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Why don't my cakes rise? WHY?!

(83 Posts)
PrincessChick Thu 24-Apr-14 21:51:03

Just that really. I made a batch of muffins this evening, a Victoria sponge and a carrot cake a couple of weeks ago... All edible but a bit dense and brick like. I'm really dissappointed by the muffins.

Where am I going wrong?

I always follow the recipe, I use a kitchenaid with the beating attachment, I carefully fold in the flour with a wooden or metal spoon, i just don't understand?!

I'd love some tips!

mousmous Thu 24-Apr-14 21:54:43

do you use baking powder or self raising flour?
do ou leave it too long before baking?

Bunbaker Thu 24-Apr-14 21:55:26

I need more information.
Are you preheating the oven?
Are you using the correct size tins?
Have you checked your oven temperature with an oven thermometer?
Have you tried the all-in-one method for sponge cakes? If so you need to make sure you don't overheat the mixture
Can you let me know exactly what recipe you are using and the exact process of making the cake mix?

Quangle Thu 24-Apr-14 21:56:55

marking place - which is ironic because my cakes come out shaped more like a bookmark than a fluffy cloud.

Would also love to know. Do plenty of beating, only folding in flour, sifting etc. And follow instructions to the letter only to end up with a pancake not a sponge cake.

SirChenjin Thu 24-Apr-14 21:57:57

The brand of flour can make all the difference I find - which one are you using?

Other than that, what Mous and Bun said.

SirChenjin Thu 24-Apr-14 21:58:37

And - obvious though it may seem, you're using self raising and not plain flour, yes?

PurpleWithaMysteryBun Thu 24-Apr-14 21:58:41

Pfft. I have given up now. DH now bakes cakes as I am rubbish and he somehow always gets a good result! Same equipment very different results. confused

keely79 Thu 24-Apr-14 21:59:08

How old is your flour/baking powder/bicarb of soda? It loses its effectiveness after a while...

SirChenjin Thu 24-Apr-14 22:01:44

Eggs not past their sell by date?

PrincessChick Thu 24-Apr-14 22:11:30

So, Duchys plain flour and Dove Farm baking powder (1tsp per 150g of flour). Eggs always fresh and well in date. Baking powder and flour both in date too.

Oven well pre-heated though I haven't tested the temp and it's gas not electric.

For the Victoria Sponge I used the Mary Berry GBBO recipe; the carrot cake was out of the clandestine cake club book; banana muffins from the BLW book.

I made bigger muffins than the recipe stated but I'm pretty sure I used the right size tins for the other two. I might need to check.

This is a recurring problem, even from my old flat where I had a fan oven. sigh

FelixFelix Thu 24-Apr-14 22:13:24

Do you open the oven at all during baking? This can make cakes sink.

SirChenjin Thu 24-Apr-14 22:13:24

No no no - not plain flour for sponge-type cakes!! Self raising plus a teaspoon of baking powder should see you right smile

PrincessChick Thu 24-Apr-14 22:13:40

I'm keen to nail this before DDs birthday party and I'd also like to be able to whip up a cake when people come over. I love baking but flat cakes are always such a disappointment. Do I need to buy self raising, is that my problem?

PrincessChick Thu 24-Apr-14 22:14:45

Right. I'm going to buy some sr flour tomorrow and get my bake on. Which brand, Sir?

SirChenjin Thu 24-Apr-14 22:14:53

Yep, definitely SR plus a teaspoon of baking powder

PrincessChick Thu 24-Apr-14 22:16:25

Felix only to stick a skewer in to check if it's cooked. Otherwise it stays firmly shut.

Can you put a thermometer in a gas oven <dumb face emoticon>

PrincessChick Thu 24-Apr-14 22:16:58

Any brand of flour recommended?

RiverTam Thu 24-Apr-14 22:17:14

you may be overbeating - this is what my auntie (professional cook) reckoned about my fairy cakes which would come out of the oven all lovely and risen, and then sink like a stone. I'm going to stop making them in the food processor (which is what Nigella says to do for this recipe) and do them by hand from now on.

Plain flour and baking powder is fine, though.

SirChenjin Thu 24-Apr-14 22:17:29

Be-Ro or Aldi's own make (Pantry something or other?) is what I tend to go for, but anything is fine - though the value brands aren't great, I've found

PrincessChick Thu 24-Apr-14 22:19:06

Is that overbeating the butter and sugar? I fold the flour in by hand (usually with a big metal spoon)...

SirChenjin Thu 24-Apr-14 22:19:21

Also - put a decent drop of milk in at the very end. The mixture should sort of 'plop' off in a oner (if that makes sense?), and the milk seems to make the sponge moist.

ExitPursuedByABear Thu 24-Apr-14 22:19:38

Why the actual are you using plain flour? confused

Do the Mary Berry all in one. And once it is all mixed beat on high for two minutes.

Bunbaker Thu 24-Apr-14 22:21:42

I tend not to make simple sponge cakes by the old fashioned creaming method these days as there is no need, and the all-in-one method gives more consistent results.

For a basic all-in-one Victoria sponge

Grease and base line 2 x 8" sandwich tins with baking parchment. It is important to grease the sides as it will help the cakes to rise. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, fan 160 deg.

Weigh three eggs, then use the same weight in SR flour, sugar and tub Stork margarine. (for example if three eggs weigh 180 gm, then use 180gm each of flour, sugar and marge). Add a teaspoon of baking powder and combine the mixture until just mixed. Do not overheat the mixture as will will develop the gluten and prevent the cakes from rising.

Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and bake for about 25 minutes. Use a skewer to test if cooked. Remove from the oven and leave in the tins for a couple of minutes before turing out. When cool sandwich together with whatever takes your fancy - jam, jam and cream, buttercream, lemon curd and mascarpone etc. Sift a little caster sugar on top.

Notes: I always add a little vanilla extract to the cake mixture for a plain cake, or grated lemon/orange rind for a citrus cake. I use tub Stork because I can use it straight from the fridge, it gives excellent results and doesn't affect the taste of the cake. Besides, Queen Mary Berry uses it as well.

zzzzz Thu 24-Apr-14 22:21:59

Sr flour has raising agent AND is finer and better. Baking powder goes off if you leave the lid off and it gets damp. Buy new if yours is rubbish. Use the balloon whisk (the metal coloured one) on the kitchen aide. Adjust temp for fan oven.

PrincessChick Thu 24-Apr-14 22:22:58

Erm.... blush I only have a bag of plain flour and read somewhere that it's ok to add the raising agent yourself as raising agents in sr can stop working. I thought that I was onto a money saving not cake slaying formula!

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