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Cake help


SweetSide
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...

Also, try folding in egg whites with a large rubber spatula. I do not use an electric mixer. ...

Sorry, I was joking/being sarcastic -- someone at work really did deflate a giant batch of egg foam cake because they beat the living daylights out of it. Can you say soup?

I do use a big, flat spatula or for bigger batches a big bowl scraper! Even at work, up to my bicep in egg foam...

Cake is out of the oven....

Things I did differently --

1) Moved the rack to the center, away from the stone.

2) Volume and scale weighed the flour -- came out almost exactly the same.

3) Took some sugar out of the creaming process and whipped my egg whites with that for structure. Based on appearances and time and folding, I'm thinking that was indeed part of the problem -- over beaten egg whites.

4) Added "new oven" to my "when my husband gets his year end bonus" list... :raz:

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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I'm on the other end of your universe  :raz:  I know that a cup of flour for me, after scooping and weighing a zillion times, weighs 4.5 ounces.  So if something calls for a cup, I use 4.5 ounces.  For me.  And for scaling I will calculate to fractions of an ounce even when the recipe calls for something like 20 pounds 9 and 1/3 ounces.... like that 1/3 ounce is gonna kill it... :rolleyes:

My ANALytical nature I guess....

That may be your benchmark, but remember when an author writes a recipe in volume measurements, you cannot assume he or she means 4.5 ounces per cup. You have to convert the recipe to weights as I suggested above, by measuring the recipe in volume, weighing the result and then testing the recipe. Many cookbook authors write how they measure the flour in the introduction in the book - wcoop or spoon. I write it with each recipe in my cookboks, and have been doing so since 1999.

I get a different weight than you do per cup depending on the type of flour. For all-purpose flour, I get: 4.41 ounces (125 grams) per cup - all-purpose, unbleached if spooned into the measuring cup and leveled to top)!!

I'm not anal, am I? hehehehe! Please - don't all cough and choke at once! (But, when I am really alone and away from all of you, I use K8's cosmic methods.....shhh! don't tell!)

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

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Sorry, I was joking/being sarcastic -- someone at work really did deflate a giant batch of egg foam cake because they beat the living daylights out of it.  Can you say soup? 

HEHE~ I need to relax because I am missing jokes and not having fun and getting too serious! Anyway, let us know how it all turns out!

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

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PHOO!

Ok, because this cake is just cake, here's the analysis without all the frosting.

Still a thin rubbery line on the bottom, but not the entire diameter of the cake.

When rising in the oven (yes, I was checking on it repeatedly), it rose, then the outer third set. Then, it rose more in the middle. Looked like a bell curve (wish you could draw on message boards).

When it came out, then center deflated, but did not "sink". The end result is a cake where the center and outer edge are even, and there is a dipped ring halfway between edge and center. The rubberiness is from that ring to the center.

For the non-rubbery part of the cake, it is soft and fluffy (still warmish) with an even crumb. When I cut it, it did not crumble at all.

Again, when I took it out of the oven, it sprung back, but I'm wondering if I took it out a tad too early. However, I don't think additional time would help the density on the bottom at all.

Again baked in 8 x 3 pans, but the cake isn't that tall so I don't know why I need 8 x 3 and not 8 x 2.

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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K8....

I used to have a 4 deck Blodgett at one of my jobs too. I baked everything in it also. My cakes

baked fine in there.....no rubbery bottoms.

I also use part of the sugar that goes into the yolk part of the batter, and add it to the whites to stabilize them. I wonder why the recipe isn't written that way? The eggs don't deflate as easily

when they are whipped with sugar, and I use this trick all the time. Good to know you do too

Sarah.

Don't mean to throw a screw into the works, but when I had my rubbery bottom problem, my

cake recipe wasn't the kind of recipe where you fold the whites in at the end. It was just the

basic creaming method (Cream butter and sugars, add eggs, add flour, soda, salt and buttermilk

alternately). Don't expect I'll ever figure out what happened to that bloody recipe. I figure God

only allotted me a certain amount of times to bake that cake beautifully and I went over my

allotment, and for some reason he didn't renew my subscription to that recipe. That's my explanation. What science won't explain, religion will!

