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Category ... Cake Questions

Cake Questions Too

Nov 04, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

It has been pointed out that Cake Questions has become so long a thread it takes forever to load so i have closed the postings option for just cake questions along.

Please use one of the 4 categories under Cake Questions:
Equipment
General
Ingredients
Wedding

What is the best way to stabilize whipped cream for frosting a cake?

Mar 26, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Whipped cream tends to water out slightly after beating so to keep this from happening I use a small amount cornstarch which does not affect the texture.

It will not hold up well at room temperature but in the refrigerator will stay well on the cake for 24 hours! Many people have reported that this recipes has saved their lives!

For 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, use 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch (if your cream is very low in butterfat use 1 1/2 teaspoons), and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
Refrigerate the mixing bowl and (preferably whisk) beater for at least 15 minutes.
In a small saucepan place the powdered sugar and cornstarch and gradually stir in 1/4 cup of the cream.

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and simmer for just a few seconds (until the liquid is thickened). Scrape into a small bowl and cool completely to room temperature. Stir in the vanilla.
Beat the remaining 3/4 cup cream just until traces of beater marks begin to show distinctly.

Add the cornstarch mixture in a steady stream, beating constantly. Beat just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.

Making Larger Cakes

Mar 01, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cakes

KIM QUESTION

I have a question about augmenting your White Chocolate Whisper Cake for use in my friend's wedding cake. Is there a rule of thumb I can go by when converting any of your cakes to larger or smaller sizes?
I hope to achieve the larger volume of the recipes you've designed in your wedding cake section of the Cake Bible. The tiers are slightly higher and more dramatic than the recipes from the butter cake chapter.

Thanks so much,
As always, your devoted fan,
Kim

ROSE REPLY

In my new book I plan to work on creating recipes for larger cakes based on favorite smaller ones. It can sometimes taken many tests to get it right. One of the cakes I've planned on is the white chocolate whisper cake! I think that's one that won't require much adjustment. You simply need to decrease the baking powder in proportion to the amount of flour as indicated in the charts in the wedding cake section.

Do let me know how it works for you so it will give me a leg up on my recipe testing!

Problem with Cake Mix

Feb 23, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

PEGGY QUESTION

I've made at least 500 rum cakes using a boxed cake mix, a fluted bundt pan and glaze. They are always turned out high, light and fluffy until recently. I have not changed oe thing.
Could it be my oven? Am I overbeating it or underbeating it? Thanks.

ROSE REPLY

Cake mixes are designed in order to have "tolerance".what this means is that you can add things to it, up to a point of course, under beat it slightly, overbeat it slightly, and it will still work. In all probability it is the cake mix that has changed. I encourage you to try baking from scratch. This gives you a lot more control over getting which you want in flavor and texture.

Funny Looking Muffins

Feb 23, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

JOSEPHINE QUESTION

Feedback: Hello, I may not know who is Rose but I am interest in baking! I have this big problem here. Whenever i bake muffins, the muffins would 'pop' up after awhile and would become not good-looking. Can you tell me what is the problem?

ROSE REPLY

I think that you what you're saying is that the muffin Tops Peak and crack rather than being gently rounded and smooth. The problem is the structure of the batter is too strong. Either you need to use a softer flour, such as bleached all-purpose if you're using all-purpose unbleached, or cake flour which a softer still. It also works to increase the baking powder. Another thing that you can try is not mixing as much. the batter should be mixed only until the flour disappears entirely.

A New Real Baker is Born!

Feb 23, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Questions and Answers

ALISON QUESTION

Feedback: I recently made your All-American Chocolate Torte for Valentine's Day and it was a hit with my boyfriend. Although, I was questioning whether or not I acheived the correct texture of the torte. I am new to world of "from scratch" cake baking, so I followed your instructions to the letter. I was expecting a dense cake, but mine was light, airy, and very soft in texture. Did I succeed in making your torte or does my technique still leave something to be desired?

