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Aftertaste and sunken centered chocolate cake. Why?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Yesterday I made a chocolate cake using a recipe from McCall's Cook book (an old book that I believe it out of print currently). I haven't made this cake in quite a few years, but whn I did in the past it was always a hit. I threw away the one I made yesterday, but it's bugging me as to why it came out so bad.

First thing, I usually make three 9" x 1.5" tall layers and yesterday I made two 8" x 2.5" tall cakes. Both cakes had a sunken center and appeared darker than usual. When I was leveling them, I tasted it (thank goodness!!) and after a short time there was such an aftertaste that I had my husband taste it too. He agreed. So I have to remake this cake (will use a different recipe), but it's left me wondering: what happened?

I checked the dates on my ingredients, especially the cocoa, baking soda and baking powder and they're all fine. Does anyone have any ideas? I'd like to know what might have happened so that I can avoid this problem in the future (even thought this is the first time it's happened so far).

Thanks.
-Grace

"Shades of grey wherever I go;
The more I find out the less that I know."
- Billy Joel
"What color's the icing in your world?" - Me
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-Grace

"Shades of grey wherever I go;
The more I find out the less that I know."
- Billy Joel
"What color's the icing in your world?" - Me
Reply
post #2 of 30
Do you think one of your eggs might have been bad?
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
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Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
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post #3 of 30
Thread Starter 
I guess it's possible, but wouldn't I have smelled it? I do break my eggs in a small bowl and then add them to my batter just for that very reason and also to prevent any sneaky pieces of egg shells that might try to get by me.
-Grace

"Shades of grey wherever I go;
The more I find out the less that I know."
- Billy Joel
"What color's the icing in your world?" - Me
Reply
-Grace

"Shades of grey wherever I go;
The more I find out the less that I know."
- Billy Joel
"What color's the icing in your world?" - Me
Reply
post #4 of 30
Did you use canola oil? I have read that canola oil gives a weird taste to chocolate cakes, to use vegetable or corn oil instead.
- Lilliam
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- Lilliam
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post #5 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugar_Plum_Fairy

I guess it's possible, but wouldn't I have smelled it? I do break my eggs in a small bowl and then add them to my batter just for that very reason and also to prevent any sneaky pieces of egg shells that might try to get by me.



Sometimes you can smell them and sometimes you can't. I ruined several cakes a while back and have since gone back to an old test my grandmother and mother taught me. Get a bowl or cup of water deep enough to cover an egg standing on it's end (about 3 to 4 inches). Put the egg in the water. If it lays or stands on the bottom, I use it. If it floats, I throw it out.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
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Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
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post #6 of 30
I use canola oil for my cakes with no flavor issues. In fact, I like the canola oil because it seems like my cakes are more moist with it.
post #7 of 30
I made a cake yesterday that had a sunken center, and when I torted it hours later I discovered the middle was undercooked. Could that be it?
post #8 of 30
Describe the aftertaste.

Sulfuric, sourish, slightly salty - bad egg

Rancid, moldy, flat - bad oil or shortening

Too much or undissolved leavening agent (baking soda or baking powder) - chemically, metallic, tinny

spoiled dairy - not discernible in finished product but spoilage could be easily caught at the first whiff of the raw ingredient (scary!)

I know this because in university for our food science class we had to make and evaluate food products made with the most common subpar or spoiled ingredients. We had to look, smell & taste, but thankfully not swallow! YUCK but one of the best lesson learned. 15 years on and I still remember it, down to the adjectives we used to describe them.


As for sunken center, the most likely culprits to me are undissolved leavening, too much leavening, too hot an oven and underbaking.
Formerly The Casual Kitchen. Just here for cake
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Formerly The Casual Kitchen. Just here for cake
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post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitchenKat


I know this because in university for our food science class we had to make and evaluate food products made with the most common subpar or spoiled ingredients. We had to look, smell & taste, but thankfully not swallow! YUCK but one of the best lesson learned.

15 years on and I still remember it, down to the adjectives we used to describe them.



Wow, I'd say that's one lesson you'll never foget! icon_eek.gif

Thanks for sharing! thumbs_up.gif
post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by JanH

Quote:
Originally Posted by KitchenKat


I know this because in university for our food science class we had to make and evaluate food products made with the most common subpar or spoiled ingredients. We had to look, smell & taste, but thankfully not swallow! YUCK but one of the best lesson learned.

15 years on and I still remember it, down to the adjectives we used to describe them.



