All Occasion Downy Butter Cake - Sunk Middle
Posted: 07 July 2009 04:10 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I tried searching the forums and I could not find an answer.  This past weekend, I baked the All-Occasion Downy butter cake for the first time.  Instead of two 9x1.5 pans, I used one 9 inch springform pan (I wanted a thicker cake).  I used a cake strip around it and baked according to directions (350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes).  At 25 minutes, I checked the cake and it was nowhere near cooked because it was jiggly like a jello so I closed the oven and waited another 5 minutes.  At 30 minutes, it was still jiggly so I closed again.  At 35 minutes, it was still not done.  Finally at 40 minutes, the cake was done.  However, the middle of the cake sunk.

The TCB says it can be baked in a 9x2 pan.  I filled the pan about halfway (used the rest to make cupcakes), and the sides of the cake came to the top as I expected.  So the big problem was the middle.

Any idea what the problem with the collapsed center?  With regards to cooking time, I’m assuming the longer time was needed based on more volume of cake to bake (is 40 minutes about the right time for this cake in a 9x2).  What can be done to solve this issue in the future?  Did the opening of door every 5 minutes caused the problem?  The thing is I did not know how much longer to cook it since I was just following the directions.  I didn’t want it to burn so I was checking every 5 minutes.

The cake tasted great.  Probably one of the best yellow cakes I’ve tried.  It was fluffy, buttery, and melts in your mouth.  It was great eating by itself.  I know I can try it in two 9x1.5 pans next time but I’d like to know if anyone has tried it in 9x2 and had the same problems I had.

Thanks!

Jess

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Posted: 07 July 2009 08:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi Jess, was your springform a 9x2?  If so, and you filled it just half way, then it’s probably underbaking that caused it to fall, either by time or temp.  Yes, opening the oven every five minutes can keep the temp lower than 350F.

Rose has said that her cakes don’t bake well in 3-inch deep pans, if the batter is baked in too deep a layer it needs more structure to keep from collapsing under its own weight.

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Posted: 08 July 2009 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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yep…precisely, these cakes don’t do well in thick layers…and will collapse when underbaked.

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Posted: 08 July 2009 02:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Julie and Bill, thanks for your reply.  I used a 9x2 springform pan and I only filled half the pan.  If you look at TCB, it says it’s ok to bake in a 9x2 but it does not indicate adjustments in the baking.  Any idea on how long it has to be in the oven at 350?  It cooked for about 40 minutes (book says 25 to 35).  I started looking at 25 minutes which is the minimum on the book and waited at least 5 minutes to look.  I know the temp was at 350 because I have thermometer inside my oven.

I think when I try it again, I’ll bake it at 350 for 40 minutes.  Sound about right?  any other adjustments you can suggest?

Thanks!

Jess

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Posted: 08 July 2009 03:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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JESSJOSE:
  Good morning my friend. I am sorry to learn of your baking mishap. Jess, I do not know exactly what caused your baking problem. However, let us borrow a page from the dictates of baking science knowledge.  When it comes to these cakes that are mixed using the 2 stage mixing method these cakes are EXTREMELY sensitive to oven temp, more so than other styles. Why???, they have an extreme large amount of HYDRATION, (& eggs are liquids). This liquid must be evaporated in baking in order for the flour’s gluten to develop to sustain it’s structure otherwise there isn’t sufficent coagulation occurance to support the cake hence the fallen center. Jess there are 2, items I believe caused your problem. Either one or a combination of both. First I know you said your oven temp is accurite???? Maybe,.... It so happens Jess there are 3 reasons for a cake failure with a fallen top center in these aforementioned style cakes. A Cold oven ....& or excessive amount of baking powder.  Do yourself a favor, secure another oven temp gage & use that along with your own gage & then you will have eliminated that concern. Consider the leavener Jess,  19.5 grams is a lot of leavener Jess. I would consider maybe 15-16, grams. There are 6, negitive things that happen with the use of excessive leavener, a fallen cake center is one of those 6.
  Jess my friend I hope you try this cake one more time I think if you consider what baking science dictates you will succeed this time. Good luck & enjoy the day Jess.

  ~FRESHKID.

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Posted: 08 July 2009 11:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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This is my favorite yellow layer cake.  Jess, you said twice that TCB says it can be baked in a 9x2 pan. I don’t see where it says that in my copy.  It specifies 9x1 1/2 inch pans.  I think this might be your issue, if you filled the pan half full, that’s more batter than if it were baked in a 9x1 1/2 pan, so oit will require more time to bake.  I have baked this cake as two layers in 9 inch pans, scaled it to 8 inch pans, and as a sheet cake in a half sheet pan.  Every time it has been fantastic. My suggestion - make it according to the directions, use the correct pan size, and see how it turns out. If you want to do a trial run, divide the recipe in half and make one layer only.  I need the full baking time for mine to be done and my oven temperature is correct.

One more thought - did you test for doneness with a toothpick every time you checked?  I have noticed that if I poke my toothpick in too soon, the area right around where I poked will sink a bit.  This cake gets very brown when it’s done. If there is very little browning, it’s definitely not done yet.

Good luck and don’t give up on this recipe, it’s a real keeper.

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Posted: 08 July 2009 11:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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MrsM, thanks for your reply.  My book on page 39 says it is for two 9x1.5 inch pan.  However, if you read further down on that section (lower right hand corner), it says that it can be cooked in a 2inch high pan using 2/3 of a recipe.  So I assumed that since it was written there, that the cake can be done in a 9x2 using the same baking instructions.  As for testing for doneness, I didn’t insert a toothpick until towards the end because I could tell right away that it wasn’t done because the batter was still jiggly like a jello.  So I didn’t poke the cake until right before I took it out.  When I tested it, it came out clean.  The cake did get brown and the brown crumb top tasted really, really good. 

Anyway, I think I’ll stick to the book instructions.  I wanted to use a 2inch because I was planning on cutting the cake into three layers.  Next time I think I’ll follow your suggestion and bake using 9x1.5.  I think I agree with you that this one is a keeper once I fix my problems.  Taste-wise, it is the best butter cake I’ve ever tried (I haven’t tried the TCB’s other butter cakes yet, this was my first one).

Freshkid, thanks for your input.  I think my next attempt I’ll follow MrsM’s suggestion.  If this cake is not recommended for tall pans, I’ll be happy to use it for shorter cakes and cupcakes.

Jess

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Posted: 09 July 2009 02:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Jess, on p.485, in the wedding cake section, Rose says to bake the 9x2” layer for 35-45 mins. Maybe at 40 mins. when you took it out, the cake was still slightly underbaked which would explain the sunken center.

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Posted: 09 July 2009 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Jess, I swear my book does not have the 2 inch pan instruction, honest.  smile  Mine has a 1988 copyright date.  If you need 3 layers, why not try and make the full recipe in three 8 inch round pans.  2/3 recipe is what I use in two 8 inch pans for a smaller layer cake.  It will be a really tall cake if you use the 8 inch pans for 3 layers. Or try 2/3 recipe in three 9 inch pans, but I would check sooner on the baking time, since there is a lot less batter in each pan. As I said, this cake does get a nice brown crust on top, that will be your clue that it’s getting to be done.  I’ve never made it as cupcakes, how many minutes did you bake those?

Shimi, thank you for the heads up on the instructions for different size layers on page 485, I have never made a wedding cake, but this is good information.

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Posted: 09 July 2009 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Mrs. M:
The info about the 2 inch pans is not in all editions of the book.  I have a new one and an old one…and there is the discrepency between the two with respect to this point.

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