My cupcakes won't rise???

Discussion in 'Cakes' started by Lucy, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. Lucy

    Lucy New Member

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    I'm a newbie at baking and decided to try this cupcake recipe which doesn't require butter, eggs or sugar (recipe here: http://www.feastingonfruit.com/healthy-chocolate-cupcakes/)

    I bought a bunch of medjool dates, the sweeteners used in the recipe and tried it out. All I did for the batter was put in my ingredients plus date paste I made from the dates and water and mix them with a spoon. The recipe called for a food processor to mix the ingredients, but I don't have that. I used a toaster oven which has a thermostat that switches on and off the heat periodically. After many attempts, my cupcakes still don't look like cupcakes. I see them rising in the oven but by the end of the bake they would have sunk down again. Also, my cupcakes are always gooey in the middle, like the batter before baking.

    What could I have done wrong/differently that caused the batter to sink? Should I mix the batter less? Bake longer on low heat? Or was it a problem to do with not mixing thoroughly enough since I didn't use a food processor? Help is greatly appreciated :)
     
    Lucy, Jul 5, 2017
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  2. Lucy

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Lucy, sorry that your cupcakes failed.
    First off, the cupcake had no wheat flour. That means there's no gluten. No gluten means no gluten network. There's no gluten network to hold the batter together.

    But the gluten network is not the only thing that provides structure. Wheat flour is made up mostly of starch. When flour is mixed with moisture, the oven heat causes gelatinization. So the gluten network and the starch gelatinization create the structure in a cupcake. These chemical reaction's do not occur in the absence of gluten.

    Whenever you bake gluten-free you have to have some type of gluten replacer, a binder that will help hold everything together so the batter holds together, rises, and holds that rise after baking.

    Unfortunately in this case she uses no gluten replacer.

    The recipe uses dates in an effort to make the batter sticky to stick together. Thats a very poor gluten replacer. In fact all fruit makes really bad gluten replaces. The use of a food processor is key to this recipe. The dates are pulverized with water to create a thick gooey paste. The flour and cocoa in then pulverized into the date paste. There is no gluten structure so she's using a sticky date paste to hold everything together.

    Without a food processor there's no way you can pulverizer the date paste, oat flour, and cocoa powder into a fine enough paste. The oat flour needs to be embedded into the paste.

    Since there is no gluten or starch gelatinization occuring with these ingredients, I don't think the toaster oven is that much of an issue in this particular recipe.


    I don't think you'll ever get this recipe to work without a food processor. I think you should look for a vegan recipe that is all mixed by hand. Try the Minimalist Baker or Fran Costigan websites. Both are noted for developing quality vegan dessert recipes.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jul 5, 2017
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  3. Lucy

    ChesterV Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I don't know how the person who developed that recipe got them to look like the picture....unless they cheated. Which is a common occurrence unfortunately.

    I think I would switch the oat flour for bran fiber. Bran fiber would work, or it has for me. Although it cannot be used if the person or people that would be eating these have ANY intolerance at all for gluten.

    There are different bran fibers you can use. The most popular is wheat, but it is suggested that rice bran is best for people who are intolerant to gluten, as wheat bran does have some glutenous properties.

    I've never used rice bran, so I don't know how it would react to a recipe like this.
     
    ChesterV, Jul 5, 2017
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  4. Lucy

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    LMAO! Yeah, I was thinking photoshop too:D
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jul 6, 2017
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  5. Lucy

    Lucy New Member

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    Thanks for the really informative reply! I see why a gluten replacer is so important. Only thing is, I forgot to mention that I did use wheat flour, because I couldn't find oat flour at the supermarket. What could be the problem then? Was it because the batter had to be a fine mixture like you said?
     
    Lucy, Jul 7, 2017
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  6. Lucy

    Lucy New Member

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    Thanks for the really informative reply! I see why a gluten replacer is so important. Only thing is, I forgot to mention that I did use wheat flour, because I couldn't find oat flour at the supermarket. What could be the problem then? Was it because the batter had to be a fine mixture like you said?
     
    Lucy, Jul 7, 2017
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  7. Lucy

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Hello Lucy,

    Using wheat flour there's three things that immediately come to mind: leavening, hydration, order of mixing.

    Leavening: The flour to baking powder ratio is wrong for wheat flour. Oat flour has no gluten, so it won't rise. Baked goods made with non-gluten flours require gluten replacers and a lot of leavening.