When I fold in egg whites, by the way, I'm all about using my hands (arms) and sometimes a

bowl scraper. I like to fan my hand out to really get some good incorporation going with as

little motion of the batter as possible. I don't like using spatulas, because when I can't "feel"

my batter, I feel.....out of touch. I'm one of those people that bakes by "feel" a lot of the time.

:smile:

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SweetSide,

And fourth??? I baked the cake in two, 9 x 2-inch cake pans and had great success - I did not test it in 2, 8 x 3-inch pans as the recipe suggests - perhaps the 3-inch pan depth caused an issue??

The recipe is improving.

As I mentioned earlier, I did not use 3-inch high baking pans. On second thought, I could have used an 8 x 2-inch baking pans, instead of 9 x 2-inch baking pans, but now I cannot recall. I know I did not use a 3-inch high one! The reason is that I do not get good results all the time with 3-inch high pans so I don't like to do recipe testing in them initially -- which is what I was doing originally for the baker who asked me about the cake.

I have pictures of the cake, if I can figure put how to post them..... Oh, heck, here are some photos http://www.baking911.com/asksarahbb/index.php?showtopic=1168

Edited by Sarah Phillips (log)

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

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Ok, now that the cake is cooler, I've been dissecting it -- while the family has been eating it... (for some any fresh cake is good!)

It appears that the rubbery bottom layer is not cooked thoroughly. I'm wondering if it is the pans being too high that is causing my problem now... Of the 8" diameter, the outer inch is fine, then it slowly gets worse as you get to the center.

The other cake has been refrigerated for some time (since I made it on Sunday), so I can't easily compare the two cakes. And, I didn't cut that one until it was filled and frosted, thinking that all was well intitially.

The only other time I've had "undoneness" in the middle bottom is when I was baking a 1/2 sheet (2" deep, not a regular sheet) or large square. For that recipe for those pans, I use a flower nail and stopped having the problem.

And, chefpeopn, I'm learning to bake by feel -- and smell and sound as well. As time goes on, I'm amazed at how I can tell when things are getting to where they are supposed to be by all the clues they give you. This is why I'm not an insurance underwriter any more (even if my current cake is cruddy!)

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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...HA! You're a big help! You have what is called "the baker's touch!" Do whatever and it turns out right!

In my fondest dreams I wish I had "the baker's touch"

I'm on the other end of your universe  :raz: ...

My end of the universe, which is very close to yours after all, would never use whipped egg whites in a decorated (for sale) cake, which is why I use this formula, in cakes that I sell. Too unpredictable, too egg-y tasting, especially in a white cake. Tear the recipe in half and try it with the unbeaten eggs, add them separately I guess. I mean I know Gale Gand and her Mom do not add them separately. But then Alton Brown does. Just try it without beating 'em first--see what happens.

I also think your butter is too warm, the batter is not a strong (enough) emulsion and the water oozes out when the pan warms in the oven and soggifies the flour making rubber. Or are you setting your pan on the warm oven top before baking maybe??

I'm not anal, am I? hehehehe! Please - don't all cough and choke at once! (But, when I am really alone and away from all of you, I use K8's cosmic methods.....shhh! don't tell!)

Bwu wah ha ha~~Let the cosmic juices flow, baby!! :raz:

But to bake and more importantly to teach baking you really gotta be (anal) picky picky picky, you gotta sweat every detail.

K8....

I used to have a 4 deck Blodgett at one of my jobs too. I baked everything in it also. My cakes

baked fine in there.....no rubbery bottoms.

I also use part of the sugar that goes into the yolk part of the batter, and add it to the whites to stabilize them. I wonder why the recipe isn't written that way? The eggs don't deflate as easily

when they are whipped with sugar, and I use this trick all the time. Good to know you do too

Cool on the deck oven. Yeah, I gotta put sugar in my egg white stuff or it just doesn't work consistently.

