All occasion yellow cake - crumb is too coarse
Posted: 03 October 2017 09:19 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I recently baked a birthday cake using the reliable all occasion yellow cake in The Cake Bible. Since a lemon cake was requested I added two teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest. The cake looked fine, and tasted good, but the crumb was disappointingly coarse. I follow the recipe exactly, with the exception of the lemon zest, and I was short of unsalted butter, so I used half salted. Was that enough to account for the very coarse crumb? I use a convection oven.

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Posted: 03 October 2017 09:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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jevanvelsor - 03 October 2017 09:19 AM

I recently baked a birthday cake using the reliable all occasion yellow cake in The Cake Bible. Since a lemon cake was requested I added two teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest. The cake looked fine, and tasted good, but the crumb was disappointingly coarse. I follow the recipe exactly, with the exception of the lemon zest, and I was short of unsalted butter, so I used half salted. Was that enough to account for the very coarse crumb? I use a convection oven.

Did you bake with the convection on?  When using a convection oven either turn off the convection feature or reduce the temperature by 25°.

Ideally, if you can turn off the convection feature, do so.

Convections work in a professional setting because multiple cakes are baked together.  The fan and exhaust system circulates the hot air throughout the entire oven. Heat is not radiating or concentrated in one spot in the oven.  The greater circulation of heat allows multiple pans to bake at the same rate. 

When there’s only two cake pans in a convection oven, there’s not enough pans to absorb the intense heat.  While the temperature may be 350°, it is essentially hotter as the heat is more evenly distributed throughout the entire oven.

By contrast, in a conventional oven the heat radiates from a single source, normally the heating element on the bottom of the oven. So the temperature may be set at 350° but the heat is concentrated at the bottom of the oven.  So a conventional oven essentially does not bake as hot.

The two major causes of a coarse crumb are too high of a temperature and overmixing. If you’re certain you did not over-mix, then the temperature from the convection oven is probably the issue.

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