Mile High Butter Cake Layers
Posted: 21 May 2008 07:03 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I have baked the butter cakes from TCB before, but not for a while.  The last few times I did the White Velvet.  This time I am using the yellow cake recipe.

Twice now, following the directions using the Base Recipe for large yellow cakes, I have made enough batter for three 6x2 inch layers (I actually wrote a spreadsheet to calculate the ingredient quantities for x number of layers, and the baking powder levels).  The first time, I dutifully weighed the batter for each pan, and put them in the oven to bake.  I had two 6x2 and one 6x3.  The two 6x2’s rose so high that one actually spilled over the top and the edge broke off.  The top browned a lot before it was ready, so I lowered the temp to 325 and continued to monitor the situation.  The 12.5 ounces of batter filled the 6x3 pan perfectly.  All the cakes tasted and looked great.

The second time, I followed the instructions and this time stuck to the 1/2 full (I don’t remember how full the first set of pans was) rule.  It weighed in at about 10 ounces per pan.  I filled the 3” pan with enough batter to go 1/2 full.

They still rose above the pans, but didn’t collapse over the rim.  I still had to reduce the oven temp to slow browning.  The tops of the cakes level out, but have a kind of puckered flower look to them.  The sides are rising and cooking much faster than the middle.  The finished layers are 1 1/2” for the two inch pans, and 2 1/2 for the three inch.

I am using Baker’s Joy to prepare the pans.  These are the lightweight Wilton pans.  I only have heavyweight pans in 8x2. 

I just checked the oven temp and it’s about 10 degrees too hot.  Would that account for everything?  I really haven’t had dramatic problems with anything else.

Thoughts?

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Posted: 21 May 2008 07:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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JennyBee.  There are so many variables you are listing.  Here my thoughts:

1- 10 degrees hotter doesn’t make a huge difference.
2- Are you using cake strips?  I find them almost mandatory for butter cakes that use baking powder.
3- It is good to weight your batter when filling the pan to equally distribute your layers, but in addition, also follow the 1/2 full mark.
4- Are you baking all these 3 pans at the same time, are these equally spaced in your oven and in balance since 1 pan is 1 inch taller?

Good luck, Rose’s butter cakes taste good, even when mile high!

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Posted: 21 May 2008 08:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks Hector.

I don’t have the cake strips, have known about them for years but never had a problem with cakes being level.

Half-way mark seems to keep it in the pan, but they seem kind of hour-glass shaped after cooling.  Just a little narrower toward the center.  They are also very delicate.  I tried to unmold one after 15 minutes and the edges crumbled.  The others unmolded fine after a lengthy cooling in the pan.

I am baking them all on the same rack with at least two inches on all sides of all pans.  I put the 3” pan towards the back, in the middle.  they seem to cook evenly, with the larger layer obviously taking a bit longer.

I know they’ll taste fine.  I am going to do a bit of trimming anyway.  These will become a bucket of sand sand castle shape.

On to the 10” layers.

JennyB

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Posted: 22 May 2008 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Talking about sinking in the center when cooling and falling apart when unmolded makes me wonder if the cakes don’t have enough structure.  Did you double-check the amount of baking powder, you could be using too much.  Did you check beating times, if you have a less powerful mixer they may need to be increased. 

Also, reducing your oven the 10 degrees needed may allow you to bake the cakes the full amount specified in the recipie without over-browning.  For the 3” deep pan you might need to use a heat core or invert a flower nail to conduct heat to the center of the batter.

Good luck,
Julie

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Posted: 22 May 2008 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I find cake strips almost necessary too for butter cakes, otherwise my sides get too done by the time the middle is finished and I have to cut them away.  You can make them at home with foil and wet paper towels.  Just clip them on with a couple of paper clips and you are good to go.

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Posted: 22 May 2008 04:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Well,  maybe there should be a bone-headed mistakes Forum.

As I was passing by the counter on the way to put the two kids to bed, I said “Ok, 10” cakes next” and glanced at the recipe as I moved it to the top of the stack.  It was then that it dawned on me that I had inadvertantly put the amount of butter for the 10” recipe into the 6” recipe (just the second try).  So instead of 6 oz of butter, I used 10 oz.  I figure that that puts the butter content up into the pound cake proportion, without the benefit of the extra flour, and so the cakes were dense and pasty.  I tasted them, and then threw them away.

So last night I baked a third batch of 6” cakes, reducing the oven to 345, and filling just about 1/2 way.  They still rose about 3/4” above the pans, but settled out nicely, with the exception of a crusty kind of lip that had to be trimmed off.  When cool I trimmed the tops and bottoms and sprinkled with syrup and wrapped them up.

The 10” layers did the same thing. (With the correct amount of butter), I filled them just shy of 1/2 way, with the recommended 2 lbs batter.  They rose about 3/4 inch above the pan and settled down as they cooled, leaving the same lip to trim.

They all appear to be lovely and light with good texture.  I did reduce the heat to 325 after about 20-25 minutes to reduce browning. 

So the good news is that I finally have my cakes done.

Also, I now have 12 new egg whites for my Mousseline Buttercream (see “Overheated my egg whites for buttercream” post under Kitchen Chatter)  And no leftover yolks.  Funny how things work out.

Onward Buttercream . . .

Many Thanks,

JennyBee

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Posted: 29 May 2008 11:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Just an update.  I adjusted my oven and that 10 degrees was significant.  The cakes still rise about 3/4 inch above the pans, but they cook much more evenly, with less of a difference between the edges and the middle in rise time.  The danger of overbrowning is no longer an issue.  My guess is that if I obtained some cake strips, everything would be perfect.

JennyBee

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Posted: 15 November 2008 07:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I am a total novice to baking, but what immediately got my attention when I saw your post was the “mile high” reference I live in the Denver metro area and have just baked my first TCB butter cakes. According to the TCB in the section on baking at altitude, I reduced the leavening (baking powder in the Downy Yellow recipe by 1/4 teaspoon and both the baking soda and baking powder in the Favorite Yellow cake by 1/8 teaspoon each.  I did not have any problems with cakes rising over the top of the pan.

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