Edited by K8memphis (log)
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My end of the universe, which is very close to yours after all, would never use whipped egg whites in a decorated (for sale) cake, which is why I use this formula, in cakes that I sell. Too unpredictable, too egg-y tasting, especially in a white cake. Tear the recipe in half and try it with the unbeaten eggs, add them separately I guess. I mean I know Gale Gand and her Mom do not add them separately. But then Alton Brown does. Just try it without beating 'em first--see what happens.

I also think your butter is too warm, the batter is not a strong (enough) emulsion and the water oozes out when the pan warms in the oven and soggifies the flour making rubber. Or are you setting your pan on the warm oven top before baking maybe??

K8,

I happen to agree with you about this particular cake recipe - I believe there are problems with the mixing methods as written. In fact, I rewrote the mixing methods for my website when I revamped the recipe to create a better emulsion http://www.baking911.com/asksarahbb/index.php?showtopic=1168 I totally agree with you!

Ms. Weinstock has you cream the fat alone for 2 minutes and then add the sugar and then cream the fat and sugar again until light and fluffy. I found that that really softened the fat way too much. Plus, she has you add the egg yolks, one at a time and then beat well after each addition, instead of 20 seconds. A lot of mixing = warming the fat too much = breaking the emulsion! So, I rewrote the instructions on my site to include faster mixing times = less chance of failure.

I also added a few tablespoons sugar to the beaten egg whites in order to strengthen the foam at the end. I beat the egg whites to the firm peak stage so they would not deflate when folded in = less chance of failure.

Plus, I used 2, 8 x 2-inch baking pans, instead of 2, 8 x 3-inch baking pans, as Ms. Weinstock recommended. I folded the egg whites in two additions, rather than three because I find that the less mixing when butter cakes are concerned, the less gluten is formed. It's just from my personal experiences - you want to avoid mixing a butter cake even when folding in ingredients = less chance of failure.

The cake perhaps would have benefited from using 3/4 cup sour cream or a few tablespoons under 1 cup, instead of 1 cup but I never tested it. It's because there was a very, very slight dip in the center of the cake. But, I discovered that the way I measured the flour was causing the dip. Sour cream cakes should not dip in the center - that means that there is a problem with their structure, they are underbaked or you opened the oven door too early in the baking process, which caused a dip in the center of the cake from which it never will recover.

Plus, I use ingredients right from the refrigerator. I have found that the action of the beaters warm the ingredients quickly, and I believe that using room temperature ingredients when baking certain cakes is not necessary any more and really overwarns the ingredients - I believe that using "room temperature" is a hold over from old times when cakes were mixed by hand. I write about using ingredients right from the fridge in my book.

So, K8, I agree with you!

Edited by Sarah Phillips (log)

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

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Yeah, come to think of it, I remember sticking the mixer bowl in the frige for a few minutes during the process sometimes because I can see things slipping away from me. (Wait, wait ,for K8t, come back!) But I've learned to set the timer so I don't get slice-able cake batter either. :raz:

