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Aug 6, 2011 11:27 PM

Recooking Cake

I made a Jamie Oliver recipe for an almond tart - regular butter pie crust baked and then filled with almond meal, eggs, sugar and topped with halves of plums tossed with vanilla sugar. The whole thing is baked and becomes sort of a tart with a moist filling.

I've made it a couple of times before with great success. Today I made it and, although I baked it for an extra 20 minutes because it looked loose in the center, it never got fully cooked in the middle. I made have used a pan that was deeper and smaller than the one I originally used.. It was still quite good, but the center is too moist.

Question is this --- has anybody put a cake back in the oven to bake for an extra x number of minutes AFTER it has been taken out of the oven, cooled and actually served for dessert. I'm hoping I can get the middle to set up and dry out a bit.

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  1. Oakjoan, I actually did try this with a cake once. I waited a full day, and every time I looked at the cake, I got angry (with my own hit-or-miss baking skills, as it was a cake I had made perfectly in the past). I finally got angry enough to shove the thing back in the oven. The edges just wound up drying out, and burning a bit, while the center still remained slightly underdone. Afterwards, I wished I had cut the underdone parts out and cooked them in something like a muffin tin. A tart may behave differently with the reheating (though I would worry for the crust).

    If you figure out how to save it, I hope you report back.

    ETA: This discussion, recooking an undercooked cheesecake, was at the bottom of the page. Maybe it can help you a bit:

    1 Reply
    1. re: onceadaylily

      I echo your experience, onceadaylily, but I'd suggest that a cheesecake has an entirely different content and structure than a conventional leavened cake.

      I think the chances of rescuing a cheesecake are infinitely better so the link could be most helpful for cheesecakes but I doubt it translates to a leavened cake.

      PS Haven't actually read the link but I hope it reminds folks that cheesecakes are best retrieved from the oven when they're still decidedly jiggly. They set up by cooling as well as evaporation and a good degree of moisture prevents the surface cracks from being permanent as well as providing the creaminess that are the glory of cheesecakes.

    2. Have to agree with onceadaylily. That isn't to say there may not be formulas that are more dense that may not be rescueable. But, generally speaking, there's a chemical and structural thing that happens in the presence of heat. The liquid batter expands by virtue of a million little bubbles at first. Later the liquids evaporate and the solids form a rigid structure that encase the gases providing the signature moist springy crumb.

      If you've taken the cake out prematurely -- and don't mistake that we've ALL done it, even after performing the traditional toothpick thingy -- the structure hasn't formed adequately and the bubbles are able to relax back into a liquidy or custardy state. Maybe there is enough structure around the edges that they remain high and the center settles back into a low puddle. If you put it back into the oven, the leaveners have already done and lost their magic and you'll get a *hot* liquidy or custardy center.

      Some innovative person who made the same mistake relabeled his attempt a molten cake. You could try that approach. Or you could do like I've done and get yourself one of those nifty cake thermometers with the tip that turns color at the correct temperature. I find it much more reliable than a cake tester.

      1. I've done it with blondies - after cooling them and cutting into squares I decided they were too gooey, so I rebaked them individually flipped up-side down. They ended up with a crisp crust all over with a chewy centre - they were very popular!

        1. Since what you have is essentially a custard filling, I think you CAN re-heat it. I would put the foil-encased pan in a water bath for a while, then take it out, uncover it, and briefly return it to the oven without the bain marie, to re-crisp the crust.

          1 Reply
          1. re: greygarious

            Thanks for the advice.

            I am going to try it because it's pretty sticky this way. You call it a "custard filling", but I wouldn't describe it that way. The main ingredient in the filling is almond meal, which is a sort of flour. There were also 3 eggs. I want it mainly to dry out a bit in the middle.

            Maybe if I put it into a low heated oven I can get that result. We'll see.

          2. Maybe try the microwave? Covered with a damp (thick) paper towel perhaps.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ipsedixit

              I would if I had a microwave. I'm too lazy to drive over to a friend's house to use hers.