Simple Cake failure

Discussion in 'Disaster Help' started by bellevueace, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. bellevueace

    bellevueace Member

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    Hi
    Ive been baking for a few years now and have baked all types of cakes and biscuits. The one cake ive had a problem with believe it or not is the most simple, the Victoria sponge. When I bake this cake I always find on taking it out of the oven the centre of the cakes have not cooked, the sponges rise but soon collapse into a soggy mess. I have baked two sponges at a time in the oven, and also put in the bakes separately but to no avail, always the same bad results. The recipe I use is 8oz butter, 8oz caster sugar, 4 eggs, 8oz self raising flour, 2 level teaspoons of baking powder. I have also wondered about the oven temp but every other bake I make comes out well, I wouldn't think that would be the problem otherwise all bakes would be affected. Any suggestions would be very welcome. Thank You.
     
    bellevueace, Feb 18, 2018
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  2. bellevueace

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Although I can identify already a problem with the recipe, I need additional information to assist you.

    What is your mixing method: creaming or all in one?

    Are you mixing with a hand mixer, stand mixer, or by hand? If by hand, do you own a mixer? What type?

    What type of oven do you have: fan assist or conventional?

    What temperature are you baking?

    What size cake pan are you using?

    Is this batter for 2 pans or 1?

    Is the cake pan non stick, dark metal, or otherwise coated?
     
    Norcalbaker59, Feb 18, 2018
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  3. bellevueace

    bellevueace Member

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    Hi
    The mixing method I use is all in one, I mix by hand using a silicon spatula, I use a fan assisted oven and bake at 160 use two 20cm cake tins as per the recipe book, the pans are non stick.
     
    bellevueace, Feb 18, 2018
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  4. bellevueace

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Victoria sponge is very unusual in that you determine the amount of sugar, flour, and butter based on the weight of the eggs in the shell.


    Self rising flour has baking powder in it. You do not need to add anymore. Too much baking powder will simply cause the cake to collapse.


    It is not just the recipe that determines the temperature of the oven. The type of pan you are using affects how the batter bakes. A nonstick pan, anodized aluminum, dark metal will bake much hotter than a natural light colored uncoated metal cake pan.


    Fan assist oven also bakes hotter as the heat circulation creates more surface to the oven temperature by 15° – 25°.


    But since you are already baking at 160°C, I wouldn’t reduce the temperature further. Rather, reduce the amount of batter in the cake tin. Cake batter bakes from the outside inward. If there is too much batter in the tin, the outside edge, bottom, and top

    is going to bake much faster than the center.


    The best test to determine whether or not a cake is done is by the internal temperature. Using the toothpick test is really ineffective. Bake to an internal temperature of 205°F (96°C) - 210°F (99°C). Do not let the cake reach 212°F (98.8°C). This is the temperature in which water boils. The evaporation results in a much drier cake.


    Begin testing for doneness a few minutes before the recipe stated bake time.


    The recipe and mixing method you have been using is the Mary berry recipe. This is not a traditional Victoria sponge recipe. Her modern all in one mixing method is fast and easy. But it creates a very thick and heavy batter. That in turn creates a heavy cake.


    The addition of extra baking powder is meant to counter the dense texture. But additional baking powder and the high sugar content can undermine

    the structure of the cake. Sugar is a tenderizer. So too much baking powder and high sugar content will cause a cake to collapse.


    If you decide to use extra baking powder, keep in mind that the standard is 1 teaspoon for up to 140g of flour. So 2 teaspoons of baking powder, it’s enough to rise 280g flour. That is in addition to the baking powder that is already in the flour.


    Aside from the mixing method and the additional baking powder, Mary Berry’s recipe other major failing point is her failure to weigh the eggs and her failure to even mention the appropriate size egg to purchase.


    Victoria sponge is unique in that the amount of flour, sugar, and butter are all determined by the weight of the eggs in the shell.


    In the UK, a large egg must weigh between 63 g – 73 g. The weight of four large eggs is between 252 g – 292g. But Mary Berry’s recipe only had 225 g (8 oz) each of flour, sugar, and butter.


    Four larger eggs is 11% - 29% higher than the weight of flour, sugar, and butter.


    The weight of a medium egg in the shell in the UK must be between 53 g – 63 g. So four eggs would be between 212g - 252g.


    By failing to weigh the eggs, Mary Berry’s recipe never uses the correct amount of flour, sugar, and butter to egg.


