My "Dream" did not come "through"

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So I decided to look for a simple cake to bake and came across something called a Vanilla Dream Cake that looked too simple to mess up. It was time to make a cake and I decided to go with a Dream Cake I could bake and make everyone's dreams come true. I am not sure I had a great result. Has anyone here every made a Vanilla Dream Cake and when last did you have a baking fail? I think I used a single pan my cake looked nothing like the one shown in the link.

Here is the recipe I found.
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 
2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 2 large eggs


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • up to 3 tablespoons milk

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 8 inch round cake pans. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine water and sugar. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add butter, stirring until melted.

Let cool completely (about 20 minutes in the fridge) and then whisk in vegetable oil, vanilla extract and the scrapings from the vanilla bean. Beat in eggs. Whisk in dry ingredients, until smooth.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cakes cool in pans until cool to the touch - then frost.

Vanilla Buttercream:

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.

Increase speed to medium and add vanilla extract. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting is too thick, add remaining 1 tablespoon of milk.

To assemble:

Assemble the 2 layers with a thick layer of frosting in between the layers. Then apply a thin crumb coat on the top and sides. Pop the cake into the freezer to harden the crumb coat for about 10 minutes.

Apply one final thick and even layer around the outside of the cake. Store in the fridge if not serving within the next couple of hours. Let cake come to room temperature before serving (let cake sit on counter for about 30 minutes before serving to warm up!).

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/Aa0rqfVYGpa5WUkbjrP4YqJ6OLoyc3rqUS6XZyJUA4T1JEFmaADq6Bw/
 
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I've heard of this cake, and as you can see, it is just a basic, simple vanilla cake.

So, what happened that it didn't turn out the way you expected??
 
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I left out the icing and my cake just did not look fluffy like this.
80f0b4ac930bbc513bda835fc657696f.jpg
I used a single pan and it felt like my cake was too stiff and did not rinse in the middle. I will try to upload a picture. The taste was fine but it looked flawed in my humble opinion.
 
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Awww :( Maybe it was the flour you used? It's always good to use self rising flour for cakes. Or maybe it has something to do with the latitude? I'm actually thinking I might have issues with that in the Netherlands.
 
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Do you mean you used a single larger pan such as a 9" x 13" cake pan, or just a taller one that would make your cake more dense and less fluffy? If I had used that recipe and the cake didn't come out right (assuming you didn't just use a taller pan, which could result in the cake perhaps not rising as much as it would in shallower pans), I would suspect that the problem was with this part of the process:

in a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine water and sugar. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add butter, stirring until melted.

Let cool completely (about 20 minutes in the fridge) and then whisk in vegetable oil, vanilla extract and the scrapings from the vanilla bean. Beat in eggs. Whisk in dry ingredients, until smooth.
The rest seems pretty standard, but perhaps it would have helped for them to mention a temperature to cook the mixture to, to ensure it dissolved and combined properly, was stirred enough, cooled to the proper temperature, and then whisked enough to ensure the proper height.

Just looking at the instructions makes me think there's a chance it could go wrong. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you're not making it for an event, since I'm sure it tasted fine and your family enjoyed it.
 
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20160511_200149_resized.jpg There it is! It doesn't rise (not sure if it should) and I left it in beyond the time. Might that have been a problem? Then it had some little bubbles that looked like raisins sticking out. Of course there were not raisins. It looked like the cake had a few pimples:). @Diane Lane, I wondered if that boiling in the saucepan was done correctly but I felt like I got that part right. Anyway I liked the flavour and maybe I should try it again.
 
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View attachment 727 There it is! It doesn't rise (not sure if it should) and I left it in beyond the time. Might that have been a problem? Then it had some little bubbles that looked like raisins sticking out. Of course there were not raisins. It looked like the cake had a few pimples:). @Diane Lane, I wondered if that boiling in the saucepan was done correctly but I felt like I got that part right. Anyway I liked the flavour and maybe I should try it again.

The bubbles make it sound as if perhaps it was beaten too long, or that somehow, extra air got incorporated into the mix. I can't tell from your picture if that's a bundt pan, but that's what it looks like. I'm not expert by any means, but maybe this recipe needs to be lower, rather than higher, and does better when the batter is separated into the two pans, rather than all put in one? Perhaps the density of it doesn't allow the batter to rise enough. To me, all that really matters is taste, although sometimes I will fret about the look of something, especially if it's for a special occasion. It looks yummy to me!
 
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The bubbles make it sound as if perhaps it was beaten too long, or that somehow, extra air got incorporated into the mix. I can't tell from your picture if that's a bundt pan, but that's what it looks like. I'm not expert by any means, but maybe this recipe needs to be lower, rather than higher, and does better when the batter is separated into the two pans, rather than all put in one? Perhaps the density of it doesn't allow the batter to rise enough. To me, all that really matters is taste, although sometimes I will fret about the look of something, especially if it's for a special occasion. It looks yummy to me!
I think I was unhappy because I wanted a really fluffy or light cake. Even if not fluffy, I wanted it to look like the picture and when I sliced it, it looked nothing like the picture. I keep staying away from a sponge because I fear it wont be nice and light like I want it. I had to share it quickly with folks I know would not care much about texture,
 
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It really sounds like the flour was moist and it can happen. It is too heavy then and chances of success are very slim. On the other hand it can be that the recipe was not good or just had some typo. It happens a lot that people just copy recipes from some other place and some random picture of the cake. If you are not sure that the recipe was tested you shouldn't really use it . There is a lovely youtube channel and a guess a site called joyofbaking.com and I am sure they have this cake along with video.
 
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It really sounds like the flour was moist and it can happen. It is too heavy then and chances of success are very slim. On the other hand it can be that the recipe was not good or just had some typo. It happens a lot that people just copy recipes from some other place and some random picture of the cake. If you are not sure that the recipe was tested you shouldn't really use it . There is a lovely youtube channel and a guess a site called joyofbaking.com and I am sure they have this cake along with video.
Thanks. I am now wondering if the flour being moist might be the problem. You have me thinking because the bag had a stain of sorts that looked like it might have been wet at some point but when I poured the flour out it looked fine. You put me to think and thanks for the video suggestion. I will check it out.
 
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Cakes are weird. Unlike icings and toppings and other things we make.........the opposite is true for cake batter.

The more you mix it, the worse your cake is going to turn out. I've learned to use a whisk and just fold over my batter until it's just all incorporated. Over mixing cake batter can make it bubbly, tough, hard, and come out in the most funky ways. You want to mix it for as short a time as possible.

"Airy" or "fluffy" cake does not happen because of the air that gets mixed into the batter. This is the chemical reaction the ingredients have while baking. If the batter is over mixed, it can "kill" the batter where it does not rise, or does some funky thing. The shorter time you spend mixing the batter, the less likely it is you will have huge bubbles or texture problems with the cake.
 
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I thought of trying it again this weekend but I was too exhausted. I think I do much better with baking breads as opposed to cakes. Still I won't rest until I perfect these very simple recipes.
 

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