first time user…need help with white chocolate whisper cake
Posted: 07 March 2009 09:45 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi everyone,
This is my first post. I appreciate anyone who can help me. I just bought The Cake Bible and tried to make the White Chocolate Whisper Cake. I weighed all my ingredients, tested my baking powder (which was brand new—just bought today and does not contain aluminum) and followed all the instructions to a T. The batter tasted slightly bitter as if the baking powder measurement is too high, but it wasn’t. Anyhow, the cake took 55 minutes to bake even with using the baking strips. (I use aluminum pans not the dark non stick) When the cakes came out the tops of the cakes were over the pan and very hard and crunchy. I have to press hard to even get the cake tester to go through the top of the cake and then it broke through one cake and made an indention in the center. Now one layer has a small cavity in the center. My oven has a thermometer so I know the temp. was exactly 350. I got the ingredients exactly right (as, like I said, I weighed them) so I don’t know why these problems are occurring. I also tried the downy yellow cake and it required a longer time also and the batter seemed slightly bitter and not sweet. I have never had any problem baking scratch cakes from other recipes. Can any one give suggestions to why this is happening. Thanks.

P.S. Oh, and when I used the extra batter to make cupcakes (6 of them) they baked in 20 minutes and were perfect….Please help.

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Posted: 07 March 2009 11:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Thanks Matthew! (from your posts and comments all over the site I can tell you are a good baker.) To be more specific, I did weigh all the ingredients except the baking powder and vanilla.  I used measuring spoons for those.  I might have overfilled the pan which is why it rose higher than the pan edge, but it did not spill over. The cake taste fine and is very moist, I guess I was just wondering if the cooking times in the recipes were off and if it is normal for this cake to have such a hard/crunchy top. I do agree with you about the oven thermometers. I think I may indeed have a problem with my oven.

Thanks again for the reply. I appreciate your help.

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Posted: 08 March 2009 07:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi all,
Thanks for the replies.

Matthew-I baked the cakes in 8X2 inch pans and made the necessary adjustments with the baking powder per the ratios in the back of TCB. Also, I made 1 1/3 times the recipe as Rose recommended if using a 2 in high pan. I made sure to fill the pans only 1/2 full. Also, I have a new expensive portable oven thermometer from Crate and Barrel, so it should be accurate. I also have a 2nd thermometer in the oven and they both read 350 at all times while the cake was baking. There might be a problem with heat circulation in the oven.  Because when I checked the cakes after 25 minutes, the outside was done but the inside was wet just like you guessed. How would I use a cake nail, and how does it work?

Patrincia—I did bake the cakes in the middle of the oven.

Freshkid—I did use G&H baker’s sugar, which is a fine sugar but not a superfine. Rose seems to recommend fine baking sugar so it should be okay to use, right? As far as improper mixing, what might have gone wrong? And what kinds of problems would have arisen? However, I did follow the instructions exactly, but even Rose’s youtube videos say if you mix longer than the indicated times, you can’t really overmix using her technique. Is this true? And as I explained to Matthew, the oven was consistently at 350, and as I explained to Patrincia, I baked the cakes in the middle of the oven. So I am at a loss. Maybe the 8 inch pans size makes a difference.

BTW, I think you all wonderful for trying to help me.  I just love this forum and find it sooooo helpful!!!

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Posted: 09 March 2009 03:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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WOW! Thanks for all the wonderful help. I truly want to be a great baker like all of you pros on this forum.

I will try to address all the questions as best I can.

Freshkid (love the name btw):  as I do not have the book in front of me right now, I will have to get back to you with the weight of the ingredients I used. But I can tell you I divided the weight of each ingredient by 3, then added this amount to the total weight. EX: for flour I divided 10.5 by 3 and got 3.5, then added 3.5 + 10.5 and got 14, so I used 14 oz. of sifted cake flour.

Hector (I think your cakes are marvelous): I did use cake flour, and I sifted it before weighing it on my scale. Also, I used the bp ratio for 8x2 in pans (from the base recipe in the back of the book—the one that said ??? tsp per base—sorry I can’t remember the exact amount right now) and muptilied it by 4 since I was doing a standard recipe with 10.5 oz flour plus an extra .333). I used a hand mixer since my new KA stand mixer had not arrived yet. I mixed the dry ingredients with the butter and 3/4 milk until just moist then I started the timer and beat the batter on high for probably 1 minute 45 seconds. Then I added the eggs in 3rds and beat each time for only 20 seconds. Then I added the white chocolate and beat for about 30 seconds until just incorporated. So maybe it was overbeaten? I did open the oven after 25 minutes to check and it was not done so I set my timer for 10 minute increments and opened it briefly, then again after another 10 minutes.  I took the cakes out after 55 minutes and cooled for 10 minutes in the pan then took them out and cooled on wire rack.

