3 Different Cakes Shrink!!!!

Decorating By pamconn Updated 5 Oct 2009 , 9:15pm by pamconn

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pamconn Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 3:11am
post #1 of 14

Help icon_cry.gif
I am trying to make a lemon poppy seed cake.
I made the Lemon PoppySeed WASC variation from here, the Lemon poppy seed recipe from here, and the Lemon buttermilk poppy seed cake from the Cake Mix Doctor.

All three cakes shrank-not just from around the pan edges, but in height too.

They were baked one at a time, in 9x13 pans. I used fresh lemon juice, baked at 325, all ingrediants fresh.

The only thing that I can think happened is that they did not want to get done in the middle, and I had to keep opening the oven to check to see if they were done-did not open the door until after they were supposed to be done.

They came out of the oven at the right height and as they started to cool they shrank from the edges and to 1 inch in height.

Please, before I try again in the morning, what am I doing wrong? Anyone have a recipe I can use in a 9x13?

13 replies
JanH Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
JanH Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 3:39am
post #2 of 14

If you've made three entirely different recipes which all came out compact... either there's a problem with the oven temperature, or your measuring/mixing methods:

Cake troubleshooting charts:




How to measure flour correctly:

When measuring flour, do you use the "scoop and drag" method and then shake to level.... You should be aerating the flour prior to gently spooning it into the measuring cup and using a straight edge to level.

When I make any of the WASC cake recipes, I sift all the dry ingredients together into a large bowl, and mix all the wet ingredients in a second larger bowl.

Then I add the dry to the wet and beat for 2 mins. using an electric hand mixer at medium speed.

If using a stand mixer, I would mix at the lowest speed for 2 mins. or less.

When it comes to mixing, MORE (as in more speed or longer mixing time) is not BETTER. Overmixing will develop the gluten and result in a tough cake. Overmixing will also cause a cake to sink.


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adree313 Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 3:47am
post #3 of 14

leave it to janH thumbs_up.gif

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Alongino Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 3:49am
post #4 of 14

I always have problems with lemon cake too. It really does shrink more than other types. I had standard size cupcakes shrink (with the wrappers still on them) down to the size of mini-muffins.
My guess is it's the acid in the lemon juice. I switched to lemon extract and they seem to shrink less. Also, be sure not to beat too much air into the cake batter.

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JanH Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 4:38am
post #5 of 14
Originally Posted by pamconn

Help icon_cry.gif
I made the Lemon PoppySeed WASC variation from here, the Lemon poppy seed recipe from here, and the Lemon buttermilk poppy seed cake from the Cake Mix Doctor.

The WASC cake recipes have been further altered/doctored by other members so that there are now countless other variations (not just kakeladi or Rebecca Sutterby) that I can't keep up. Whose recipe did you use? (And if you could provide a link that would be very helpful.)

Cakepro's Amazing Lemon cake (from a mix) recipe:
(Uses lemon pudding, lemon juice, lemon extract, and lemon pudding. Would be easy to add poppy seeds for lemon poppy seed cake.)


Rebecca Sutterby's WASC with flavor variations:


kakeladi's original WASC doesn't have a lemon variation that specifies lemon juice to make a lemon cake:



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pamconn Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 1:36pm
post #6 of 14

JanH, thank you for the links for recipes and trouble shooting. Here are the links to the cakes:

I do stir and then spoon my flour and normally I mix the dry and wet seperately and then add the dry to the wet, 2 of the recipes (one from Cake Mix Doctor) said to mix all at once-so there could be one problem.

I will check my oven temperature.

Last night I just had to step away from the kitchen and go to my room and try to de-cake as I was so frustrated.

Thank you all for your help. I will try again today by first checking my oven temperature and then not over mixing and I'm going to see how different the recipes I used are from these JanH posted. Normally I love all WASC variations.

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pamconn Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 1:38pm
post #7 of 14

Oh, and I will also sift all of the dry ingrediants too-I think if I have them all mixed with no lumps I will be less tempted to overmix at the end.

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JanH Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 8:28am
post #8 of 14

Well, the first recipe you listed indicated than an extra minute was added to the mixing time.

