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please tell me what has gone wrong with my cakes?

(19 Posts)
shelley72 Fri 27-May-11 16:56:23

am trying to bake for my DDs first birthday party tomorrow, and my cupcakes have gone wrong! they looked beautiful in the oven, but since taking them out, they have come away from the paper cases, and seem to have sunk a bit. the top is quite hard (not soft like fairy cakes) and instead of having a flat surface some of them are somewhat sloping shock

so please tell me what i did wrong? did i cook them too long or too low temp(not overly brown), beat the mixture for too long (used KA)? or am i just crap at baking. i think thats probably it. i so want to be a domestic goddess and it goes wrong every time sad.

lastly how do i fix - would buttercream and sprinkles disguise or are they destined for the bin?

thisisyesterday Fri 27-May-11 16:59:02

they will rise a bit rather than being flat like the ones you buy in shops, that's just the way of homebaking i'm afraid

if they're hard and coming away then i'd say you cooked them too low for too long

I would normally do fairy cakes at gas 5 (190 degrees) for about 20 mins

LadyDamerel Fri 27-May-11 17:00:34

If they're coming away from the sides then they've been cooked for too long, the hump in the middle suggests the oven was at too high a temp but sinking suggests either the oven door was opened partway through or the mix had too much raising agent in and rose then collapsed.

Talk me through recipe, method and cooking times/temp and I'll see if I can be more precise!

shelley72 Fri 27-May-11 17:14:31

ok recipe i think was 150g sugar, 85g butter which i beat together with mixer until pale, i then added 2 beaten eggs (i thought slowly) and sieved in 220g plain flour with a teaspoon (maybe bit more) of baking powder. i then whizzed it until it looked smooth and spooned it into cake cases - fairy cases but in a muffin tin. made 14 in all. put it oven at i think 180 (oven is dodgy and cant really tell) and took them out when they were springy. maybe it was too low for too long then??? i think i am a bit slapdash for baking !

are they rescuable?

HazeltheMcWitch Fri 27-May-11 17:23:09

I'll add in my two penn'orth, and posit that the sugar amount may be slightly too high. This can result in the slightly hard top that you mentioned.

Cakes can come away from cake cases if the mixture is moist (although I don't think yours was especially), if the cakes weren't quite cooled when you put them in an airtight box - or if the cake cases are crap! Not cheap I mean, I have had posh ones that do this!

Are they rescuable? How many bad cakes have you eaten? All cake is good, IMHO. Def they will be better than what you buy in most shops. If you're icing it, no one would notice anyway... And even the worst cake can be broken up for trifle bottom/ice cream fixings/cake balls.

bellavita Fri 27-May-11 17:28:20

I would just slice the domed bit off the cakes - if you are going to ice the top then no one will see. Tis what I do.

shelley72 Fri 27-May-11 17:31:27

are you spying on me - i may have had a sneaky one or two!! they taste ok, but yes quite sweet. i may cover with buttercream and sprinkles and see if that helps. any tips for good buttercream before i bugger that up too?!

LadyDamerel Fri 27-May-11 17:34:43

Personally, I think the ratios of fat to sugar is wrong for fairy cakes which could explain the humping (so to speak). You really need equal amounts of fat to sugar.

My fool proof method is

2 eggs
4oz butter
4oz caster sugar
4oz sr flour (or plain + half teaspoon baking powder)
half teaspoon vanilla essence

Heat oven to 180 degrees
Beat sugar, butter and vanilla in KA for 5 mins on highest speed until very light and fluffy.
Crack in 1 egg and sieve in a tablespoon of the flour then mix on low until combined then for 10 secs on med speed (3-4)
Add the other egg and another tablespoon of flour and mix as before.
Sieve in rest of flour and mix on low for a couple of secs then give it a quick blast at 3 to completely combine all the ingredients.

If using small fairy cases (as opposed to muffin sized cases) then you need about 2 teaspoons of mix per case so it's about 2/3rds full. A muffin case takes 1.5 dessert spoonfuls.

For small cases bake for 20 mins, muffin cases need about 30 mins.

To see if they're rescuable you need to try one grin. If it tastes okay and the texture isn't dry then just slap a huge mound of butter icing on the top to disguise the odd shapes!

Slapdash and baking aren't the best combination, ime. You do need to be quite precise and neurotic I'm afraid grin.

LadyDamerel Fri 27-May-11 17:41:06

Butter icing - 100g butter at room temp (should have said - eggs and butter need to be at room temp before baking too) and 200 - 250g icing sugar. A splash of vanilla essence if you want to.

Chuck butter in KA, blast on high for a minute.

Add about a quarter of the icing sugar, beat slowly until icing sug is combined then turn up high for another minute. Do NOT under any circumstances put it straight onto high, you will suffocate in the resulting sweet dust cloud.

Repeat twice so you've still got the last quarter of the icing left.

Add this a bit at a time so you can check how thick it's getting. If it's too thick it won't spread, if it's too soft it will collapse. If you make it too thick add a teaspoon of milk to soften it again.

If you don;t use it straight away you'll need to re-beat it before you spread it because it will stiffen up.

peeriebear Fri 27-May-11 17:42:00

I wouldn't whiz, I'd fold the flour in with a big spoon. my cakes are always fluffy but I've had years of practice smile

shelley72 Fri 27-May-11 17:50:02

thank you! i am still practising with the KA. it was a fay ripley recipe so i can blame her grin. other recipes i have seem to be equal fat, flour and sugar. yes they taste fine (if a little sweet) so hopefully some buttercream will hide a multitude of sins. and thanks for the KA tip - after so long of yearning for one i have yet to get a cake right!

LadyDamerel Fri 27-May-11 17:56:53

I whizz because I'm lazy grin.

TBH, the results don't seem to be any different with whizzing or folding. I've never had a complaint from a client anyway......

bellavita Fri 27-May-11 18:14:19

I always whizz - doesn't make any difference.

gastrognome Sat 28-May-11 14:03:29

Hello,
Did you use a fan oven? If so that might account for the sloping tops of the cakes.

I just made two batches of fairy cakes from the same mixture this morning, but accidentally had the fan going for the second lot and they had much more uneven, risen, sloping tops. The non-fan batch had perfect, very slightly domed tops.

(BTW I used the hummingbird bakery recipe which always gives great results)

MadamDeathstare Sat 28-May-11 14:07:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

peeriebear Sat 28-May-11 15:26:20

So true MadamDeath smile I made fluffy chocolate oaty cupcakes for DD2's birthday party, and so many of them were licked of their Betty Crocker fudge icing and discarded!

bacon Sat 28-May-11 15:44:04

There is a problem with some paper cases coming way from the cakes - its a known problem that can only be overcome by pouring a sugar syrup over the top so the case stays stuck - this isnt a sign over over cooked cakes.

Sieving is a complete waste of time, with using fine refined flour there are no bits to sieve out, its makes no difference to the rise either as its the eggs and the rising agent that do all the work.

I like my cakes to contain a youget or milk as it keeps them moist.

Cooking above 160 but below 180 stops the peaking.

MadamDeathstare Sat 28-May-11 17:23:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bacon Sun 29-May-11 21:55:07

www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/10860/easy-vanilla-cake

convert to cup cakes if nec. This is one of my best vanilla sponge cakes, works for special iced cakes too.

www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4434/romantic-rose-cupcakes

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