Julie (thanks for your ideas): There were no tunnels in the cake but there were a few small bubble holes (about the size of a small pea) at the top when I leveled it. Does that mean I did overbeat it. Perhaps my handbeater is not good to use for this cake.  And you are right, the cake top was very brown and crunchy, so I most definitely overfilled the pan since it also rose above the top by 1/16 inch. The cake top was very flat and the texture, however was fine and fluffy. The cupcakes did sit in their cups while I baked the other cakes (so they were sitting out on the counter—I forgot to refrigerate—for about 55 minutes). They came out with flat tops. I tested one cupcake immediately (not waiting for it to cool) and it was moist and delicious. However, when I ate the cake and the cupcakes (which had been wrapped and refrigerated) the next day they all seemed a little dry, but still very fine and fluffy in texture. I did buy good quality chocolate from whole foods (brand escapes me, but it was not the 365 whole foods brand) and it did contain mostly cocoa butter and a little lecithin. I also have Lindt white chocolate, Green & Blacks as well as Ghiradelli—I was going to make a cake with each to see which I liked better). Maybe you are right about the pan size and I may have to buy 9 inch pans, since it seems the 8 x2 are too deep and require too long to bake, creating a dry cake with the other problems mentioned.

Is there any site or book you can recommend where I can learn additional info on the chemistry of baking. TCB was very informative, and now I am interested in learning more.  I also am having my oven checked, just to make sure it is not an oven problem. My KA stand mixer came today, so I will retry the cake using it.

Sorry for taking up sooo much of your time. I do want to figure this out. I never liked not being able to solve a problem and I can talk about baking/cooking issues forever. I am normally a good cook and amateur baker so this lack of success is truly troubling me. Again, I do greatly appreciate all your help. Perhaps there is still hope for the aspiring baker in me.

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Posted: 09 March 2009 05:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Matthew - 09 March 2009 07:52 PM

I just wanted to reiterate that if these cakes took 55 minutes to bake, then I think the problem must be primarily with either oven temperature or proper heat circulation. Since you have two thermometers giving the same reading, I would tend to think that it is not the temperature, but heat circulation. Did the cakes seem crowded in your oven? If you have a convection feature, that might help.  Also, regarding the flower nail trick, search the main blog for information.  It seems like it could help here. Basically, you put a flower nail in the center of the batter to draw heat there and help it cook evenly.

Thanks Matthew. You are probably right on target. The cakes did not seem overcrowded but my oven space is not large. There is no convection feature—its a cheapo oven that came with the house when my husband and I bought it. I want to get a new and better oven. In the meantime I am having my oven checked. I will also try the flower nail.

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Posted: 11 March 2009 01:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Hi all you wonderful cake counselors,

The oven man came and looked at my oven today. It seems that my oven is 25 degrees too hot. And my thermometers weren’t giving me an accurate reading. So I had been cooking the cakes at too high a temperature. With this new knowledge, I made a few adjustments to my oven temp and tested out the the sour cream butter cake.  It baked in 35 minutes and was perfect! Well it seems Matthew gets the prize for being right once again. But thanks to you all for all your advice. I will keep them all in mind as I continue on my baking binge. I am going to try the Whisper cake this weekend and I anticipate success.  YEAH!!!

~belasuna

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Posted: 11 March 2009 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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~FRESHKID - 11 March 2009 04:03 PM

BELASUNA:
  Good morning. Bela, I am happy that you got your oven adjusted. I am sure you will bake a better baked product now.
Bela just some food for thought my friend if you think your baking problem rested with the oven temp.??? then why didn’t it have an effect on the muffins you said you baked & came out perfectly. question  Just a little food for thought my friend.

~FRESHKID.

Hi Freshkid,

That is a good question which I have indeed been thinking about. The cupcakes did come out looking perfect and were moist when I tried them (they were still warm and just out of the oven at that point). However, the next few days as I was munching on those delicious whisper cupcakes I did find them a tad bit dry and they did pull away from the cupcake liner (I saw this topic questioned on another thread). But they were still scrumptuous. So I think even though the cupcakes baked in 20 minutes and looked perfect (they did not looked burned), they were probably overbaked by about 5 minutes.  So alas, I do think the problem was with the inaccurate temperature of my oven. I will test the whisper cake again this Friday. If it bakes in the correct amount of time indicated in the cake bible then I will know proof positive that the problem was indeed the oven temp. Thank you for your very insightful questions and suggestions. Take care…belasuna

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Posted: 11 March 2009 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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AnnieMacD - 11 March 2009 06:05 PM

Hi Belasuna,

Now that the cake experts have solved your problem, I’ll chime in and give you the names of a couple of books that you asked for further up the thread.  Actually three books:
- Understanding Baking by Joseph Amendola and Nicole Rees
- McGee on Food and Cooking by Harold McGee
- How Baking Works by Paula Figoni

Good luck with your next cake and please post a picture!
Annie

Thanks Annie! I will definitely check these books out.

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Posted: 14 March 2009 10:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Hi All,

I just wanted to post the whisper cake I made this Friday. I could not have made such a nice cake without all your help…so this one is for the forum. So…the cake is, of course, the white chocolate whisper cake that I glazed with the raspberry puree, then filled with a raspberry mousseline and frosted with lemon curd mousseline. It was absolutely yummy. The cake came out so moist and baked in 35 minutes. This was my first time making the raspberry puree for the mousseline and it was so delicious it almost didn’t make it into the mousseline. This was also my first time making the mousseline buttercream, and after reading all the tutorials and advice on this forum, I actually made it without a problem. It was so fast and easy. And the lemon curd is to die for. I am very pleased with the results. Thanks again for all your help.  smile  Have a great weekend.
~belasuna

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