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Help!!! Great tasting cake - problems with sinking...???

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I have tried the Classic Yellow Cake from Sweet Celebrations: The Art of Decorating Beautiful Cakes by Sylvia Weinstock with Kate Manchester (Simon & Schuster) and it tastes wonderful. The only problem is that I am trying to make cupcakes and the center sinks after being removed from the oven. It rises great in the oven - nice dome - and them promptly deflates after being removed from the heat. I don't think that it would cause much of a problem on a larger cake, but for cupcakes I really want a rounded top or I'd even settle for a flat top!

Help! Help! Help!
post #2 of 26
Thread Starter 
Sorry - forgot to mention that the recipe contains sour cream for anyone not familiar with it. Is there any way to have sour cream in a recipe without the sunken center????

TIA
post #3 of 26
Sorry not familar with that recipe but in a lot of recipes, yes sour cream can cause a bit of sinking although usually this is more of an issue with chocolate cakes due to the fat ratio. Sometimes cooking for an extra minute or two can stop the sinking but you don't want to overcook either. I find the extra couple of minutes make a difference in a chocolate sour cream recipe I use. Some cakes are done when you have a few moist crumbs still attached to the toothpick test but with some sourcream cake recipes, I find a crumbless toothpick test works best. Worth a shot right?
Also be careful to gently place the pan to cool and keep out of a draft, some recipes are just more delicate.
Hugs Squirrelly
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks Squirrelly! I guess I'm paranoid that they will get overdone and be dry . The tops are just starting to brown and the toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs. Would it help to preheat the oven to a 25 degree higher temperature than the recipe calls for and then right after putting the pans in turn it down to the right temperature? I noticed that a different recipe calls for that technique. Maybe that way I could get it baked a little more without getting too brown?? I just really love the taste and want to use it for a wedding reception that is having cupcake bouquets. It will be my first sold cakes and would like to make a great first impression. I do have another recipe that has a rounded top that uses the same ingredients (not amounts) but uses milk instead of sour cream as the liquid. Could I substitute buttermilk or half and half to make the recipe a little creamier? Sorry so many questions....
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edibleart

Thanks Squirrelly! I guess I'm paranoid that they will get overdone and be dry . The tops are just starting to brown and the toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs. Would it help to preheat the oven to a 25 degree higher temperature than the recipe calls for and then right after putting the pans in turn it down to the right temperature? I noticed that a different recipe calls for that technique. Maybe that way I could get it baked a little more without getting too brown?? I just really love the taste and want to use it for a wedding reception that is having cupcake bouquets. It will be my first sold cakes and would like to make a great first impression. I do have another recipe that has a rounded top that uses the same ingredients (not amounts) but uses milk instead of sour cream as the liquid. Could I substitute buttermilk or half and half to make the recipe a little creamier? Sorry so many questions....


I wouldn't turn the oven up 25F higher and lower it. That is a bit different. I think that might make the problem a bit worse. A hotter oven causes things to rise faster, if they rise too fast they can fall just as fast. Well if you use buttermilk as a substitute you have to counter the acidity with baking soda, you cannot just switch. If you use cream, you are increasing the fat ratio a bit and this could result in too high a fat ratio. Of course you could give it a try, experimenting is good.
Hugs Squirrelly
post #6 of 26
Do you have an oven thermometer to check if your oven is registering the correct temperature? Ovens often need to be re-calibrated. If you do, if the temperature is showing 25F low, you can raise it.
Here is another thing that might help. Sometimes when I have extra from scratch cake batter left over, I fill my muffin tins and have to wait to bake, maybe 1/2 to 1 hour. Since they are just for home use, I don't worry about the batter proofing too long on the counter as normally I wouldn't fill them until they were ready to go in the oven and would refrigerate the batter for longer periods of time when I cannot bake immediately. Anyway, this one recipe with sour cream that does tend to sink a bit in the centre is the one I am talking about. I have found that by the cupcakes sitting for about 1/2 to 1 hour, they tend to come out better, a bit rounded but fairly nice and flattish, they are a great height. You might want to try that out. Also, make sure you are not filling them too much. Sometimes you have to experiment because not all batters rise at the same rate or to the same height. Maybe reduce the batter amount?
Seriously though, give the leaving them on the counter for about 1/2 hour trick and see. I was surprised at the difference it made and I have tried it against cupcakes that were place in the oven as soon as the batter was done up and there was quite a difference.
Hugs Squirrelly
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your suggestions, Squirrelly! The batter has beaten egg whites in it - would that deflate if I let it sit for 1/2 hour? Would it make any difference if they are beaten to stiff peaks or soft? The recipe calls for soft but maybe the stiff would hold up better to the baking also. I have an oven thermometer and I have adjusted the temperature accordingly. Auzzi mentioned that she turns the temperature up 25 degrees when making cupcakes. I'm so scared of over-browning them that I haven't tried it but maybe that would be better? Sorry for all the questions - wish I knew more about the chemistry in the recipe so I could adjust it without losing the great taste and texture!!!