This is what I do... :biggrin:

~~~GRAPHIC CONTENT ALERT~~NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART~~~

I make sure my scratch batter looks like cake mix batter all the time through every stage.

But do you understand how many rubber baby bottoms I got before I arrived at this shocking discovery??? That works like a charm?? Sheesh...

Edited by K8memphis (log)
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K8,

I couldn't see you shocking K8TV picture -- Have we BEATen this topic to death yet with our ANALysis?

I started using ingredients from the fridge way back when because I was too antsy to wait for them to come to room temperature and discovered that my cakes and other recipes baked just as well as those that everyone kept saying to plan ahead with - I mean, when I wanted to bake a cake, I wanted to bake a cake, and couldn't sit around waiting for everything to come to room temperature. Half of the time my butter was too soft because I got on the phone or my kids wanted something or the dog got out of the yard. The concept of "room temperature" did not fit my lifestyle as a busy mom and web entrepreneur.

And, then I had to back into my scientific studies to prove my point - armed with my Instant Read Thermometer, I tested how fast 4 sticks of butter warmed - about 60 seconds or less with a stand mixer -- to 65 degrees F from the fridge, and the batter ended with a 68 to 70 degrees F temp when finally mixed - so, I could sound like a knowledgible authoriity figure on the subject! hehehehe!

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

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K8,

I couldn't see you shocking K8TV picture -- Have we BEATen this topic to death yet with our ANALysis?

I started using ingredients from the fridge way back when because I was too antsy to wait for them to come to room temperature and discovered that my cakes and other recipes baked just as well as those that everyone kept saying to plan ahead with - I mean, when I wanted to bake a cake, I wanted to bake a cake, and couldn't sit around waiting for everything to come to room temperature. Half of the time my butter was too soft because I got on the phone or my kids wanted something or the dog got out of the yard. The concept of "room temperature" did not fit my lifestyle as a busy mom and web entrepreneur.

And, then I had to back into my scientific studies to prove my point - armed with my Instant Read Thermometer, I tested how fast 4 sticks of butter warmed - about 60 seconds or less with a stand mixer -- to 65 degrees F from the fridge, and the batter ended with a 68 to 70 degrees F temp when finally mixed - so, I could sound like a knowledgible authoriity figure on the subject! hehehehe!

No wait, there's no picture, you just had to scroll down to give you the opportunity to avoid the graphic content--the empty space is just to let whosoever avoid the graphic-ness of discovering I use cake mix as a guide. :biggrin: They have to scroll down on purpose.

No, I got one more horse to whup... and we gotta hear back from Cheryl with all our 'sage' advice :biggrin:

Umm, I think that the butter I am getting is softer--has more water than before. Truly truly. It's double A--but didn't I used to get triple A?? Can't remember but this butter is softer by far.

Yeah, room temperature sucks. I always stuck my eggs in warm water but used them immediatley. And I have even been known to shred my butter & spread it over a sheet pan to 'warm' for me--but I've wised up the hard way. Not to mention I've read your book!!!

And besides the devil is in the details with baking. And successful bakers get him OUTA there!!

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Well, I'm pondering the cosmic forces, and they are saying that tonight is a good nice to sit on my nether regions and fall asleep on the couch.

My thoughts, so far, on your advice without going to round three of the rubbery cake...

My butter isn't "soft". When it is at New England room temperature this week, if I PRESS it with my finger, I will get a slight indentation, but it is still firm. I don't beat the living daylights out of it either. Could still be this, but next time I'll take its temp.

And, my pan was not set on the warm stove top -- been there, done that. Am careful not to do that anymore, nor to reuse sheet pans when cooking multiple batches of cookies unless you want one giant all spread out cookie... :rolleyes:

Now, if my oven isn't hot enough, wouldn't that cause the same thing to happen? Butter gets just warm enough to melt out? Sorta like when you make buttermilk hockey pucks -- um biscuits -- cuz another student turned the oven down on you...

Yeah, and I've Got to go get ANOTHER oven thermometer -- last one (which was reading good with the oven stone) was left in the self-cleaning oven and didn't survive... :rolleyes:

I like the tip on adding the sugar to the whites -- did that with a new cake at work today and I find it makes that whipping to the right stage and the folding easier. New trick to remember...

Oh, and for beating in the eggs -- I learned that 20 second thing from someone a while ago, and use that, head bobbing as I count them out... so I didn't beat the eggs to oblivion either. I beat them just until they disappear, and scrape about halfway through the eggs and then again at the end just before another couple of spins. Not after every single egg...

