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HELP HELP HELP!!!!!! please dear god.

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Im a cake decorator at a department store, im wanting to try stuff at home and first wanted to break away from the premade icings and box mix. but the past 5 attempts have left me feeling helpless.

Ive tried TWO icing recipes one tasted amazing, but i cant get it to thicken up even AFTER adding over 3 cups EXTRA of powdered sugar. It already had 3 cups in it, and the only liquid was 2 tbls of milk. and the butter was ice cream consistency so it wasn't liquidy. so here it is, in my kitchen looking delicious but not firming up what so ever for me to spread on a cake or for me to pipe!
Im hand mixing use a fork for the icing so that i could fold the ingredients into the butter so the butter wouldn't get liquidy. can anyone guess what im doing wrong? or give me a recipe. all the recipes ive gotten were from on here....

then comes the cake.
I used a recipe on here for vanilla cake, it was simple enough, the batter tasted delicious. then came the horrible part.....tasting the cooked cake. It had the consistency of a mr. clean magic eraser, Icould barely cut through it with a plastic fork (where as box cake i could) each of these recipes didn't ask for oil....is that the problem? and then the taste was a little too sweet, but i can adjust for my liking i know that...it's just the texture that is killing me.

then when i flipped the cake over (cause that's just how we do it at my job) i noticed dents in the bottom of the cake, almost like the cake pan was a mold. (they weren't holes, just dents) why did this happen? it doesn't bother me, but im wondering why

I just want to make a stupid cake LIKE box cake, only at home. I don't have the money for a fancy stand alone mixer or a hand mixer. im almost ready to give up and just spend the ridiculous about of money for boxed cake mix and tubs of icing. :-/ thanks if there is ANYONE who can help me. and please don't be mean, I might not make any sense but at least im trying to be a better baker..
post #2 of 18
Do you have any type of mixer? I am not a pro by any means, but have never had an issue making buttercream icing and the consistency. So I would guess that it is because you aren't using a mixer and getting the ingredients blended together well enough for them to get to the appropriate consistency. I also will use a heavy cream sometimes instead of milk to get a fluffier icing. It just depends what you are going for.

As far as the cake, it took me many trials and tribulations to get a great scratch recipe for white cake. I have pulled from many different recipes and I do not use oil, but it is extremely important how you mix the ingredients or it will get too dry and can also be dense. You can't over mix the eggs and all ingredients should be at room temperature. It does make a big difference.

My suggestion is that you can't give up and just keep trying .. and if you don't have at least a hand mixer you definitely need to get one. They are not expensive. Good luck!
post #3 of 18
You really need a mixer to make icing... you need to get air into it. Even a cheap handmixer would make your life much much easier.

As for the cake... without the recipe I couldn't begin to say, but if it was your first scratch-made cake, many many things could have gone wrong. From over mixing, to under mixing, to too much flour from measuring it wrong... my guess would be undermixing though. You need to incorporate air into the butter and sugar, and get the eggs mixed in evenly, and that is very hard to do by hand.

My advice would be to save up for a hand mixer. Or start doing exercise to strengthen your arms for the amoutn of whipping you will have to do by hand... just the thought makes my arms hurt.
post #4 of 18
Yes, you need a mixer. You can find them on Craigslist sometimes for good prices. Worth the investment, you will have it forever.
post #5 of 18
A mixer is so helpful!!! You can get a super cheap handmixer from Walmart, I have a have one and it works great, or at least use a whisk, not a fork. I use the wilton buttercream recipe and double it and I have never had a problem with it. As far as cake recipes go I hate getting them off the internet because the directions are either vague or non-existent and I have had very little success, there is just so much variation that I never seem to choose a good one, haha. This might sound silly but I go to my little old lady neighbors and ask them for recipes and I have got some awesome ones!!!
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
I Amount  Ingredient
4  Eggs
2  Cups Of Sugar
2 Tsp  Vanilla Extract
1 Cup  Milk
4 Tbsp  Unsalted Butter
2 Cups  All Purpose Flour
2 Tsp  Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp  Salt
Directions
325* / 350* Pre-Heat Oven Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
**Milk and butter needs to be melted, recommend this to be made first so it can be added semi warm**
1. Mix in mixer the eggs with the vanilla extract for 5 / 7 minutes until have a volume.
2. Add sugar little by little and mix in med/high when added.
3. Sift all dry ingredients, All Purpose Flour, Baking Powder and salt.
4. Add the dry ingredients while mixing.
5. Milk and butter needs to be melt. Then add a little of the batter into the butter and milk mixture, then mix it with the batter little by little.
Pour into the cake pan and onto the oven at 325*/ 350* or until toothpick comes out clean.


