Author Topic: What happened to my cake??? :(  (Read 2858 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

MommyPenguin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4331
    • My blog!
What happened to my cake??? :(
« on: January 07, 2012, 07:51:30 PM »
So, I made a cake for my husband last night.  He loves his family's jello cake with cool whip topping.  The cake is made with white cake mix, following the standard directions, first.

So, when I went to put the two round cakes onto cooling racks, they sort of... cracked up.  The split along a bunch of fault lines.  The part that was the top when they were in the oven, which was now the bottom as the cake was on the cooling rack, stayed together, and that's basically all that kept them from separating into five parts or so.

Any idea what I did?  I've never had this happen before, and I've made a zillion cakes before.  I don't make white cake very often, but surely white cake can't be that different from yellow?  Did I overcook it?  Undercook it?  Over-grease the pan?  I can't figure it out.  The *only* thing that I did differently was to follow the directions a bit more precisely than usual--usually when I make a standard yellow cake for birthday parties and such, I use milk instead of water and I add vanilla flavoring, neither of which I did this time.

I need to make a complicated cake for my oldest daughter's 5th birthday next week (with dinosaurs in fondant icing, maybe a volcano), so I do *not* want this to happen again, if I can possibly figure out what I screwed up.

NyaChan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4107
Re: What happened to my cake??? :(
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2012, 07:55:21 PM »
Not sure if this will help, but here is a site that has a list of common reasons why a cake might crack:
http://www.ou.org/shabbat_shalom/column/cracked_cake/

CuriousParty

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1226
Re: What happened to my cake??? :(
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2012, 08:00:16 PM »
Hmmm, was it maybe the cooling time? IME white cakes are usually a bit more fragile than yellow cakes, and so I let them cool a bit longer in the pan (10-15 min) to firm them up before turning out. How is the overall texture/crumb?

SisJackson

  • Wear Sunscreen!
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1421
Re: What happened to my cake??? :(
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2012, 08:05:20 PM »
I've had the same problem when trying to make a pure white cake by separating the eggs and using only the whites.  It never works for me, I end up with a crumbly mess.  I've had a bit of luck by subbing in sour cream but it never works as well as when I use whole eggs.

Ceallach

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4759
    • This Is It
Re: What happened to my cake??? :(
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2012, 08:31:34 PM »
Hmmm, was it maybe the cooling time? IME white cakes are usually a bit more fragile than yellow cakes, and so I let them cool a bit longer in the pan (10-15 min) to firm them up before turning out. How is the overall texture/crumb?

This would be my best guess too. 

Otherwise I'd look at the texture to see if the cake is too dry and crumbly, in which case the mixture wasn't quite moist enough.
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"


MommyPenguin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4331
    • My blog!
Re: What happened to my cake??? :(
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2012, 10:12:22 PM »
I didn't try it myself, because I don't really like jello cake and I hate cool whip.   ;)  But my husband said the cake was a little overdone, which probably means that it was a little dry.  So perhaps that was part of it.  When the first cake cracked, I sort of felt inside a crack (trying to figure out what was going on) and it felt a little moist, so I put them back in for a few more minutes.  That may have been what made them overdone and so been unrelated to the cracking, I'm not sure. 

I definitely didn't let them cool all that long in the pan, as I'd thought they'd cool better on the cooling rack.  So maybe that contributed, too.  And I did separate the egg whites and use only those.  However, I made a jello cake for Christmas and separated them then, and there was no cracking.  So either that doesn't *always* cause the problem, or it was something else.  I often find that I do slightly more liquid then I'm supposed to (I'll look at the measuring cup, it's *slightly* more than it needs to be, I'll let it go rather than trying to be precise), and this time I think I was closer to having less liquid than I was supposed to, rather than more.  So yes, maybe that was it.  Or maybe any one of these imperfections wouldn't have done it, but *all* of them together led to it.  A perfect storm of a cake?  :)  At least Emily's birthday cake will be yellow, so maybe that one will be less finicky.

Those Wilton baking strips mentioned in the link, has anybody used those?  Having a cake with a nice flat top for decorating would be awesome.

Shoo

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 16393
Re: What happened to my cake??? :(
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2012, 10:48:44 PM »
My guess is that the cakes were too warm when you turned them out onto the cooling racks. 

MummySweet

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 576
Re: What happened to my cake??? :(
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2012, 05:50:39 AM »
Have you checked the accuracy of your oven temp?      This type of cracking (where the dome stays intact) is often a sign of an oven that is running hot. **     The overly hot oven causes the top of the cake to over-dome and bake to  firm crust, when turned out of the pan the dome remains ridged, rather than flattening to the rack, causing stress fractures... if the cake is dry they are even more pronounced. 

