I recently made my first wedding cake. I premade the cake layers (from vanilla cake mix) and then froze them. When I thawed out the cake layers and began to handle them, they began to crack. When the cake was served it didn't hold together well. You couldn't slice the cake without it crumbling and you couldn't eat it without the individual slice falling apart.
What cake mix did you use? Have you used this successfully in the past? Did you make any changes to the mix? (Such as extra eggs, substituting ingredients, etc.) How tall was each layer? What was the cake like before you froze it? Did you cool the cake thoroughly before wrapping it, or wrap it warm? Did you thaw it covered or unwrapped?
I like baking mine at a lower temp 325 rather than 350. The cake comes out really moist and not crumbly. I use DH for all my cakes, but everyone has their own preferences. However, I'm with Bunnywoman on this one. The one time I used BC, I had a very crumbly cake.
This was a duncan hines french vanilla cake mix (I agree a very good flavor). I have never had this problem before. The only thing that I did different was I used x-large eggs vs. lg eggs. The layers were 3" high. The cakes pulled completely away from the pan before I took them out of the oven. Then when I removed them from the pan they were moist but not falling apart. I let them cool completely before I wrapped them in saran wrap and put them in the freezer. I thawed them out in the saran wrap.
Just not sure what I did wrong. How can I make the cake more dense so that it doesn't fall apart?
Well, I don't know what you did wrong, either. Sigh.
From the posts in this thread it it obvious that there can be a crumbly problem with any brand. I've had it happen more with DH than the others, but I think that is a coincidence. I don't think we can blame this entirely on the cake mix, since it seems to happen to any of them, and since others have good luck with this flavor and brand.
I have horrible luck with 3" deep pans. Some people swear by them. Are 3" pans what you usually use? Did you have any trouble getting them done evenly all the way through?
Did you cool the cakes in their pans on a cooling rack? What about after you took them out of the pan -- did you cool them on a rack or place them directly on a board? It is important to let air circulate all around the cooling cakes, in and out of the pan. Trapping too much steam can lead to problems, especially with a super-moist cake like the DH mixes.
Did you have to level the layers? If you did, did you get any sense at that time about the crumbly texture? I have a hard time thinking that the problem is related to the freezing or thawing, unless they weren't really as cool as you thought they were when you wrapped them.
The extra large eggs could have been a contributing factor. Who knows? Maybe when the cake is on the border of being too moist any little variation could send them over the edge.
Duncan Hines has some advice for large tiers, here: http://www.duncanhines.com/forums/showthread.php?p=183806
This is only for white cakes, which (if memory serves) only call for 2 Tablespoons of oil. So basically it looks like they recommend cutting the oil in half. The other ingredients look to be the same. Does that sound right?
Adding a pudding mix and an additional egg (or maybe just using the extra large eggs) may also give you greater density.
I wish I could say, oh well, your mistake is obvious ... just stop doing x. But I sure can't see what "x" is!
I have also found when my cakes are crumbly, it's because I have not let it cool properly. Meaning, I either rushed the process, did not get it out of the pans in time.
Moisture is the main cause in my kitchen. Yes, good air circulation is the key. At first I guess I thought the cake would get dry, letting it sit out too long, but I found that I really want it to not only cool, but yes crust without the BC on it. It can't be moist or soggy on the outside and then put another wet product on it, I will be in crumble city.
I think that is an excellent observation, ladycatisadiva! We'll have to wait for deeg86 to tell us if improper cooling could be the problem here, but I don't doubt it could be in many cases. There is a reason that we are told again and again by all kinds of experts to cool the cakes in a certain way. Yes, some people get by with ignoring those instructions, but other people find out the hard way why following the established procedures is a good idea.
I had this happen on my last cake. I tried to bake 2 6 in round and a 9 in round layer at the same time, the 6's where very done and the 9 was underdone. The 9 fell apart so i could now use it. I think i should have let the 9 in layer bake for about 5 more minutes, and that would not have happened. My guess is the cake was under baked try adding about 5 minutes to your bake time and see if that helps.
PS. my underbaked layer tested ok with a tooth pick, and pulled away from the pan like it was done.
juanholio1, do you use any type of heating core for your 9 inch pans? I did not for a while, but then I found that it helps. I use..... I think it's the #9 flowernail. It's the smaller one in the center of my 9 inch pans. Anything bigger gets the #7 or multiples.
yeah i did use baking strips on my 9's and the flower nail trick and i got a very level cake form it. when i bake the 2 6's and the 9 together i ran out of the flower nails so the 9 did not get all the way done, but it tested like it was done.
PS. i got the flower nail trick on this form thanks to all that posted it.
I cooled the pans on a rack....they felt cool to the touch and then I leveled them and wrapped them. I am now I'm wondering if I should have let them sit longer before I wrapped and froze them. Maybe it was the extra large eggs, I would have thought that would make them more dense but maybe it puts in too much moisture?
It's not the eggs. How long did you let it cool in the pan? Then how long did you let it cool on the cooling racks?
Jeanne has tested this method, it works. Cool in the pan for 15 mins. (not 20, but 15) Then remove and turn out on your cooling racks. I leave mine on the cooling racks now until they get a little crust on the outside of them. I do not dry them out, but I let the cool completely.