Thank you for such wonderful recipes!

ROSE REPLY
you did great! that''s just the texture i was aiming for. brava! (scratch on--you'RE obviously a natural)

Silicone Baking Pans

Feb 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

JEAN QUESTION

Dear Rose,

I have an older copy of your "The Cake Bible" that was written before
the advent and proliferation of the silicon baking pans. In general,
what changes to the baking process should I consider if I use these pans?

Thanks,

ROSE REPLY

There are actually very few changes necessary. It is important to realize, however, that no substance on earth that I know of is 100% non-stick. Because silicone happens to be the most nonstick substance, if it is prepared properly (with oil and flour) it will release the cake perfectly with no crust stuck to the pan.

It is best to allow the cake to cool in the pan on a rack until warm or room temperature before unmolding it.

Deep fluted tube pans, as they are now, do not conduct the heat well to the center of the cake and may require as long as 20 minutes extra baking. But this is a relatively new technology and is continuing to evolve. For small cakes and the standard 9 x 2 inch cake I feel silicone has no equal. The cakes rise more evenly, with no need to wrap the sides of the pans with cake strips, and the texture is lighter and more even though the actual height of the cake is slightly lower.

Read about my association with Lékué Silicone pans and bakeware from Spain.

Soaking Syrup for Layer Cakes

Feb 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

DAVID QUESTION

Does a soaking syrup to well on a devil's food cake?

ROSE REPLY

A small sprinkling of syrup will work, but I'm like a sponge cake, layer cakes become soggy/pasty with too much syrup.

Red Velvet Cake

Jan 15, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

LIBBY QUESTION

Dear Rose,
I am an avid fan of yours and have been dedicated to the Cake Bible for as long as I have been baking. I've always wished you had a recipe for Red Velvet Cake in your book. I have tried to use your method of incorporating ingredients, but still have not found the success I experience with your recipes in baking. Do you have a recipe and if so would you share it?
Thank you for making me a better baker. Your book is amazing (as is your pie cookbook which I also love).
Most sincerely and with much admiration

ROSE REPLY

thank you dear libby. a red velvet cake is simply a layer cake that uses one bottle of liquid red food color for some of the liquid, so all you have to do is chose any of my cakes (yellow or white) and replace an equal volume of the liquid with the red food color.

RETRACTION i was so wrong and those of you who have my newest book Rose's Heavenly Cakes will see that I have created my version of the classic red velvet cake which I now love so much I even made a wedding cake which is also posted on the blog!

The Australian Method of Cake Decorating

Jan 15, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

MARC QUESTION

Feedback: What is the Australian Piping method and where can i find good information on the internet about it

ROSE REPLY

it is extremely intricate royal icing piping and often lace work on cakes that have been covered with rolled fondant. i don't know where on the internet you would find information about it but there are many wonderful books. sweet celebrations carries them.

Fresh Fruit Purees Added to Cake Batter

Jan 12, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

RUBYMARTHA QUESTION

I would like to bake a cake with fresh purees. Such as peaches, strawberries, etc. I cannot seen to find a recipe with puree, I did find a couple using cake mixes but I want a scratch cake. I absolutely am an avid reader/owner of your books. I attended SCSCA in Pasadena in patisserie but have learned more from your books that I am sorry I made the expense for the school. If you can help me I would so appreciate it.

Thank you,

ROSE REPLY

thank you--i'm very moved by your compliment. i must share another moving experience i had in pasadena when i was on tour for "the bread bible" 2-1/2 years ago. a woman named rose came to my book signing bringing her grown daughter as well. she reminded me that she had brought her daughter as a little girl to my signing for ""the cake bible. now she was returning to buy "the bread bible" for herself and another "cake bible" for her daughter to have now that she was living on her own. it was a very beautiful way for me to mark the passage of time!

now for the fruit purees. i'm sorry to disappoint you but i found even when adding fruit juices to cake it seemed to disturb the ph balance of the batter and give it an off texture. cake mixes have emulsfiers and other things that give it what is known in the industry as "tolerance." this means that all manner of additions can be made and the cake will still work. as you've probably seen in "the cake bible," i do add purees to buttercreams with great results. perhaps another person on this blog has had a more positive experience adding it to cakes?