    To get a better bake in a 20cm cake tin, reduce the amount of batter. Use large eggs. Use three eggs instead of four.


    You can also insulate the pans with wet cloth baking strips. See note at end of post.


    Three large eggs in the shell should weigh between 189g - 219g.


    Use the creaming method to incorporate air into the batter. Creaming is mechanical leavening. It is the traditional mixing method for a Victoria sponge. If you do not own a mixer, whip butter with a fork for a couple of minutes. Then add the sugar in three additions, mixing well after each addition.




    =================


    Traditional Victoria Sponge

    • Preheat oven to 160°C line
    • Lightly grease sides of two 20 cm cake tins
    • Line bottom of tins with parchment baking paper
    INGREDIENTS

    • Weigh three large eggs in the shell.
    • Weigh Self-rising Flour equal to the weight of the eggs in the shell
    • Weigh Caster Sugar equal to the weight of the eggs in the shell
    • Weigh Butter equal to the weight of the eggs in the shell. Let butter warm 20°C.
    You don’t want the butter too warm since mixing causes friction heat. Too warm butter will not aerate properly.

    CREAMING METHOD

    Place sugar and butter in a mixing bowl.

    Cream on medium speed for 2 1/2 minutes.

    Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

    Continue creaming for approximately 2 minutes more.

    Add the egg in three additions.

    Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl after each addition.

    Sift the flour into the butter mixture. Sifting is important to aerate the flour.

    Mix until just combined.

    Divide batter between two cake tins

    Check temperature after 23 minutes.
    Bake to internal temperature 205°F (96°C) - 210°F (99°C).


    Do not let the internal temperature reach 212°F (98.8°C).

    If your oven temperature is accurate, total bake time should be between 25 minutes and 28 minutes. If you bake to 30 minutes the cake will most likely be dry.


    NOTE: if you decide to use additional baking powder sifted it into the flour at least three times to ensure it has been properly distributed.


    Wrapping strips of wet cloth around the outside of the baking tins insulates the tin. This allows for the batter to bake more evenly from the outside in. The cake will also bake more level. I use cloth baking strips every time I use a round or square cake tin. With baking strips, my cakes are always perfectly level on top.

    They are commercially available through several companies. The brand I use is Wilton. You can also make them yourself.

    Just be sure the fabric is not too heavy. And do not over lap the fabric around the pan. Soak the strips in water for about five minutes to fully saturated. Then squeeze out the excess water before wrapping the strip around the cake tin.

    http://www.acozykitchen.com/how-to-bake-flat-cake-layers/

    Wilton baking strips

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wilton-Bake-Strip-Steel-6-Piece/dp/B00C1LU8SA
     
    Norcalbaker59, Feb 18, 2018
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  5. bellevueace

    bellevueace Member

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    Many thanks for your time, that is brilliant detailed advice, im going to do this bake again following your advice, once again many thanks, a great help.
     
    bellevueace, Feb 19, 2018
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  6. bellevueace

    Becky Administrator

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    Very good advice above :)

    As much as I love Mary Berry, I've never been a fan of the 'all in one' method. Creaming has always worked a lot better for me.

    I hope your next try goes well, let us know how you get on!
     
    Becky, Feb 19, 2018
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  7. bellevueace

    bellevueace Member

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    Im going to try again at weekend, will post the results.
     
    bellevueace, Feb 19, 2018
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  8. bellevueace

    bellevueace Member

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    Hello Again
    Well I tried the victoria sponge again taking onboard the above advice, and success at last, before when I had used the original recipe the cake actually looked more like honeycomb than a sponge and instantly deflated like a popped balloon. With the changes to the recipe it actually came out a sponge cake which you could lightly press with your finger and it sprung back into shape. I was wondering what was going wrong as I had not had problems with sponges in any other recipe, I never thought for one minute the recipe in the book could be wrong, another lesson learned there. Just one more question which I forgot to ask, when using the all in one method can using an electric mixer actually create too much air into the mixture? And can you use the rubbing in method for the butter and flour then mix all the other ingredients by hand? I ask as I tried everything before obtaining the above advice. Again Many Thanks.
     
    bellevueace, Feb 25, 2018
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  9. bellevueace

    Becky Administrator

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    I'm glad to hear it went well! :D

    Using an electric mixer is fine for the all in one method, but just try not to overwork it or you will build up too much gluten in the flour. The rubbing method is usually only used for making pastry or crumble topping, are you thinking of the creaming method instead?
     