that is the EXACT cake recipe. I had my boyfriend slowly pour or sift the ingredients in while i whisked i thought my arm was going to fall off (but at work im CONSTANTLY mixing different colors cause i get bored of the colors that come in pre made) so that's the only reason it didn't break off lol. You both made me feel alittle better.

and the icing recipe is was 3 cups powedered sugar sifted into 2 sticks of room temp. butter. then 2 tsp (or tbsp) or vanilla/ 2 tbsp milk and i think that's it. the first time making it, i melted the butter like a dummy, and it was so runny i used it on cinnamon buns lol. it was good like that! but this time it was alittle better....but still wont stiffen up...but i didnt sift the powdered sugar i added into it...I was so upset and discouraged i just dumped 2 cups in and stirred. i think ill try to get a electric mixer.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessielynn21

A mixer is so helpful!!! You can get a super cheap handmixer from Walmart, I have a have one and it works great, or at least use a whisk, not a fork. I use the wilton buttercream recipe and double it and I have never had a problem with it. As far as cake recipes go I hate getting them off the internet because the directions are either vague or non-existent and I have had very little success, there is just so much variation that I never seem to choose a good one, haha. This might sound silly but I go to my little old lady neighbors and ask them for recipes and I have got some awesome ones!!!




I actually have been asking around! I live in a little country town, where walmart is really the only place to buy anything so ill have to get one Thursday, along with more butter lol. everyone says the mixer is the problem. but yeah the recipes ive gotten seemed so simple. and i cook box cake just fine(mostly everyone does lol) so i figured this would be a piece of cake! (excuse my pun)
post #8 of 18
I live in a tiny town too, so I get that there aren't tons of shopping options. I have made cake and frosting with a whisk and had it work, you just have to mix a lot. The happiest day of my life was the day my mom gave me my Bosch mixer hahaha. Seriously go ask some little old ladies if they'll share their cake recipes. I have found they are the best because the ladies have made them for years to they know every trick! My best recipes are from my grandma and my great aunt. Good luck!
post #9 of 18
I have never made a vanilla cake that had you melt the butter other than a mudcake... I would try another recipe maybe?

Whipping air into whole eggs and then whipping in the sugar while maintaining consistency would take FOREVER by hand. I would find a recipe where you don't need to add volume to the eggs. You should be able to cream buter and sugar much more easily so long as your butter it true room temp. Leave it out overnight to be sure.

The icing seems to be lacking in sugar. I'd think 4 lbs would be more like it... espeically if they are having you thin it with milk.
post #10 of 18
Scratch baking is chemistry (note that I said chemistry and not chemicals).

How anyone can expect perfect results the first time they ever bake from scratch is beyond me, but I see these kinds of posts all the time. Someone tries one scratch recipe they found somewhere online, thinks it tastes like cornbread (!?!?!?) and is thus convinced that scratch baking is not for them and that all scratch cakes are gross.

I'm a scratch baker and I have, literally, tried thousands of recipes over the years. Trying many recipes, tweaking them again and again and again and again is a costly and time-consuming process. Any successful scratch baker will tell you the same story.

Using a hand mixer is just fine, if you don't have the money or the volume of orders to justify purchasing a standing mixer. A standing mixer is a convenience, not a necessity, but I've even made SMBC with a hand mixer. Purchasing a standing mixer is not going to solve your problems.

