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Is it my oven? Sponge cakes you are my nemesis

(46 Posts)
sassyTHEFIRST Sat 03-Sep-11 16:23:07

So I have always enjoyed baking - something about sticking slops in the oven and a few mins later CAKE! - but I just can't do it anymore. Been about 2 years. Nothing rises. have tried:-

changing flour I buy
new cake tins
a handheld whisk instead of food processor

Final straw today is 15 fairy cakes which look and weigh like the dds retrieve from the bottom of the swimming pool. What is it??

Scootergrrrl Sat 03-Sep-11 16:25:31

Talk us through how you do it and we might be able to spot something.

theginganinja Sat 03-Sep-11 16:27:38

Did it coincide with new oven? My Mum swears that fan ovens are rubbish at cooking cakes, although I don't have a problem with mine but then my fan oven is not very blowy iyswim.

sassyTHEFIRST Sat 03-Sep-11 16:27:52


Cream butter(or marge) and caster sugar well (have also done the whole thing by hand to try and eliminate problem)
Add egg, little at a time and beat in
Add half flour, then other half
Any flavouring
Into oven
Watch them fail to rise

get them out
Open bin.

Hassled Sat 03-Sep-11 16:30:06

What sort of flour? Are you adding any baking powder? Fairy cakes I'd do at about 180C - would look at them at 15 mins, but they'd probably need 20. Is that the sort of thing you're doing?

It might well be worth buying an oven thermometer. Or are other things turning out OK?

timidviper Sat 03-Sep-11 16:31:37

My Mum has problems with hers and was told to weigh the eggs then use double that amount of the other ingredients. She was surprised to find large eggs often weigh quite a bit more than 4oz (if you are old-fashioned like me and use a 4,4,4,2 recipe)

I always mix a tiny bit of baking powder in, even in SR flour, as it lightens it,

sassyTHEFIRST Sat 03-Sep-11 16:34:41

Yy to new oven and it does have a very excitable fan. But there is a 'no fan' setting so will give that a go.

Eggs from fridge. Is that it? Should they be at room temp like they always were when I was a kid?

No to baking powder but good quality s-r flour

Hassled Sat 03-Sep-11 16:37:14

I wouldn't fan oven a fairy cake - non-fan seems like the way to go. And agree that a bit of baking powder with Self-raising does help.

theginganinja Sat 03-Sep-11 16:39:33

I would turn the fan off and give it a go, see how that goes. I always use room temp eggs for cooking just because I have an egg hutch <poncy> so I don't put my eggs in the fridge. You could try that too.

TapselteerieO Sat 03-Sep-11 16:42:21

Mary Berry recipes always work for me, especially the put all ingredients in a bowl, beat for 2 minutes (I time myself with handheld whisk) - I never pre-heat the fan oven and usually reduce cooking time and temperature by twenty degrees and at least 5 mins - but I do check. Make sure cakes are lower down in the oven too. They are ready when you gently touch them and they spring back - or you can skewer them?

My cakes are very very light. I have tried other recipe books, but Mary Berry is simple and fail safe IMHO - I am not a great cook.

sassyTHEFIRST Sat 03-Sep-11 16:44:23

Right so no fan and eggs at room temp (one of smile

Will have a go and try to remember to report back.

Scootergrrrl Sat 03-Sep-11 16:44:54

I would second the weighing your eggs method, and have all ingredients at room temperature. Don't weep. I'm sure all will be well soon grin

TapselteerieO Sat 03-Sep-11 16:45:34

I don't keep my eggs in the fridge, but I live in Scotland, so don't feel the need.

iklboo Sat 03-Sep-11 16:48:43

I'd put flavouring in before flour, as mixing it in can 'knock back' the air.

theginganinja Sat 03-Sep-11 16:49:17

sassy grin in my defence it was a gift... from my mother. And it is more like this only a bit more twee

TheProvincialLady Sat 03-Sep-11 16:49:31

Are you buttering your tins well? If you add a collar of greaseproof paper to make the tin taller it can help cakes to rise better.

I bet it was the cold eggs though. Unless you use tesco value flour or similar? Cheap flour is awful IME.

theginganinja Sat 03-Sep-11 16:50:02

But I now really want the one you linked to. grin

caughtinanet Sat 03-Sep-11 16:50:07

Can you turn the fan off in any fan oven? Mine heats unevenly and all my cakes come put lopsided. They rise fine and taste great but the top and bottom aren't even.

runnyhabbit Sat 03-Sep-11 16:56:44

I have a fan oven and don't have a problem. But I do get the eggs out of the fridge, so they are at room temperature by time I come to use them.

I pretty much follow the recipe as OP, however, I add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder at same time as the flour.

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 03-Sep-11 16:57:12

Ok mine turn out perfect every time but dh is diabetic so I can't do it know.

Cream the fat and sugar till it goes pale (takes ages) in a kenwood chef with the k beater.

Weigh the eggs first then equal amounts of fat, sugar flour etc

Always sift the sr flour.

I bake in a fan oven at 150c and it rises evenly and slowly, I don't let them brown and it takes ages to cook but it's worth it.

I only use free range eggs from the local farm shop chickens so they are really fresh.

Adding eggs and flour I do very slowly so it doesn't curdle.

Hth. Tookme years to master it.

RedHotPokers Sat 03-Sep-11 16:58:15

I have the same cake-rising issues as you OP. I can just about get away with it on fairy cakes, but my standard cakes have a heavy pancake feel!!!

My mum (who is a very good cake baker) thinks I don't whisk my butter and sugar enough. Apparently it needs to go very pale??

Will have to try weighing eggs.....

theginganinja Sat 03-Sep-11 16:58:58

I can't turn fan off in my fan oven caughtinanet (but it is quite old), I think you can turn the fan off in most newer ones though.

RedHotPokers Sat 03-Sep-11 16:59:27

Xpost Fluffy re. the pale mixture.

Note to self: Must sift flour...

SecretNutellaFix Sat 03-Sep-11 17:01:24

I weigh the eggs and then weigh out equal amounts of flour/ sugar/ butter.

I use the mixer for the butter, sugar, then add the eggs in 2 lots with a tablespoon or two of flour after each time. Then I add the flavouring and a dash of milk mix it all in before taking the mixer out and sieving the rest of the flour onto the mixture. Mix it in with a very large metal spoon and as soon as it looks mixed, STOP!

Then stick in the centre of the oven. Check after 15 minutes and turn the tin around and put it back in for 5-10 minutes.

CMOTdibbler Sat 03-Sep-11 17:04:23

I weigh my eggs, use Trex, add milk to make a nice soft consistency, and an extra teaspoon of baking powder. I never sift my flour. My cakes are v light and always commented on

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