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Feb 15, 2011 10:03 PM

cake rising and falling

what causes a cake to rise and fall?

i'm still trying to make banh bo nuong (vietnamese pandan cake). i tried a different recipe today and while amusing, it kept rising and falling many times during baking. i know this isn't a western cake, but i wonder if i knew why cakes rise and fall, maybe i can apply it.


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  1. What recipes are you using? I've tried Playing With my Food's, one from a Vietnamese cookbook and I read about Andrea's Nguyen's several attempst at making Banh Bo Nuoung on her blog. I can't seem to get it to look like a honeycomb. I'll keep trying.

    I don't know much about the science behind the rise and fall of cakes, but I'll make an educated guess and hopes someone will add/correct me.

    Cakes usually has a rising agent, and in banh bo nuong, it's baking powder. Check your baking powder to make sure it's fresh. The cake will rise in the oven because of heat causing some sort of reaction with the baking powder and releases gas that gets trapped. That is my very bad attempt at explaining the rise.

    Are you checking the cake by opening the oven? Are you fresh baking powder? Maybe overmixing? What recipe are you using? Maybe it'll help with figuring out why the cake falls?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Eat.Choui

      i've tried numerous recipes. although i haven't tried andrea's yet because i didn't have wheat flour. i had a lot of the same experiences. play with my food's didn't work too well for me. also tried a vietnamese one and watched cooking videos. i don't seem to have the lack of a honeycomb, but i do have problems like they're too flour-y, egg-y, and/or chemical tasting. can't get the bottom to brown either.

      i've checked to make sure i'm using fresh ingredients. different variations of mixing to make sure i wasn't over or under mixing. used same brand as the recipes. different temperatures. i've also read the taboo/warning about not opening the oven til after 30 min so i don't check til after then. but, i can't seem to figure out how to keep the cake from falling as well as resolve the above issues.

      anyways, thanks for your input. appreciated. i'm gonna keep trying. hopefully can get something i like eventually.

    2. according the shirley corriher's bakewise, if a cake rises and then falls in the oven, it's overleavened. the leavening is producing so much gas that the bubbles explode and the cake collapses, is how i understand her explanation.

      i don't know what kind of flour you're using or whether this will help, but corriher's formula is: for each cup of AP flour in a recipe, no more than 5 to 6 grams baking powder (1 to 1.25 tsp), or, no more than 1 gram (quarter tsp) baking soda.

      1 Reply
      1. re: leonora1974

        thanks for the info. i think i'll try seeing if i can apply that to banh bo nuong to get different results.

        the basic ingredients are tapioca flour, eggs, baking powder, coconut cream/milk, sugar, pandan extract (vanilla sugar and salt depending on the recipe)