My batter was THICK -- like didn't spread out much at all when I panned it. I had to spread it all out. Was yours?

And, I'm contemplating just throwing in the eggs and not whipping the whites. K8, at what stage(s) do you do that when making this recipe?

Thanks!

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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Hi SweetSide~

The first time you baked the cake, you have a layer of rubbery batter at the bottom of the cake, right? And, we solved that.

The second time the cake had a gummy middle (not a layer) with you using all of your great baking skills and knowledge. Plus, you still baked the cake in 8 x 3-inch pans and you think your oven temp is off. It sounds as though the cake was not baked all the way or the pan is causing a problem or your oven's temperature is causing a problem, which is a big concern of mine overall.

I mean, if your oven does not work properly, all sorts of funny things happen to recipes.....Plain and simple, they just do not bake right. Yes, maybe others have had good success with pizza stones in their oven, but remember thier oven temps were correct. You said yours was off and varied. I know you know this because you are a professional.

At this point, why don't you try a new recipe, since getting a new oven is out of the question or bake the Weinstock recipe at work or bake the Weinstock cake in your oven in 2, 8 x 2-inch pans and see if the recipe bakes better!

And, if you want to experiment with adding whole eggs to the Weinstock recipe, add them in place of the egg yolks. At quick glance, there may be too many whole eggs for the recipe, so it may not work. I have my Ultimate Yellow Butter Cake Recipe, if you wish to try or I am sure you know a lot of other professional recipes.

Oh, yea -- The Weinstock batter was not really, really thick. It was like typical yellow cake batter - I had to spread it with an small offset spatula - she also instructs you to do the same with a rubber spatula in her recipe. Oh - and, I am glad my tips for beating egg whites with a tiny amount of sugar helped!

Edited by Sarah Phillips (log)

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

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...

The second time the cake had a gummy middle (not a layer) with you using all of your great baking skills and knowledge. Plus, you still baked the cake in 8 x 3-inch pans and you think your oven temp is off. It sounds as though the cake was not baked all the way or the pan is causing a problem or your oven's temperature is causing a problem, which is a big concern of mine overall.

...

I have my Ultimate Yellow Butter Cake Recipe, if you wish to try or I am sure you know a lot of other professional recipes.

Sarah, just to clarify, the second time it still had the rubbery layer, but I could see it was an undercooked section. And it was of a diameter less than the diameter of the cake. As my family eats the cake, they just peel that part off, and the rest of the cake is fine.

I tried your Ultimate Yellow Butter Cake Recipe, and it is more dense than what I am in search of. I like it, but I'm looking for a cake with a lighter texture. And, I baked that one from cold butter, eggs, etc. EXACTLY as you instructed, and it came out very good.

And when I said the batter was thick, it was not overly so -- I just meant that you definitely had to spread it around. I have some cakes I make with looser or even runny batters. And, at work, it is SO hot that we do have melting butter issues and big problems with buttercreams...

I am just a stubborn soul who wants to make this work to prove that I can. At that point, once I know I can do it, I will likely move on to a less temperamental recipe for use in my oven.

K8 -- send some of your cosmic juju my way tomorrow!

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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Agh...I slice the butter in eighth inch sections & plaster it around the sides of the mixer bowl

(gathering cosmic juices as we go)

{<>mmmm<>}

I get out all the rest of the ingredients.

Cream the buttah to be sure I don't have any resilient chunks

Add sugar & umm beat till fluffy

Add 2 eggs & two egg whites one at a time

And I watch it to be sure things don't start getting away from me temperature wise~~I'm ready to put this in the frige or freezer to refirm a bit if necessary)

add vanilly

In a separate bowl I whisked the sifted flour, bkg pwd & salt together

Added a third of that to the mixture, mix well.

Add half the sour cream mix well

add third of flour stuff mix well

add rest of sour cream mix well

add rest of flour mix well

I'm gonna write it out the way I have it in my book so it's all in one place. This is my take off on Sylvia Weinstock's wonderful sour cream cake.

1/2 # butter..........................cream

2 cups sugar.........................add to ^ & beat till fluffy

2 teaspoons vanilla...............add to ^

2 eggs

2 egg whites.........................add to ^ one at at time

(watch out that the emulsion is nice & firm & fluffy--chill if necessary--time it though)

