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Dec 5, 2007 08:23 AM

Over beaten batter

I think I over beat my cake batter. I'm not sure. How can I tell if I over beat it? I also forgot to add the sugar gradually. I really hope they came out OK. I was supposed to bring them to a friends house tonight....

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  1. It is almost impossible to over-beat the batter before the flours goes into it. Most people under-mix the batter when they are creaming the butter and sugar, as it should be almost white when it is done properly. The sugar and eggs should be dumped together and left to cream until light and fluffy.

    If you did over-mix the batter after the flour went it, you will have a slightly tougher crumb, but it is still very edible. Cake/pastry flour has a low protein, so it is difficult to develop too much gluten if you don't have the protein to begin with. I tend to under-mix and then give it a few turns with a spatula to get the bits the mixer cannot get on the bottom of the bowl. You can also fold the flour in, but that is quite tedious and unnecessary, unless you are making angel food cake.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Kelli2006

      Yeah I left it on a little longer than I need to. The sugar part was creamed decently, but I'm a stickler for following the instructions. My biggest problem now is figuring out the proper temps of my oven. I think 350 is closer to 375.

      1. re: Kelli2006

        What brand of cake flour? Swan? I am just wondering since I was raised on good old all purpose. Would like to graduate to something better.

        1. re: stellamystar

          I use Swan, and I've beat out 90-year old ladies at baking competitions with it. In cakes, you'll find it makes a huge difference over AP.

          Generally, I've found that the best way to tell that I've overbeaten a cake is if there is tunneling in the finished cake; you can tell by looking at the bottom of the de-panned cake to find little holes, and when you cut a slice you can see the small "tunnels." Also, sometimes the middle will fall (if it was overbeaten before the flour was added, but that's really tough to do).

          Like Kelli2006 said, there won't be a fine crumb if it's overbeaten, but the cake will still be tasty, and, in my experience, most people have no idea that tunneling even exists, much less be able to recognize it. So, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

          1. re: jazzy77

            YES! I have had tunnels in my brownies before - BLECH. And, the cake usually comes out suspiciously well from the pan - and then - dense, sponge chew toy.
            I hate when this happens.
            I am going to do Swan flour. You think for Brownies, too? I am a major Brownie Hound. I like a fudgy brownie

            1. re: jazzy77

              I used to hate when my mother made layer cake ... she would slam the filled pans down on the counter to burst the bubbles in the batter, and I hated the noise. I believe this would get rid of your tunnels ...

              1. re: foiegras

                Tunneling is not created by the bubbles made during mixing. Over-beating stimulates the gluten, and then tunnels are formed with the chemical leaveners act while baking.

                The few large bubbles you remove are not the primary cause of the tunneling. If the gluten isn't there, you will not get tunnels

                1. re: Kelli2006

                  Well, actually, you both are correct. People used to slam the pans on the counter to get rid of any big bubbles in the batter, but that wasn't for tunneling specifically, it was to avoid big air pockets in the cake (which also could have been a problem of over-development of gluten, but I haven't seen any scientific proof of it). I've just inherited my great-aunt's recipe stash and some of the recipes actually recommend slamming the pans down.

                  I've actually been known to slam the pans with thicker batter in them to make sure that they completely filled the corners of the pan (plus, I think it's cathartic sometimes)....

            2. re: stellamystar

              Swan is the most common cake flour, but I prefer to use King Arthur Queen Guinevere cake flour, and Round Table pasty flour.

              White Lilly AP flour(non self-rising) is a very respectable pastry flour that is widely available.

          2. The tunneling happened to some of the cupcakes, but others it did not. Everybody said the cupcakes were great though. So I guess they were moist. The self-rising flour I used was a brand called Washington. I guess it was the only brand they sold at my local supermarket.