted 18 Feb 2009 , 2:13pm
post #4 of 14

I think it's probably just an inconsistency in the recipe. Do they mean 2 3'' tall 10'' layers? That would make sense.

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FromScratch Posted 18 Feb 2009 , 2:13pm
post #5 of 14

I always find that the sizes stated can be off. Also... adding in extra liquid into a scratch recipe can be tricky and often times can fail if you don't compensate with a little extra dry ingredient. Did you add the whites to the batter and then separate it out and add the flavors? Sometimes this extra mixing can deflate the mixture a bit.

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sambugjoebear Posted 18 Feb 2009 , 2:31pm
post #6 of 14

The recipe says that it yields 9 cups of batter. It then goes on to say:

"Pour 3 1/2 cups of the batter into one prepared pan and the reamining batter into the other. Bake the less full pan for 20-25 minutes and the fuller pan for 30 to 35 minutes,"

You're not filling the pans up all the way (in fact, the first pan is a little less than half full). A 10x2 pan needs 6 cups of batter to make a full cake (obviously more for a 10x3). When these cakes are baked and stacked together, it will be like having a 3" cake on bottom, filling of choice, and 1-2" cake on top for a whimsical look when you cut in to it.

Gotta love those whimsical bake house people~ they love to confuse us icon_wink.gif

Hopefully that helps you out - any other questions, just ask!

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FromScratch Posted 18 Feb 2009 , 2:49pm
post #7 of 14

I believe it is so you can torte the bigger cake and have 3 even looking layers. But that's just me. Either way this makes one 10" tier that is 4" tall when iced.

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LeckieAnne Posted 18 Feb 2009 , 4:09pm
post #8 of 14

Thanks all! I did add the egg whites and separate before I added the extra ingredients. I will try dividing before I add the whites - add a little extra cake flour - and then add the whites. I'll have to figure out how to divide the whites up, though. LOL

Thanks for all the advice, everyone!

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FromScratch Posted 18 Feb 2009 , 4:58pm
post #9 of 14

If you do it by weight... it's not too hard. Just weigh your bowls before you mix up your cake batter.

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Narie Posted 18 Feb 2009 , 6:00pm
post #10 of 14

Wait a minute something is a bit odd. The recipe make 9 cups of batter. A two thirds full 10x3 pan would take about 10.5 cups and half full one would take a little over 8 cups of batter. Of course a 13x9 pan would take a little over 8 cups for one inch of batter; so, yes, you should have had a nice full cake with 9 cups. I would agree with advice above. Add the extras to the batter before folding in the whites.

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PinkZiab Posted 18 Feb 2009 , 9:17pm
post #11 of 14

I would definitely made any additions (flavor, color, etc) to the base BEFORE folding in your meringue. All that extra mixing and time out of the oven can lead your meringue to deflate, causing you to lose height.

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Pebbles1727 Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 3:51am
post #12 of 14

I've been working through WBH recipes, and my experience is that every single recipe yelds less than what their book states. Depending on the recipe, it's 1 or 2 cups less than what is stated. I follow the directions religiously, so I just stopped looking at the yeld.
This is probably not much help though, P

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LeckieAnne Posted 24 Feb 2009 , 3:36pm
post #13 of 14

In case anyone's interested...

I did try this again (for the birthday I was working on the recipe for) -- and room temperature ingredients did make a difference. I also divided and added the extra strawberry and chocolate to the base mixture before I added the egg whites. It still did not bake as much as I expected it to. But -- because I marbled in the chocolate and strawberry - I had to mess with it more than I think you should - so I probably deflated it much more than it should have been. It tasted great though!

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Deb_ Posted 24 Feb 2009 , 11:52pm
post #14 of 14

I'm glad you had better results this time. icon_smile.gif

BTW, your little girl is so adorable, I love that picture!

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