2.5 cups sifted cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt................in separate bowl whisk together, add 1/3 to ^ mix well

1 cup sour cream.................add half to mixture & combine well

add another third of flour to the mixture & combine well

add the rest of the sour cream combine well

add remainder of flour mixture combine well.

I then mix for two minutes timed on medium speed.

Interesting, my formula uses two and a half cups of flour, the one in the link uses two and a quarter cups. :biggrin: Ding ding ding ding I think we have a winner :raz: And I just checked her book, Sweet Celebrations, it has 2.25 cups.

:rolleyes:

So what are the cosmic juices saying about that one??? I mean I know I used about 2.25 cups before sifting because I short the measurement --oh gawd! So sift after measuring!!!! :laugh:

Edited by K8memphis (log)
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The pastry shop where I work uses a chiffon-type recipe with egg whites folded in at the end. The "rubber-bottom" problem seems to occur when the eggs are underbeaten or badly overbeaten and the batter sits too long before the pans go into the oven.

This can be a matter of seconds... :blink: When you see large bubbles (>1 cm) forming in your batter, the proteins supporting the egg foam are starting to denature (chemical changes from sugars, fats and acids in the batter, physical breakage of the protein chains from beating). [***A quick eyeball test for properly beaten whites --- watch the sides of the mixing bowl at the top of the foam layer. When the billows of egg foam start to pull tiny peaks away from the sides of the bowl, it's at the soft peak stage. When the tips of the peaks on the sides of the bowl stay horizontal, it's at the stiff peak stage.***]

Good mise en place is essential! Before you fold in your egg whites, make sure that you have your pans prepared and ready, your oven at temperature, and keep any spatulas you need to level your pans immediately at hand. For folding in your egg white, try using a bowl scraper --- as someone else here suggested, roll up your sleeves and fold bare-handed. Add the beaten whites all at once, unless the batter is very stiff and you have to moisten it with a portion of the whites to make the rest "foldable". It's more important to get the whites incorporated rapidly and thoroughly than it is to be gentle with them.

Fill your pans and get them into the oven quickly --- don't worry about trying to even up your layers by shuffling spoonfuls among pans. You can trim them to match after they're baked. [***If you make the recipe repeatedly or have several equal-size pans to fill, sit down and add up the weight of your recipe before you start cooking, then divide by the number of pans and use a kitchen scale to portion your batter. It's more accurate and much faster! If you write down the weight per pan of each size, you can use this information in the future to adjust your recipe for the number of layers you need to bake.***]

Finally, cakes that leaven with egg white foam are notorious for shrinking when the elastic egg proteins contract after the layers are removed from the oven. The domed center of the cake layer is the most "stretched" part, so it leaves that hollow spot as it shrinks and may also pull the cake away from the sides of the pan. Try inverting your cake pans onto sheets of parchment or Silpats immediately after you remove them from the oven. You can peel off the parchment/Silpat when the layers are cool. The outermost skin of the layer may come off, but it's a small price to pay for a well-shaped cake.

Sorry for the long-winded response, but most cookbooks don't go into the details of technique or the hows-and-whys, and sometimes they should. Best of luck in your future cake-baking endeavors!

~Miriam

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Miriam, beautiful descriptions and that is exactly what I would want to see in my instructional books!

A lot of that I knew, but perhaps didn't practice diligently and need to practice some more... Good mise en place I have, but I will read and re-read the rest, along with the comments from my other helpers, before the next go round.

It will work, darn it!

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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I am weighing in here at the very end, but thought I would add a couple of things. I use a baking stone in the very bottom of my oven and they are wonderful. It is far enough away from the center of the oven to not affect the cake as far as direct heat. My oven, as I am sure many do, has hot and cold spots, so with the stone, it evens it all out. I never get one side of any baked good browner than the other using the stone, perfect.

However, since you can not place the stone on the very bottom of your oven, my suggestion is not to use one. They throw off a lot of direct heat and as Sarah, I believe pointed out, can heat the bottom of your cakes more quickly.

The second issue is the recipe itself and whipping egg whites in buttercakes. Nick Malgieri says the following about whipping egg whites, "...I think they make the cake layers more complicated to prepare and don't really contribute much to the lightness of the finished cakes." It also could solve your issue with the eggs as others have suggested. Instead, convert Silvia's recipe over to the high-ratio/two step method of baking where the fat coats the dry ingredients to protect gluten from forming, then the liquid is added. You get even air bubbles produced, the layers are tender, lighter and the end results have always been excellent for me. I bake most of my cakes using this method if I can.

