Why is my White Chocolate Whisper Cake dry?
Posted: 04 June 2011 11:41 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I made a practice version of the white chocolate whisper cake, which I’ll likely be using for my sister’s wedding cake. I loved the technique, how light and tall is baked up, but I was disappointed by 2 things: 1) I could taste the baking powder, and 2) it was dry.

Other people didn’t seem to taste the baking powder as I did, but it still made me nervous to use as a wedding cake. I used Clabber Girl double acting baking powder, normal grocery store stuff.

Per the instructions of the recipe, since I have only 2” cake pans, I increased the recipe by 1/3 (by weight in grams), and found that even at 35 minutes, the cake was a bit liquidy, so I left them in for 2 more minutes.

Otherwise, I really followed the recipe closely, so I’m confused and bummed…the texture was so nice I’d love to be able to fix my mistake and use this great cake!

Any ideas/suggestions?

Thank you so much!

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Posted: 05 June 2011 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi, Bethany!

Welcome!

Did others find it dry, also?  Sometimes, people accustomed to mixes will find these cakes dry.  Could that be the case?  I’ve made this and don’t personally find it dry.  If you did everything correctly (weight, etc.), and it appears you did, you can always syrup it to make it more moist.

Perhaps someone else will identify something I might have missed.

Looking forward so seeing your completed wedding cake!!

—ak

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Posted: 05 June 2011 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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One person out of 6 admitted :o) to finding the cake dry (I asked for feedback) in addition to myself. I think from reading a bit more of TCB that I can use a different brand of baking powder and also increase it by less than a direct ratio…although not too sure about that last part. I’ll definitely post a picture, we’re really having fun with this!

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Posted: 05 June 2011 03:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Rumford baking powder doesn’t have the metallic taste that some other powders do, and is pretty widely available.

Not sure about the dryness, did you weigh egg whites and flour?  Too much egg white or flour can make a cake dry. 

Doesn’t sound like you overbaked, but it might help- especially when you start making wedding sizes- to get an instant read thermometer.  When you judge the cake is done and take it out of the oven, the center should read at least 190F.  If there are any issues with dryness, etc., and you know what temp you baked it to, you’ll be able to rule out (or pinpoint) overbaking as a possible problem.

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Posted: 05 June 2011 06:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I did weigh the egg whites and flour. I will look into an instant read thermometer…I’m sure it will have more than one use going forward but the confidence that cakes won’t be dry may be well worth the price!

As I removed egg white from the measure to get the proper weight, I noticed that only the most liquid part was being removed…the part that tends to stick together of course, stuck together. Does that have an effect on the eventual texture?

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Posted: 06 June 2011 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I have the CDN quick tip and use it constantly.  It’s one of the things I bought for pastry use but it has also become a vital part of savory cooking as well- meat is now perfectly done, even in someone else’s kitchen or on the grill, where conditions are different than my usual set-up.

Not sure what else to say about dryness, I remove excess whites the same way you do, path of least resistance and all, and haven’t noticed any effect. 

A couple of other thoughts:

-This cake contains cocoa butter, which is firmer at room temp than butter, so the relative firmness may contribute to a perception of dryness (sort of the opposite of when oil in a cake helps it seem more moist). 

-Consider syruping the cakes, especially when you make wedding cakes.  In general, butter cakes are best the day they are made and get drier after that, and most wedding cakes are made ahead, and so risk getting dry even when perfectly executed.  There are directions for syruping in the wedding cake section of the Cake Bible.

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Posted: 13 June 2011 01:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thanks to everyone who posted responses to my questions! I made the cake again using Rumsford baking powder and it was delicious and moist. I’m now sure the dryness problem I had with was the first cake was because it was eaten on day 2.

So, the plan is now to syrup the cakes with a vanilla flavored syrup to ensure that they’ll be nice and moist for the wedding. Great advice!

I have a few more questions:

For the mousseline buttercream, is there a liquor that would enhance the flavor of white chocolate? Otherwise, I’m simply adding the 6 oz white chocolate.

Also, if I were to use the convection feature on the oven, other that adjusting the temp down 25 degrees, should I also check the cakes early for doneness?

Finally, it has been suggested to me that to prevent the frosting from sticking to a layer or plate above it, I should sprinkle finely ground unsweetened coconut on the buttercream’s surface where it may touch. I am open to using this suggestion, but I wonder if there is a more fitting alternative. The mousseline seems as though it would stick to the coconut because of its texture, and I’m not sure that’s most desirable in this case. Any ideas?

Thanks again for your wonderful help and support!

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Posted: 13 June 2011 04:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Bethany - 13 June 2011 04:15 AM

For the mousseline buttercream, is there a liquor that would enhance the flavor of white chocolate? Otherwise, I’m simply adding the 6 oz white chocolate.

That’s fine, you can leave out the liquor when adding white chocolate.  Grand Marnier or Frangelico are nice with white chocolate, but neither is required.

Also, if I were to use the convection feature on the oven, other that adjusting the temp down 25 degrees, should I also check the cakes early for doneness?

Standard advice is to reduce the temp 25F but not the time.  Have you baked cakes with the convection feature before?  Convection ovens vary in their effect.  I don’t use convection on cakes to avoid drying them out.

Finally, it has been suggested to me that to prevent the frosting from sticking to a layer or plate above it, I should sprinkle finely ground unsweetened coconut on the buttercream’s surface where it may touch.

When you stack wedding cakes, you’re not supposed to rest the cake directly on the cake below it, but rather on a support system of cardboard rounds and straws.  If you cut the straws 1/8” or so longer than the cake, the tiers will still appear to be directly next to each other but won’t actually touch.

If you do decide to use the coconut, it will definitely stick to the frosting and become part of the cake slices that you cut and serve from that area.

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