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Chocolate Cake Explosion


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Hi all! I'm new here - a hobby baker, but now trying to get a little more serious and adventurous. My sister-in-law gifted me The Pastry Chef's Guide by Ravneet Gill.I made her apple cake with great success. Then I tried her Ultimate Chocolate Cake.... The batter filled the 8" round pan almost to capacity and 10 minutes after going in the oven began to o'er-spill the pan, big time. I cooked it to completion (clean skewer) but the cake still collapsed somewhat while cooling. Still it was (is) a delicious cake - great texture, fluffy, moist, not dense or cloying. 

Here's the thing: the recipe (attached) calls for 80g of self-raising flour. I added 2 t of bp to 1 cup of AP flour and then used 80g of that. Is that where I went wrong? Way too much leavening? Should I reduce the leavening? Or should it have been made in a 9" pan? Or both? It tastes wayyyy to good to completely abandon the recipe.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!
Michael

PS I weighed everything in grams, used ml where appropriate. And the ganache came out beautifully, btw.
PPS re: the pic of the cooked cake: I poured the ganache over it after I had tried a couple slices of the cake to see if it was salvageable.

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1 minute ago, Darienne said:

That ganache looks like my kind of ganache topping on a cake.  And also welcome to eGullet. 

Thanks, Darienne! Happy to be a part of the group!

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The teaspoon each baking powder and soda seems like more than enough for that much batter, I don't see the point of using half self-raising flour.

 

So possibly too much leavening, definitely too small of a pan.  Do you have a deep 8"pan such as a springform pan, close to 3" deep?  If not, try a 9" round or square.  In general, you don't want to fill your pans more than about 2/3 full so the cake has room to rise.

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Just now, pastrygirl said:

The teaspoon each baking powder and soda seems like more than enough for that much batter, I don't see the point of using half self-raising flour.

 

So possibly too much leavening, definitely too small of a pan.  Do you have a deep 8"pan such as a springform pan, close to 3" deep?  If not, try a 9" round or square.  In general, you don't want to fill your pans more than about 2/3 full so the cake has room to rise.

Thanks! I think you're exactly right re: both the leavening and the pan size. I used an 8x2 round pan (my springform leaks a little and this batter is VERY thin). Next time, I'll use all AP flour and a 9" round pan. Thanks so much for your help!

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As Pastrygirl  mentions, the depth of the pan is important.  I want to say that most cake tins in the UK are deeper (about 3" tall on average) than here in the US (which could be 1.5" or 2" tall)  ......  does the book have a photo of the finished cake?

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2 minutes ago, JeanneCake said:

As Pastrygirl  mentions, the depth of the pan is important.  I want to say that most cake tins in the UK are deeper (about 3" tall on average) than here in the US (which could be 1.5" or 2" tall)  ......  does the book have a photo of the finished cake?

It doesn't really - there's a shot of a table with several bakes, I think one may be a slice of this cake, but it's unclear.

Hmmmm, that's interesting about the depth of UK pans. I didn't know they were so deep - though now that you mention it, they do look very deep on the Great British Baking Show, lol.

The one I used was 8x2. I'm hoping a 9x2 round pan will be better next time....

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Something else just occurred to me; several of my English cookbooks (especially for fruitcakes) have you make a parchment collar for the pan.  It extends two-ish inches above the rim of the pan.  Does the front section of the book talk about how to prepare the pans for cakes?  The Australian cake pans I have (these are different shapes that you couldn't get easily) are 3 inches tall and the accompanying recipes all mention making the parchment collar.   Your mileage may vary; but maybe something to try with the springform pan you have; just use a double layer of heavy duty foil to wrap the bottom (outside) and that will help minimize any leaking.

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1 hour ago, JeanneCake said:

Something else just occurred to me; several of my English cookbooks (especially for fruitcakes) have you make a parchment collar for the pan.  It extends two-ish inches above the rim of the pan.  Does the front section of the book talk about how to prepare the pans for cakes?  The Australian cake pans I have (these are different shapes that you couldn't get easily) are 3 inches tall and the accompanying recipes all mention making the parchment collar.   Your mileage may vary; but maybe something to try with the springform pan you have; just use a double layer of heavy duty foil to wrap the bottom (outside) and that will help minimize any leaking.

Thanks for the springform tip! I’ll try it! I reviewed the intro to the entire cookbook and the intro to the cake section in particular (entitled cake tips and tricks!) - nothing about wrapping pans with collars. I’ve seen that done for soufflés. Makes sense that it would work for cakes too. 
 

Thanks for all the help! 

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11 minutes ago, mmlstarr said:

Thanks for the springform tip! I’ll try it! I reviewed the intro to the entire cookbook and the intro to the cake section in particular (entitled cake tips and tricks!) - nothing about wrapping pans with collars. I’ve seen that done for soufflés. Makes sense that it would work for cakes too. 
 

Thanks for all the help! 

ps do you think reducing the leavening by 1/2 t of bp would significantly alter the texture/density?

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I was thinking the buttermilk and cocoa made the baking soda necessary to adjust the PH of the batter; and that the BP is for lift in the oven.  I do think that the self-rising flour is something we see a lot of in English (and Southern US) recipes and perhaps their ratios are different. So if you use 1.5 tsp BP to one cup of flour, whisk well, then use 80 grams of that for the self rising flour, you should be ok....

