Hi, I made this cake last night for the first time. My husband and I were blown away by the taste. Absolutely delicious! However, I had problems with the texture.
The cake crumbled easily and it was difficult to keep a slice intact. It did have a fine texture, but very fragile.
I used the magic strips to bake the cakes. I have an oven thermometer, so it I know the temp was fine. However, most of my cakes, no matter the recipe, seem to brown on the tops quite a bit. This one was very brown, yet the center jiggled when I touched the pan. I kept it going despite the increasing browning on the top. I had to check constantly to make sure it did not overbake.
Once done, the top was very dark brown, yet the rest of the cake was a pale yellow.
I would appreciate any help! I’m desparate to know what is causing this!
It took quite a while, more than the recipe stated. I’de say I added about 20 minutes more, checking in between (due to the jiggling in the middle). Like I mentioned, this has been happening, no matter the recipe. My cakes take much longer to bake, brown quickly on the top, despite my oven thermometer indicating the correct temp.
I’m wondering if I should just lower the temp. to 325 degrees F?
I have this same problem with cakes crumbling and having a way too fragile texture anytime I use CAKE flour. I now use BLEACHED AP flour, and problem solved. Yes, this cake gets very brown on the top, but I don’t mind that as I love the taste of this cake, it’s the only recipe I use for yellow layer cake. I need the full 35 minutes for the cake to be done.
MrsM: So you use AP flour despite the recipe calling for cake flour? I’ve been searching for a nice yellow cake for months. I loved another one by Sylvia Weinstock with sour cream, but it was far too moist and sank in the middle (and I’ve made it about 5 times!). So the next one I’m trying is Rose’s sour cream. I can’t wait to try all of her yellow cake recipes.
My husband and I were very suprised at how good this cake is. Since it didn’t call for sour cream or buttermilk, I assumed it was a standard yellow. One taste…wow! Very intense butter and vanilla flavor. I love it and I want to make it my reliable…I just need to figure out what I did wrong.
I use Pillsbury bleached AP flour, not the unbleached. Bleached has a little less protein than unbleached, but more than cake flour, so that will contribute to the firmer texture. I like this cake because you need only have the basic baking ingredients, no fancy stuff like the sour cream. So you can make it on the spur of the moment when there is a cake craving.
I find that magic cake strips add a little time onto the length of time necessary to bake a cake…they also cause the cake to rise higher, therefore making the cake a little more fragile. As far as the top browning too much ... are you baking the cake in the middle of the oven…sounds like the cake is too close to the ceiling of the oven, this would cause the browning.
The first time I made that cake, I put the cake in the middle of the oven, as instructed. However, it took long to bake and I had similar problems that you had. Now, I bake the cake on the bottom rack and the cake bakes in pretty much the correct time, maybe adding a few minutes, but nothing substantial. And the texture of the cake is good. I agree that the taste of this cake is very good!
My suggestion would be to try baking the cake on the bottom rack and see if that helps.
Are you using the correct size pans? I think the recipe calls for 1 1/2” pans, if your pans are higher than that, the extra height can generate more heat and cause the top to brown. Also does your oven have an element on top that is maybe exposed. This could be another reason it browns too much on the top. Just a few thoughts….....
I have the same experience in my home oven - whatever I put on the left side browns/bakes faster if I forget to circulate the pans around. Do you notice that everything you bake takes longer in this oven, or is just this particular cake recipe? Do you have a convection oven or a conventional electric or gas oven?
Hi everyone, i may have mentioned this before but don’t think it hurts to mention it again. I have had the same problem with crumbly cake. i do use cake flour, but noticed my main problemwith the fragile cake was when making larger sizes. I figured out, though, that I wasn’t mixing it for long enough time. the smaller ones required less mixing, and ofcourse, a larger one seems to require just a few seconds more. I know Rose mentions something about undermixing as a crumb problem.
I have done the recipes in large size, 14 inches, and have not since had issues with it. My guess is that it creates the extra needed gluten strands for a firmer crumb, which makes sense to me that the AP flour some of you use is working well since it has more of the proteins that create gluten, please correct me if I’m wrong Rose.
Hi, thanks for all your tips. It took me a while to get back to the forums.
I have a conventional oven and yes, I find that I have difficulties no matter the recipe. I used to bake in 3” high pans and blamed my problems on that. I switched to the 2” pans and the problems continue. I use heating cores and the baking strips. I’ve tried baking at 325 F, a tip suggested on another site, but still have the same results.
I baked the All-Occasion exactly as the recipe states, with the exception of using 2” high pans.
I’m starting to believe it is my oven! I may be baking tomorrow…I’m hoping to try the Golden Butter Cream. I may attempt baking on the lower rack- I have nothing to lose.
Once again, thanks for your replies. They have been very helpful. I’ll post my results as soon as I can.
Okay, I tried the Golden Butter Cream recipe last night. However, I did chicken-out about going one rack down. Maybe I’ll get some courage soon to try that. I did weigh everything with a scale. I do like this type of measuring and will definitely stick with it.
The cake seemed to be doing very well, but was definitely jiggling at about 35 min. So I added about 5 more minutes. I did shrink quite a bit as the recipe states. Unfortunately, when I unmolded the cake (after cooling of course) it completely fell apart! It was very moist though. It did not crumble like the All-Occasion, but it was impossible to slice once again.
The taste was amazing, very rich and buttery! My daughter kept eating the broken scraps. I would use this recipe again if I can get it right- with strawberries and cream. I think it’s too rich to use as a celebration cake, but it’s delicious on its own.
I’m about to give up on baking! I just dont understand- my oven thermometer indicates the correct temperature, but obviously something is wrong in there.
I just came back from the store, going to try bleached all-purpose and clean my oven- although it’s not dirty! But I want to try anything.
Definitely try Rose Villanueva’s advice - mix a bit longer. The crumb of the Cake Bible cakes is definitely delicate and melting, and I am used to heftier cakes. I came upon Nick Malgieri’s Perfect Cakes where he mixes some cakes using the 2-stage method, but quite a bit longer. Also, Baking Illustrated uses a variety of mixing times, most are longer than RLB’s. This encouraged me to play around with the mixing times of RLB’s cakes - I have yet to ruin one!
Also, try baking your cakes a couple days in advance. Cool completely. Place in a ziplock, suck out air, double wrap, then freeze. On the day you are to use the cake, thaw the cake in its wrap. The crumb will have tightened enough that slicing will not be a problem - and the mouthfeel will not be compromised. (Note - when I freeze cakes, I follow the mixing times as written).
Last - try the White Chocolate Whisper Cake. I find it sturdier than the All-Occasion cake… and a fuller flavour as well.