Problems with Red Velvet Cake
Posted: 09 February 2012 01:58 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I have been baking Red Velvet Cake since 1969.  Recently, we got a new “state-of-the-art” oven.  The first thing I tried to cook was my Red Velvet Cake.  They cooked around the outer edge, but were gooey and sticky in the middle.  The whole cake rose in the process of cooking, but at a point, the center fell.  I was watching through the door; I did not open the oven.  We had service people check the oven and basically they told us that nothing was wrong with the oven; the problem is with the cook or the recipe according to them.  I can go to a friends house and bake this cake using the same recipe and it turns out fine, but it will not give me satisfactory results in this “state-of-the-art” oven.  The oven has convection and thermal but I get the same results no matter which selection I make.  Does anyone have any suggestions or options that I might try?  I’m desperate and willing to try most anything.

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Posted: 09 February 2012 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Sounds like a classic case of too hot of an oven.  Buy an independent thermometer to double check it, but you might try turning down the temperature 25 degrees or so.

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Posted: 09 February 2012 03:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I agree.  That’s what I thought too, but I have lowered the temperature 25 degrees and still get the same poor results.  I also thought perhaps it could be my pans so I’ve tried several different types of pans and still no better results.  The last service person here checked the temperature and it was correct.  I also have tested it with my own thermometer and it seems to be true.

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Posted: 09 February 2012 03:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Interesting problem.  Could you try setting the pan on top of a shiny sheet pan, or something?  Perhaps this new oven is more “radiant” than the old, so that the pan absorbs more energy than the temperature would suggest.  Also, it might be interesting to put the thermometer inside the empty pan while it was in the oven and see if the pan inside the oven upsets the heat distribution.

I know your patience will give out, but it would also be interesting to keep reducing the temperature by 25 degrees.  There MUST be a temperature at which the cake will cook through and through without burning the exterior.

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Posted: 09 February 2012 03:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Hmm, maybe this oven is convection by default or something?
Could you post the model and maker?

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McBrownie.

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Posted: 10 February 2012 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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CharlesT—Haven’t tried your suggestions yet, but I will eventually.  When I do, I will post the results.  On the cakes I’ve baked thus far, the exterior is not burned; it is more like what it’s suppose to be, but the inside is sticky and gummy.  I still have a little bit of patience left for this ordeal;  I haven’t totally given up yet.


McBrownie—My oven problem has been going on for a while.  We bought the first Electrolux, model EW27EW65GS7, in August of 2008.  We immediately had problems with it.  After numerous service calls and repairmen trying to “fix it” by randomly replacing parts to no avail, they replaced the oven.  All of the repairmen admitted they had not been trained on the oven and had no idea what to do to it.  We received the second oven in April of 2011 and started having the same problems as we had on the previous oven.  We thought the first oven was just a lemon and thought our problems would be over with a second one.  Now wish we had never heard of an Electrolux oven.  We are now in the process of shopping for a new cooktop but you can bet we aren’t looking at Electrolux—We wouldn’t have one if they gave it to us!  (NOTE:  I don’t know anything about how the oven is wired or the software that operates it, but I physically have to select “convection” or “bake” when I turn the oven on.  I have tried both “convection” and “bake” and get the same results with each of them.)

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Posted: 10 February 2012 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Barbara B - 10 February 2012 02:41 PM

When I do, I will post the results. ...I still have a little bit of patience left for this ordeal;  I haven’t totally given up yet.

You have the spirit of a scientist!  Please do let us know what happens, because we all learn something that way.

BTW, Consumer Reports gives GE, Frigidaire, and Kenmore the best marks for reliability for wall ovens.  They don’t provide reliability data for Electrolux, although the reviews are good.  The user review suggest poor reliability, but this entire product category doesn’t get great reviews on that score.  When I pull the trigger on a new oven, it will probably be the Kenmore, which typically tops the ratings.

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Posted: 10 February 2012 12:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The only time I’ve had results as you describe was when I baked a cake with really wet bake-even strips.  Perhaps upping the temperature?  Very peculiar. 

Also, you may want to bake Rose’s All Occassion Yellow Downy Butter Cake…it’s a good test cake.

FWIW, my oven never goes above the temperature I set on the oven.  So, if I want my oven temperature to be an average of 350 F, I need to set it to about 360F/365F.  The display will show the current temperature when it’s preheating and it’s always bang on—the problem is the “swing” of the oven—when it decides to warm up the oven.  So it will warm it up to 350F, but it will never heat above the set temperature.  Perhaps yours is doing the same thing.  Now that I’ve figured this out, I can set the temp a bit higher and know the average will be about 350F (of course a separate thermometer will tell you this, too). 

Best of luck.  This is not a happy situation to have!