If the weight of sugar is equal to or greater than the weight of the flour in a recipe, then you can easily convert to the high-ratio method. Silvia's recipe has more than enough sugar to do so. I would highly recommend it.

I see folding in egg whites more so in older recipes, so I am wondering to all the food historians out there if this is something left over from days gone by or trickled down from the genoise type cakes? Interesting...

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Having experienced problems with cake recipes in the past and doing everything short of calling the priest and the witch doctor in, I say, let's be realistic.

After you've tried a recipe "X" amount of times, and it still doesn't work for you, why keep trying?

If the recipe is that difficult to pull off, why would you want to have it in your repertoire?

Let's say after all this, you finally get the cake to come out. Then you have to do it again just to

make sure that wasn't a fluke. Then say, you get to the point in your career where you bake this cake in a larger amount, using a bigger mixer, a totally different oven and a multitude of different sized pans. Would you really want to use a recipe that you know is that volatile? I think not.

The only reason I would ever use a recipe that is extremely difficult to pull off is if I knew the

results were totally worth it, as in, "this cake is SO spectacular, people are beating my door down to have some."

Do you think this cake is THAT great? C'mon now.

Time is valuable. Time is money. Time is sacred. You need to have recipes that are hardy and that you can depend on. I say, "don't beat a dead horse."

Oh, sure, I sort of understand the thinking where you say to yourself, "Hey, I'm a professional, and if anyone can bake this cake it's ME, and if I CAN'T bake this cake, then, dammit, I'm gonna figure it out until I CAN." Then you bake yourself to a frenzy, and enter what I will call, "The Ninth Circle of Hell" (the Eighth being the debate about sifting :raz: )

But then, you get to the point in your career, where I'm at right now, where "proving" yourself isn't such a priority anymore. You already know you know your stuff, and you also have been around long enough to know there's recipes that actually suck and there's nothing you can do to fix them, and there's also circumstances beyond your control, like subtle differences in ingredients, the equipment you're blessed (or not blessed with), and the climate you live in.

Everyone's advice is scientifically sound and based on many experiences. But you are still having trouble despite this advice, correct? Is this thread actually helping, or just confusing things? That's when you have to say, "Hey, this is kinda crazy. There's better recipes out there.

Sometimes, letting it go and moving on, is the best thing to do. :wink:

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ROFL!!! THAT was funny.

I think it is in part the obsessive behavior towards food inside us that creates this need to figure out WHY...WHY....WHY...that and part lunacy. lol.

I agree, there are a lot of bad recipes out there. I baked a peanut butter cake the other day from Toba Garrett's cake book that was drier than bread. Believe me, I am an ample baker, the recipe is just bad, not enough fat, etc. I could obsess over it and spend valuable time reworking the recipe, or I could just move on and find a better one that works. I chose the later for peace of mind.

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Having experienced problems with cake recipes in the past and doing everything short of calling the priest and the witch doctor in, I say, let's be realistic....

...bake yourself to a frenzy, and enter what I will call, "The Ninth Circle of Hell" (the Eighth being the debate about sifting :raz: )

...

Sometimes, letting it go and moving on, is the best thing to do.  :wink:

Chefpeon, see, if I edit your post, I can take it totally out of context and start that Ninth Circle! :raz:

Seriously though -- I am at a point early enough in my career where I KNOW I need to improve certain skills. I am going to give it one more try (only done it twice) and see how it goes. If it works, I know I can do it, and will NOT store the recipe as written in my portfolio. I certainly wouldn't want to risk failure for a cake I was selling. I'm stubborn, but I'm not crazy. :biggrin: And if I CAN'T do it, then I have a stack here of other yellow and white cakes to try in my search for my perfect one.

And, when I do give up the recipe after this third time, I will surely have to say this thread helped in all regards. The advice shows me where I need work, what I do know, different ways of doing things, and keeps me learning so that the NEXT time I have a problem, I have more of my own personal instinct to go on, just like all of you.

Ninth Circle, here I come!!!!!

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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