First attempt with the All occasion Yellow cake…sunken center
Posted: 10 February 2010 03:25 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I think this might be my first post here!  Anyway I just made the All occasion yellow cake.  I split the batter and baked it in two smaller pans (4 and 5 inchx2 inch height).  It was rising well in the oven, then a little too well.  Obviously I put a tad too much batter in the pans.  But during the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking the centers sunk. Not terribly so, but something must be off.  Since I didn’t open the oven or test the cakes at this point I am thinking it is a structural issue.  I am wondering if the problem is A) too much batter in the pan?  B) Not suited for 2 inch height pans?  C)Too much levening?  There is about 1 tsp more than in similar recipes.  I am not suggesting there is a problem with the recipe, but maybe if I backed off I could bake this in 2 inch tall pans?  I don’t know if that would make a difference.  I really need to bake in 2 inch!  D) too much air in the batter?  over mixed?  Any suggestions would be appreciated!

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Posted: 10 February 2010 06:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’m no expert at all, but have been baking this cake several times now, and is one of the faves in my family. I bake it in a 9 inch 2 inch tall pan. I’ve been having the sunken center in underbaked cakes, maybe there was too much batter in the pans and did not bake long enough.
But here there are some wonderful skilled people that sure will give you a more precise reply. Welcome to the forum! smile

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Posted: 10 February 2010 08:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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We can certainly help you make the transition with that recipe to 2” high pans. But before we go too much further, could you clarify? You made the FULL amount of the recipe in the Cake Bible, p 39, the one that’s intended for 2 x 9” x 1.5” high pans and put it instead in two separate 2” high pans, one of them 4” and one 5” in diameter? Is that correct?

Look forward to hearing back from you. Meanwhile, welcome to the forum.

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Posted: 11 February 2010 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thank you both for responding!

I made the full recipe and used (2) 4 inch and (2) 5 inch round pans that are 2 inches in depth.  I also had a bit leftover.  As I said before, I think I overfilled the pans a tad.  They rose nicely (and beyond the top of the pan) until about 10 minutes before they were done, they sank a bit while still in the oven.  I had not opened the oven or checked for doneness at this point.  It was not terribly sunken, but seemed a little wrong.

The cake was (is moist) but I found it crumbles a bit when cutting (like it is fragile) and it seems a bit coarse today.  I didnt seem coarse yesterday though.  With both of the yellow cakes I have tried, the “coarseness” (is that a word) seems to increase the 2nd day.

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Posted: 11 February 2010 08:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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SLC, there shouldn’t be a problem using this recipe in a 2” high pan unless you overfilled (which it sounds like you may have).  No further changes to leavening, etc., just don’t fill more than half full.  That may fix your problem, Rose’s cakes do not have the structure to be baked in layers deeper than 2”.  The other thing would be to check oven temp in case it’s running cool, but I suspect the issue was just overfilling.

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Posted: 11 February 2010 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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thanks for your reply.  Maybe I’ll give it another shot.

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Posted: 11 February 2010 11:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I agree with Julie about the overfilling, a problem you already suspected. You would have had almost enough batter to make two more layers, another 4” and another 5” in diameter, filling all pans to the halfway point as Rose recommends. That is, to a depth of 1” in your 2” high pans.

However, I believe that you’re also experiencing classic signs of too much baking powder as Rose describes in her Understanding Butter Cakes section in TCB: “Too little baking powder results in a tough cake with a humped top, compact crumb and poor volume. Too much baking powder results in a coarse, open, fragile crumb and often a fallen center.”

This may have come about through the switch to smaller 2” high pans or improper measurement or a combination of the two. In any case, there are some pretty simple fixes along with careful measuring.

But first, it would be helpful to know what size pans you generally would prefer to use at the 2” height. If you’d like to move directly from 9” to 9” but only change the height, you can leave the baking powder as is and multiply the ingredients in that recipe (p 39 TCB) x 1.33. But for smaller pans, you’ll need an adjustment for the bp. Let us know.

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Posted: 11 February 2010 11:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I agree about the possiblity of too much levening.  Maybe since it was in a small pan rather than the 9 inch as recommended.  I really like to bake in all different size pans as I have a cake decorating business.  The cake initially rose to taller than the pan (and the little one did “erupt” through the crust a bit) then it settled and sank…More concave than a really sunken center.  I did like the flavor of the cake, however, structurally something isnt right.  As I said, the crumb (today) is coarse and it doen not hold together well…crumbly when cut.  It is nice and moist. 

I once checked out the cake bible from the library and recall reading about the changes in the baking powder depending on the size of the pan (but don’t you generally reduce the powder as you increase the size?)  So I am not sure how this affects smaller pans.  I do have the new book “heavenly cakes” but I am not sure that I have seen the “formula” in that book. 

thanks again

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Posted: 11 February 2010 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Yes, you do normally use a little more bp in 6” to 8” cakes as opposed to the larger ones. To my knowledge, Rose has never published the results of bp tests with cakes smaller than 6”. The fact that there likely was too much in your cakes was possibly a result of splitting only part of the batter among 4 smaller pans. It’s hard to say under those circumstances what the actual ratio of bp to other ingredients was in the end.

Rose’s All-Occasion yellow cake is gorgeous when it’s made in a balanced formula. Well worth another try! You might wish to check TCB out of the library again and look over the Foolproof Formulas section at the back of the book.  She’s done all the calculations for you in 2” high pans from 6” up to 18” round plus sheet cakes. Including the bp adjustment. Such a gift!

The section covers her three base cakes:
1) a yellow (same formula as the all occasion downy yellow you used, only now designed for 2” high pans)
2) a white (same as her white velvet at front of the book) and
3) chocolate (same as All American chocolate in front of book)

p.s. You’re correct. The Rose Factor system is only in TCB.

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Posted: 11 February 2010 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I’ll do that, thanks again!

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Posted: 11 February 2010 02:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I make this cake quite often and down size to 2- 6X2 inch pans without making any adjustments to the leavening. The cake turns out perfect. It is slightly domed due to the fact that I never adjust the BP. I’ve never had a sunken cake with this recipe. You also mentioned the cake was crumbly and maybe too tender and the second day the cake crumb was coarse. This has never been my experience with this cake either. What comes to mind by your description is the flour. How did you measure the flour and what type of flour did you use? The reason I ask is that I once made a cake where I had to eyeball the amount (I had no scale or dry measuring cups and was not baking at home). It turned out that my cake had too little flour in it so the cake was extremely fragile/too tender and was crumbly. Not having the right amount of flour might also contribute to the structure problems you had.

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Posted: 11 February 2010 03:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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thanks smile

I used cake flour and I weighed it

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