Help me bake a cake that rises!! it never happens aaagh

(16 Posts)
ifso Tue 27-Nov-12 18:24:36

So, I've just baked 2 things today before teatime:
1. A tray of 100 oat biscuits - very delicious, baked wonderfully
2. a lemon drizzle cake - I followed the recipe exactly as it appeared on the butter packet packaging. I took it out of a 170 degree oven after the recommended 35 mins and it has barely risen. It is about an inch thick!

It happens every single time I bake a cake! I am gutted!

I beat the butter and sugar with handheld mixer - do i need a Kitchenaid mixer or similar to make a decent cake?

what am i doijg wrong? it is becoming so disheartening and a waste of ingredients to even bother

TIA

Caerlaverock Tue 27-Nov-12 18:28:39

I beat by hand, mixers flatten sponge cakes ime. Cream eg and butter (soften butter first. If you like. Then gradually add egg and mix, then gradually add flour and raising agent mixing in after each addition. Ad milk if needs. Cook in preheated oven for required amount of tIme. Check with a skewer before removing

mignonette Tue 27-Nov-12 18:30:45

Did the recipe stipulate self raising flour or baking powder?
How old is your baking powder as it goes off faster than most people think? Buy some fresh and keep in cool place and use it quickly.
I use handheld mixers and have no problem with them. A KitchenAid is lovely but to be honest I can hardly bother to get mine out!

Also don't over beat. That can cause lack of rise too.

Test your oven temperature. Even new ovens can drastically vary in their accuracy of temperature.

Lemon Drizzle cakes are less 'airy' than other batters- like Banana bread and muffins, they can be quite dense naturally. How did it taste? I'd just cut it into thick slices, drizzle over a shed load more lemon juice and sugar and serve up as 'lemon slices'....smile

Jojay Tue 27-Nov-12 18:30:57

Is the tin too big?

blue2 Tue 27-Nov-12 18:30:59

I'd check the temp of your oven with a separate thermometer (get one in Robert Dyas or similar). It can affect cake making hugely (but not biscuit making so much)

What sort of raising agent did the cake have? Did you add enough?

I don't think you need a kitchenaid to make a cake.

You could try a blind test and get a Betty Crocker or similar cake mix which'll only need an egg or butter to get it going.

Bigwuss Tue 27-Nov-12 18:31:55

Too much baking powder can make cakes sink, I also agree that you should think about the tin size.

ifso Tue 27-Nov-12 19:04:58

thanks for replies

Jojay - I baked it in the tin which came as the special offer with the butter and the recipe card was also inside the tin, recipe said bake it in the enclosed tin

Blue2 - good idea with the Betty Crocker and oven temp check.

Bigwuss - the recipe said use plain flour, no baking powder, cake has basically browned all over, not risen dramatically. DCs are impressed tho, bless their hearts!

Caerlaverock Tue 27-Nov-12 20:13:51

No baking powder and plain flour? That was never going to rise

nextphase Tue 27-Nov-12 20:42:14

Agree with Caerlaverock, that was never going to rise much.

I'd try a basic sponge (replace a heaped tablespoon of flour with cocoa if you want a chocolate one)

Grease a 20 cm tin.
Cream 100g caster sugar, and 100g of full fat margarine (we usually use flora) using your hand mixer til it goes slightly paler in colour.
Add 2 eggs, and beat again.
Add 100g self raising flour (or flour and cocoa), a teaspoon of baking powder and a slosh of milk (2 table spoons?) Beat with the hand mixer til all combined. Transfer to tin, and cook 180 deg C (190 if not fan assisted) for 20-25 mins.

Doesn't fail me, even with 2 toddlers hindering helping!

MoreBeta Tue 27-Nov-12 20:49:30

Agree with getting an oven thermometer. I discovered my oven temp is actually 1 gas mark below the level marked on the dial. Another tip is make sure your cake mix is not freezing cold. Using milk, eggs, butter straight out of fridge will make it so cold that it will not rise or be cooked.

The biggest problem though is not using self raising flour or baking powder. You are effectively making a very thick biscuit (ie a brick) if you use just plain flour.

ifso Tue 27-Nov-12 22:10:02

must have been a spelling typo on the recipe card, hence the butter company were selling 2 packs of the butter with a free baking tin! all wrapped up with a pretty ineffective recipe it seems! I did question it a few times, but thought, well I'll throw in some baking powder just in case.

all doomed to failure!

looking forward to trying your recipe later this week nextphase, thank you

nannycook Tue 27-Nov-12 22:14:44

ifso, now i've cracked using a gas oven, i usually use the same mix and method for ordinary sponges, each to their own i guess as far as mixers are conerned, some manually beat by hand, some use stand mixers and now i have one i do prefer it, also i always use soft marg, and i beat the marg and sugar for 5mins or so until nearly white, you need to beat as much air in as poss, i add each egg with spoon of flour and beat each time, and always use s/r flour with a tsp of baking powder, sift the flour to maintain the air you've put in, always fold the flour in, and the best bit of all is always use a timer. i'm sure you'll get it right next time you have a go.

ifso Tue 27-Nov-12 22:19:11

fantastic post nanny cook, thank you.

I was getting so annoyed with myself earlier today as I was able to make perfect (I thought) sponges age 10!

nannycook Tue 27-Nov-12 22:40:37

Iknow i hate it if something turns out wrong if i've done exactly the same as normal, its a waste of ingredients, time, etc. i made cupcakes on the weekend using an 8oz mix 4 eggs etc and it makes exactly 18 cakes, if you use an icecream scoop to measure the mix out you'll find you have the perfect size all of them.

mignonette Wed 28-Nov-12 11:36:48

Basic rule for Sponges is weigh your eggs and then use the same weight of butter, flour and sugar.

I wouldn't personally use anything but butter in baking and neither would chefs/patissieres. It gives a much better flavour and is not full of awful chemicals.I spent two years working part time with a pastry chef and learned all kinds of little hints-it is so interesting watching their trade improvisations but one golden rule is not to skimp on your ingredients-use the best you can afford especially when making the classic patisserie such as Genoise, Chiffon, Angel and Victoria sponges as it truly does influence the results.

Also watch out for the amount of baking powder, Bicarb and cream of tartar you use as they can be tasted in the cooked item. You mustn't keep it for more than a couple of months either regardless of what the use-by date says. It loses its rising properties very quickly when stored.

I was introduced to Bakers Ammonia which when added to cookies and biscuits, produces a very crisp sharp snap. It is great.

The colour of the metal in your tin affects the rate of cooking and browning- the darker the tin, the faster the cake browns.

I use silicon trays and tins most of the time now except for very complicated patisserie when you need rigid sided tins to get the shape and layering right.

LizGaywood Fri 04-Jan-13 09:36:59

Help!! I love making cakes and now have a lovely shiny new Kitchenaid mixer, however every time I use it my cake rises beautifully but then sinks. I'm using a classic Victoria sponge recipe that previously has never failed. I really want to enjoy my new mixer so does anyone have any tips? Many Thanks

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