Wow, I'd say that's one lesson you'll never foget! icon_eek.gif

Thanks for sharing! thumbs_up.gif



Amen to that!!! We need an emoticon for YUCK!!!!
Thanks also for sharing. That is good information to have!
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
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Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
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post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BevsBakeshop

I made a cake yesterday that had a sunken center, and when I torted it hours later I discovered the middle was undercooked. Could that be it?



Had the same thing happen to me, But it was Butter Pecan , The center wasnt really sunken in but where the nail had been it was undercooked, doughy like, Oh well
post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 
So sorry I didn't respond again sooner than now. For some reason I never received notice by e-mail of any replies....oh well, I'm here now. lol

I'll try to do this in order:
Nope, no canola oil. As a matter of fact this recipe did not call for oil and when a recipe does I always substitute the oil for apple sauce.

I'm really lending creedance to the egg theory as I remember at some point, there was an egg (don't know if it was in this cake or one of the other three that I made) where I saw a small red "thing" that I removed right outside of the yolk. Looked almost like a burst blood vessel. But it was a container of 18 eggs (Eggland's Best) and, as I already mentioned, I used the eggs from this same container for another two or three cakes.

As for the taste; I would say it was a bitter chemical-like taste. I checked the dates on my baking soda and baking powder and they were fine (plus I used them in other cakes). The pans aren't old, nor are they new. Probably about a year old or so.

The toothpick came out clean and they didn't seem burned or overdone when I took them out of the oven, but the color did seem darker than normal. I just don't get it. It's been a while since I made this recipe, but I have made it quite a few times in the last 18-20 years (I know I've been making it at least 18 years because this was the recipe I used when I made my (at the time) future sister-in-law a cake the day she and her newborn son came home from the hospital). icon_wink.gif

Okay, I just got the recipe. It's McCall's Cooking School's Perfect Chocolate Cake. It contains 1 c sifted unsweet'd cocoa, 2c boiling water, 2-3/4 c sifted all purpose flower, 2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp, salt, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1c butter or regular margarine softened (I use unsalted butter), 2-1/2 c granulated sugar, 4 eggs, 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

In med. bowl, combine cocoa with boiling water, mix with wire whisk til smooth. Cool completely. In separate bowl sift flour with soda, salt & baking powder. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease well and lightly flour three 9x1-1/2" layer cake pans.

In large bowl of electric mixer, at high speed, beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla, scraping bowl occasionally, until light - about 5 minutes (I do this less since the photo shows a hand mixer and this book was from circa 1973 or so). At low speed, beat in flour mixture (in fourths), alternately with cocoa mixture (in thirds), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Do not overbeat. Divide evenly into pans; smooth top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until top springs back when gently pressed with fingertip. Cool in pans 10 minutes then cool on racks to room temp. Yadda, yadda, yadda.


Feel free to try it. When it doesn't sink and come out with a funky after-taste, it really is good. Oh, they also give a recipe for whipped cream filling and chocolate frosting, but I'm sure you all have your own. icon_wink.gif
-Grace

"Shades of grey wherever I go;
The more I find out the less that I know."
- Billy Joel
"What color's the icing in your world?" - Me
Reply
-Grace

"Shades of grey wherever I go;
The more I find out the less that I know."
- Billy Joel
"What color's the icing in your world?" - Me
Reply
post #13 of 30
What kind of cocoa did you use? Regular or Dutch Process? If it was the Dutch Process, which is darker, and the recipe called for regular, the acid/alkaline balance would be off, which could cause the falling, and maybe an off taste. Since the recipe was old, it would definitely have the assumption that you would be using the "normal" cocoa.
One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.
- AA Milne -
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One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.
- AA Milne -
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post #14 of 30
I have had a cake taste funny and figured out it was the baking soda, it had a very soapy chemical taste. Did you use the same baking soda for the next cake as well?

The colour and rising problem might be the different cocoa as redpanda says. I dont know if it would make a huge difference in taste tho
post #15 of 30
I had a cake collapse in the middle. It was a chocolate mudcake. I opened the oven and tested it with a skewer about 3/4 of the way through (my oven is a bit fast). Anyway, evidentally I have since learnt that if you open the oven early and pierce the cake of a mudcake before it is finished cooking you cause it to collapse in the center (and the center never seems to cook properly and seems like it is undercooked) I wonder if the same thing happens if you open the oven too early with your cake?
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