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Posted: 10 February 2012 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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A cake that falls in the oven, isn’t that a sign of underbaking? Either taking the cake out too soon or a temperature that is too cool? 

If the oven is too hot, the cake is domed in the center.

Good luck, once you get to know your new oven, I’m sure you’ll bake wonderful things in it!

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Posted: 10 February 2012 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Julie - 10 February 2012 06:53 PM

A cake that falls in the oven, isn’t that a sign of underbaking?

Wouldn’t that happen once the cake came out of the oven?  But that does raise the idea of taking the internal temperature of the cake, which might give a better idea of what’s going on.

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Posted: 15 February 2012 06:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Thanks to everyone who has replied thus far about my dilemma.  Now, I have another chapter in this ordeal.  We had yet another serviceman come out this week.  This particular man actually seemed concerned about the situation.  I had layers from three Red Velvet Cakes sitting on the counter and he looked at every one of them and asked questions as to temperature they were cooked at and whether I used convection.  I even told him about discussing the problem on this forum and passed along comments from some of you.  He asked questions as to what had been to the oven.  He asked if anyone had ever checked the temperature and we told him “yes”.  He decided to check the temperature himself anyway.  It took him a while to check both ovens and he used a method that we had never seen anyone use who has been out here.  His findings found that there was a 27+ degree difference in the temperature setting and what the actual temperature was.  I told him that sounded like an awful big difference and he stated that is what Electrolux says it should be!  He changed the temperature setting so that it would stay as close to the set temperature as possible.  Today I tried yet another Red Velvet Cake; actually, I have baked two today.  The difference in the results is amazing—so much better than anything I’ve baked in the past four years.  The texture is cake-like and the outer edges are not hard and crusty nor is the center sticky and gooey.  There’s only one problem.  The layers are still sinking in the middle a little.  The first cake today, I used Wilton 10-inch pans.  I thought maybe the size of the pan might have something to do with it sinking so I baked the second cake in 8-inch Wilton pans but had the same result.  Anybody have any suggestions as to why the layers are sinking?  They are sinking during the cooking process, not after I remove them from the oven.  The original recipe calls for cake flour which I use.  It also says mix a teaspoon of baking soda with one tablespoon of white vinegar and add to the batter just before putting the mixture in the pans.  Any and all comments, suggestions and/or recommendations are welcome.

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Posted: 15 February 2012 07:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Barbara B - 15 February 2012 10:53 PM

Anybody have any suggestions as to why the layers are sinking?  They are sinking during the cooking process, not after I remove them from the oven.  The original recipe calls for cake flour which I use.  It also says mix a teaspoon of baking soda with one tablespoon of white vinegar and add to the batter just before putting the mixture in the pans.  Any and all comments, suggestions and/or recommendations are welcome.

Possibly too much leavening.  Insufficient mixing is possible, but unlikely.  Using some kind of low-fat margarine might do it too.  If you aren’t weighing your ingredients, then you might need a bit more flour or less liquid.

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Posted: 18 February 2012 03:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Maybe try using a heating core.  Or put a decorating nail in the middle b4 putting it in the oven..

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Posted: 21 February 2012 09:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I bought a Sears Kenmore Elite 10 years ago and had the exact same problems. 3 service men came out and said they had no idea how to work on a 1/2 convection oven. I purchased it because it had a bake, convection bake, cake and meat setting. The only setting that actually ever worked was the regular bake. Finally a Consumer’s Energy man came out and said the oven wasn’t vented correctly and the computer panel was being burned up. It was always too hot or too cold, cakes sunk or burnt and my hair was turning gray. (good thing my main job is doing hair lol). Anyhow I fiddled around like you and it finally blew up Dec. 15, 2011(sucked for Christmas orders so I went to my daughters). I turned on the clean cycle, the glass shattered and smoke came out. My first thought was YEAH! I can finally get a new oven. My second thought was oh crap, now what do I buy. After a week of research and printing out 4 models I went to Lowe’s.  I got ahold of a knowledgeable man and we sorted through my choices: Bosch- good but hard to get parts from Germany, Electrolux- terrible he said. They are now Fridgedair (which was my old Sears model) and almost every Electrolux they sell is returned. GE Profile = good solid and that’s what they make them for- baking. KitchenAide- thumbs down. So I bought the GE, has a bottom oven, is part convection and regular, gas (we have propane) and my cakes bake like a dream!
Moral of the story is, read Consumer’s reports and every site you can. If it’s a lemon=more than 3 calls in 6 months return it. And if you need a repair person, tell them to make sure the person they send knows how to work on that type of stove.
10 inch cakes almost always need a nail and do you use baking strips?

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Posted: 22 February 2012 12:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I use the baking strips to get the top to have that level so I do not have to cut a “mound” off the top.  The nail or the heating core is to get the center cooked.

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