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Cakes are dense - why?

(10 Posts)
bacon Mon 05-Sep-11 12:00:58

I usually have success with cakes but recently finding more cakes dence and not light and full of air bubbles.

I cant put my finger on this. I am doing somthing wrong but what. I make all sorts of cakes - mainly from the bbc good food so they are tried and tested. My traditonal sponge cakes are fine but more adventous cakes or containing lemon/chocolate etc arent working.

I use a three pronged hand mixer, my eggs are from my girls and fresh, the flour and baking powders are new. I soften the butter in the microwave gently and have done this without any effects. I cream the butter and sugar well then give the eggs a quick mix followed by the flour - I dont think I over mix either. Most recipes state to use a mixer and not fold in the flour .

My lemon loaf cake I made last night was a basic 250g mix with lemon jiuce and zest -My friends was a delight so light but mine sort of soggy and heavy.

I getting really fustrated, a few weeks ago I made 3 cakes before it worked, the first was the BBC ultimate chocolate cake which failed - there was a massive air gap under the crust, the 2nd worked but had semolina and I didnt like the rough texture and the 3rd was an orange cake that did work. It seems to be everyother cake is not working so I must be doing something wrong. As for seiving the flour I havent never this in years and its pointless as flour has no lumps, it cant incoporate air as the eggs and baking powder do this chemical reaction.

I try to cook around 150 fan to avoid the peaked top.

Lots of recipes use a tad of baking powder and some add addtional soda. Does acid have an effect on a recipe????

sieglinde Mon 05-Sep-11 12:18:24

I'd stop softening the butter, and I'd also get a good reliable US baking book like Rose Levy Beranbaum's or Flo Braker's or Shirley Corriher's. All use weights, not volume. Most UK recipes are hopelessly vague iMHO.

Your oven temp sounds INCREDIBLY low. I normally bake at 180C.

I never sift flour, but make sure you are measuring correctly.

Acid activates the chemicals in baking powder. Once set in motion you should bake asap before the enlarged air bubbles collapse.

Itsjustafleshwound Mon 05-Sep-11 12:28:00

My mum insists on TRIPLE sifting the flour to let in air and folds in the flour regardless of the instructions

sieglinde Mon 05-Sep-11 13:36:29

I never sift it even once and my cakes are light. We all have our ways grin

mousymouse Mon 05-Sep-11 13:39:15

why, yes, they don't have much brain, do they?

<sorry, silly mood>

MmeLindor. Mon 05-Sep-11 13:40:10

I never sift flour <lazy emoticon> but have found that beating the egg/sugar mix longer is important - until they are really light and fluffy.

And 150°C is low, even for a fan assisted. I do 180°C in my conventional and 160°C in fan assisted oven.

notevenamousie Mon 05-Sep-11 13:40:24

Your oven's too cool, I think. I make all-in-one often in my food processor and don't have a problem - 175 if you think the fan really has an effect, 190 if it doesn't.

bacon Mon 05-Sep-11 17:03:23

150 on fan assisted is 170 standard oven. Yes perhaps its not enough then and last year i checked the temp and it was fine - will do another test I think. I thought you could overbeat the eggs and once over done kills it.

Perhaps with lemon you need to add last then.

Surely sifting flour was done before SR Flour when you had to beat like mad and fold the flour in as to not damage the air bubbles. With the chemical reaction of baking powders its not necessary however I do sift my brown sugar as that is extremely lumpy.

OhYouBadBadKitten Mon 05-Sep-11 17:05:06

When I want lighter cakes i use a half and half mix of marg and butter. that might help?

Catsmamma Mon 05-Sep-11 17:11:23

my two pennorth is to watch the butter/fat you use, and be very careful with the softening in the micro, if the butter goes at all oily that doesn't help

lots of the soft spread ones are pumped up with water and that will put your fat/sugar/flour proportions out.

otherwise I use balance scales, and make sure the each one of the sugar/butter/flour weigh the same as the eggs in their shells.

and as already said 150 seems very low, but I have to wing it with my oven as I only have cool, hot and very hot, so sometime the shelf position can have a bearing (higher up for a cooler oven or vice versa)

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