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Cake mysteriously falling....


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Hi all! Just throwing this out to the ether to see if anyone has any ideas as to why this happening or how to fix it.

I've made Dorie Greenspan's Carrot Cake several times with a few alterations: sub out 1 C white sugar for 1 C brown, soak the raisins, carrots, and coconut in the juice of 1 orange, and add 1 T mayonnaise. The cake is outrageously good and just moist enough. BUT, one of the layers always falls a bit in the center. Not both layers, just one, lol. It doesn't really affect anything, except that, when you cut it, there's sort of a "well" of frosting in the center where the indentation is. Not tragic, just annoying. I use 2 9x2 cake pans (1 KAF and 1 USA). Could it simply be a difference in the quality of the pan? I haven't noticed if it's the same pan every time that has the fallen cake. 

 

Anyway - just thought I'd leave it here to see. As I said, the cake is delicious and not underbaked. 

 

Thanks all!

 

Michael

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well, for one, you're adding a fair bit of extra moisture over the base recipe, which means that you might need to change how they're baked. given that you generally have one layer of the two fall, it leads me to think that that layer is not cooking like the other one. are the pans different colours? darker pans will transmit heat differently. additionally, how even is the heating in your oven? if you're baking them at the same time in the same oven, clearly one is not getting the same treatment.

 

you say the cake is not underbaked, but i would argue it probably isn't baked to the same extent as the other layer; there's a pretty fine difference in my experience right at the tail end of cakery bakery and just a few degrees can sink a cake without it seeming fudgy and underdone. you might also try adjusting the amount of leavening in the cake for your modifications / baking environment - a little too much leavening can make a cake rise too fast and then collapse.

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@jimb0  

Yes, it's true about the added moisture - and that was the aim of my tinkering, of course. Next time, I'll see which pan it is that has the sinker. They're almost identical pans: same color, same thickness, same depth. Cooked on the same rack, side by side.

 

Maybe I'll drain the carrot/coconut/raisins more fully after their soak next time. Or leave out the mayo. It's just that I love the current texture so much, lol.

 

The original recipe also calls for the cakes to be baked in 3 9" pans, but IMHO there isn't enough batter - or rather, they would be much thinner layers. Do you suppose that's making a difference, too?

Edited by mmlstarr (log)
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I used to frequently do a carrot cake with a similar moisture level. The results always identical twin like. As to oven placement I did my spice cake oddly yesterday and learned that the right front side of my oven bakes differently. It happened cuz my hands hurt so I slid it in haphazardly.  Exorcism is an option ;)

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@jimb0 (I tried to tag you before, but I don't think I did it right! Apologies if this is a repeat!)

 

Yes, it's true about the added moisture - and that was the aim of my tinkering, of course. Next time, I'll see which pan it is that has the sinker. They're almost identical pans: same color, same thickness, same depth. Cooked on the same rack, side by side.

 

Maybe I'll drain the carrot/coconut/raisins more fully after their soak next time. Or leave out the mayo. It's just that I love the current texture so much, lol.

 

The original recipe also calls for the cakes to be baked in 3 9" pans, but IMHO there isn't enough batter - or rather, they would be much thinner layers. Do you suppose that's making a difference, too?

 

Also, re: leavening: the recipe calls for 2t bp and 2t soda. My guess is that if I reduce one, it should be the soda?

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Firstly, if you are happy about the texture and flavor, I would not blame the recipe for the difference between the two.

The most likely reason is a difference in the pan - material, color, thickness, weight all have effect on rise.

Another reason might be that the batter is not distributed evenly - i.e. maybe it's not evenly mixed, or that the raisins sink to the bottom, leading to one layer having more of them. Try pouring the batter in small batches, switching between both.

The last reason I can think of might be an uneven oven. Try using the convention fan if you have one (lowering the temperature a bit to compensate). Also try swapping the cakes mid way through baking.

~ Shai N.

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Do you use a scale?   Next time, weigh the total amount of batter, then scale it equally by half into the pans. (Something I always do the first several times I make a new recipe)  I wouldn't mess with the soda or the BP; you need to soda to balance the PH of the batter (which you are already tweaking with the little bit of molasses in the brown sugar and the acidity of the OJ).  If both layers were falling, the leavening might be suspect; but I agree with Shain, it's more likely the pan.

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9 hours ago, mmlstarr said:

@jimb0 (I tried to tag you before, but I don't think I did it right! Apologies if this is a repeat!)

 

Yes, it's true about the added moisture - and that was the aim of my tinkering, of course. Next time, I'll see which pan it is that has the sinker. They're almost identical pans: same color, same thickness, same depth. Cooked on the same rack, side by side.

 

Maybe I'll drain the carrot/coconut/raisins more fully after their soak next time. Or leave out the mayo. It's just that I love the current texture so much, lol.

 

The original recipe also calls for the cakes to be baked in 3 9" pans, but IMHO there isn't enough batter - or rather, they would be much thinner layers. Do you suppose that's making a difference, too?

 

Also, re: leavening: the recipe calls for 2t bp and 2t soda. My guess is that if I reduce one, it should be the soda?

 

you'll for sure get a different bake in three thinner layers than you will in two. of course, they aren't likely to all fit on the same rack. if this is a cake that you frost, a thinner layer isn't always a bad thing. you may not want to do a layer carrot cake every time, but it's one option. i am definitely looking forward to your next bake and seeing whether one of your big pans is consistently providing the issue, or oven placement, etc.

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@jimb0 @shain

Thank you both so much! I do use a scale, so the layers were almost exactly equal in weight. I'll watch which pan does which carefully next time and I'll also try the convection setting. I'll report back - but it may be a while or I'll be the size of a house.

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