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10 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

I don't see the point of using half self-raising flour.


I think one of the reasons you’ll often see British recipes use self-raising flour is because we don’t really have cake flour. Our nearest equivalent is self-raising flour as it’s more finely milled than plain (all-purpose) flour, with the added “bonus” of leavening included. 
 

I wish recipe writers would stop using it, especially in ways like this where, as you say, it seems utterly pointless to blend flours. But I guess Ms Gill does it because that’s the way the person who gave her the recipe did it, as did the person before her, etc.... until no one can quite remember why it was done that way, or questions if it was ever even necessary to begin with. 

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3 hours ago, Pete Fred said:


I think one of the reasons you’ll often see British recipes use self-raising flour is because we don’t really have cake flour. Our nearest equivalent is self-raising flour as it’s more finely milled than plain (all-purpose) flour, with the added “bonus” of leavening included. 
 

I wish recipe writers would stop using it, especially in ways like this where, as you say, it seems utterly pointless to blend flours. But I guess Ms Gill does it because that’s the way the person who gave her the recipe did it, as did the person before her, etc.... until no one can quite remember why it was done that way, or questions if it was ever even necessary to begin with. 

 

The whole self-raising (UK) and self-rising (US) thing really is confusing. My on-line searches have led me to believe that self-raising flour is just AP flour (albeit with less protein perhaps) and bp (conversion: 1C AP + 2t bp = 1C self-raising) and that self-rising flour has less bp (1.5 t per cup) and salt. Argh. Darn the Great British Baking Show for getting me hooked on British recipes and ingredients! Next I'll be awash in suet and treacle.

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1 hour ago, mmlstarr said:

 

The whole self-raising (UK) and self-rising (US) thing really is confusing.


It’s a total pain. I refuse to use the stuff. There’s conflicting advice online (plus ça change!) so I stick with Nigella Lawson’s formula, figuring she and her her team might have at least consulted manufacturers rather than plucking it out of thin air. She recommends two teaspoons of baking powder (10g) to 150g plain (all-purpose) flour. It’s never let me down. 👍

 

Seeing as you have the book and wish to dip your toe further into British baking, have a go at Ms Gill’s version of sticky toffee pudding. I’ve made it a couple of times recently and it’s pretty bomb-proof. Steamed puddings can be a little daunting for the uninitiated but there should be some useful videos on YouTube if you’re unsure. And, for maximum Britishness, be sure to serve it with toffee sauce AND custard, which she inexplicably neglects. 😉

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6 minutes ago, Pete Fred said:


It’s a total pain. I refuse to use the stuff. There’s conflicting advice online (plus ça change!) so I stick with Nigella Lawson’s formula, figuring she and her her team might have at least consulted manufacturers rather than plucking it out of thin air. She recommends two teaspoons of baking powder (10g) to 150g plain (all-purpose) flour. It’s never let me down. 👍

 

Seeing as you have the book and wish to dip your toe further into British baking, have a go at Ms Gill’s version of sticky toffee pudding. I’ve made it a couple of times recently and it’s pretty bomb-proof. Steamed puddings can be a little daunting for the uninitiated but there should be some useful videos on YouTube if you’re unsure. And, for maximum Britishness, be sure to serve it with toffee sauce AND custard, which she inexplicably neglects. 😉

 

Thanks! I will absolutely try the Sticky Toffee Pudding with the addition of custard as you suggest : )  That's indeed how they used to serve it at Tea and Sympathy, a tiny restaurant in Greenwich Village run entirely by almost assuredly undocumented ex-pats. I adore the place. Pretty sure they use Bird's custard. I'm a huge anglophile if you can't tell. 

So - what's your take on why the cake spilled over? Any thoughts? Too much leavening? Too small (too shallow?) a pan? 

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2 minutes ago, Pete Fred said:

You over-filled the pan. As pastrygirl says, two-thirds full should be your rule of thumb, three-quarters max. 😁

 

Gotcha! So maybe Ms. Gill's 8" pan is indeed deeper than mine. I'll use a 9" next time and keep the recipe the same!

 

Thanks so much for all the help!

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This exchange reminded me that I have some of the sponge stashed in the freezer. 
 

So, one tube of salted butter caramel, a carton of crème anglaise...

 

image.thumb.jpeg.1636690d07b2b851183f5c43ddfe911f.jpeg
 

...and five minutes in the microwave later...

 

image.thumb.jpeg.74832cf3b3cc20666e8d5312d28ca550.jpeg

 

...tonight’s dinner is sorted. Happy days!!

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17 minutes ago, Pete Fred said:

This exchange reminded me that I have some of the sponge stashed in the freezer. 
 

So, one tube of salted butter caramel, a carton of crème anglaise...

 

image.thumb.jpeg.1636690d07b2b851183f5c43ddfe911f.jpeg
 

...and five minutes in the microwave later...

 

image.thumb.jpeg.74832cf3b3cc20666e8d5312d28ca550.jpeg

 

...tonight’s dinner is sorted. Happy days!!

Oh my heavens. I could just curl up in that and go right to sleep. Fantastic!

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