Overbrown Cake

Dec 29, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

SARA QUESTION

Everytime i make poundcake, the bottom 2/3s is completely brown in color and the top 1/3 is golden yellow the way it should be. The brown part tastes fine and is nothing wrong in texture, it's not burnt. Just brown in color - im so puzzled and dont want to serve it to my customers like this for obvious reasons. Im using wilton's dark nonstick loaf pan - spraying it with nonstick spray. I bake it at 300 degrees in my commercial convection oven. Here is my recipe - i hope you can help.

ROSE REPLY

i don't like dark pans bc i don't want a dark crust on the cake. but if you are using them, it's a good idea to lower the heat 25 degrees and another 25 if using convection so you're doing the right thing. the problem sounds like the recipe itself. have you ever made It successfully using another oven, or another type of pan? you have three ingredients in it that promote browning: corn syrup and baking soda. if the lower part of the cake is getting more brown maybe the corn syrup is settling a bit. i use only 1/2 cup sugar for 1 cup of flour. you are using 1 cup of sugar for 1 cup of flour plus the corn syrup. that's a huge amont of sweetner.

The Best Chocolate Cream Filling in the World

Dec 27, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Questions and Answers

LYNN QUESTION:

Feedback: I have a recipe for a delicious cake filling that combines whipping cream, vanilla, and chocolate frosting mix. Since dry packaged frosting mix is no longer available, how can I get a very rich chocolate cream filling. Thank you

ROSE REPLY

i know of none better than chocolate ganache. it is in many cookbooks including my own: the cake bible page 269 and it's really easy!

Coconut: the Love/Hate Ingredient

Dec 26, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Questions and Answers

DEBBIE QUESTION

FH_Name: Debbie
FH_Email: seitzdeb@yahoo.com
Feedback: I often see cookie or cake recipes that I'd like to try, but they contain varying amounts of coconut, which I detest. What is the maximum amount of coconut that I can omit, and still have the recipe come out right? Or is there something I can substitute?

ROSE REPLY

coconut is a very assertive flavor so there are those who adore it and those who detest it. if there are a lot of ingredients in say a cookie recipe and not a large amount of coconut it would surely make no difference if you left it out but if coconut seems to be the main or dominent ingredient the best thing is to chose another cookie or cake--there are so very many to chose from it shouldn't be a problem.

Consistency for Chocolate Spike Buttercream

Dec 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

Dana Question:
I prepared your Chocolate Spike Cake from the Cake Bible. I could not get the icing to stand in spikes like yours did. It was either too cold and unspreadable or to warm and wouldn't stand in spikes. I am sure that my problems were entirely related to temperature of the icing, esp given the nature of cocca butter. What temperature should the icing be to form those lovely spikes?

Rose Reply:
i find that when i leave ganache or buttercream in the kitchen, which is about 80 to 85 degrees, it's just right for spreading on the cake and forming spikes.

of course for piping it needs to be cooler. play with those spikes. if they're too droopy put the cake in a cooler spot and check every few minutes until it's just right! once you get the right consistency it will stay that way for long enough to decorate the whole cake with perfect spikes!

Preparing Pans for Baking

Dec 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

Christine Question:
What is the best way to grease and flour a detailed pan, such as a fleur-de-lys bundt pan? When I use solid shortening, gobs of it often get stuck in some of the details, so the cake batter can't fill in properly, and there are small gaps when I unmold the finished cake. I tried brushing melted shortening on, but it rolled off the non-stick finish. I've tried a spray product called Bak-Klene, which is an oil-wheat starch mixture, but everytime I've tried it, my cakes stick terribly, even when I use a silicone pan. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated! Thank you.

