Delicious but flat
Posted: 03 April 2010 05:12 PM   [ Ignore ]
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ALL of my cakes come out level (magic strips) and flavorful (Cakebible), but too flat!  I can never achieve enough height.  I live in Hawaii.  It is always hot and humid.  I suspect this impacts the structure.  The batter never fills the pan to the height indicated in the recipe.  Any advice on baking under these conditions?

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Posted: 03 April 2010 09:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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FB, not sure what the problem is, but Hector http://myyellowkitchen.wordpress.com/ bakes Cake Bible recipes in Hawaii, he would be the perfect person to ask.  Pehaps he’ll comment next time he’s here.

Are you weighing ingredients?
Are you beating the batter according to directions, with a powerful stand mixer?  (handheld mixers require longer beating times).

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Posted: 04 April 2010 12:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Julie, Thanks for the lead.  Yes, I weigh all ingredients.  I am beating according to directions, but do use a handheld mixer (the instructions generally say to use a “high” setting instead of medium).  Is there a powerful stand mixer that is affordable for the occasional baker?

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Posted: 04 April 2010 12:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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What cake are you trying to make—a sponge or butter cake?

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Posted: 04 April 2010 12:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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My two most recent flops were the Golden Genoise and the Perfect All-American Chocolate Butter cake.  It was my first attempt at the genoise.  The egg yolks never attained the increased volume they should have when mixing.  Similarly, the chocolate butter cake never attained the volume either - based on the final level of the batter in the pans. 

My trouble more generally is that over the past 9 years, the cakes I bake never attain the appropriate height (although it has been acceptable in the past, certainly better than the last two attempts).  I am reading details in the Cake Bible.  I will pay closer attention to temperature of the butter and the eggs.  Almost certainly they were too cold when I attempted the recent Chocolate Butter cake. 

But I suspect a more fundamental problem with the structure that needs to be solved.

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Posted: 04 April 2010 03:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Aloha neighbor, the choc butter cake does not rely on beating or mixing aeration to achieve volume, perhaps baking powder is too old.  The golden genoise and genoise in general requires beating till the indicated volume is achieved, about triple in volume; it can take up to 15 minutes with a hand mixer; also the flour is folded in such way to minimize deflation, see rose’s demos on YouTube.

I recommend the KitchenAid artisan mixer, you can bring one in from amazon.com at a very good refurbished price, also check our local Williams sonoma for cloaeouts after Xmas or spring, they are always discountinuing noveau or seasonal colors.

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Posted: 04 April 2010 05:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Aloha, Hector.  Mahalo for your reply.  Are there any particular issues related to the temperature or humidity of Hawaii that I need to consider?  I live in Hawaii Kai - so it’s generally pretty hot.

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Posted: 04 April 2010 12:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Not that I know of, there are places on the mainland much more humid, indeed I don’t think Hawaii is humid at all.  It ain’t dry but it ain’t monsoon.  The same goes to temperature. 

The only time I need to crank the air conditioning is when I am making chocolate shapes. 
and not even all that just for the setting and transfer part.

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Posted: 04 April 2010 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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FLYBOY:
  Good morning to you & welcome to our baking forum. I have read with much interest your baking concerns. Before I get into baking proceedures I will just refer you to Shirley Corriher’s Baking book “BAKEWISE” see page 219.

  I might add that as you know when the mixing is completed immediately pan & bake the cake. A delay will cause loss of volume.

  I suggest that you double check your oven’s temperature accuracy.

  Happy Easter & enjoy the day.

  ~FRESHKID.

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Posted: 04 April 2010 08:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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~Freshkid:  Thanks for the suggested reading.  I will start from zero and check everything.

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