Sunken Cake


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I recently made a lemon sandwich cake normally this goes without a hitch but this time after baking the two sponges at the required temp for the correct time when I took them out of the oven one was baked perfectly whilst the other one even though it was baked had sunk in the middle, any idea why this happens, I hadn't opened the oven door during baking, the correct measure of baking powder had been used, all ingredients measured out correctly, I put both tins on the same shelf this time in the top part of the oven, when this has happened before its when ive had the cakes on different shelves, if I bake the sponges separately no problem baking them together this happens, cant fathom this one.

Thanks.
 
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I recently made a lemon sandwich cake normally this goes without a hitch but this time after baking the two sponges at the required temp for the correct time when I took them out of the oven one was baked perfectly whilst the other one even though it was baked had sunk in the middle, any idea why this happens, I hadn't opened the oven door during baking, the correct measure of baking powder had been used, all ingredients measured out correctly, I put both tins on the same shelf this time in the top part of the oven, when this has happened before its when ive had the cakes on different shelves, if I bake the sponges separately no problem baking them together this happens, cant fathom this one.

Thanks.
1. post your recipe. Not knowing anything about amount of ingredients, temperature of ingredients, mixing method, oven temperature its impossible to help you.

2. cake is never baked in the upper part of the oven. Cake is baked on the rack
middle of the oven. This has to do with where the heating source is in the oven, and how the heat circulates in the oven.
 
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Thanks for the reply, the rack was the upper part of the oven I tried this as I had a problem with this before when baking in the middle, the ingredients was 8oz of self raising flour, 8oz of caster sugar, four eggs, grated zest of 1 lemon, 8oz butter 2 teaspoons of baking powder. I found this from a BBC recipe online, just didn't understand why one sponge baked well whilst the other sank, ive never had this problem when making a chocolate layer cake but the ingredients for that calls for less flour, sugar and eggs.
 
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Thanks for the reply, the rack was the upper part of the oven I tried this as I had a problem with this before when baking in the middle, the ingredients was 8oz of self raising flour, 8oz of caster sugar, four eggs, grated zest of 1 lemon, 8oz butter 2 teaspoons of baking powder. I found this from a BBC recipe online, just didn't understand why one sponge baked well whilst the other sank, ive never had this problem when making a chocolate layer cake but the ingredients for that calls for less flour, sugar and eggs.
1. That’s not the recipe. Please read what I wrote above? The recipe includes temperature of ingredients as well as mixing method. Those things are extremely important. Baking is all science. Temperature is an ingredient because baking is a chemical reaction of all the ingredients, and temperature causes a chemical reaction. So mixing method also important. People throw words around like “sponge” and “sandwich”, but those words mean nothing because what you call a sponge cake in the UK is not a “sponge” in Italy or France or the US.

2. ingredients in a chocolate cake are not the same as the ingredients in a non-chocolate cake. Again baking is all science; it is a chemical reaction of all the ingredients.

In fact I bake almost all my cakes at 325°F (160°C) the exception is my chocolate cake which gets baked at 350°F (170°C). The reason? The ingredients are such that it take higher heat for the chemical reactions to make the physical changes to create the cake. The upper chamber of oven is actually hotter than the middle of the oven. That’s why your chocolate cake baked fine in the upper chamber of the oven.

These are the stages that all cake batter go through:
  1. Fats melt
  2. Gases expand
  3. Sugar dissolves
  4. Proteins coagulate (protein denaturalization)
  5. Starches gelatinize (starch gelatinization)
  6. Gasses evaporate
  7. Caramelization occurs
 
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Thanks again, this is why I come on this forum to learn, the method I used was to cream together the butter and sugar, whisk in the eggs individually, sift in the flour and the baking powder, add the lemon zest and mix well by hand until all combined, I didn't use a whisk as I didn't want to much air to get into the mix as that is what I thought I had done wrong previously, I spilt the mix into two eight inch loose bottom tins, I baked both sponges at 160 for 30 minutes. Left them in the tin for a couple of minutes and turned them out to cool, the sunken cake was actually baked as the skewer inserted in the middle came out clean.
 
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Thanks again, this is why I come on this forum to learn, the method I used was to cream together the butter and sugar, whisk in the eggs individually, sift in the flour and the baking powder, add the lemon zest and mix well by hand until all combined, I didn't use a whisk as I didn't want to much air to get into the mix as that is what I thought I had done wrong previously, I spilt the mix into two eight inch loose bottom tins, I baked both sponges at 160 for 30 minutes. Left them in the tin for a couple of minutes and turned them out to cool, the sunken cake was actually baked as the skewer inserted in the middle came out clean.
1. mixing method is extremely important because mixing is it just about stirring together ingredients. For instance s
creaming butter and sugar is not mixing sugar into the butter it’s mechanical leavening. There’s a reason why ingredients are added in the order they are added. There’s a reason certain tools are used.

2. The temperature for creaming butter is incorrect in almost all recipes that are printed in cookbooks and on the Internet. The correct temperature for the butter is 65°F (18°C). The reason butter needs to be cold is the butter must retain some plasticity to hold air. When you beat butter, it creates friction. Friction causes heat. look again at the list of chemical reaction in which cake batter bakes. The first is the fat melts, the second is the gases expand. These don’t happen one after another. In fact these are happening together. The gases from the chemical leavening must trapped in the butter. But if that butter is too warm from beating, it’s not going to hold up. It is the rise. You see the other chemical reactions, the protein denaturalization, and the starch gelatinization? Those chemical reactions set the cake.

But it begins first with proper rise. The link below will explain a lot more about creaming butter. Although Stella Parks discusses creaming butter in relationship to cookies it applies to pretty much everything.

Other than the temperature of the butter you should follow all of the other mixing instructions.

Bake the cake in the center of the oven. The oven chamber will be hotter at the bottom and at the top. The reason is the heating element is usually in the floor of the oven. Contrary to what people say he does not rise. Heat is energy, energy does not rise. Rather the air in the oven chamber will heat. So what will happen is the air at the oven floor will heat first. As the air heats it displaces the cold air as it causes a change in air pressure in the oven chamber. This will force the cold air at the top of the oven down, and the hot air at the oven floor up.

so heat does not rise, rather the air is heated. And the change in temperature from the air causes the air to shift in the oven chamber. The air closest to the heat source will always be the hottest. The air that rises from that heat source to the top of the oven will be hotter than the air that then settled in the middle of the oven chamber.

And of course when your pans are in the upper portion of the oven the heat is more concentrated up there, so everything is going to bake hotter.


Since you did not print the recipe as I twice asked I have no idea what the actual instructions are. So I really can’t help you much here. This is the last I will respond.




 
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Oh I understand now what you mean by the recipe, I never considered the temperature of ingredients but the info supplied is everything I need to know and learn from thanks a lot. Recipes always state the butter to be room temperature and I never thought about how that can cause the ingredients to interact during baking time. Its certainly far more involved than just combining the ingredients as recipes state.
 
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Oh I understand now what you mean by the recipe, I never considered the temperature of ingredients but the info supplied is everything I need to know and learn from thanks a lot. Recipes always state the butter to be room temperature and I never thought about how that can cause the ingredients to interact during baking time. Its certainly far more involved than just combining the ingredients as recipes state.
One layer baked good, the other layer didn't.?

That should tell you all you need to know.

The batter was ok but not completely mixed at the bottom of the bowl, mixing has to also be top to bottom , not just around in circles.
the way you divided it let the problem show up.
If the batter was no good you wouldn't have gotten any good layers.
 

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