    Becky, Feb 26, 2018
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  10. bellevueace

    bellevueace Member

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    Hi
    I know the rubbing in method is normally used for pastry but when i was having problems with the Victoria sponge at first I thought too much air in the mixture might have been the problem, so I thought about rubbing the butter into the flour adding the other ingredients and mixing with a spatula to try to eliminate the problem, then just wondered about using this method for other all in one recipes and if there would be any affect as not so much air would get into the mix.
     
    bellevueace, Feb 26, 2018
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  11. bellevueace

    Becky Administrator

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    It's not something I've ever tried to be honest. Recipes from Hummingbird Bakery have an unusual approach that is similar to the rubbing method - they ask for all dry ingredients to be mixed together until you have a sandy consistency, then you add the wet ingredients. To be honest it's not an approach I like, and I've found their recipes to be very hit and miss.

    You could always give it a try and let us know how it goes though!
     
    Becky, Feb 26, 2018
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  12. bellevueace

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Becky is correct that at worst an electric mixer will build too much gluten. The cause of the "honeycomb" texture and collapse is not beating air into the batter with a mixer. The collapse is due to the disproportionate amount of leavening to flour. Self rising flour already contains enough leavening to make the cake rise. The additional leavening in the recipe actually tripled what is necessary. You could beat that batter to death and create a ton of gluten, but the cake would still be unstable because the recipe has too much leavening for the amount of flour. Plus, all that sugar competes for the available water. The less water the flour has, the weaker the gluten structure. Sugar's ability to pull in water is why it's referred to as a tenderizer. Sugar doesn't actually tenderize the cake, but takes the water from the flour, which in turn inhibits the flour's ability to create gluten.

    If you are going to use the all in one, then you need to adjust the amount of leavening. Even then you may not get good results as the all in one method is really inferior to the creaming method. Mixing methods are key to texture, characteristics, and structure. And unfortunately, all in one serves only the convenience of the baker, not the quality of the cake.

    Celebrity chefs rarely write their own cookbooks. They hire ghostwriters whose names rarely appear on the book. Celebrity chefs are way to busy with TV, appearances, and restaurants to devote the time necessary to write a cookbook. So the ghostwriter takes on the job of writing and testing recipes. So its not unusual for a cookbook to have a number of errors and recipes that are total fails. Only on rare occasion will I purchase a celebrity cookbook upon release. I wait a year, then read through the online reviews. The home bakers will catch the errors and post their frustration and fails online. Which is a very good thing for the baking community. Some chefs will take note and publish cookbook corrections on their websites. Others just ignore the errors. Some celebrity chefs are so revered bakers will not breathe a word if one of their recipes is wrong. But in all fairness, baking is such a science, there will always be fails. Hopefully, most will still be edible:p
     
    Norcalbaker59, Feb 27, 2018
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  13. bellevueace

    bellevueace Member

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    It makes sense that adding too much raising agent to self raising flour will cause the cake to fail, I made a coffee and walnut cake the other day and tried the rubbing method for the butter and flour then adding the other ingredients and mixing, to be honest it didn't appear to make too much difference to the quality of the cake, if anything it was just a tad drier, its certainly quicker using a mixer. What you say about celebrity books also makes sense, I never thought about that angle, I think a lot of people will just follow the recipes without question that they are right, after the question regarding the Victoria sponge ive been looking through various other recipes and have noted again some use what appears to be too much raising agent, in future when trying some of these other bakes im going to modify the recipes and see how that affects the overall bake. I suppose it comes down to trial and error, and in most cases failures can still be edible:)
     
    bellevueace, Feb 27, 2018
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  14. bellevueace

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    The standard for leavening is:

    Baking powder 1 tsp (4 g) for every 120g - 140 g of plain flour

    Baking soda 1/4 tsp (1.5 g) for every 120g - 140 g of plain flour.

    You can certainly go up a bit but once you get beyond 10% of the standard, stability becomes a real issue.

    In the US we have a cake called a chiffon. It’s very unusual in that it contains an extraordinary amount of chemical leavening. In addition it has whipped egg whites in it. The cake is so fragile it has to be cooled upside down to prevent it from collapsing in on itself.

    So there are some exceptions in that you can break the baking rules on leavening if you understand the rules very well first.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Feb 28, 2018
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  15. bellevueace

    bellevueace Member

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    Thanks for that, the info will come in handy for future bakes, that has given me a basis to work from, im going to actually check some recipes based on this info to see if I have actually been using too much powder unwittingly.
     
    bellevueace, Mar 1, 2018
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