Stale/dry Red Velvet Cake

Baking By cupcakemama3 Updated 24 Feb 2016 , 10:52am by -K8memphis

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cupcakemama3 Posted 21 Feb 2016 , 9:40pm
post #1 of 10

Someone please tell me why this cake was ruined! I've been baking for years and have never had a complaint of a dry/ stale cake or had a customer have to throw the entire cake away! I feel devastated! So I'll start from the top. I  had an order for red velvet lady bug themed cake for this past week  this lady has ordered from me several times before.  Now I will say, I have never made a red velvet cake (as people here where I live want yellow or chocolate usually) but plenty of red velvet cupcakes and they are always great and my other cakes are always great so I figured there would be no problem.  I baked the cake Wednesday and cooled in the counter and double wrapped in Saran Wrap and refrigerated and decorated the next day and delivered the next. It had cream cheese icing.  Before storing I leveled it and put the tops on a plate and left that on the counter covered with wrap. The wrapped cakes went into the fridge. I always decorate my cakes cold from the fridge and so when I did this time  the cake was a little stiff but I didn't think much of it as a really cold cake usually is, but I know for sure (as I bake for my own family birthdays etc) once they come to room temp and then under all that frosting the moisture is held in  and they are extra melt in your mouth good. Anyway she was very delighted with the look of the cake on delivery and so happy with it but today's got a message from her saying the cake was so stale and dry they had to throw out the whole thing  she said she wanted to let me know so I could fix whatever was wrong (as she has been very pleased with  all her other orders). I ate the tops of the cake that was on the counter the day of delivery  and they were great! So, can anyone tell me what in the world you think happened to this cake??!! I'm so upset I may never bake again!!!

9 replies
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Jinkies Posted 21 Feb 2016 , 10:51pm
post #2 of 10

Well,it's really hard to know.  For one, red velvet cakes are really easy to over bake and dry out.  It seems like one second they're raw and the next they're over done. Sadly, I know from experience, haha!  Also, you can't really go by cake tops-they are always nice and moist.

Also, if it was not eaten at room temp, it could tend to "feel" dry.  Cakes, especially any with butter in it, should not be eaten cold.  Red velvet typically has oil in it but I have seen butter or shortening recipes too- I don't know what recipe you used.

That being said, I doubt the cake was so dry and awful she had to throw it away.  Sounds more like she's fishing for a refund.  Don't take it so much to heart that you never bake again.  Everyone's taste is different and you can't please everyone.

You should have a red velvet cake in your repertoire though, so take your time and test some recipes and find one you like and are comfortable with before you offer it to clients.  I would suggest an oil based one as most people want a cream cheese filling and that needs to be refrigerated.  

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cupcakemama3 Posted 21 Feb 2016 , 11:06pm
post #3 of 10

Thanks for the advice! That may have been the problem. It was a butter recipe.  And, I do remember reading that butter recipes dry out quicker. It is kind of confusing though because for all of my other cakes I use the Beyond Buttrcream recipe which uses butter or shortening and I wrap them and refrigerate and they do great! But, they have cake flour and this recipe called for AP flour. I don't know if that would make a difference or not. 

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-K8memphis Posted 21 Feb 2016 , 11:56pm
post #4 of 10

it's not just that they get dry faster in the fridge -- butter baked into a cake does not fully relax back to room temperature after it has been refrigerated or frozen unless you add heat -- if you fresh bake a butter cake and an oil cake and test this out you will be surprised -- the butter cake literally can be restored to out of the oven softness if it is microwaved for 5 seconds but if it's not heated it will scratch down the throat enough that it will be deemed 'dry' when really it is just a little stiff --

i think this is one of the reasons scratch cakes get so much bad press

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cupcakemama3 Posted 22 Feb 2016 , 12:45am
post #5 of 10

That's very interesting @-K8memphis ‍. I never knew that. Thanks!

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Jinkies Posted 22 Feb 2016 , 2:32am
post #6 of 10

I think you're absolutely right @-K8memphis ‍.  I've been switching some of my recipes over to oil because I like to chill my cakes. I've noticed that when they're covered in fondant, it takes a really long time for the inside of the cake to get to room temp.  I've let cakes sit out at parties for many hours and they are still cold inside. 

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Pastrybaglady Posted 22 Feb 2016 , 2:47am
post #7 of 10

I agree with all of the above.  I think you need another recipe with oil.  I replace 1/4 of the oil with pureed applesauce and my customers always say how moist the red velvet is.  If you put cream cheese frosting on it, the cake must be refrigerated so an absolute no to butter in the cake!

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rsquared02 Posted 22 Feb 2016 , 4:13am
post #8 of 10

I would ask if she refrigerated it.  I've been surprised lately at the number of people that ask me if they need to refrigerate my cakes.  I guess I never thought about it.  I always tell them NO!  

I guess growing up, our cakes were always left on the counter, so I don't question it much.  

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cupcakemama3 Posted 24 Feb 2016 , 1:27am
post #9 of 10

Well, looks like I need an oil recipe for red velvet and no refrigerator! I still don't understand why my other butter recipes do fine in the refrigerator and this one didn't but maybe it's just a matter a a few recipe variations and all the red dye. Who knows?! Thanks for everyone's help!

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-K8memphis Posted 24 Feb 2016 , 10:52am
post #10 of 10

just for the record -- i'm saying that once a cake made with butter is brought back to room temperature from being  frozen or refrigerated the texture of the cake stays tighter than it was when it came out of the oven -- even if it was in the chill box for just a couple hours -- so it is deemed 'dry' when it scrapes down the back of your throat -- when in reality the moisture hasn't changed at all -- the crumb tightens up -- re-warming reverses this --

 i'm not making a claim that the temperature of the cake is then changed/affected just the texture --

cupcakemama -- i'd suggest that you test your other butter cakes to make sure they are the same in & out the fridge

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