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How do I lighten my cakes?

(45 Posts)
Tee2072 Sun 24-Mar-13 16:19:26

I always make sponge cakes, usually a 4 egg sponge to make 2 layers, and they are so heavy you could anchor a boat with them.

I use SR flour and usually another rising agent as well.


CakeForBreakfast Tue 02-Apr-13 15:31:45

x-post lula

CakeForBreakfast Tue 02-Apr-13 15:31:13

You are using too much leavening agent

It will rise too fast, then basically 'bubble' as it can't hold the excess air and fall.

Use only S.R flour OR baking powder. Adding a splodge of milk to give the batter a dropping consistency is fine. Bake at 175 - 180C but not higher.

Lulabellarama Tue 02-Apr-13 12:17:17

Don't use two raising agents!
The raising agent in your flour is sufficient. If you add another in they will over rise during cooking, then collapse onthemselves, leaving very little in the way of air inside them by the time you take them out.

FishfingersAreOK Tue 02-Apr-13 12:14:39

yy to room temp -and make sure your butter is really soft (even Mary Berry emphasises this one). And then just make sure it is dropping consistency before you put it in the tins. So big wooden spoonful, lightly tap the spoon on the side of the bowl and the batter should easily schlop into the bowl. No bashing to get it off, no delay. Really is quite sloppy. This may mean a dash of milk which is what I use - or try the yoghurt/oil etc suggestions here.

BellaVita Tue 02-Apr-13 04:53:33

Tee I have a KitchenAid... <just sayin like> grin

But seriously now, I haven't had it that long (Christmas) and have only made one Victoria sponge in it, so I don't think it matters whether you use one or a hand mixer like I did before.

All my ingredients are room temp and it doesn't seem to matter whether I use 'basic' ingredients or branded.

BUT the KitchenAid does look bloody fab in the kitchen!

storynanny Mon 01-Apr-13 23:39:44

I don't use any fat now in my sponge cakes and they are as light as a feather. Whisk 6 egg whites with pinch of cream of tartar and 65g caster sugar till stiff. In another bowl whisk egg yolks 135g caster sugar, add teaspoon vanilla essence, squirt of lemon juice, 2 tbs water. Stir in 100g sr flour. Tip this mixture into egg white mixture, fold in gently, it will look like meringue mixture.
Cook in 2 tins about 40 mins gas5
Sandwich together with fresh whipped cream

saintmerryweather Sun 24-Mar-13 18:57:28

Seriously...chuck everything in the bowl and mix until just combined, add a splash of milk and a bit of olive oil. my cakes are always light

madamy Sun 24-Mar-13 18:51:06

I do Nigella's Victoria sponge, replace 25g SR flour with corn flour, and extra tsp baking powder as I do it in the food processor and add 2-3 tbsps milk. Just chuck it all in the processor for about 30 secs, job done!

Tee2072 Sun 24-Mar-13 18:45:09

Maybe it's my flour? I did make a very good Christmas Cake this year, according to my husband. I don't like Christmas cake so I never tasted it!

That was St Delia's recipe. Maybe her sponge recipe next time?

BooCanary Sun 24-Mar-13 18:35:58

I am just the same Moonbeggs. My Xmas cake is better than my mums yummy, I am always complimented on my brownies, and for some reason I can make a lemon drizzle cake to die for <modest>.

But my victoria sponge is brick-like. The most recent birthday cake I attempted was D.I.R.E! It was dry and dense, but bizarrely fairly tasty (think that was due to the plentiful icing.

I am confused over the Baking Powder. My most recent disaster was using a recipe that didn't include Baking Powder (just sugar, butter, eggs and flour). The mixture looked fine, and I use a food mixer so the butter and sugar get v fluffy. I wonder if its the flour stage that lets me down. Will have to try with margarine....

moonbeggs Sun 24-Mar-13 18:21:14

Tee you sound like me. It was a joke at home that mum could make vic sponges with her Kenwood that would try and take over the oven. Give her a fruit cake to make, and all the fruit would end up at the bottom and it would have a massive hollow in the middle!