Rose Reply:
i've had great success with baker's joy which has grease and flour. sometimes it builds up more in one area so i use a little brush to get rid of the excess. my friend rich from nordicware likes to use solid shortening and then wondra flour. i haven't tried it yet but it sounds promising!

Size of Bundt Pans

Dec 18, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

Sue Question:
I have a question. My recipe calls for a 12 cup bundt pan. I have not been able to locate one. In addition the size is not given in cups, they are given in inches, so I bought one that says 9-1/2 inches. How does 12 cups equate to 9-1/2 inches? Will my recipe turn out using this size pan?

Rose Reply:
for the future, the best way to know pan size is to use a liquid measure to pour water into it. if it’s a two-piece pan line it first with a plastic bag such as a garbage bag.

i can tell you that by june, nordicware will be reissuing the famous 12 cup bundt pan. your 9-1/2 inch pan is almost certainly 10 cup capacity.

a good rule of thumb is to fill it no more than two-thirds full. but i sometimes fill it as much as 1-1/2 inch from the top and then it domes above the center tube while baking.

you will have extra batter using the smaller pan so use it to bake cupcakes.

My Method for Mixing Layer Cakes

Dec 17, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

Altaf Question:
I've tried your lemon poppyseed pound cake recipe. They are delicious, my family loved them.

My question is: the mixing methoed you used is strange to me ( To mix the dry ingredients then add the add butter,liqiude.

Can you please explaine the name of that method why did you choose it?

Rose Reply:
i appreciate your asking this! the lemon poppyseed is my signature cake. the method of mixing i use for all my cakes in which butter is softened as opposed to melted as in genoise or oil cakes as in chiffon, is called the two-stage method in the cake baking industry. it had always been used only with high-ratio shortening but my claim to fame is that i worked out a way to use it with butter. this method results in a cake that is faster and easier to make and is more even and tender in texture. there is no disadvantage to using this method but it is important that the butter be cool room temperature (65 to 75 degrees F.) tbe best description is cool but squishable.

Sinking Crumb Topping

Dec 09, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

Kim Question:
I have a rather perplexing problem. Every time I make a cake with a streusel topping, the topping ends up sinking inside the cake, rather than sitting on top as it's supposed to. I'm beginning to think that my oven is cursed. I find it very hard to believe that every recipe I've tried is flawed, and I know that the batters were prepared correctly... Any ideas what could be causing this? Thanks for any help you can give me,

Rose Reply:
i had this happen when filming a t.v. show. the prep person made my streusel or crumb topped coffee cake and when i saw it there was NO crumb topping at all. the batter had swallowed up the entire amount. it turned out the oven was way off and the baking time was too long. the structure of the cake has to set quickly to hold the crumb topping up. my coffee cake uses sourcream which makes a more acidic batter which also helps to set the structure.

but for absolutely perfection, i now add the crumb topping after 30 minutes of baking. i lift the cake out of the oven and quickly strew the crumbs on top. then gently place it back in the oven.

Cake Questions

Nov 30, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

Update Nov 2007: Have a new question? You should visit the new Cake Questions section of the forum, or the more recent blog entry, Cake Questions Too.

Jessica Question:
Hi!

I live in Australia and decorate cakes for friends and family. I just discovered an old copy of your book the cake bible in my local library. I think its great so I have looked up your site. I was just wondering if the book has been revised and updated since first being published? I notice that mud cakes are not covered at all in the book I borrowed and there are some other modern things missing too. Anyway I know you're busy so thanks for your time. Keep up the good work.

Rose Reply:
thank you for asking. in fact, the first revision of the cake bible has just come out but i haven't added any new cakes. what i revised was the equipment and ingredient sources, how to adjust batter for the more current pan sizes that are 2 inches high instead of 1-1/2 inches, and the chocolate sections because people don't talk chocolate brand anymore, they talk percentage of chocolate mass!

i am, at the present time, working on a comprehensive four color cake book for wiley which will be out in the next two or three years and it will include some of the newer cakes.