Good luck.
post #11 of 18
Save yourself the heartache and get yourself a mixer. Even a super cheap one from Walmart would give you better results than what you're getting. I glanced over the instructions for the recipe and saw mix at "med/high," unless you have a robotic arm connected to some mechanical device, there's not way in hades you're going to mix fast enough to match that mixer speed. Also, making BC by hand is not going to incorporate the amount of air you need into the ingredients. With the amount you've wasted on ingredients you might very well have gotten a good hand mixer.

EDIT: And don't be discouraged that your first scratch cake didn't turn out well. Most people new to scratch baking never anticipate what goes into good scratch baking. I literally baked tens and tens of cakes spanning a number of months to get consistently good results. Everyday I learn something new. And vanilla cake (white or yellow) is one of the trickiest to get right.
post #12 of 18
All this advice is very good. The mixer is indeed key in a recipe like this. But I have one more suggestion: if your baking powder is over six months old (for dryer climates) or three months old (for humid places), replace it. It can cause some of the problems you describe, although it seems like your basic problem is that there wasn't enough air in the eggs before you added your other ingredients. Above all, don't get discouraged. Boxed mixes are bung full of leavening agents, not all of which make the cake taste wonderful. Scratch cakes are usually denser, but well worth the effort.
Marianna
"I know my own mind...and it's around here somewhere!"
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Marianna
"I know my own mind...and it's around here somewhere!"
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post #13 of 18
You need to stop trying to bake a scratch cake that uses a lot of skills like proper creaming (I use a special spatula NOT a mixer for cake...) NO YOU CANNOT ADJUST SUGAR FOR TASTE WITHOUT PROFESSIONAL BAKING KNOWLEDGE.

Look up the homemade-cake-mix recipe on Cake Central and bake with that. You will feel more confident at home.

And PLEASE take some baking lessons at the nearest adult education (your county extension service will help you find them).
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

You need to stop trying to bake a scratch cake that uses a lot of skills like proper creaming (I use a special spatula NOT a mixer for cake...) NO YOU CANNOT ADJUST SUGAR FOR TASTE WITHOUT PROFESSIONAL BAKING KNOWLEDGE.

Look up the homemade-cake-mix recipe on Cake Central and bake with that. You will feel more confident at home.

And PLEASE take some baking lessons at the nearest adult education (your county extension service will help you find them).



Good point BakingIrene. With scratch baking you can't just pull out or dump in ingredients without balancing the other ingredients. With most well balanced scratch recipes, you only have a small window (+/- 10%) for adjustment before the recipe becomes imbalanced and fails.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

You need to stop trying to bake a scratch cake that uses a lot of skills like proper creaming (I use a special spatula NOT a mixer for cake...) NO YOU CANNOT ADJUST SUGAR FOR TASTE WITHOUT PROFESSIONAL BAKING KNOWLEDGE.



In my opinion this is really not worth yelling about.

Quote:
Quote:

And PLEASE take some baking lessons at the nearest adult education (your county extension service will help you find them).


t1tanpsl89 , I have never taken a baking class in my life, and I am a pretty awesome baker. You just need the right equipment, and you need to get your hands on some good cookbooks and cooking instruction books to learn the basics of how baking chemistry works. I always recommend this one, which is inexpensive, but teaches a LOT about the basics of baking, and includes some foolproof recipes.

The reason why a lot of chefs don't like to do baking and pastry is that in many ways it's not as intuitive as straight-up cooking. Have you ever watched Top Chef, and seen them go all green in the face every time they're told they have to make dessert? When you're baking, you can't just add a pinch of this, a dash of that. My husband's teenage cousin is an aspiring baker, but has been getting her recipes off the internet and just "winging it" as she goes, and keeps wondering why her cakes are, in her words, "awful". I gave her the same advice I am giving to you. Rather than wasting money on ingredients, buy a good book, educate yourself, and use recipes that have been developed and tested by professionals.

I hope your first experience hasn't soured you on baking. The reason so many of us are here is because we love it so much! icon_smile.gif Good luck to you.
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