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Collapsing pistachio cake


ravum
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I tried making a pistachio cake that got great reviews on egullet.This is the recipe.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/105003

I have made it twice and followed the recipe to the letter.Each time it rises well in the oven.After removing it,it shrinks a little and collapses.The final texture is dense and a little gooey.

It still tastes good though.....so if made properly should be wonderful.

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The only reason I can think of is that you beat too much air into the eggs, so they puff up in the oven but collapse afterwards. But the photo looks pretty dense, so that might be what's expected.

Have you checked your oven temperature? It might not be calibrated quite right, in which case you actually might be baking at a lower temperature (or higher). In either case, that could make a difference.

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Looking at the recipe linked I'd make these suggestions:

When a cake pan is suggested to be greased/or buttered/ or sprayed then coated with flour. The flours purpose is to give the rising batter something to cling to as it bakes. If you didn't flour your pan for that recipe the batter would keep sliding down the sides of the pan colapsing in on itself. That will make your finished cake denser and probably chewie, not correct at all.

I believe it was Karen here, that's repeatedly made the very correct point that you don't need to grease and or grease and flour your cake pans. If you line the bottom of your pans with parchment paper there is NO way a cake or baked good can stick to the bottom on the pan. So then all you have to contend with is releasing the sides of your cake or whatever baked good after the cake has cooled in the pan. All you do is run a thin knive around the inside edge and your item and it will release. Letting your cakes or baked goods cling to the side of your pan is a perfectly good and smart technique. It gives it better support then a floured pan will.

To some extent people have become overly worried about a cake sticking in a pan. Your first and best line of defense is lining your pan with parchment paper. I lightly spray my pan so when I place my parchment into my pan it clings like clue to the pan and it can't shift as I bump and carry around my raw cake. You also can use a slight sprinkle of water in the pan to make the paper cling to it.

Specificly talking about the recipe linked: Susans suggestion that you might have over beaten your eggs doesn't seem valid because the eggs are not beaten seperately the folded into your batter. In a creamed cake batter like this one you really can't over beat/over incorporate your eggs. Plus you have chemical leaveners that are giving your cake rise, the eggs aren't acting as a solo leavener here.

One other thing that sticks out to me is the amount of cardamon used. 1 tsp. of cardamon is a huge amount (assuming your spice is realitively fresh), not many flavors can compete with that to be noticed........your pistachios will only give you looks and texture you can't possibly taste them through that much cardamon. I'd use about 1/4 tsp. tops.

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I have checked the oven temperature.All other cakes turn out fine,its only this one I have a problem with.

I thought the 20 mins was'nt enough too,but a tester came out clean.It wasnt browned on top,just a little on the sides.Do I have to bake it longer?

I used parchment on the bottom exactly as Wendy has outlined and didnt grease or flour the sides (learnt from karen's posts).

The cardamom didnt seem too much,maybe because I didnt use a packed tsp but very loosely measured a tsp.

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I reviewed the recipe and took note of the fact that it calls for 2 teaspoons of baking powder.

One of (many) reasons for a cake falling is overabundance of leavening.

A general rule of thumb for cakes is to keep your baking powder at about 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of flour, and baking soda at 1/4 teaspoon per one cup of flour.

Noting that your cake uses one cup of flour, I would think that you would want to try one teaspoon of baking powder instead of the two that the recipe calls for.

Bet that will solve your problem. :rolleyes:

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Anne,the pistachio is ground and makes about a cup of pistachio flour.If that is included,the recipe does remain at 1tsp of baking powder for a cup of flour.

Does the ground pistachio count?

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Anne,the pistachio is ground and makes about a cup of pistachio flour.If that is included,the recipe does remain at 1tsp of baking powder for a cup of flour.

Does the ground pistachio count?

My guess is no, the pistachio doesn't count. Leave the powder at 1 tsp. The gas generated by the baking powder is trapped by the web of gluten activated by stirring the flour into the creamed butter/sugar/egg along with whatever liquid is added. And since pistachio flour has no gluten, it can't trap any gas. So you only need enough powder to leaven the one cup of flour. My first guess after looking at the recipe was that there was too much powder, as that causes the middle of a cake to collapse, then I decided I didn't know. I'm just wondering if the pistachio flour is making the batter a little heavy, but that might be part of the appeal of this cake.

Edited by McDuff (log)
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I made this cake a while ago after reading the rave reviews on eGullet. I'm no expert by any means, but I remember I thought the 20-minute baking time had to be a mistake. In any case, I made it in a smallish loaf-pan and put the extra batter in a couple of muffin tins. The muffins were ready in 20 minutes and were done, had a great texture and wonderful taste. The cake, at 20 minutes, was heavy and simply looked and felt like it needed more baking time, which I gave it. But it simply did not come out good. I don't remember now exactly what was wrong with it, but it wasn't right. And the muffins, which were made from the exact same batter, were wonderful. So I dunno ...

Now I want to try this again, and I think I will reduce the amount of cardamom as suggested here. The pistachio flavor really wasn't discernable, but the cardamom was so good that at the time I didn't care! And next time I will reduce the powder, and bake it in a regular sized loaf pan, no muffins, so I can see what happens here.

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