Cheryl Question:
Is it possible to attach ribbons made from fondant around the bottom edges of the tiers of a buttercream frosted wedding cake? How and at what point in assembly would you attach them? Thanks.

Rose Reply:
the answer is yes! i would apply them after the cake is assembled. they will stick to the buttercream so you should have no problem holding them in place.

Stacey Question:
What is the difference between your "favorite yellow cake" in this blog and the yellow cake in the Cake Bible in terms of taste and texture? Also, I recently made a French buttercream that tasted like a bowl of butter and a powdered sugar and butter frosting that tasted like pure sugar. What is the best vanilla frosting to use for cupcakes?

Rose Reply:
my favorite yellow cake on the blog is the same as the one in the cake bible. i put it in because i wanted everyone to have it even if they didn't have the book.

not everyone likes french buttercream. some people prefer the sugary, slightly gritty texture of powdered sugar buttercream to the satiny texture of the french variety. in any case, it's going to taste like butter and sugar because that's what it is. but it should also be flavored with pure vanilla extract. and of course there are many possible additions to buttercream such as coffee, orange, praline....

Melvin Question:
thanks for writing. i made the cheese cake but i was a little lose the next day i used low fat cream cheese was that a mistake? or should i have cook longer? thanks

Rose Reply:
i strongly advise against using low fat products in baking. they will adversely affect both taste and texture. better to cut smaller servings!

Rene Question:
Dear Rose,

I love baking and always have. And now I have the priviledge of helping a young woman, who is like a sister to me, with her wedding cakes. Unfortunately what she wants is a fair distance out of my league. I am hoping very much that you might be able to answer a couple of questions for me.

A single cake, I could do. What she wants to have one cake on each table, which turns out to be about 40 individual creations. (Ouch.) She is hoping for 2 tier cakes (around 8 and 6 inches.) We are tentatively planning 7 different designs with fillings including everything from dacquois to conserves.

It is the sheer volume that puts me out of my depth. It means that everything must be done as far ahead as possiblem, which I have very little experience with. I usually serve my cakes as soon after I make them as possible. Your Cake Bible is helping me a lot because it has so much information about storing each of the components. I am just trying to work out some logistics.

Is it better to prepare the components, store them individually and then put them together as close to the wedding date as possible OR is it better to put the cakes together and store them (for as long as 4, even 5 months?) ready to be decorated? Or could we even decorate them so they are ready to be tiered and finished? I really don't know.

I could just not begin to thank you enough for any guidance you could give me. I love this girl and want to do everything possible to help her wedding day be just the way she dreams of it. I just don't know how the best way to organize this size of a baking project.

Since I am here writing, I have a side question: what is your experience with using flower petals IN your cakes and buttercreams. I have seen these recipes, but have not tried them. Are they a pleasant suprise? Or more novelty, less than delicious?

Thank you, by the way, for all of the help your books have given me in pursuing my favorite hobby. :) Now that I know you have a blog, I look forward to enjoying that too. :)

Sincerely,

Rose Reply:
you are a saint!!! most professional bakeries when they make cakes ahead store the layers unfrosted in the freezer (well-wrapped). but this may be bc this gives them the option to use them with different buttercreams as the orders come in. but it is also easier to wrap an unfrosted cake. to freeze a frosted layer you would have to freeze it first and wrap it after the buttercream has set. so probably the best approach is to freeze the layers.

when you make cakes ahead, it is helpful to use a little simply syrup sprinkled on the layers to keep them from drying.

we all hope you will send a photo of this massive undertaking so we can post it to the blog!

re the flower petals, i don't imagine they would offer much in terms of flavor or in texture. there are wonderful extracts such as the rose syrup carried by la cuisine in alexandria.

