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How did I screw up this cake?

j
julesincoq Jun 6, 2010 06:20 PM

I made this epicurious cake today and it came out a bit heavy and rubbery. I thought the recipe looked like it had too much sugar in it but I always like to make a recipe exactly the way the recipe says the first time.

I just read through the reviews and many people said they reduced the sugar and loved it. But it also has 6 eggs! That seems almost pound cakeish... doesn't it? Any suggestions on how I can fix this? Or am I better for find another recipe.

The cream frosting was fantastic!! I'd do that again as a fruit dip too!

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

  1. eLizard Jun 6, 2010 06:28 PM

    i think the buttermilk and baking powder would make for a tender crumb....and i'm not food scientist, so i'm not sure how sugar would affect the texture. did you perhaps over-mix?

    1. c
      cocktailhour Jun 6, 2010 06:56 PM

      i don't recall the food science behind it, but any baked good with an acid like buttermilk also should include some baking soda in addition to the baking powder. I would add half to a tsp of baking soda and i think it will help lighten and balance.

      3 Replies
      1. re: cocktailhour
        visciole Jun 6, 2010 07:27 PM

        Agreed. It should have some baking soda in it. Also, did you have the eggs at room temperature before you beat them? The sugar-egg mixture that you beat for four minutes is supposed to be very light in color and fluffy in texture -- did it get this way?

        1. re: visciole
          todao Jun 6, 2010 08:46 PM

          Disagree ... there is enough baking powder in the baking soda to provide the initial leavening power you might expect from a baking soda/buttermilk combination. Furthermore, buttermilk is frequently added as a flavoring ingredient without regard to its reaction with soda.
          Frankly, because this recipe uses all purpose flour and not cake flour, I suspect you over-mixed your batter and developed an undesirable gluten structure.
          But I do agree with the suggestions re: the eggs.
          Try reading "Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions" as "fold in the dry ingredients ...." and treat the batter very gently. I think you'll do fine next time.

          1. re: todao
            C. Hamster Jun 7, 2010 11:48 AM

            "there is enough baking powder in the baking soda "

            I think you got that backwards ....

      2. Cynsa Jun 6, 2010 08:01 PM

        I can bake a good banana bread— but, never banana cake; the results are always a disappointment; too heavy, too dense. I'd question the egg-sugar ratio in this recipe as the culprit.
        Surely, someone has a tried-and-true banana cake recipe to share?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Cynsa
          blue room Jun 6, 2010 09:07 PM

          I leave the chocolate out of this one:
          http://www.davidlebovitz.com/recipes/...
          it is delicious, a banana upside down cake.

          1. re: Cynsa
            b
            BangorDin Jun 7, 2010 05:35 AM

            These are from Giada De Laurentiis, called "muffins", but I'd say "banana cake". With wonderful mascarpone frosting too.

            http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...

            1. re: Cynsa
              chowser Jun 7, 2010 05:48 AM

              This is my go-to banana cake:

              http://www.foodaphilia.com/2007/07/el...

            2. j
              julesincoq Jun 6, 2010 09:12 PM

              My eggs were at room temp and I beat the heck out of them with the sugar. They were very light. I was also very careful adding the dry ingred. and buttermilk in batches and stopped right after the last addition and carefully stirred the rest of the way with a spatula so as not to over mix. It was a fairly stiff dough though. Folding in the egg took some patience.

              3 Replies
              1. re: julesincoq
                Emme Jun 6, 2010 10:17 PM

                i'm gonna ask the dumb question - you measured correctly right? :)

                also, how old is your baking powder? any chance it's done?

                1. re: Emme
                  j
                  julesincoq Jun 8, 2010 07:43 PM

                  Yes measured very carefully. It's probably 4 or 5 months old. That's not old is it?

                  1. re: julesincoq
                    Emme Jun 8, 2010 09:03 PM

                    depends upon storage, but best way to find out is to test it :) can't hurt, if that's the problem, the fix is simple...

              2. PBSF Jun 6, 2010 09:55 PM

                I agree with the above poster that you over-mixed when you incorporate the flour and buttermilk into the butter sugar mixture. Overmixing activate the gluten in the flour causing the cake to be rubbery. The recipe should say to mix at lowest speed until the flour is just moisten. This is the same for muffins and banana bread.
                From the ingredients, this cake should have the texture of a bundt or a light pound cake. Firm but not rubbery. The 1 tablespoon of baking powder called for is enough leavenig to give it rise and also beating the eggs (the large number is needed for the large amount of ingredients) to thick ribbon stage will also keep the cake from being heavy. With buttermilk, one does not need any baking soda.

                3 Replies
                1. re: PBSF
                  j
                  julesincoq Jun 8, 2010 07:45 PM

                  You know you might be right. I tried to add the dry ingred. and milk quickly but the batter seemed like it had been over mixed. It was still a bit lumpy but it had the gluey feel that it gets when over mixed. I can't see how it could be since I was so quick with my additions but maybe my mixer goes to fast around (the super low setting doesn't work any more so if have to do it on level 2 of six instead of 1)

                  1. re: julesincoq
                    PBSF Jun 9, 2010 09:33 AM

                    You might not have necessarily over mixed when you incorporate the flour mixture with the buttermilk. The recipe calls for an additional folding of the beaten eggs into a very thick batter which will further activate the gluten. This step might have make the finished cake a little lighter but also more rubbery because of the extra mixing.
                    I frequently make a light pound cake by separating the eggs and beat the whites separately and folding them in to the batter at the end. To prevent from over mixing, I don't need not to be too thorough with incorporating the dry ingredients with the buttermilk since I will be folding the egg whites at the end. The cake turns out light and not rubbery at all.

                    1. re: julesincoq
                      h
                      HazelShade Jun 9, 2010 02:55 PM

                      Did you sift the dry ingredients before adding them? If this was omitted, is seems likely it led to the lumpiness.

                  2. s
                    sarahNC Jun 7, 2010 11:58 AM

                    How did you measure your flour? scoop with a measuring cup or spoon into the cup and level off with a knife? I think the European way of measuring flour by weight would solve a lot of baking problems! I'd also echo the question about the age of your baking powder. It doesn't sound like you over-beat. Are you going to try again?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: sarahNC
                      j
                      julesincoq Jun 8, 2010 07:47 PM

                      I scoop and level off. I've never been super fussy about stuff like that but I'm always very careful the first time I try a recipe. Some recipes I can wing it and mess around with the ingredients and some are fussy. This one seems fussy.

                      Yes, I'll try it again. But as some of the comments on the epicurious site suggested, I will cut back on the sugar. Maybe I will beat the flour and milk in with a wooden spoon....

                      1. re: julesincoq
                        danna Jun 9, 2010 09:19 AM

                        Scoop- and-level can result in too much flour because it compacts the flour. Better to spoon. Also, did you sift as per the recipe? I notice that it says to sift the quantity of flour, instead of actually calling for 2 1/2 cups sifted flour, but that might be what they meant.

                        It's interesting how many reviewers say the cake is too dense. Hard to imagine with all those whites folded in, but it sounds like it may just be the recipe, and not you at all!

                    2. greygarious Jun 7, 2010 11:58 AM

                      You might want to check how the ingredients compare to the many recipes for Hummingbird Cake, a Southern specialty that is a moist layer cake with banana, pineapple, and pecans.

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