Date Cake: dense at the bottom only

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Hi, I baked a date cake following this recipe - http://foodfellas4you.com/eggless-sugarless-date-walnut-cake/

I've done it 3-4 times so far . There has always been a thin layer (at the bottom) that seems dense. It still tastes great and I was wondering what might be causing this bottom layer to not rise (I am a newbie and I believe that's the term). Picture here - https://photos.app.goo.gl/Btvh822tfYZy2bmZA

Based on the reading here, it seems like it could be expired baking soda / powder. I checked the baking powder and it is fresh (I couldn't validate the soda as I had transferred it to a glass bottle). Next time I'll get fresh baking soda and try but I wanted to check if there could be any other causes.

I don't cook or bake much so I may be doing some other things wrong here. Trying to start baking because the results of this cake have been mostly encouraging (the family likes it!).

Thanks in advance :)
 
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The photo of the linked recipe seems a bit raw or undercooked on the bottom also. The recipe is lacking leavening, which partially stems from not using eggs. This is a vegan recipe, correct? Vegan baking will never be the same as the real deal.

Try using less batter in the same size pan. Similarly, divide the batter equally into to slightly smaller pans. Your photo shows a cake that is not fully cooked.

You need to get heat into the entire batter. Try adding thermal mass to your oven such as with a baking stone or heavy sautoir or similar.
 
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Yes, this is eggless recipe (not vegan though, because it's using milk). While baking, I put a the pan over a cookie sheet - looks like that is creating the issue (based on what I understand from the response). Thank you for the message. I wasn't sure if this is undercooked. I'll put the pan directly and hopefully that will fix it. Else I'll try baking stone that you mentioned. Thanks again! Will update after I try it again - probably in a week or so.
 
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Hello, as well as the above suggestion, you might also want to try tossing the dates in some of the flour before adding them to the cake batter. I'm not sure if this is what is causing the dense layer but I know that if you don't do this when making a fruit cake the fruit all ends up at the bottom. I'm wondering if the dates are all falling to the bottom so you're getting more liquid there during baking? I'm not sure the expired baking powder would cause this- it would just be a lot less potent and the cake wouldn't rise but shouldn't be leaving you with a dense layer. But as suggested above, think the most likely culprit is not putting the cake tin directly on the oven rack!
 
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Thank for the response. I baked it twice this past weekend. I put it directly on the rack in both cases. In the second try, I tossed 60% dates directly in the flour before adding to the cake batter. The results were similar to previous attempts - https://photos.app.goo.gl/gNWCNuFVfYPYs3tg8 -- there are dates at the bottom but the thin consistent layer is not dates.

PXL_20210829_055220413_2.jpg
 
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In that case the last thing I can suggest is (assuming you can be bothered to try again!) turning your oven temperature up a bit. Heat is the last bit of the chemistry equation to activate raising agents. Too high a temp will make cake rise too fast and crack on top but too low a temperature will mean it doesn't rise enough and you end up with a dense crumb. If that doesn't work then you might just have to resign yourself to the fact that it's a quirk of this eggless cake. As long as it tastes good at the end of day, I wouldn't worry about it!
 
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Thanks, I tried again and I let it stay in the oven for two extra minutes and that seems to have done the trick - it was perfect this time :) It seems like it was the temperature indeed. Thanks everyone for the suggestions! Appreciate it.
 

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