Buttermilk Chocolate Cake falling
Posted: 30 July 2012 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]
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My most requested cake is a Buttermilk chocolate cake (originally Hershey’s Black Magic). It is basically a one bowl cake where you mix the dry ingredients together and then add all of the wet. I do not understand why this cake shrinks down so much - almost 1/2 the pan size. I weigh everything, follow the directions to a T, everything is room temp, cooled coffee and so forth, use cake strips and even baked it at 335*. I have a new GE PRofile oven, temp spot on. The flavor is wonderful but am about to move on from this thing. Tried buttering sides instead of Crisco and no greasing sides (stuck). It’s a very thin batter also. I went to the Hershey’s site and printed it off. Any suggestions. I originally got this recipe from Wedding Cakes You Can Make and ask her and she doesn’t know. She said they shrink some, but I’m have to bake extra layers to make a 4 incher…. I’ve baked for 20 yrs and this one has got me stymied!

2 c sugar
1 3/4 cup AP flour
3/4 c cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 c buttermilk
1 c strong coffee
1/2 c veg. oil
2 tsp vanilla

Thanks for any help
Colleen

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Posted: 30 July 2012 10:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Are you using dutch cocoa or natural?  Is the cake shrinking vertically or horizontally? And shrinks relative to what? From the maximum height the cake reaches during baking, or from the height of the batter when it’s first put into the pan?

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Posted: 30 July 2012 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Using Callebut alkalized, shrinks down in height at least 1/2 the size from when it comes out of the pan (Magic Line). The Hershey recipe calls for their dark unsweetened but I use the Callebut in all my chocolate cakes. All fresh ingredients, even bought new bpowder.

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Posted: 30 July 2012 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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alternate endings - 30 July 2012 03:31 PM

Using Callebut alkalized, shrinks down in height at least 1/2 the size from when it comes out of the pan (Magic Line). The Hershey recipe calls for their dark unsweetened but I use the Callebut in all my chocolate cakes. All fresh ingredients, even bought new bpowder.


Looking at the original recipe, I gather it used natural cocoa.  Have you tried it this way?  Without a reduction in baking soda, your batter will be more alkaline, which doesn’t set as quickly as acidic batters (and you lose the leavening power).  Could this cause the deflation?  You might try replacing one teaspoon of baking soda with 4 teaspoons baking powder.

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Posted: 30 July 2012 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’ve never used the Hershey’s like they say; just always used my Callebut. I will try it both ways. Thank you ever so much. I have a wedding cake coming up with 14 inch bottom layers in it and had a 12 in one last week and had to bake extra to get the height.  What is the difference in what I am using and what Hershey’s sells?

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Posted: 30 July 2012 04:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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alternate endings - 30 July 2012 07:22 PM

What is the difference in what I am using and what Hershey’s sells?

Hershey’s cocoa is typically not alkalized, meaning that it’s acidic and can react with baking soda in order to provide leavening.  The alkalized (dutch) cocoa that Callebaut sells isn’t acidic and won’t react with the baking soda.  You have to be very careful when substituting one for the other.  If there isn’t an acid for the baking soda to react with, it won’t provide leavening and might provide a “soapy” taste.  If you were making cookies, they would be very flat.

Hershey’s does sell an alkalized cocoa under the name “HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa”, but it’s only partly alkalized, so even that isn’t a perfect substitute for the Callebaut.

I’m only speculating that this is the cause of your problem, but it must surely be causing some sort of issue.

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Posted: 30 July 2012 05:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thank you so much for the information. The recipe on Wedding Cakes for You didn’t specify, just cocoa powder.  I’ll try it again Thurs. and let you know

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Posted: 31 July 2012 09:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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In addition to Charles’ idea, the others that come to mind are overbaking or too much structure from overmixing, both of which can cause excess shrinking.  Perhaps try a small test cake and use Rose’s method of mixing instead of the one-bowl method and see if that reduces shrinking.

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Posted: 31 July 2012 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I ordered some Scharfenbergers (?) unsweetened last night and the mixing I’ve tried the mix it for 1 and then 2 min, throw it all together and mix it 2 min, and it’s a hard cake to get baked. It’s very wet so it’s probably the cocoa. I think the first couple times I tried it I did Rose’s method and reread her directions and did it that way. It’s always shrunk a little and I’m wondering if the cocoa is different this time too. I buy it at a bulk food place. Thanks for everyone’s input and I’ll keep trying as soon as I get the other cocoa.

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Posted: 02 August 2012 09:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Baked it again today using Hershey’s (other cocoa didn’t arrive until later today of course) and it was better. Didn’t sink quite as much and it is definitely a 8 inch 2 layer, nowhere near a 9 inch. I scaled it out according to Cake Bible. Mixed it 3 minutes as suggested in the Wedding Cakes for You site, but the original recipe suggest 2 min. Plus original is mix the oil, eggs, flavoring and buttermilk, then add the coffee afterwards not everything at once on the other. So on to more tweaking next Monday. Thanks so much for everyone’s help.

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