How can I make my cake rise more?
I'm trying to alter a recipe for a rum raisin cake to make it rise more. I think there could be several reasons for why my cake is flat right now, and I was hoping to get some advice on whether any of these could be the culprit and what fixes there are...
1. The recipe calls for folding egg whites into the batter, but I'm terrible at this, so I used lightly beaten egg instead (substituting egg seems to have made my cake rise a little bit more than when I attempted to fold egg whites in). Would correctly beaten and folded egg whites cause more rise?
2. The recipe calls for 2 cups of ground walnuts and 1 cup of flour. Could the amount of walnuts be weighing down the cake? Would I be able to solve this by reducing the amount of walnuts and replacing it with flour?
3. I don't think the baking powder is the reason. I just bought the baking powder from the store yesterday, and other cakes have risen okay.
Just to give some further context on ingredient proportions, I am using 2/3 cup of sugar, 1 egg, a stick of butter, and 2 tablespoons each of molasses and rum.
Thanks very much for your help!
It is true that egg whites provide structure and it will not help a cake rise. But careful folding of properly beaten egg whites will make a cake light and airy. Beaten whole egg is not a good substitute. Other reasons that your cake does not rise more are:
1. not creamy the butter enough
2. how gentle one fold in the ground walnut and flour into the batter
3. ground walnut should be powdery; if not careful and it turns into nut butter
From looking at the ratio of your ingredients, there seems to be too much walnut and flour to the egg/liquid. How many egg whites does the recipe call for? how much baking powder? how big a cake does this make? I am guessing that you are making a butter cake and not a sponge cake. If you can state the procedure, it might help.
The recipe calls for 2 egg whites and 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder. The butter is melted, not creamed.
Right now, I've been combining the flour, baking powder, and ground walnut together. Separately combining the egg, butter, and sugar. I then add the molasses and rum into the butter mixture and have folded the flour into the liquid batter.
I don't think that this cake was meant to rise, but I like airier cakes and was looking for an easy way to make this spongier.
Beaten egg whites provide structure but they are not a leavening agent. I suspect your idea of reducing the walnut load in the batter might help. That's a lot of walnuts. Measure your flour by spooning it into the measuring cup, don't scoop it out of its storage container with the measuring cup itself. Check the label on your baking powder and make sure it's double acting baking powder. Add one egg yolk. Get the batter into the baking pan and then the oven as quickly and gently as possible after your final mixing step and be sure you're not overmixing the batter.
Beat your egg whites to soft peaks only. When you fold, push the spatula down the outer edge of the bowl to the bottom of the batter, hold it on the bottom of the bowl while you move it toward the center and lift the spatula (on an angle) toward the top. The spatula should surface at about the center of the batter. When the spatula reaches the surface and is about halfway exposed, roll it over and lift the batter toward the outer edge of the bowl. Repeat as you move around the perimeter of the bowl; slowly until the whipped whites are relatively evenly distributed but still somewhat fluffy. You will lose some of the fluffiness but if you've retained about 1/2 tro 2/3 of it you're doing just fine.
Well, I wouldn't replace walnuts with flour. That would make your batter much more dense and less apt to rise. Just reducing the walnuts should be enough. I assume you are using cake flour and not all purpose flour.
BAking 911 (http://www.baking911.com/cakes/101ing...) says:
"From light, airy sponge cakes to dense, chewy fruitcakes, cakes come in all shapes and sizes, allowing a baker to express his or her own creativity.
Though the making of cakes is truly an art, as with all baked goods, it is mostly a balance of ingredients."