Weight vs. volume question in All-Occasion Yellow Downey Butter Cake
Posted: 15 September 2008 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  3
Joined  2008-09-14

Hi, all!  I’m a longtime baker, had TCB for most of a decade and used it a LOT.  I finally got a good scale about a year ago, and have been baking with it since then.  I expect this isn’t much of a question, but more of an intro-post, but here goes.

My son’s birthday was this past weekend (he turned 5), and I made him a Stealth Strawberry Cake, modified from All-Occasion Yellow Downey Butter Cake, with Strawberry-flavoured Neo-Classic Buttercream on it.  The cake was excellent, as evidenced by the empty platter I took home.  I wrote up the cake in my own making-things blog, which you can read if you’d like

My question is this: the battery in my scale started fading as I was weighing dry ingredients.  I realized this just after putting the salt in the bowl.  It looked like a lot of salt, but I kind of shrugged and put it in anyway.  Then I started weighing the baking powder, and it also looked like a lot.  I re-weighed it 3-4 times before I noticed the battery indicator.  Then I changed the battery, re-weighed the baking powder, and it STILL looked like a lot.  So I went to find my old teaspoons (had to dig for them, too), and measured.  I’ve always used Calumet double-action baking powder, and this tin is probably about 6-8 months old.  The recipe calls for 19.5g of baking powder, which is supposed to be 1 tbsp + 1 tsp.  By volume, 19.5g of baking powder turns out to be more than 1T 2t, so I compromised and split the difference.  I used 18g of baking powder, which measured as 1T 1.5t.  I also wound up taking out a pinch of the salt, since it had a) looked like too much and b) the battery was wonky, and I hadn’t mixed it in yet.

The cake did fall just a tiny bit on one side of one layer, but I’m mostly attributing that to the difference between strawberries and milk as ingredients.  It was still very good, from the little bit I did manage to taste.

I know there’s no WAY I can ever recreate this cake, even with these copious notes I’ve made, but still, I was wondering if anyone else had had the same experience of weight being so very different from volume.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 September 2008 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2568
Joined  2007-11-15

Welcome to the forum Bryn.  Weighing such small amounts of ingredients like salt and baking powder is very tricky.  There’s been some discussion about this in the past (not sure if it’s here on the forum, or over on the blog) - unless you have a digital scale that is specifically designed to weigh such small amounts, it’s best to use measuring spoons for those ingredients.  Hope that helps.

 Signature 

Come visit my blog at

http://butteryum.blogspot.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 September 2008 11:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4783
Joined  2008-04-16

Welcome!  Yes, I think you need a specialty scale (like a jewler’s or chemist’s scale) to accurately weigh tiny amounts.  I find with grated zest that my tablespoon weighs far less than the grams given, not sure if I’m not packing the zest tightly enough (it seems to spring back up when packed), or if my microplane grater is making such thin shards of zest that I get less weight. 

And as for adding strawberry puree to cake batter, it changes the chemistry dramatically and often results in a dense and/or fallen cake.  The best way to do it that I have found is to grind up freeze-dried strawberries (my natural foods grocer sells them under the brand, “Just Strawberries”), and use them to replace part of the flour, tempering the acidity with baking soda.  However, this needs additional structure since the berries don’t have any protein, so, depending on the recipe, I either increase the egg whites (but not total egg), switch to AP flour, or decrease the baking powder.  And after all that, the texture isn’t as good and the strawberry flavor/color is fairly mild.  In my opinion it’s better to use Rose’s strawberry puree with a little extra gelatin or agar as a filling for kids’ cakes.

 Signature 

B&T Blog:  Cultured Butter Recipe

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 September 2008 05:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  3
Joined  2008-09-14

Thanks for the responses!  It isn’t a low-weight scale, that’s true, just a nutritional scale that gets to do double-duty for baking.  It is digital, though. 

The strawberries weren’t strawberry puree’ as such, but instead were melted popsicles.  It didn’t adversely affect the structure except maybe a very little bit.  It’s the first time I had NO cake left over.  It was amazing.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 September 2008 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  282
Joined  2007-11-16

I agree with Patrincia, I don’t weigh teaspoons or even tablespoons of dry ingredients. My scale weighs in increments of .05 ounce, but I still use the measuring spoons for small amounts of dry ingredients.

MrsM

Profile
 
 
   
  Back to top