Splenda and Sugar Free Cakes

Nov 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Questions and Answers

Amy Question:
I have a question about baking with Splenda. I have an at home cake business and just received an order where the customer would like a sugar free cake. She wants a carrot cake (1/4 sheet pan) with cream cheese frosting. I was reading all the information about Splenda on the Splenda website but thought perhaps I could spare myself a lot of experimenting and some money by asking - does anyone have tips for making a great sugar free carrot cake and sugar free cream cheese frosting?

Thanks so much for your time. As always, thank you for your wonderful recipes and helpful advice in your books.

Rose Reply:

what follows is a short piece on splenda that i wrote for fine cooking magazine a few years ago. i hope it helps. i know it won't answer your question about a sugar free recipe for these cakes but perhaps another blogger might have a recipe to offer.

My philosophy regarding sugar substitutes is that there is nothing like the real thing sweetie! As a general principal, it is better to have a small piece of something wonderful than a larger compromised portion. But when it comes to specific physical intolerances such as diabetes, there can be a valid case for sugar substitutes.

The problem with "sugar substitutes" is potential compromise of flavor and texture. Of all the sugar substitutes, Splenda, however, comes closest to sugar in both, constituting a significant culinary breakthrough. In industry, it has dramatically improved the flavor of many commercial products that require sweetener.

Because Splenda's flavor is so close to that of refined cane sugar, it makes an ideal substitute in a wide range of desserts where a precise crystalline structure is not essential, such as all manner of custards including ice cream (though sorbet will be less creamy), pastry creams, buttercreams, mousses, cheesecake, and even biscuits for short cake. But as in all substitutions, though it may be acceptable it is not identical. Sauces and custards may not be as thick and will probably cook slightly faster.

In traditional layer and sponge cakes, however, where the crystalline structure is needed for aeration, Splenda falls short because it will not result in the same volume. It will also not provide the moisture retentiveness and tenderness.

But wouldn't you rather have a wonderful slice of banana cream pie than a less than perfect piece of cake?

For tips regarding cooking and baking with Splenda refer to their website: www.splenda.com

Addendum: I have listed several websites on Sites I Like for those who are looking for recipes for specific needs such as: sugar substitutes, gluten free, low far, and lactose free.

Rounded vs Flat Cake Layers

Nov 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

MONICA QUESTION

I hope you are well. I have had an interesting cupcake experience. Today I made cupcakes using your All Occasion Downy Yellow Butter Cake, the recipe of which I have used on countless occasions for both cakes and cupcakes. I baked the first two trays of cupcakes in separate ovens at the same time and got basically the same result, I have gotten in the past. The cupcakes were mostly flat on top, especially when filled too high. (When filled lower I got a slight arc.)

While they were cooling, I ran out to the store, to get more cupcake fillers to bake the last of the batter (6 more cupcakes.) I baked these for the same amount of time, but got a much higher cupcake. It looked as if they almost erupted slightly...peaking like a volcano! I have attached a picture for you to look at...the one in the middle is from the second baking, the other two are two samples from the first baking.

cupcakes.jpg

Why did I get such a different result from the same batter? Did it have something to do with the batter sitting for more than 30 minutes before baking? Or that I used a 6 cup tray instead of a 12 cup tray? (The 6 cup tray was made of the same material as one of the 12 cup trays I used.) I would really like to be able to duplicate the result, since they looked nice frosted, but cannot understand why. Your insight would be invaluable!

ROSE REPLY

cake batter that rises up in the center during baking resembling a volcano is always due to the cake's structure being too strong. this can be the result of using a higher protein flour or of inadequate leavening which i'm fairly certain is the case in your situation. baking powder is called double acting because part of it reacts on contact with the liquid in the batter and the other part from the oven heat. since part of your batter sat a while before baking, part of the baking powder activated leaving less to tenderize the batter. if you want to simulate the result, simply decrease the baking powder and you will get a more rounded top but a less tender cake.

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