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Aug 29, 2006 04:54 AM

I'm feeling...deflated! My cake didn't rise and my ganache is gloppy - what happened?

Ok, expert home baking hounds, what did I do wrong? I made Ina Garten's mini orange chocolate chunk cake and followed the recipe, except I used one bundt pan instead of 6 little bundt pans.

Used my hubby's KitchenAid mixer instead of my hand mixer, could that be the problem? To be honest, it intimidates me a bit. Did I cream the sugar/butter too much? The finished cake tastes good, it's just very low, like a pathetic little and flat bundt cake.

And if that wasn't bad enough, my ganache is not drizzleable. It's gloppy and thick and just sits on top of the cake instead of running down the cake...My baking energy is definitely off today. Any thoughts? Thanks!

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  1. If you can post the recipe or the link, we might be able to help.

    1. Thank you! This is the recipe and the link:

      1/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
      1 cup sugar
      2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
      1/8 cup grated orange zest (2 large oranges)
      1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
      1/4 teaspoon baking powder
      1/4 teaspoon baking soda
      1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
      1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
      3 ounces buttermilk at room temperature
      1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
      1 cup good semisweet chocolate chunks
      For the syrup:
      1/4 cup sugar
      1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

      For the ganache:
      4 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
      1/4 cup heavy cream
      1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules

      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 6 individual serving baking molds, such as the flexible non stick 100 percent silicone molds.
      Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, then the orange zest.

      Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately in thirds to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour. Toss the chocolate chunks with 1 tablespoon flour and add to the batter. Pour into the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the molds on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

      Meanwhile, make the syrup. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the sugar with the orange juice until the sugar dissolves. Remove the cake from the pans, put them on a rack over a tray, and spoon the orange syrup over the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

      For the ganache, melt the chocolate, heavy cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over the top of the cakes.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Suebee

        From reading the reviews on the recipe website, the recipe works. Since your cake tasted good, I don't think you did anything wrong. If you use a 9 inch (10 cup capacity) bundt pan, the amount of batter will yield only about 1/2 of a cake, hence your small cake.
        As for the ganache glaze, you might have whipped it too much while melting it or heated it too long. Just stir gently until the mixture is liquid and smooth. Since there is such a small amount of cream to chocolate, it should be a pourable consistency once removed the double boiler. Did the ganache reach a pourable consistency or did it harden while heating in the double boiler? If you let it sit room temperature, it will harden rather quickly. This can be fix by reheating it again.

        1. re: PBSF

          Thanks for your response, PBSF. I suppose I feel a bit better with the knowledge that it's simply a small batch, therefore my small cake. On her show, Ina said that she usually makes this cake as a big bundt so I didn't think twice.

          And yes, the ganache was tricky. I certainly may have cooked it too long. Next time I'll watch it more carefully. Thanks again!

          1. re: Suebee

            But being small is different than not rising. Did it really not rise much? If you overcream sugar and butter, that may cause problems w/ rising from what I've heard; although I like to cream really well and have never had that problem. Could also be that your leavening wasn't fresh/potent enough if it was old...

            I noticed the cake has quite a bit of sugar overall; did you find it too sweet?

            1. re: Suebee

              There are two standard bundt size pans on the market. One is the the large traditional size you probably used and another is a more common (these days) version. Many of the fancy design ones have a smaller capacity because it makes them easier to release. If it makes you feel any better, I've done the same thing. Bundt cakes are usually a "heavier" better based on a pound cake and they generally fill most of the pan and rise less.

        2. Sounds like your ganache seized up on you-- possibly caused by overheating. If the top of the double boiler was touching the water underneath (as opposed to hovering a few inches above) you can scorch the chocolate and it gets gloppy.

          Also, how did you prep your bundt pan? Just grease or grease and flour? Sometimes heavy cakes need a floured (or cocoa powdered for dark cakes) surface so they have something to "climb" when rising. If the surface is too slick, they just slump back in the pan. Smaller cakes have enough internal support (and less mass) so they can rise without needing to cling to the sides of a pan.