My cakes rise and fall flat….
Posted: 11 September 2008 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi Everyone,

I am at rookie at baking. Recently I caught the baking bug and it is all I can think of. Yesterday I tried Cinnamon Teacake. At first the cake rose beautifully, however it fell flat after a while. In the end, the cake is only as thick as the batter. The other threads on cakes sinking is about cakes which sink in the middle. My cake falls flat entirely. The cake wasn’t overcooked because it was still a light cream color. I did not stir but folded in the flour. Why causes this to happen and how do I overcome it?

Last week, I tried baking a pound cake. It says 3 cups flour and 3 cups sugar. I don’t have measuring cups so I converted them using a conversion table provided which came to 330g flour and 675g sugar. I was shocked at amount of sugar so I cut it to about 400g. Instead of margarine, I used shortening because I read that shortening can be used in place of margarine or butter. Creamed the shortening and castor sugar for about 45 min and the mixture is still coarse. Don’t want to wait anymore so added in the eggs. The rest of the recipe is just the flour and flavoring. It was in the oven for more than 2 hours and when I tried it, it was too sweet. Also the cake is still not fully cooked. I was very sad….. threw away the whole cake. It’s unedible. What went wrong and is the weight of the flour and sugar correct?

Your tips and advice will be greatly appreciated =)

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Posted: 11 September 2008 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi Veron and welcome.

I was a rookie to baking last year and bought “The Cake Bible” by Rose Levy Beranbaun.  It’s an excellent resource and all the recipes are reliable (and tasty!).  The book has a wealth of knowledge in it and explains everything you ever wanted to know about cakes and more! I highly recommend it.  It didn’t take long for Rose to transform me into an awesome baker. 

You can find one of her recipes, “Rose’s Favorite Yellow Layer Cake”, at: http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2005/10/roses_favorite_yellow_layer_ca.html
Do not make any substitutions or changes. Follow the recipe to a tee.  Any minute change will effect the outcome of your cake.  Also, all your ingredients need to be at “cool room temp” (65-70 degrees)

Write back and let us know how this recipe worked for you.  If you have any questions, just post them.  There are a lot of talented and generous bakers on this site who love to help.  They’ve helped me many times.

Tammy

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Posted: 11 September 2008 01:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi Veron,

I use the following conversions:  granulated sugar is 190 grams per cup, and cake flour 90 grams per cup, but unless you have a gram scale, a set of measuring cups would help for sure!

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Posted: 11 September 2008 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I use 200g for 1 cup of sugar and 100g for 1 cup of sifted cake flour—it is easy to remember, plus it is what is in the Cake Bible—and I’ve seen the same measurements in several other good cookbooks.

Veron—your recipe calls for twice as much sugar to flour as the cake bible recipe—I imagine it would be almost unbearably sweet.  A lot of Rose’s cakes use equal weights of flour and sugar, or twice as much flour as sugar if measuring by volume.

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Posted: 11 September 2008 07:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Welcome Vernon - if a cake falls, it doesn’t have enough internal structure to support it’s weight.  Any time you change a recipe so drastically (cutting sugar nearly in half, subbing shortening for butter, etc)... you change the chemistry of the recipe, and in baking, chemistry is everything!  I strongly urge you to give some of Rose’s recipes a try - you can usually find her books at the library.

Btw, it’s not uncommon for a pound cake recipe to call for equal “volume measurements” of flour and sugar (1 cup of each, or 2 cups of each), but as Matthew pointed out, sugar weighs twice as much as flour.  In other words, your recipe probably would have worked out fine if you hadn’t changed it.  A lot of Rose’s recipes are typically less sweet, but most definitely more delicious!!!

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Posted: 12 September 2008 01:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Hi, thank you to all who replied.

I notice that there are different conversions for cups.

In 1 webpage, it is 1 cup flour = 110, 1 cup sugar =225g
In a recipebook, it is 1 cup flour = 125g, 1 cup sugar = 149g
Gia uses ,        1 cup flour = 90g,  1 cup sugar = 190g
In Rose bible,    1 cup flour = 100g and 1 cup sugar = 200g

Why are there such different conversions? I guess this means I shouldn’t try some of the recipes on the internet unless they specify the weight.

I did not change anything for the Cinnamon Teacake. It was exactly as per the recipe book but the picture in the book showed a higher and lighter cake.

So many of you highly recommended Rose’s Cake Bible, so I’m thinking of getting it. I will check if the local bookstores carry it so I don’t even have to wait for delivery =).

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Posted: 12 September 2008 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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The differences in gram weight are most likely attributed to the differences in the way each recipe author weighs their dry ingredients when using a measuring cup.  For example, some prefer to “dip and sweep” method, others fluff and then scoop, others sift and measure, others measure and then sift.  If you were to use each of these examples to measure a level dry cup of flour, you will find they all weigh a different amount in grams. 

You can usually find the preferred method of measure in the introduction section of most cookbooks.  Follow the author’s suggested method for the best results.

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Posted: 12 September 2008 07:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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one more thing, vernon, if your leavening is more than 3 months old it may not work as well as fresh.

jen

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Posted: 15 September 2008 05:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Veron,
You don’t say where you’re living - if you’re in the UK or Oz or NZ, your measuring cups will be different sizes than the American ones.  Definitely go by weight.

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Posted: 16 September 2008 12:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thanks for the info guys. I baked a sponge cake and an almong cake last few days. Both turn out well, did not rise and fall again grin . I found the problem is the amount of baking powder used. I would usually just scoop the powder without levelling it. After some of you mentioned it is important to keep to the exact recipe amount, I started levelling the baking powder and it Works!!! I am so happy. Thank you very much for your helpful comments!  grin

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Posted: 27 September 2008 08:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Good for you for figuring it out! Yes, if you use too much baking powder your cake will rise TOO high and then collapse.

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