Thanks for your help.
post #8 of 26
I made that cake also and boy was it delish...!! Maybe there's something on Baking 911 about why the cupcakes sink. It's a great wedding cake recipe.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
I actually found something like that on the Joy of Cooking website and she suggested using less baking powder. I have decreased it slightly but that hasn't made any visible difference. I'm not sure how much less I can use without affecting it too much! I keep trying different things but my family is getting tired of cupcakes!!! I'll definitely be bringing some to my mom's this weekend!
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edibleart

Thank you so much for your suggestions, Squirrelly! The batter has beaten egg whites in it - would that deflate if I let it sit for 1/2 hour? Would it make any difference if they are beaten to stiff peaks or soft? The recipe calls for soft but maybe the stiff would hold up better to the baking also. I have an oven thermometer and I have adjusted the temperature accordingly. Auzzi mentioned that she turns the temperature up 25 degrees when making cupcakes. I'm so scared of over-browning them that I haven't tried it but maybe that would be better? Sorry for all the questions - wish I knew more about the chemistry in the recipe so I could adjust it without losing the great taste and texture!!!

Thanks for your help.


Hi kiddo,
Hhmn, that 25 degrees thing is usually with some cheesecakes but then, lately there is all sorts of information going around about cupcakes, specifically designed recipes etc. I find that interesting because I have always just used normal recipes and normal baking proceedures for regular cakes and never had a problem. It is worth a try though, I would just be concerned about the rise being fast. Having said that though, I trust Auzzi's advice, she is one smart cookie! That may also be based on how we bake muffins, generally a muffin recipe is baked at 375 but then a muffin recipe is usually more of a quick bread and to get it rising and baking properly in a short amount of time, the temperature generally needs to be higher.
Well, that is strange, the recipe says to only beat the egg whites separately until they are soft peaks? Usually it will say until stiff but not dry when they want the egg whites to act as a leavener. Soft peaks will just mix in and you won't get much benefit from aeration. Are you told to fold the egg whites in separately? If you are going to use your egg whites as a leavening agent, then normally they are beaten until stiff not dry and gently folded in at the end, with most recipes calling for actually stirring in a portion of the egg whites and then adding the rest by folding in with a spatula. If you only beat until they are soft peak, they will basically not have the leavening factor, or at least not the same leavening factor.
Actually kiddo, the recipe I am talking about that I let sit on the counter is one made with the egg whites beaten until stiff, not dry and folded in. What happens it the cupcakes rise with a slightly rounded top but not a huge crown, more flat than anything but slightly rounded.
Some cake mix recipes call for beating the egg whites separately then they are thrown into the batter and beaten some more, not much leavening effect from that method.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes
post #11 of 26
I just found that recipe online. Hold on, I am going to check it out and get back to you.
Hugs Squirrelly
post #12 of 26
Try decreasing the amount of liquid. i had this problem for a while; the taste was great but sunk until the cake was about an inch thick! I tweaked it by decreasing the liquid and it now does not fall at all.
Always just a cake away from perfection
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Always just a cake away from perfection
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post #13 of 26
CakesWithAttitude, there is no liquid as in milk or water in this recipe.
Edibleart, I can see why there is so much baking powder in this recipe, it is because it has a very high fat ratio. I am not so sure that it is a good choice for cupcakes because it is a cake that has a long cooking time due to the high fat ratio. Your cupcakes will probably take longer to cook than what you are used to with cupcakes. You may need to cook longer and possibly cut back the temperature by 25 degrees for the remainder of the cooking time.
As I said, sometimes with cakes that have sour cream in them, I let them sit in the oven a minute or two more after the soft crumbs on the toothpick test because I find that reduces or elimates the sinking issue.
This recipe also appears on Baking911. I haven't made it or used it for cupcakes. I would suggest trying Sarah's ultimate Butter Cake recipe but I don't think you will get quite the same texture from it, however it is an excellent recipe. As Steplite suggested, I would post a question there on the message board, "ask sarah" because Sarah tests the recipes on her site and will be better able to address the problems you are having with this recipe when using it for cupcakes. Post under the Cake Decorating Section. I will bring your post to her attention. I wish I had time to try it out and test the cupcakes to experiment with adjusting, but I don't right now. But I am sure that Sarah will have some ideas!
Other than that, well I would try this recipe but beat the egg whites until stiff, not dry, but until you get a stiff peak when you pull up with a spoon, the peak holds it shape. I would also cook longer and would try leaving the batter filled cups on the counter for a bit, about 1/2 hour.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes
post #14 of 26
Well maybe not technically, but your sour cream is in place of the liquid, so you could try decreasing that. Mine was buttermilk
Always just a cake away from perfection
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Always just a cake away from perfection
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post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakesWithAttitude

Well maybe not technically, but your sour cream is in place of the liquid, so you could try decreasing that. Mine was buttermilk


Sorry I wasn't sure if you meant the same recipe and meant that water or milk should be reduced. The sour cream is also a large fat source. The other think I would like to try with it is reducing the baking powder and adding baking soda but this in conjunction with the sour cream might make the leavening that much worse.
Is your recipe similar to this recipe? This is the recipe she is referring to. http://www.baking911.com/recipes/cakes/buttercake_yellow2.htm
Hugs Squirrelly
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