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Sponge cakes suddenly ‘flabby’ what am I doing wrong??

(24 Posts)
AwkwardAsAllGetout Fri 05-Jun-20 08:46:12

I’m really frustrated as previously I’ve been a really good baker! Failsafe recipe, same ingredients but the last few weeks every sponge cake I’ve attempted has come out looking dreadful. They seem to taste ok but just look so deflated. This mornings effort is attached. It came out looking gloriously bouncy and has slowly deflated to a sad flabby mess. What am I doing wrong? Last week I put it down to the hot weather but I can’t blame that today.

OP’s posts: |
VictoriaBun Fri 05-Jun-20 17:15:58

Are you using the same recipe as always ?
Are any of your products out of date ?
Is the temperature control on your oven on the blink?

PerditaProvokesEnmity Fri 05-Jun-20 17:25:47

How strange! They've shrunk away from the edges of the tins so not undercooked.

Have you checked each of your ingredients? I also wondered if perhaps your baking powder/self raising flour is very out of date - as it looks like a problem with rising. (Also, you'd know if something was wrong with the butter / sugar / eggs.)

Is your oven working properly?

How do they taste?

(I'm a bit worried - keen baker ...)

AwkwardAsAllGetout Fri 05-Jun-20 18:56:22

Honestly, they taste great! That’s the silly thing, I just can’t work out what’s fine wrong. All ingredients the same as usual, none out of date and in fact most newly opened. I’m wondering if it might be an issue with the flour? That’s the only thing I’ve not been able to get for a long time and this is Sainsburys rather than BeRo that I’d usually use. I have a new KitchenAid with a flex edge beater, could I be over mixing?

OP’s posts: |
AwkwardAsAllGetout Fri 05-Jun-20 18:58:17

I do perhaps need new tins, these are about 5 year old silicone ones from Lakeland and don’t look damaged but I wonder if they have a natural expiration point?

OP’s posts: |
DirtyDeeds Fri 05-Jun-20 18:59:44

Cooling down too quickly?

TheHighestSardine Fri 05-Jun-20 19:09:37

Silicone tins don't seem to ever degrade. Seems unlikely to be your kitchenaid but perhaps do a manual mix once to see.

Seems most likely that the flour you're using is unwittingly a different grade from normal - remember that the "there's no flour in the shops!" is mostly down to flour only being available in catering size 50lb bags, so I'm sure there's been a lot of scrabbling for domestic size bags. Perhaps what you're baking with is strong bread flour with higher gluten content instead of normal.

Ginfordinner Fri 05-Jun-20 19:15:12

I find that baking powder is "stronger" than it used to be. I make sponge cakes using the all in one method and used to use 1 1/2 teaspoons for a 3 egg recipe. I find cakes with this much baking powder rise quickly and sink these days, and now just use 1 tsp baking powder instead, and thay are fine.

I would also buy or borrow an oven thermometer and check your oven temperature.

PerditaProvokesEnmity Fri 05-Jun-20 19:30:22

Well you've introduced two new entities - flour and KitchenAid.

You're going to have to undertake some detective work.

Try first with old mixer.

Try next with new mixer and the BeRo flour - whenever you can get it.

Cross your fingers that you uncover the culprit ...

Stuckforthefourthtime Fri 05-Jun-20 19:47:41

Is it new self raising flour? After being out of stock for so long, I finally got some at Sainsbury's, and it has now made a rubbish flat cake and a rubbish flat bake thing - both recipes that I have made so many times over many years with no issue. I'm wondering if in the rush, standards have dropped!

AwkwardAsAllGetout Fri 05-Jun-20 21:32:34

@Stuckforthefourthtime that was my suspicion too, the possible rushing of the flour through production though I have nothing to back that up. I use a 4 egg all in one recipe and have done for years, my cakes have never been this duff. And it’s now happening consistently which is knocking my confidence. Good point about the baking powder too, my recipe uses 2 teaspoons so I might try cutting that down.

OP’s posts: |
AwkwardAsAllGetout Fri 05-Jun-20 21:34:11

And no, I’m definately not use of bread flour. In fact, I’ve started to make bread for the first time in my life and discovered I’m rather good at it smile so that’s a win I guess, but I want to get my cake mojo back

OP’s posts: |
Ginfordinner Fri 05-Jun-20 21:39:55

The last lot of SR flour I bought was a paper bag that had obviously been filled from a larger sack. This was in Morrisons, so I have no idea about the quality.

Foggymist Sat 06-Jun-20 19:55:54

Just cut that bit off, you'd be trimming the top anyway wouldn't you?

PerditaProvokesEnmity Sat 06-Jun-20 20:06:52

But that's not the point, Foggymist. The OP says that the last few weeks every sponge cake I’ve attempted has come out looking dreadful. It's not just one cake - something has disrupted the process and the entire cake baking community she needs to know what's causing it.

(Also, I never trim the top from a home baked cake. Wasteful.)

AwkwardAsAllGetout Sat 06-Jun-20 20:11:01

I’ve never trimmed a cake either, so people really do that as standard?

OP’s posts: |
Ginfordinner Sat 06-Jun-20 20:14:32

No. I never do. It's wasteful. Besides, mine never have a huge dome. I purposely wanted a gas oven because it is better for cake baking.

PerditaProvokesEnmity Sat 06-Jun-20 20:25:50

I usually bake with wholemeal flour and olive oil (rather than butter) - the resultant crunchy top to my cakes is a thing of joy.

And really, I like cake so much that if I habitually added icing, or butter cream, or whatever to the top, I would never be able to fit into any of my clothes. Luckily none of my family are fussed about cake decoration either.

Stuckforthefourthtime Sat 06-Jun-20 20:28:23

Why trim a home made cake? Mine are normally flat (well, until the rubbish new SR flour), but even domed and cracked, they are delicious...

lifestooshort123 Sat 06-Jun-20 20:45:10

I agree that it's a different quality flour. I haven't been happy with my baking since Sainsburys ran out and I had to buy what to me seemed an inferior product.

Foggymist Sat 06-Jun-20 21:40:37

I trim millimetres of browned top layer off so that when I sandwich them together it's not in the middle (just because I prefer how that looks) and the top is dead flat for decorating as it's a base. Hardly wasteful to literally take off what amounts to a handful of crumbs!

Foggymist Sat 06-Jun-20 21:42:37

Mine aren't domed, I just prefer to take off the very top browned layer for aesthetics when serving it. Probably alone in this as I bake professionally so it's habit from prepping cakes for decorated wedding cakes etc.

missyB1 Sat 06-Jun-20 21:48:03

I strongly suspect it will be the flour.

onlinelinda Sat 06-Jun-20 23:38:10

I've been buying my bread flour from a baker and am having my own novel problem -it rises so much it damages the lid of the bread maker. I do think out of date flour or a mistaken recipe mix may be responsible. Maybe add baking powder to see if that helps. I've used less water in my bread and less yeast.

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