Cakes do not brown at the bottom and sides, but test done with a tootpick in the centre
Posted: 13 June 2013 03:04 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I am fairly new to baking, but I have taken to it with a lot of passion after reading The Cake Bible. In the begining I used to bake in my microwave using the convection setting and my cake tops would just not cook!
Recently I have invested in a new counter top Oven with both conventional and convection settings. The first 2 cakes that i made turned out good enough but their tops did not brown very well / at all but the sides were nice and brown and the cake was cooked very well.
I have a fairly new problem at hand these days. I am trying to bake an All Occassion Downy Yellow Butter from TCB. It has been very hard to find a 9” x 2” pan these days. Oops, forgot to mention I live in India.
So, I decided to bake the cake in 8” X 2” pan. I calculated the recipe ingredients using the Base Formula for Yellow butter cakes and multiplied it by 3.5 (Rose Factor for 8” cakes).
Since 8” cakes fall in the Level 1 category, I multiplied the baking powder by 3.5. My problem here is that the bottom and sides of the cake dont even brown a spec, where as the top does brown. My cake was tested done after 42 mins. It also did spring back on the top.
The cake did rise beautifully to 2” and had no domed or sunken center
Here is what I did
1)Pre heated the oven for 20 mins at 180 degree celcius
2)Buttered the and floured the cake pan.
3) Calculated the ingredients as per the formula and “weighed” them using an electronic weighing scale
4) The butter was at 23.9 degrees C
5) Whisked the dry ingredients with a wire whisk for 1 min
6) Added the butter and 3/4th milk and mixed it with a hand held mixer for 1.5 mins on high power
7) Mixed Egg yolks, vanilla and 1/4th milk and mixed it lightly
8) Added this mixture to the batter in 3 batches, every time mixing it for 20 seconds.

Filled the cake pan with the batter and tapped it thrice on the counter top to remove any air pockets.
The batter filled up 3/4th of an inch. The cake rose beautifully to fill up the pan.
After 30 mins I rotated the cake in the oven (without lifting the pan).
After 35 mins in the oven, the cake did shrink marginally (few millimeters)
After 42 mins the cake tested done with a toothpick.
By that time the cake had shrunk from the side a little and there was NO BROWNING at all.
I let it cool in the pan for 10 mins and then inverted it on a cooling rack.
Surprise surprise, the cake bottom and sides were as white as the batter!!! And the sides were all crumbly!
The after being tasted does seems to be cooked but when i pressed a liitle cooked cake between my thumb and index finger, it was all gummy!

I am in total distress and this is an SOS call! What is going wrong?
Last 4 of my cakes have seen this tragic end1 I have tried everything.

Initially I thought my oven was not calibrated properly, so I increased the baking temperature form 350 degrees to 375,
but then it had huge tunnels and was still white at the bottom and sides!
I switched from convection to conventional mode still no respite. I also changed the position of my racks from middle to lower third!

Please suggest.
Cannot attach a picture as the size exceeds the permissible limit downer (

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Posted: 13 June 2013 03:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I did not use any butter milk, just the normal full fat milk. Also I am using store bought baking powder! One more thing that I forgot to mention here, Cake flour is really not available in India, so I substitute it with bleached all purpose flour and add corn starch to it (100 gms APP added 30 gms Corn starch to it). It is the monsoon season here in India, so the humidity is always 70% plus. Could that have caused the problem? I have beens using the same set of ingredients and the first 2 cakes turned out alright and the next batch is going from bad to worse.

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Posted: 13 June 2013 06:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The all purpose flour seems to have aged a little bit…....ca that also be an issue?

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Posted: 14 June 2013 02:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks a ton for all your replies and suggestions.
To start with, I do not use dark pans, I use aluminum pans only.
The sugar that I purchased had crystals marginally larger than the Super fine sugar you get in America, so i pulsed them in a food processor before using.
The previous cakes that came out well were all AODYBC.

But I did figure out what was wrong! It was the flour, flour, flour! The APF (bleached) was it seems too aged. Last night I made the same cake using a new packet of APF and it turned out well.
I used the recipe of AODYBC for a 9” X 1.5” pan (divided by 2 as i was using a single pan) and make the cake in an 8” pan.
This recipe did not fill up the pan sufficiently hence the cake had a domed center (that’s what i think). But the crumb was good and it browned well on the bottom and on the sides!
The problem that still persists is the top of the cake! The top did change color but did not brown as much! Also, it was a bit sticky and shiny!
Is this because of the excess humidity (75% +) or that the pan was not sufficiently filled with batter?

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Posted: 16 June 2013 12:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Hi Shruti, welcome!
Glad to hear you solved the problem.
I just wanted to add that as far as I know, the equivalent of cake flour in India is maida- have you ever tried baking with it?

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