You thought you had a good cake, but lately he’s been hanging out with the wrong crowd - some tough cookies. Soon he’s staying out late and coming home reeking of alcohol-based vanilla extract. Before you know it your angel ( food) is on a one way street to culinary reform school.
It’s tough when good cakes go bad — and here are some of the most common reasons:
If the cake rose unevenly in the oven:
- The flour was not blended sufficiently into the main mixture.
- The temperature inside the oven was uneven.
- The oven temperature was too high.
- Make sure you used the right size pan. The uncooked mixture should fill the pan by no more than two-thirds.
If the cake is dense and heavy:
- The eggs were too small. Always use large eggs when baking.
- Insufficient air was whisked into the egg and sugar mixture.
- The flour was not folded in gently. Always mix in the flour at the lowest speed.
- The melted butter was too hot when added, causing it to sink down through the whisked foam.
- The oven temperature was too low.
- The oven temperature was too hot.
- The cake was not cooked long enough.
- The oven door was opened too soon, which created a draft.
If the batter curdles and separates:
- The ingredients were not at room temperature.
- The butter and sugar were not creamed together well enough before adding the eggs.
- The eggs were added too quickly.
- If the cake’s texture is too heavy:
- The butter, sugar and eggs were not beaten together long enough.
- The flour was beaten at too high a speed.
- Too much flour was added to the creamed mixture.
- The oven temperature was not hot enough.
If the top of the cake peaks and cracks:
- The oven temperature was too hot, causing the outside of the cake to bake and form a crust too quickly. As the mixture in the center of the cake continued to cook and rise, it burst up through the top of the cake.
- The cake wasn’t baked on the center rack of the oven.
- If raisins, dried fruit and nuts sunk to the bottom:
- The pieces of fruit were too large and too heavy.
- The sugary syrup on the outside of the fruit was not washed off- this caused the pieces of fruit to slide through the mixture as it heated.
- The washed and dried fruit was not dusted with flour before being added to the mixture.
- The cake mixture was over beaten or was too wet so it could not hold the fruit in place.
- The oven temperature was too low, causing the mixture to melt before it set to hold the fruit in place.
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