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Taking a cake’s internal temp to make sure its done
Posted: 18 January 2010 03:27 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Does anyone do this? I recall from memory that a cake with a temp of 205F is done, but I’m not sure if I am remembering this correctly. If you normally measure the cake’s doneness this way, then can you please list the temp range of doneness. I would like to start measuring the internal temps of my cake to ensure they are not overbaked. Since there is residual cooking after you take a cake out of the oven, knowing the range of doneness can help prevent overcooking. TIA.

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Posted: 18 January 2010 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Alton Brown was quoted in a foodtv.com post as recommending a 205 - 210 range in the centre for his carrot cake. I found that extremely useful for carrot cakes in general, especially the ones that are more “fruit cakey” because they can appear done when they’re not. But personally, I would much rather use sight, touch, smell and so forth to guage when my cakes are done.

For one thing, you lose such a lot of heat every time you open an oven - as much as 25 degrees! And it takes much longer to take the temperature in the centre than to hold the door open only enough to reach your hand in and give the cake a quick bit of pressure with your finger to see if it bounces back. Meanwhile scan the edges to see if they’re shrinking away from the sides.

What you’re doing is developing your relationship with cake - getting up close and personal. Technical aids are good in their place, but what will you do if the batteries are dead one day? Your senses won’t be highly trained, as they would if you relied mostly on the equipment you were given at birth. Just my opinion, for what’s its worth.  wink

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Posted: 18 January 2010 08:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I find I take internal temperatures more and more, but in conjunction with the other classic signs of a cake being done (sponge cake shrinking from the sides, etc.).  Most cakes seem to work at 205 F, but some, like chiffon cupcakes, or brioche, are an exception and need lower temps.  It is particularly useful if you are baking in a strange oven or in a different size pan than the recipe calls for.  And a few cakes, like Rose’s Gateau Breton, can be overbaked and dry at the correct internal temp if the oven was too slow and the cooking time prolonged.

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Posted: 19 January 2010 12:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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for me, taking the internal temperature has proven the best method.  i can’t trust the toothpick or cake tester method.

i have been taking between 190 to 200oF for all my cakes.  205 to 210oF are a bit too dark crust and a hint drier.  i am using a thermapen.

i do notice, and extra 5 minutes in the oven can bring a 190oF cake as high as 210oF, so be extra careful that within this range, temps go up fast.  sometimes as short as 2 minutes.

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Posted: 19 January 2010 01:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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hectorwong - 19 January 2010 04:47 AM

for me, taking the internal temperature has proven the best method.  i can’t trust the toothpick or cake tester method.

i have been taking between 190 to 200oF for all my cakes.  205 to 210oF are a bit too dark crust and a hint drier.  i am using a thermapen.

i do notice, and extra 5 minutes in the oven can bring a 190oF cake as high as 210oF, so be extra careful that within this range, temps go up fast.  sometimes as short as 2 minutes.

Wow… you learn something new every day.  Would this also apply to oil cakes?  I do need something better than toothpick method for my oil cakes for sure.  I will have to give this a try….but I definitely agree that 2 to 3 minutes can make a huge difference.  I have given a not yet done cake 5 minutes and then found it was a couple of minutes too many.

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Posted: 19 January 2010 01:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Same for oil cakes.

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Posted: 19 January 2010 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Hector, this is so interesting to me…I’m relieved to know that others experience a fast finishing to their cakes as well.  I’ve checked cakes and found they’ve had jiggly centres and within two minutes they’re done and pulled away from the sides of the pan.  I thought perhaps I’ve got a strange oven smile

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Posted: 19 January 2010 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Hector and Julie,

Thanks for the expertise. This is exactly the info I needed.

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Posted: 19 January 2010 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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You’re most welcome!  Like Hector, I also find that temperatures go up very quickly during the last few minutes of baking.  A cake can be 20 degrees shy of its mark and then overbake in ten minutes.  It’s even more exaggerated if you are baking small cakes (cupcakes, etc.).

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Posted: 20 January 2010 01:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I happened upon this comment from Rose on the subject in the Cake Questions Three thread. The particular question she was answering from Bill concerned pound cake in a bundt pan.

”...use an instant thermom and be sure it registers 190 to 210˚F. slightly underdone chocolate can be yummy but i don’t really care for slightly underdone yellow or white cake.”

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Posted: 20 January 2010 08:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Thanks, Carol, I had forgotten that comment from Rose, it’s great to get a reminder!

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Posted: 20 January 2010 03:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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FYI - just as a reminder, cheesecake should read about 150F when it’s ready to be removed from the oven.

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Posted: 20 January 2010 04:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Thanks everyone. These notes are going straight into my recipe files

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Posted: 25 January 2010 11:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Well I was most fascinated with the idea of taking the temp to determine a cake’s doneness - and decided to give it a try today… Here is what happened: My 1 bowl oil-based chocolate cake baking in a glass bowl (for a “Snowball” cake) reached 200 degrees and didn’t test done (thermometer came out gooey), so I left it in til it was about 210. It looked pretty done, but when I tipped it out onto the rack the bottom still seemed a bit too moist/soft. It sank down a bit and I was kind of nervous about it being done (we’ll see when we cut it) - but determined to persevere - so I made the Buttermilk White Cake dome for the upper half of the snowball next. It too was nowhere near done (still jiggly!) at 200 degrees F. I left it in til the thermometer read 240 - when it finally looked pretty well done. Between looking, using my trusty skewer to test etc. the middle had sunken in by this time anyways… Upon tipping it out on the rack it looked ok though - other than the sunken middle part underneath now, and the damage done having to extricate my probe out of it! I have a Taylor Connousseur Series Digital Remote Probe thermometer, which I thought was pretty good. I’m now having my doubts… Could the altitude here be a factor in this confusing equation? I live at 3440 FT in Calgary AB - does anyone have any advice for me? I think I will revert to my skewer again in the meantime - now I must get busy and make another chocolate cake…

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Posted: 25 January 2010 11:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Oh yes - I do have an oven thermometer and it read accurate temperature.

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Posted: 26 January 2010 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I’m no expert on altitude, but according to this site:  http://www.homebaking.org/foreducators/askexperts/highaltitudebaking.html at 3,,000 feet you should reduce baking powder by 1/8 tsp, reduce sugar by 0-1 T per cup, and increase liquid by 1-2T per cup.  It also recommends that you try increasing temp by 25F.

I did wonder about your bowls- If you are baking cakes in a bowl that is deeper than 2”, it could cause a lot of problems.  Most recipes are not designed with enough structure to support an extra-deep layer like that.  You might try a baby bundt to make the two halves of the sphere, a center tube can help a lot.  Or at least use a heat core with the bowls.

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