All Occasion Downy Yellow Cake finished height
Posted: 21 March 2012 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I had been planning to make the famous All Occasion Downy Yellow butter cake from TCB for a very long time. I read the recipe several times, watched Rose’s video,bought fresh baking powder and set out to try it today. I even used a timer for mixing during each step so that I don’t overbeat or underbeat. To my utter disppointment I ended up with two layers each just 3/4 inch high rather than 1 1/4 inch mentioned in the book. The texture was amazingly soft and moist even though I had slightly overbaked it ( the sides were dark and had begun to shrink before removal from the oven). I had baked the cake at 325 degrees rather than 350 because I was using two dark non stick Chicago Metallic pans and the instructions on the pan recommended lowering the temperature. What could be the reason for the low height ?

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Posted: 21 March 2012 02:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi, Sadaf!

This happened to me recently—not with this particular cake, but, suddenly, with ALL cakes, regardless of recipe author.  I always keep fresh BP, so I didn’t think that was the problem.  At the same time, I didn’t know what else it could be.

However, I have since purchased new baking powder, and the problem disappeared, so I can only think it WAS the baking powder, even though it was fresh and in date.  Thanks for this reminder that I always want to test my BP before using:

To test baking soda: Put a few tablespoons of white vinegar into a small bowl and add a teaspoon of baking soda. It should bubble up furiously, and the foaming should take several moments to subside. The more bubbles, the more potent the baking soda. If there is no reaction, or you only end up with a handful of small bubbles, you need to replace you baking soda.

To test baking powder: Put a few tablespoons of warm water (warm tap water is fine, but cold water is not) into a small bowl and add a teaspoon of baking powder. The mixture should make a fizzing noise and, after a moment, the baking powder will begin to fizz and the water will become very cloudy with tiny bubbles. The more bubbles, the fresher the baking powder. Baking powder reacts with liquids and heat, but does not react as well with cold water (even fresh powder won?t fizz much in ice water), so do not use it for this test.

Good luck, and if you find it was something else, please let us know!! 

—ak

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Posted: 21 March 2012 04:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi Sadaf,

It could be your lower temperature—did you check with a thermometer?  Oven temperatures can vary alot and if you haven’t checked it, that could be the problem.  Do you know how long it took to bake?  If it took longer than the recommended time, then surely the oven is too low.  Did you use cake strips?

Let us know a bit more and perhaps we can troubleshoot for you…

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Posted: 21 March 2012 05:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I used an oven thermometer too.I baked the cake for 35 minutes at 325 F. .As I said it was slightly overbaked. I checked the baking powder too using hot water and it fizzed perfectly . It has an expiry date of July 2013 and was opened for this particular cake itself.

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Posted: 21 March 2012 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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What is the height of your pans?  I would assume 2”—in which case did you scale up the batter for 2” high pans (there are instructions for this in the recipe) ? Perhaps you just didn’t have enough batter smile  That happens to the best of us!

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Posted: 21 March 2012 06:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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My pans are 1 and 1/2 inches high. BTW, in my edition of TCB I didn’t see instructions for increasing the batter if using 2 inches high pans.

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Posted: 21 March 2012 06:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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The info for 2” high pans is in the margin notes—basically 1.33x base recipe.  This is a bit of pickle.  I don’t think overbaking should cause that much of a reduction in height—I have found my cake heights are not always as tall as Rose’s—but that’s usually for foam cakes where technique makes a huge difference.  Were your ingredients at room temperature?

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Posted: 21 March 2012 07:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Hi Sherrie, I took out the butter and eggs two hours before baking. I cut up the butter into small pieces so it softened sooner. I checked the temperature with a thermometer and the butter was around 70 F. I didnt check the eggs though, the shells didnt feel cold when I cracked them. As for the milk I warmed it in the microwave for 20 seconds. On second thoughts could I have overmixed the batter after addition of the eggs mixture? When Rose says medium speed I used speed 6 on my Kitchen Aid, maybe I should have mixed on speed 4 after each addition.

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Posted: 21 March 2012 08:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Roses’s recipe for the All occasion downy yellow cake only makes one 9 inch layer, did you double the recipe?

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Posted: 21 March 2012 08:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Hi Sadaf,

It sounds like you are doing the right procedure.  Using Rose’s method makes it unlikely to overmix.  A 6 speed vs. 4 speed is unlikely to make the difference.  Perhaps there are others with experience on this one.

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Posted: 21 March 2012 09:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Sadaf - 21 March 2012 10:49 PM

I checked the temperature with a thermometer and the butter was around 70 F.

If I were using the creaming method, I’d be concerned that was a bit warm.  Possibly it doesn’t matter as much for Rose’s mixing method.

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If error is corrected whenever it is recognized as such, the path of error is the path of truth.

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Posted: 21 March 2012 10:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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kneadtobake - 21 March 2012 11:26 PM

Roses’s recipe for the All occasion downy yellow cake only makes one 9 inch layer, did you double the recipe?

In TCB, it makes 2 layers.

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