Trust me, I know this question has been asked and answered hundreds of times, but hear me out. I am not a beginner or a novice. I'm 36 and I have been baking since I was 12. I've always had this problem, but I've recently decided to open a bakery and I feel as if I can't do that until I fix this density problem.
I've legit tried everything. Here's my process.
- I bring all ingredients to room temp
- I use commercial aluminum baking pans
- All ingredients are restaurant quality
- I never trust a level measuring cup
- I weigh and sift everything. Even salt.
- I add flour, or dry ingredient mix, in stages alternating with milk/buttermilk and extracts
- I add in 1/3 increments starting and ending with dry ingredients
- I mix until just barely combined on low-medium speed
Wtf am I doing wrong? And it's just white, vanilla, and yellow cakes! My chocolate cake, carrot cake, red velvet, etc. are perfect every time.
Here's a couple things that *might* affect the outcome:
- Sometimes I use more extract than called for
- I use large and extra large eggs interchangeabley depending on what I have in the fridge
- I don't weigh eggs
- I *might* be over-baking
- I don't always use cake flour
I say "might" because I do the same for all cakes and, as mentioned, the denseness is only a problem with white, vanilla, and yellow.
I'm desperate, so any and all advice is appreciated
it depends on the recipes and i’m not trying to get you to spill state secrets — but some of the procedures you list aren’t even necessary and some have nothing to do with density so...idk
plus new members usually go through a waiting period before they can reply to a thread — so please feel free to start a whole new thread to continue the discussion :)
Make sure you're creaming your butter and sugar well. I do 3-4 minutes with my mixer set at 3-4. I add my eggs two at a time and give them a little time to fluff up before adding more. This adds mechanical leavening. I add my extracts with the last eggs.
Switch to low when adding your flour and wet ingredients. Too much movement after the flour goes in will cause more gluten development. Too much gluten development will cause your cakes to rise and then fall into dense layers.
Also check the leavening in your recipe. Typically you'll see 1 - 1.5 tsp of baking powder per cup of flour. If there is an acidic ingredient, baking soda may replace some or all of the baking powder. With a sufficient acidic counterpart 1/2 tsp of baking soda is equal to 2 tsp of baking powder. For example, you may see two recipes that are incredibly similar, but one may have 3 tsp baking powder and 1 cup of milk, and the other may have 1 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1 cup of buttermilk.
"I mix until just barely combined on low-medium speed"
that's how to make a good cookie, biscuit, muffin or pie crust -- cake needs to be beaten some -- I do two minutes on speed 3 or 4