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Need help troubleshooting a cake that collapses after baking

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Good morning guys. I need some help troubleshooting this cake.

I'm using the Rebecca Rather White on White Buttermilk cake recipe. The cake cooks up nicely and looks beautiful in the oven, but once I take it out, it collapses on me. I just baked a single batch of the recipe in a 14" square pan at 325 for 37 minutes, using the Fat Daddio's heating core for even baking and wet towel strips wrapped around the cake pan as Bake Right strips. The layer is now less than an inch tall, even though it rose to about 2" tall during the cooking process.

Does anyone have any idea what's making this collapse? I'm hoping for some quick responses as I have several more layers to cook today. Thanks!!
post #2 of 26
Did you test the cake with a toothpick or anything ? I would be baking that MUCH longer......
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks grama_j. Yes, I tested it with a knife and it came out clean. I did wonder if it should have cooked a little longer because I sensed a lot of steam still coming from the pan when I took it out, even though the knife came out clean. But I'm typically afraid of overcooking my cakes, so that's why I took it out when I did.
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
UPDATE...when I tried to flip it out of the pan, it just crumbled everywhere. I'm going with underbaked. Please let me know if any of you have any additional thoughts or suggestions! Thanks!!
post #5 of 26
I agree with grama j. It can't be anywhere NEAR done after only 37 minutes! Even my 6-inch rounds take 50 minutes or more. A 14-inch with bake even strips should take closer to 90 minutes.

Did you stick your knife in the cake or the heating core? The core will test done before the rest of the cake.

How close to the top element is your oven rack? If the top of the cake bakes too fast and becomes crispy, it will clean off your knife as you pull it out of the cake. As if you pulled the knife between your fingers.

For a more accurate test, use a wood or bamboo skewer. And if the top of the cake looks 'done', carve a tiny hole in the top of cake with your skewer so when you pull it back out, it doesn't rub against the crusty top of the cake.

You may also need to move your oven rack down a notch.

Standard advice whenever there's a baking problem - get an oven thermometer. Test the middle and four corners of your oven to learn where the hot spots are. Also test high, low and middle rack positions.
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for the input Diane!!

My cake is right in the center of the oven, as centered as I can get it between the top and bottom elements. I'm convinced I underbaked it. I've got Round #2 in the oven right now, so we'll see how this goes.

Another question, and this is part of the reason I thought it would be done so quickly...I'm baking all my layers separately, no torting. So I made a single batch of the WoW recipe for the 14" layer. Because the batter seemed so short to me (in the pan), I thought it would take less baking time, even though it eventually rose to about 2" tall. Should I forget that theory and keep cooking it longer? Maybe that's what screwed me up. I'm so much more accustomed to baking smaller cakes, so these larger layers are tripping me up.

Thanks so much for all the help! I'm still open to any suggestions others might have. It's times like these when I'm really grateful to the CC community!! thumbs_up.gif
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DianeLM

I agree with grama j. It can't be anywhere NEAR done after only 37 minutes! Even my 6-inch rounds take 50 minutes or more. A 14-inch with bake even strips should take closer to 90 minutes.



Wow, 90 minutes...really?? I noticed the Wilton chart recommended 45-50 minutes, but you would advise going to 90 minutes? Do you bake at 325?

Thanks Diane!!
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Okay well, I just cooked the second cake and left it in for 60 minutes, and it collapsed before I ever took it out of the oven. The cake rises, but something is making it collapse. Do any of my baking chemistry specialists know what's going on here?
post #9 of 26
I usually use a mix so it would be hard for me to judge, but perhaps you should check your baking powder...... sometimes that will mess you up if it is old.......
post #10 of 26
Without seeing the recipe, it's difficult to offer suggestions.

One thing that can cause a cake to collapse is opening the oven before it's had a chance to rise properly. Especially if you swing the oven door open quickly.

I always open the door a few inches, wait about 5 seconds, then slowly open the rest of the way, regardless of the doneness of the cake, although I resist opening at all from about the halfway to the three-quarters done timeframe.

Touching or testing the cake before it has had a chance to rise properly can also cause it to fall. The cake is relying on hot gases trapped inside to rise. It's kind of like sticking a pin in a balloon.

I don't really time my cakes and I never consult a baking chart. I just bake them til they're done. I set a timer for 50 minutes to an hour, look through the oven window, then reset the timer for anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. Then, check again. Depending on how many cakes I've got going, I may set my timer 5-6 times for one oven-ful.
post #11 of 26
There has been some discussion on this recipe previously, and the pros pretty much said that there is too much leavening in that recipe. Can't fine the topic right now and have no recollection of how to reduce the baking powder/soda combo to correct. I bought several of the books that explain the chemistry, but it just gives me a headache since there seems to be so much conflicting info out there. I love that cake when it doesn't fall - love the taste and texture, but it sometimes just totally deflates on me - probably because I don't measure accurately and make the over-leavened formula worse.
post #12 of 26
Don't know this recipe but consulted my resident master baker (my dad, who worked for a big major bakery and I consult him with all the technical issues) lol

On the serious side, he asked about your altitude and the freshness of your baking powder. Are you creaming (beating) your butter / shortening well and do you add your dry ingredients in slowly. Are your eggs cold or room temperature?

In other words the oven might not be your problem.
Virginia 323.253.8213
www.urbanainez.com
He is the man of my dreams, my prince; He gives me the desires of my heart, He completes me. His name is Jesus
Reply
Virginia 323.253.8213
www.urbanainez.com
He is the man of my dreams, my prince; He gives me the desires of my heart, He completes me. His name is Jesus
Reply
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Okay guys...I left out a BIG detail, and I feel really dumb for it.

The WoW recipe is my go-to white cake recipe, but this person requested a confetti cake. I tested it several months ago by just adding rainbow jimmies to my cake batter, and it turned out fine, but that was an 8" cake and it was only for sampling. I've been analyzing this all morning and I think the jimmies are adding too much sugar and fat to my cake batter. The first three ingredients on the package are sugar, cornstarch and vegetable oil. To me this makes sense because the cake seems oily to the touch. Otherwise, my eggs and butter are the correct temperature, and I think the other pieces of the puzzle are right.

So now my question is...how do I modify the recipe for the rainbow jimmies? I've already decided I can reduce the jimmies to about 3/4 cup instead of the full cup I was using. Do I cut the butter, cut the sugar, add more baking soda and baking powder? It was even suggested that I use AP flour instead of the cake flour that's called for. PLEASE...PRETTY PLEASE...can someone help me???

Here's the link to the recipe I use: http://www.bakespace.com/recipes/detail/White-on-White-Buttermilk-Cake-with-Jack-Daniels-Buttercream/7175/

Thank you to all of you who have already responded!! I really appreciate your help!!
post #14 of 26
A huh!! ok.. yes reduce your candies and add 1/2 -1c of ap flour. leave everything else the same. Should work out fine.
Virginia 323.253.8213
www.urbanainez.com
He is the man of my dreams, my prince; He gives me the desires of my heart, He completes me. His name is Jesus
Reply
Virginia 323.253.8213
www.urbanainez.com
He is the man of my dreams, my prince; He gives me the desires of my heart, He completes me. His name is Jesus
Reply
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by auntginn

A huh!! ok.. yes reduce your candies and add 1/2 -1c of ap flour. leave everything else the same. Should work out fine.



Really? You think that's all it will take to make this work? No decrease of the other sugar and butter?
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