Shrinking cake after taking out of the oven

Apr 7, 2022
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Hi all,

I have never had this issue and have looked at all the possibilities of why this is happening to me and with 2 different cakes.

1. A chocolate cake that is a one bowl cake where you add wet to dry ingredients and mix. I have made this cake for yearscbut never experienced shrinkage until the last few times.
2. A vanilla cake (mix egg and sugar first until light and triple in volume first). Recipe here :

I am not sure what can cause this. I thought it was the new non stick spray I had but I used parchment on the bottom and a little butter on the sides today and the same happened.

Cake is beautiful until I take it out and after a few seconds it starts shrinking. Both from sides and loses volume.
Jun 22, 2017
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Are you in the UK? This recipe was written for the UK market. So if you’re not in the UK it’s not going to convert properly.

Ingredients and measurement differences make a huge difference by country. Plain flour in the UK only has 9% protein in it. It is equivalent to pastry flour in the United States. In the United States all purpose flour has a protein content of 10.5% – 11.5% depending on the brand. That’s a significant difference in protein. King Arthur flour has a very high 11.5% protein content, and is also unbleached. The higher the protein content in the flour, the more moisture it absorbs.

All purpose flour in Canada has an even higher protein content than all purpose flour in the US. Canadian flour has a protein content of 12%—sometimes higher. It’s closer to bread flour.

Large eggs are smaller in the US and Canada than they are in Europe. Although the recipe gives a weight for eggs, if a higher protein flour was used and the eggs and other liquids were not adjusted, the formula will lack sufficient hydration. And this will lead to shrinkage.

A cup of milk in the UK is 250 mL. However a cup of milk in the US is 8 fluid oz, which is 236 mL. That’s about a tablespoon less than in the UK.

There is no standard for a cup of flour, at least not in the US. However this recipe shows a cup of flour at a whopping 150 g! In the US, most home baking sources use 120 g – 145 g for a cup of flour.

Now all that said, below are various causes for Cake Shrinking

Wrong type of flour: protein level is too high. Flour should be 9% - 10% protein.

Formula is too lean: add more sugar or fat.

Formula has too much liquid

Formula has too much leavening

Overmix the batter

Over greasing the pan.

Not filling the pan with enough batter

Wrong oven temperature: Temperature too high/low. Most recipes indicate 350°F (180°C) this is too high temperature for most cakes. Bake at 325°F (160°C). The exception is for a cake with a lot of add-ins like a carrot cake.

Over baking the cake is one of the most common causes of shrinking. Most recipes instruct bakers to insert a toothpick into the center. A better test is to touch the cake in the center and several spots around it. The cake should spring back. Whatever time the recipe states the cake is done, start checking the cake 10 minutes before that.
Apr 7, 2022
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Hi Norcalbaker59,

Thank you so much for your reply. I am based in South Africa. So we are very much the same as UK with measurements etc.
This information is so useful and I think it might be eggs. Large eggs are pretty standard and already weighed when bought, I used a different brand recently and since they are pre-weighed I have stopped weighing them myself as it was an unnecessary step. But after I rebaked with usual brand of eggs this morning, it came out perfectly. So I think it must have been the egg protein content as well.

I keep learning more and more about baking everyday! It is a true science.

I will definitely also adjust temperatures and check the cake for doneness earlier :)

I am happy to be a part of this forum now!

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