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Please help me stop making cakes that resemble pancakes!

(17 Posts)
Pigleychez Wed 19-Oct-11 14:29:02

Can anyone give me a fail safe recipe for a chocolate sponge. I want a nice deep cake, not a bloody Frisbee!

What am I doing wrong!?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Oct-11 14:50:59

this one looks pretty good. Whichever recipe you go with check the following

- Right size tin. Measure the tin rather than guess because if it's too wide.... frisbee time
- Right temperature oven and right shelf. Use an oven thermometer because temperature varies between ovens and shelves.
- Adequate 'creaming' of fat and sugar... has to be whipped light
- Adequate fresh raising agent. If your bicarb or baking powder is old, chuck it.
- DON'T OPEN THE DOOR before it's done. A draught will sink your cake.

Good luck smile

minervaitalica Wed 19-Oct-11 15:12:15

Chocolate Guinness cake by Nigella? Never failed.

Another thing - I tend to sift the raising agent last - it seems to help.

RiffRaffeta Wed 19-Oct-11 16:29:12

You need air, use any recipe but NOT an "all in one " type, like in a food processor, like a lot of Nigella's are.

So, as Cogito says, cream butter and sugar first then add eggs slowly then add flour and raising agent.

Lots of recipes are for lazy sods for the time pressed cook, so are all in one. But these are mainly pancakes unless you add heaps of baking powder, which tastes vile in large quantities.

Old stylee creaming method is the way to go. It takes 10 minutes longer, no biggie.

alemci Wed 19-Oct-11 16:48:55

I made a 4oz sponge cake the other day but it was a pancake. I think the tins were too big. you never seem to have the right size tins. They were meant to be 7" but may have been 8" oops.

It has gone in the freezer and I may use it with whipped cream and strawberries. It took ages with the creaming method. grrrrr.

notcitrus Wed 19-Oct-11 16:58:56

Don't use a Delia recipe - the woman is convinced 1/2 cm thick cake layers are right!
Measure your tins - remember a 9in tin is actually 50% bigger than an 8in one so that will make a huge difference!
If your baking powder has been around a while, maybe add 50% more?

I'd find an American recipe for a devil's food chocolate cake, remember that as soon as the dry stuff meets wet stuff the cake needs to get in the oven as soon as possible - mix fast, scrape into tins fast, drop from 6 inches onto the counter to get rid of bubbles, then put into oven and don't think of opening it until at least 5 min before time.

Bellavita Wed 19-Oct-11 17:08:04

Use 8oz of everything, 4 large eggs, 2tsp of baking powder.

Tip it all into a bowl, whizz and divide into two tins.

Bake at 180 or 160 fan for 25/30 mins.

Foolproof.

Bellavita Wed 19-Oct-11 17:08:46

Sorry, that was for a Victoria sponge. Sub 2oz flour with 2oz coco powder.

LemonPeel Wed 19-Oct-11 17:10:00

use the following amounts of flour sugar eggs
8 oz 8oz and 4 eggs
substitute 2 oz flour for cocoa

stealthsquiggle Wed 19-Oct-11 17:12:15

Don't use eggs which are really really fresh (laid the same day fresh) as the chemistry doesn't work and the cake won't rise.

YougreatPumpkinmousse Wed 19-Oct-11 17:15:01

Firstly if you are using self raising flour make sure it is in date and not been open too long as it loses it's raising ability after a while. All in one is fine as long as you use a whisk to beat it all together not food processor with blades. if you are not sure about your flour you can always add 1/2 a tsp of baking powder to it. Pan size may be your problem, you want to fill a pan 2/3 full to get a full tin depth cake.

I weigh my eggs then use equal weights of butter and sugar, 25g of cocoa powder and then make up the rest of the weight with flour. so if my eggs weigh 245g in their shells I use 245 g, butter, sugar, 25g cocoa and 220g of flour. You can increase the cocoa amount to make it more chocolatey.

Pigleychez Wed 19-Oct-11 17:34:09

Thanks for the tips smile

What if I plan to use a 10 inch square tin... would those quantities be ok?

For DD1's 3rd birthday cake in July, I ended up making 2 separate cakes and sticking them together! Looked ok when it was finally done though and did resemble the gruffalo as DD had requested!

This is for my mums 60th birthday and plan to cut cakes into numbers for a 60 cake. I will never live it down if its another pancake! (her being the next Delia and all! hmm )

YougreatPumpkinmousse Wed 19-Oct-11 17:52:31

I tend to use 8 or 9 egg weight mix for my 10in square tin - it seems alot but you shouldn't end up with a pancake!

stealthsquiggle Wed 19-Oct-11 18:03:56

cakes that big need something more than victoria sponge, IME. Madiera or similar works best - victoria sponge will collapse under it's own weight at that scale. I have a good chocolate cake recipe that I will try and post later, but would definitely be looking at 8 - 9 (or even 10) eggs for a 10" square tin.

stealthsquiggle Wed 19-Oct-11 18:06:26

incidentally - for your mum's cake - if you can find a local sugarcraft shop, you can generally hire tins for £3 - £5 - and you would save that much in ingredients by not having to cut loads of cake off..

stealthsquiggle Wed 19-Oct-11 18:06:54

cakes that big need something more than victoria sponge, IME. Madiera or similar works best - victoria sponge will collapse under it's own weight at that scale. I have a good chocolate cake recipe that I will try and post later, but would definitely be looking at 8 - 9 (or even 10) eggs for a 10" square tin.

alemci Sun 23-Oct-11 16:57:42

thanks Cognito for that recipe. I made it for my son's birthday sleepover and my mum is making it for her breast cancer tea and cake fund raiser this week.

It was fantastic and it has made me a more confident baker smile

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