help for dry cakes?
Posted: 15 January 2011 01:58 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi all,
I have made three of the recipes in the cake bible, each of them twice: All occasion downy butter cake, Buttermilk country cake, and White Butter wedding cake. Each time, they come out looking perfect and having a delicious flavor, but ALWAYS on the dry side, even when I add a generous amount of syrup to the layers. Any suggestions? I am not making any substitutions to the recipes. Incidentally, this happens to me every time I make a scratch white or yellow cake from other sources too, and I am getting frustrated! I have a great moist chocolate cake recipe that uses sour cream, so I am thinking that finding a way to add sour cream may be an option? Are there other recipes in the Cake Bible that tend to come out moister?

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Posted: 15 January 2011 02:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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How are you measuring ingredients, particularly flour?  If you aren’t weighing flour, milk, butter, sugar and eggs, your balance of ingredients may be off.

Are you overbaking?  The cakes should only shrink from the sides of the pan after you remove them from the oven.

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Posted: 27 January 2011 11:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I am having the very same problem, ChristaBaker….very frustrating. I know it can be done because the bakerys around here do it! I have never weighed my ingredients, though. If a recipe calls for a cup of flour, do I weight out 16 ounces?

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Posted: 28 January 2011 04:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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You know, as much as I love all of Rose’s recipes, I admit that the cakes, when eaten alone, seem a tad bit dry to me, too, especially after one or two days.  I’ve been thinking about using syrup next time just to up the moisture quotient.  Sometimes I think it’s because I grew up on “cake mix” cakes, which don’t taste as good but are formulated to be super moist, but your taste is what it is.  My husband isn’t crazy about the cakes because he’s used to a denser, heavier cake (see also: grew up on cake mixes!) and thinks that Rose’s cakes are too crumbly and “fall apart” (i.e, tender!).  Although I’m very particular about measuring ingredients, I have been thinking about experimenting with adding a bit more of the liquid or sour cream than called for to see if the cakes will be a little bit moister…

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Posted: 28 January 2011 04:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Also to deboutwell…a cup of flour would be approximately 5 ounces!

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Posted: 28 January 2011 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Loopy, I just made a chiffon layer (RHC orange glow layer cake) and wonder if that sort of cake might suit you?  It is springy rather than fall-apart tender, can be syruped, and for chocolate there’s the deep chocolate passion version.  With the oil and the syrup these cakes are very moist.  For times when you want butter flavor you could go with genoise.

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Posted: 28 January 2011 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Here’s my weirdsmobile two cents (with respect to butter cakes only, as I haven’t ventured further than that—yet!)
If I have a cake that will be needed to last more than a day, I cut each piece and wrap it in plastic wrap, so no air gets at it (rather than storing in a cake carrier or in another plastic container).
Call me odd man out, but I almost consider eating the cakes the day they’re made a waste of a piece, as I find them better after several days—and even better after being frozen for a while.

If I didn’t like the texture of the cakes (i.e., too tender), I’d consider using the same ingredients, except using unbleached AP flour.  I’d use the “old” mixing method (although I’m not totally sure this is necessary) and either [A] reduce the baking powder by, maybe, 1/8 tsp. per layer or let it sit on the counter for about 40 minutes before baking.  I made my coconut seduction cake this way (except didn’t to the leavening part), and it is very moist with a texture completely different from the usual Rose texture.  I can’t explain it, except to say if he doesn’t like the usual Rose texture, I think he’d love this—I guess you could say it’s “cakier” rather than “tender,” but it’s definitely “fluffy” and a little dense at the same time!  It’s really a wonderful texture, and the texture has the illusion of more moistness (I say illusion because I didn’t modify ingredients).

I used the old mixing method because I thought maybe that’s why unbleached AP flour didn’t work with Rose’s, because the mixing method was different.  I suggested the leavening/sitting adjustments because I got a bit of a dip in the middle.

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Posted: 28 January 2011 02:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Anne in NC - 28 January 2011 04:30 PM

I’d consider using the same ingredients, except using unbleached AP flour.

Did the coconut cake with unbleached flour develop a dip in the middle?  Bleached AP will give more texture than cake flour and have fewer issues with butter/cake shape.

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Posted: 29 January 2011 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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develop a dip in the middle

I’d call it more than a dip—I’d call it a birdbath.  Here’s my post:  http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/index_ee.php/forums/viewthread/3054/
That’s why I suggested the leavening adjustment or the “sit on the counter before baking” time.
But the texture is extraordinary!!!  I had some yesterday (have a bunch in the freezer), and it was heavenly!

Julie, do you think the bleached AP flour give a similar texture to unbleached AP flour?  I’m wondering if I made my Golden Lux Butter Cake with bleached AP, and I kNOW I’ll never remember.  So far, that and the chestnut cake have my favorite texture—and the pistachio, but I love all the cake textures, really.

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Posted: 30 January 2011 10:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Anne, unbleached generally has a higher protein content and so makes a chewier cake.  But it also doesn’t blend well with the butter in butter cakes, so there can be a problems with that.  Bleached flour will be more tender than unbleached, as it generally has a lower protein content, and will have fewer problems combining with the softened butter in cakes.

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Posted: 30 January 2011 11:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Thanks, Julie! 

Do you happen to know if the bleached flour texture is more like the unbleached texture or more like the cake flour texture?  Likely, somewhere in between!

Also, do you know what it is about Rose’s recipes that doesn’t work with unbleached, whereas it does (I think) with most recipes?  Although, in truth, I hadn’t made a lot of cakes before, but when I did, I always used unbleached AP for the ones I did make and don’t recall any oddity.  I love Rose’s cakes and textures, but I love many textures, so it’s more a matter of curiosity.  In other words, do you know what the modification would be to use unbleached if one chose to?

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Posted: 31 January 2011 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Anne, there’s a thorough discussion of this from Rose and Woody here: 
http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2010/03/the_power_of_flour_part_one_of.html
http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2010/04/the_power_of_flour_part_two_of.html
http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2010/03/addition_to_power_of_flour_pos.html

Also, check Kate Coldrick’s blog for Kate flour.

I believe the issue is that the roughened, more porous particles of bleached flour do a better job of absorbing/combining with softened butter.  If a recipe uses melted butter, or oil, or shortening, or perhaps is designed with extra emulsifiers (eggs), then it might work with unbleached flour.

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Posted: 31 January 2011 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Thanks, Julie!  I look forward to reading these!

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