Topic Title: please help! need advice with my scratch cakes! Created On Tuesday April 19, 2011 11:23 PM
Posted: Tuesday April 19, 2011 11:23 PM
Ok. I have done all the usual things...325, bake even strips, sift everything, cake flour, dont overmix, dont overbake, etc etc etc. So why do my scratch (vanilla) cakes taste, look, feel like cornbread no matter what recipe I use???
I know scratch will not exactly be all soft n fluffy like box mix, but is that what they are supposed to be like?
They are not dry, just cornbready. I have not tried other flavors yet, trying to master yellow vanilla first!
have you tried the Vanilla Basic Cake?? I had a problem with the cornbread taste. everyone else said it tasted fine, but i Always thought it tasted just like cornbread...Until I made the Wilton recipe. I am in LOVE with this cake, and I HIGHLY recommend it if you haven't tried it. Good luck, and let me know it works out for you!
I use this recipe EXCEPT that I increase the butter to 1 cup:
I recently tried another yellow cake that has received good reviews and to me it had that cornbread taste you refer too. I've never had that when using this recipe. It has a nice crumb, is not dry with the added butter, is good for decorating and carving, and tastes good. I've been baking this one for nearly 30 years and everyone has always liked it.
Vanilla Butter cake
1 cup butter [8 oz]
1 1/2 c superfine sugar [12 oz]
4 eggs [2 oz ea.]
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour [7 oz]
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk [8 fl.oz]
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and line 13x9x2" pan, or 2 8-inch [2"] round pans.
Cream butter, then add sugar to beat until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one by one to creamed mixture, beatin until thoroughly incorporated before adding the next.
Beat in flavouring.
Mixing by hand, not machine, add 1/3 flour mixture to creamed mixture, then 1/2 milk, 1/3 flour, 1/2 milk, ending with 1/3 flour. Do not beat - that overmixes the batter and develops the gluten. Place batter into pan[s].
Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until tested clean. Cool on racks.
1. more butter makes the cake richer - more fat
2. more egg makes it richer - but it also adds to the structure/lightness of the crumb
3. beating the batter when you are adding the liquid develops the gluten - good, if you are making bread, but not for making "soft" cake..
Here's a mixing technique I'll share with you that is from The Cake Bible. It is going to go against the way our grandmothers taught us how to mix our cake batters (cream the butter and sugar, then add flour and liquids alternately). First off, I make my own cake flour. Here's a simple recipe:
Cake Flour (four cups):
3 1/2 C. bleached all purpose flour
1/2 C. corn starch
Sift the flour and corn starch together at least 5-6 times.
When you are measuring out your flour for your cake recipe, be sure to spoon the cake flour into the measuring cups and then level off with a knife, rather than just scooping the flour out with the measuring cup. This might help to eliminate some of the cornbread texture you are being left with. Why? Because your cake won't be as dense. When you scoop the flour with the measuring cup, it becomes compact and affects the texture and structure of the cake. If you are making a pound cake, then you wouldn't have to worry about this as much.
Okay, what I do is AFTER I've made my cake flour, I spoon out the amount for my recipe I need into a sifter again, usually just over my KitchenAid bowl, and then add in all the dry ingredients, minus the sugar(s)...so this would be your salt, baking powder and/or baking soda. Sift that together into the bowl. THEN measure out your sugar into the bowl with the rest of your dry. You are going to actually turn on your mixer and mix together the flour mixture and sugar, on the lowest setting, just for a minute or two. This helps to blend the dry ingredients together well. (Sifting only aerates and separates everything for you.) In a separate bowl you are going to mix together ALL of your wet ingredients, minus the butter. So this would be all of your eggs, your milk (or whatever liquid you use), any flavorings, and then any vegetable oil if you use it. (I like to use add a little oil into my butter cakes--it helps with the texture and moisture). Put your room temperature butter (soft but still firm) directly into your mixing bowl with all the dry stuff. Then pour in HALF of the combined liquid mixture. Turn mixer on slow at first, to get the butter, liquids, and dry incorporated so that you don't anything splashing out. Then turn up the mixer to a medium speed and beat everything for about a minute to a minute and 20 seconds to get the structure built into the cake batter. Then you are going to add the rest of the liquids in two more batches, mixing for about 15-20 seconds after each round.
Why is it done this way? You are actually coating all of the wheat flour grains with fat and liquid, and this helps to stop the over-formation of the gluten strands, which can make your cake tough and turn out more like a loaf of bread. Since I 'converted' over to this mixing method, all of my cakes have been softer, moister, and fluffier.
What altitude are you at? I live at a high altitude and have had that problem. One make sure that nothing ever bangs, or drops around oyu kitchen while baking, make sure you wait to poke it with a toothpic to check doneness untill the edges have pulled away from the pan, If you have childern do what ever you have to to keep them away from the kitchen, my son has flopped more of my cakes then I care to meantion. check the recommended baking temps for your altitude. If its non of these, are you using the exact ingrediants of the recipes or are you substituting something?