** When checking the oven temp, you need to do it over the course of an hour or two.  The oven may initially heat to the correct temp, but if the sensors are bad, it could be over heating during the baking cycle. 

Outdoor Girl

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13665
Re: What happened to my cake??? :(
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2012, 11:38:03 AM »
Have you checked the accuracy of your oven temp?      This type of cracking (where the dome stays intact) is often a sign of an oven that is running hot. **     The overly hot oven causes the top of the cake to over-dome and bake to  firm crust, when turned out of the pan the dome remains ridged, rather than flattening to the rack, causing stress fractures... if the cake is dry they are even more pronounced. 

** When checking the oven temp, you need to do it over the course of an hour or two.  The oven may initially heat to the correct temp, but if the sensors are bad, it could be over heating during the baking cycle.

I was going to suggest this as well.  I was baking a cake in a Barney pan in an unfamiliar oven.  I'd accidentally put the oven on broil rather than bake.  The cake looked very much like you described.  When I'd turned it out of the pan and it fell apart, my SIL looked at the cake, looked at me and said, 'Barney died.'  Wishful thinking on her part, I think.   :D  I had to run to town and buy another mix and remake the cake for my nephew's birthday.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

MommyPenguin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4331
    • My blog!
Re: What happened to my cake??? :(
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2012, 03:05:26 PM »
I haven't checked the oven temp, but I do have a good thermometer so I could do that.  However, this is the first thing that's had any problem in this oven.  I don't bake *constantly*, but I did make a jello cake (same recipe) two weeks ago for Christmas and it turned out fine, and a yellow cake for my middle daughter's birthday in October, etc., without noticing any problems.

I will cross my fingers that the yellow cake I'll be making on Friday turns out okay!  Speaking of which, nobody has RSVPed, so I guess I get to make phone calls tomorrow.  <sigh>

Girly

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 884
Re: What happened to my cake??? :(
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2012, 11:47:54 AM »
I haven't checked the oven temp, but I do have a good thermometer so I could do that.  However, this is the first thing that's had any problem in this oven.  I don't bake *constantly*, but I did make a jello cake (same recipe) two weeks ago for Christmas and it turned out fine, and a yellow cake for my middle daughter's birthday in October, etc., without noticing any problems.

I will cross my fingers that the yellow cake I'll be making on Friday turns out okay!  Speaking of which, nobody has RSVPed, so I guess I get to make phone calls tomorrow.  <sigh>

How did your cake turn out?

MommyPenguin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4331
    • My blog!
Re: What happened to my cake??? :(
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2012, 09:01:57 AM »
The yellow cake for Emily's birthday turned out fine.  I tried those baking strips, and they kept it smoother at the top, which was really nice!  However, they also made it not rise as much.  So maybe the two go together.  For a cake to decorate, a flat top is nice, and it tasted fine.  This is the cake:



Yes, it's a little silly-looking, please don't post it to cakewrecks.  :)  It's my second time working with fondant icing, so I definitely need more practice.  But it had recognizable dinosaurs (a little hard to see at this angle, but the dinosaur by the hatching egg is a sauropod, the one hidden by a tree is a tricerotops, and there's a Tyrannosaurus Rex on the right) and a volcano (Emily specifically requested this), so she was happy enough.

My husband wanted a jello cake with cool whip frosting for his birthday last week, and I had to do white cake for that again.  And, again, it cracked.  :(  Although nowhere near as badly as the previous time, it still did it!  Very frustrating.  At least it wasn't too visible once it was iced.  I couldn't resist decorating it at least a little bit, even if it was a jello cake.

« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 09:15:02 AM by MommyPenguin »

Ceallach

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4759
    • This Is It
Re: What happened to my cake??? :(
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2012, 08:17:14 PM »
I bet Emily loved her cake, it looks really fun   :)
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"


kkl123

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1712
Re: What happened to my cake??? :(
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2012, 08:50:58 PM »
POD to Mummysweet.

You can do the same thing as the Wilton strips with a piece of old terry cloth towel, cut to the size of the circumference of the pan + 1" or so.  Dip the strip in water, wrap it around the pan, add a pin to hold it in place and bake.

Venus193

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15852
  • Backstage passes are wonderful things!
Re: What happened to my cake??? :(
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2012, 09:43:08 PM »
Did you cool it too quickly?

As for the jello cake, what kind is it?  Here is a near-future project of mine:



It's 100% jello except for the frosting.