An extra minute on medium speed using a hand mixer probably wouldn't hurt, but an extra minute on medium speed using a stand mixer could develop the gluten.

When making a full recipe (14 cups) of either Rebecca's or kakeladi's WASC, I mix for two minutes on medium using a hand mixer.

Also, did you make a double recipe, since a 13x9x2 pan requires 7 cups of batter?

The second recipe states that it makes a thick batter. Was the batter so thick that it didn't yield 7 cups?

Hope you can get your lemon cake mojo working. icon_smile.gif

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keystone Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 8:53am
post #9 of 14

Can you use Rebecca's recipe for a cake that needs to be more dense? I want to use the Wilton stand up cake pan for the first time. Would this recipe work?


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JanH Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 9:00am
post #10 of 14

Both Rebecca and kakeladi's WASC cake recipes are carveable. Have never used them in a 3D cake pan, though.

Durable cake for 3D & weddings:



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FleurDeCake Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 9:53am
post #11 of 14

great info janh...thanks

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keystone Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 10:12am
post #12 of 14

Thanks! I think I will try it out.

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pamconn Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 3:16pm
post #13 of 14

I do have a stand mixer. I believe that I overmixed them. I usually have no trouble with the WASC recipes. I have used both Rebecca's and kakeladi's recipes. This time I only used the 1/2 recipe (1 cake mix) and that has always given me extra batter. I need to start measuring my batter, I just go by what looks right in the pan. I am surprised that a box of cake mix alone yeilds 7 cups of batter! icon_eek.gif It never looks like that much.

I tried again, made 3 more cakes, but used different recipes (gun shy icon_redface.gif and dd says make it like pound cake). This time I used the convection setting on my oven rather than regular, I mixed my wet and dry ingrediants separately, and I mixed for 2 minutes on a lower speed. Here are the links to the cakes:


and this:
3 cups *unsifted* cake flour (measure it, *then* sift)
3 cups sugar
1 pound regular butter (not unsalted)
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon lemon extract.

All ingredients *must* be at room temperature before you begin. Check oven rack to make sure it will hold large tube pan *in center* of oven. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.

Grease and flour a standard tube pan (not a bundt pan.) In large bowl of electric mixer, blend together butter and cream cheese at low-medium speed. Gradually blend in sugar at medium speed. Add extract, then eggs one at a time, gradually increasing mixer speed. Beat at high speed, once all eggs are added, about 2 minutes, scraping bowl constantly, to achieve high volume and thorough dissolving of sugar. Reduce mixer speed to lowest and gradually add *cake flour*. Batter will be *very stiff*.

Spoon into pan, carefully ensuring that there are no air pockets. Bake in center of oven at 350 degrees till done (about an hour and 20 minutes). A toothpick inserted in center of cake will come out clean if the cake is done.

Cool in pan ten minutes, remove from pan and put on cake plate that has a dome. It can be upside-down or right-side up, depending on your own preference for appearance. Put dome on cake plate when cake is still slightly warm. Leave dome on plate for *two days* to cause moisture to migrate uniformly throughout cake. (I did not do this part.)
The main thing: this cake *must* be made with cake flour.

All three cakes came out fine. I have only been able to taste the Amazing Lemon Cake from a mix as that had extra batter and it tasted good too.
The recipe from myrecipe . com I doubled for the pan size.

The cake is for my dd's boyfriend 21st birthday. My dd wants to help me decorate it and it needs to be carved. He wants it to taste like a cake that they had at a wedding. I did not see or have any of this cake.

DD and BF say that it was a yellowish cake, lemony with poppy seeds. And they think it was a pound cake.

So I hope that I haven't broken any baking rules by baking the cakes in a 9x13 pan. The cakes are in the freezer. His birthday is Wednesday, so Thursday I will post how they tasted and if they were baked properly.

Thank you all for the help.

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pamconn Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 9:15pm
post #14 of 14

All 3 of the new cakes turned out just fine. The birthday boys favorite was the Cakepro's Amazing Lemon cake from here. I used all three cakes since it was a carved cake.

Thank you all again for the trouble shooting!

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