    Like most batters, this recipe has both chemical leavening (baking powder) and mechanical leavening (whipping action with the food processor to create air bubbles).

    The gluten in wheat flour causes a different reaction to leavening than oat flour.

    The wheat's gluten structure is far better at capturing air bubbles from both chemical leavening and mechanical leavening.

    Too much baking powder will cause a fast rise, followed by a total collapse. The CO2 creates air bubbles. Too many air bubbles over expands the gluten network and alters the rate of starch gelatinization making it too weak to hold up. When there's too much leavening either the baked good collapses during baking or it collapses shortly after the pan is removed from the oven.

    I'm assuming you used 1 cup of wheat flour and 1 tablespoon of baking powder. That's too much baking powder.

    The ratio of flour to baking powder should be 1 teaspoon for every 1 cup of flour. By weight, 3 grams of baking powder to every 120 - 140 grams wheat flour.

    A tablespoon is equal to 3 teaspoons. That's way too much baking powder for wheat flour. Not only does it cause collapse you're going to have a really weird chemical taste using that much baking powder.

    Hydration: The second issue is a hydration. Wheat flour requires at a minimum 55 to 65% hydration BY WEIGHT. But that is just wet the flour. These percentages are for things like pizza dough and some breads. Cake and cupcake batter's require more hydration. Normally the weight of the flour should be equal to weight to the liquids (included in liquid is eggs).

    It's impossible to know the exact ratio of flour to hydration in this recipe given the use of volume rather than weight measurement. Different ingredients all weight differently. For example. 1 cup of flour does not weigh the same as 1 cup of sugar. Sugar is much heavier than flour.

    Making generalized assumptions here one cup of water is about 240 grams (8 ounces).

    The non dairy milk adds another 60 grams (2 ounces) of hydration.

    One cup of wheat flour weighs approximately 120 grams (4.25 ounces).

    The cocoa powder adds another 60 grams (1 ounce). Cocoa powder will absorb water and compete against the flour for moisture. When figuring out hydration requirements you have to take into consideration all things in the recipe that will compete for moisture.

    The hydration rate here is 60% just based on the amounts called for in the recipe and the ingredients that will compete for moisture. That's too low for a wheat flour cupcake.

    Too much of hydration or too little hydration also affects the rate and stability of starch gelatinization and the gluten network. Too much or too little hydration can also cause collapse.

    Order of ingredients. The order of ingredients effects distribution of hydration. For cake batters the standard is to mix wet and dry ingredients separately. Dry ingredients are then added in two or three additions to the wet ingredients.

    The recipe has the majority of the hydration mixed in to the dates. So before the flour is even added the water is being directed to another ingredient.

    If you still want to try this recipe with wheat flour try the following:


    Decrease the baking powder to 1 teaspoon.


    Mix all of the wet and dry ingredients separately.


    Mix the dry ingredients in two additions into the wet.


    Then mix in the dates last.


    But to be honest I don't think you'll get a good result. This is not a good formula for wheat flour.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
    Norcalbaker59, Jul 7, 2017
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  8. Lucy

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    To get a better idea of how gluten-free and vegan baked goods come together successfully, take a look at this recipe from the Minimalist Baker. She uses flaxseed meal as the gluten replacer; beat purée adds moisture, thus decreases the need for a lot of oil. Depending on type and amount of purées you use, you can eliminate the oils all together.

    She uses apple cider vinegar to aid leavening, which allows for a reduced amount of baking soda. By mixing the apple cider vinegar with the non-dairy milk and allowing it curdle, she's also enhancing flavor.

    I forgot to mention The type of cocoa powder you use also determines the type of leavening. Cocoa is naturally acidic. The pH is below 7. If you use a natural cocoa powder you need to use a baking soda. Baking soda needs an acid to activate.

    When you read through the Minimalist Baker's recipe you see she doesn't specify the type of cocoa powder. But because she uses baking soda and vinegar, that indicates the need for natural cooca powder.

    When a recipe has baking powder in it, like thisvone you are using, that indicates Dutch cocoa powder. Dutch cocoa powder is treated with chemicals to neutralize the acidity. Baking powder already has an acid in it so it does not need an additional acid to activate. Moisture and heat will activate baking powder.


    https://minimalistbaker.com/the-best-vegan-gluten-free-chocolate-cupcakes/
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jul 7, 2017
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