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How to save a sunken cake?

Soop Apr 25, 2010 08:47 AM

I've just taken my marble cake out of the oven too early; I wasn't really timing it properly, but a knife went in and came out clean.

So I left it to cool, and the middle had sunk. Tried to lift it out, and that's when I realised it wasn't cooked.

I've stuck it back in (probably for about 15 minutes) - what will this do? Make a heavier cake?

  1. Soop Apr 25, 2010 03:46 PM

    I put it back in, and surprisingly, it was still really good. I have no idea why. it even rose again to make a reasonable cake.

    I literally have no idea what happened.

    20 Replies
    1. re: Soop
      bushwickgirl Apr 25, 2010 03:50 PM

      Nor do I, you are one lucky guy, Soop. How did you realise it wasn't cooked, after testing if, letting it cool, and removing it from the pan? Aside from it collapsing, how was the texture? I''m quite curious about this, as normally you cannot get a cake to do what your's did.

      1. re: bushwickgirl
        Soop Apr 25, 2010 05:05 PM

        This was the recipe:

        When I lifted it from the (spingform) base, it was still a thick liquid in the middle. The rest of the outside looked fine.

        Not sure whether it was the fact that the pan was on a pizza stone, or the typr of cake, or that I used plain flour with 2 tsp of baking powder rather than self-raising.

        Maybe I just got lucky?

        1. re: Soop
          chowser Apr 25, 2010 06:25 PM

          You know, I had luck when I did the same with a quick bread. I put it back in the oven which had a pizza stone in it and I wonder if that made the difference. I wonder if it retained enough residual heat. I was very surprised.

      2. re: Soop
        Karl S Apr 25, 2010 06:36 PM

        The only way that could have happened is if double acting baking powder in the liquid part of the cake had yet to be activated, and was finally activated when you put it back in. Which makes me wonder if your oven runs cold or was not properly preheated (like being at the proper temperature for at least 20 minutes before putting something in).

        1. re: Karl S
          chowser Apr 26, 2010 04:31 AM

          How could it not have activated the first time around, since the cake was almost fully baked, and only the center sunk?

          For the record, when I said I did it w/ the banana bread, it wasn't fully cooked and putting it back on pizza stone, after the banana bread had cooled some, didn't make it rise, just continued cooking it.

          1. re: chowser
            Karl S Apr 26, 2010 05:28 AM

            If the temperature of the center was relatively cold, and the oven not properly heated, there is a remote chance that the center did not reach the temperature needed to activate the second leavening until it was put back in for more cooking. It's speculation.

            1. re: Karl S
              chowser Apr 26, 2010 05:53 AM

              It's the only explanation I can think of it but it seems that if the cake rose and then sunk, and the knife came out clean, it must have been hot enough to activate it. I know double acting bp needs heat but never knew what temperature it took to activate it (never thought about it really).

              1. re: chowser
                bushwickgirl Apr 26, 2010 07:57 AM

                I agree with Karl S, "center was relatively cold, and the oven not properly heated, there is a remote chance that the center did not reach the temperature needed to activate the second leavening ." As Karl said, it's speculation, but certainly a plausible theory.

                1. re: bushwickgirl
                  Karl S Apr 26, 2010 08:47 AM

                  Though I now retract what I speculated when I read more carefully that the cake apparently cooked enough in the center for the probe to come out clean. So that means it was a different structure issue.

                  1. re: Karl S
                    bushwickgirl Apr 26, 2010 09:47 AM

                    However, we're not sure exactly where in the cake Soop stuck the cake tester...and he does mention that in lifting the cake from the springform base, "it was still a thick liquid in the middle."

                    1. re: bushwickgirl
                      Karl S Apr 26, 2010 09:52 AM

                      yeah, that's what I first paid attention to....a mystery.

                      1. re: Karl S
                        chowser Apr 26, 2010 10:13 AM

                        LOL, I think the mystery is why Soop would remove a cake from the oven if the center was thick liquid in the middle!

                        1. re: chowser
                          bushwickgirl Apr 26, 2010 10:23 AM

                          He admits to lack of proper timing...Oh, Soop!

                          1. re: bushwickgirl
                            chowser Apr 26, 2010 10:27 AM

                            LOL, maybe he wears glasses and they were fogged up when he pulled out the cake? Baking requires different senses for me, including sight!:-)

                            1. re: chowser
                              Chemicalkinetics Apr 26, 2010 11:07 AM

                              No, I think his girlfriend told him to take out the cake and he simply followed his order. A good solider he is. :)

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                chowser Apr 26, 2010 12:58 PM

                                Smart man.;-) And, he fixed the problem, too. What more could she want?

        2. re: Soop
          Chemicalkinetics Apr 25, 2010 09:00 PM

          I have never heard of this. I think you have video-taped this because the video could have demonstrated what is thought to be impossible. It would have been a rare footage that could be auction for money.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
            Soop Apr 28, 2010 02:40 AM

            lol, in aswer to some of the speculation:

            I inserted the knife off-center of the cake
            I'd just made a cornish pasty before, so the oven was pre-heated for over an hour with a baking stone in it

            I'm guessing that it might be down to a combination of factors, possibly also the type of cake? who knows...

            1. re: Soop
              bushwickgirl Apr 28, 2010 04:30 PM

              Center of cake next time, Soop. I guess you probably figured that out by now, though.

              1. re: bushwickgirl
                Soop May 1, 2010 02:31 AM

                yup -that and paying attention to cooking times!

        3. nomadchowwoman Apr 25, 2010 09:45 AM

          If you can get it out of the pan (regular? springform? tube or bundt?) in one piece and set it upright after the second bake, pile on some fruit and whipped cream. If not, go w/KarlS's trifle suggestion.

          1. Karl S Apr 25, 2010 09:15 AM

            There is no fixing it by continued baking. You can re-purpose it like a trifle or pudding, soaking it with juice or liqueur of choice and topping with whipped cream or something.

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