I'm the other way round, with the same equipment, recipes and oven! Which is why I've been making the family Christmas fruit cakes since I was 12. And still could knock out a burglar with my sponges. I will be watching this thread carefully...

bakingaddict Sun 24-Mar-13 17:55:45

Try and do a genoise sponge....its a bit more faffy but basically you whisk eggs and sugar over a bain marie till they look like meringue. This takes about 10 minutes. Then you gently fold in your flour, being careful not to knock out the air. You can add melted butter to strengthen the cake but it isnt always necessary

Ra88 Sun 24-Mar-13 17:48:53

I always weigh eggs first and then have flour , sugar and butter the same weight .. Add a dolop of baking powder and a splash of milk and jobs a gooden!

saintmerryweather Sun 24-Mar-13 17:47:32

I add oil to my cakes but i also dont faff about i put everything in one bowl and mix it up. i do have a stand mixer but get just as good results with a hand mixer

SergeantSnarky Sun 24-Mar-13 17:41:57

use oil instead of butter

hermioneweasley Sun 24-Mar-13 17:41:01

A few things to try

- big yes to everything being room temp - then th oven is using the eggs to raise the cake straight away rather than having to warm them up first
- the raising agent starts to work as soon as the dry ingredients get wet so you need to get it in the oven straight away
- too much raising agent can cause cakes to over rise and collapse - if you're adding additional then does it look like this might be happening?
- alternatively, raising agent does go off, perhaps buy some fresh and see if that makes a difference
- have you tried buying more expesive flour? (though I use aldi's with no problems)
- adding sour cream/yoghurt/creme Fraiche will make it moister (not necessarily lighter/fluffier)

MoreBeta Sun 24-Mar-13 17:35:15

Cocodale - I have never heard of adding cornflour but that makes perfect sense. Adding cornflour lowers gluten content as maize flour does not contain gluten.

Incidentally, another MNetter suggested cornflour for Yorkshire puds the other day. Again no gluten makes sense for a rapid rise.

Tee2072 - Maybe try a premium sponge flour - rather than an ordinary self raising flour.

Tee2072 Sun 24-Mar-13 17:31:55

I think my real problem is I need a Kitchen Aid mixer. One of those really big ones. grin

Now to find £300...

Cocodale Sun 24-Mar-13 17:28:42

Look up Nigella Lawson's Victoria sponge in how to be a domestic goddess, she takes out some flour and adds cornflour instead. Makes a really light sponge that also lasts well.

neolara Sun 24-Mar-13 17:24:10

You have to cream the butter and sugar together first until they stop being yellow and start being white. This can take up to 5 mins with an electric whisk. It's much easier if your butter is at room temperature before you start. I put mine in the microwave for 10 / 20 seconds to make it softer.

Add a bit of milk at the end if your mixture is too heavy.

Tee2072 Sun 24-Mar-13 17:24:02

No, I use self rising, not bread flour.

Perhaps the room temperature thing.

MoreBeta Sun 24-Mar-13 17:22:07

I also blend everything in a food processor not a mixer.

MoreBeta Sun 24-Mar-13 17:21:20

Make sure the mix is room temp and use a a very light cake flour (ie not strong bread flour) and use a light margarine.

In fact as I am severe;ly gluten intolerant but love cakes so I make all my cakes using normal recipes but with Pure sunflower margarine and Doves farm gluten free plain flour (which is made of rice, potato and buckwheat flour) and add my own baking powder.

If you use strong flour, butter and a cold mix it will never rise - even if you put dynamite under it.

PipkinsPal Sun 24-Mar-13 17:18:24

I use Sainsburys supreme sponge flour for Victoria Sponge and my trusty electric hand mixer. 175g stork, 175g caster sugar, whizzed. Beat 3 eggs, whizz a bit at a time. Sift 175g sponge flour and 1 1/2 tsp baking powder. Stir in gradually with metal spoon. I sometimes whizz up after adding flour, still same results. Add 1tbsp milk if necessary. Grease and line 2 sandwich tins, I only line the bottom using a circle of parchment and I ensure there is the same amount of mix in each tin by weighing them. Oven 180, top shelf, approx 25 mins. Take out of oven, leave 5 mins, turn out onto wire rack.

MyCatHasStaff Sun 24-Mar-13 17:13:20

Beat the sugar and butter (I use Flora, butter is too heavy) together until it's really moussey, then add half the eggs and half the flour, mix a bit, then add the other half of the eggs and flour. I sometimes add milk or yoghurt, depends on how loose the mix is.

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