I have written to Rose about a problem I am having and she has been very helpful. I thought I would post the issue here.
I’m an amateur baker with a few years of experience. After a lot of effort, I’ve actually come to like the creaming method for baking butter cakes and regularly make basic butter cakes using that method. But I want to give the two step method a try. I am having a heck of a time with the chocolate cake on page 54 of the Cake Bible, the Perfect All American Chocolate Butter Cake..
I am using Dutch processed cocoa (although for one attempt I did try a cocoa which I think might have been “natural”) The same problems occur regardless which type of cocoa I use, to wit: the layers cook very fast, always under the 25 minute minimum; The height is only an inch and in each of over six attempts, the layers shrink in diameter about 3/4 of an inch all around and collapsed after cooling. I used cake strips for the last couple of attempts and the results were exactly the same. The cake rises evenly to the top of the pan and looks great. Then five minutes out of the oven it shrinks considerably.
The oven temperature is correct. I use a thermometer and have tested it.
I have tested the baking powder and it’s active. Although the 15 grams of baking powder amounts to more than the tablespoon which is supposedly its equivalent and called for in the recipe.
The butter and eggs are at room temperature, around 68 degrees
I use cake flour and baker’s sugar.
I am timing the mixing exactly and mixing at the speed according to the recipe on page 54
The one way I am not following the recipe is by using pans that are 9 by 2 inches, not 9 by 1.5. I asked Rose about this and she advised I increase the recipe by a third. I did and the problems persisted for two more attempts.
My guess is that I may be undermixing the batter or using too much or too little baking powder. But as far as I can tell I am following the directions exactly. I have also tested my scale (its digital) and its correct.
Can anyone diagnose the problem? I thought the two step method was supposed to be virtually fool proof and easier than creaming butter and sugar, but I’ve had no luck so far!