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Old 04-12-2012, 09:16 AM   #1
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Smile Burnt on the bottom...uncooked in the middle...cake help please!

Hi all :)

I made a chocolate cake the other day and it was a DISASTER!

The outside of the cake was cooking faster than the middle and when I inserted a knife it still wobbled and was raw so I left it and turned the heat down

The end result was a very very very burnt cake especially on the bottom

I had to throw it away :(

could anyone help me with the basics of good cake baking?

Heat?

what shelf to bake it on?

What to do to prevent burning on the bottom and even cooking in the middle?

Thanks x

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Old 04-12-2012, 09:41 AM   #2
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Tell us what you did. What temp, how long, what type of cake, 8 inch pan? Etc
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Old 04-12-2012, 11:27 AM   #3
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Yes. You have to provide both the recipe and the size and types of pans, temperature and times. Include any substitutions you made, if any. One thing to know is that changing pan size from the recipe or combining a recipe for two pans in one pan will not work with the same time and temperature. And cake recipes do not necessarily scale up properly by simple multiplication. It is also a good idea to check your oven for correct temperature, using a thermometer to see if temperature on the control matches the actual temperature and if it holds.

There are a number of things that don't occur to people to report when they're asking what went wrong. For instance, it's important to know that a cake pan was put on a large baking sheet. Or if ingredients were still cold or allowed to come to room temperature. In real disasters, it's often a combination of things that all worked in one direction.
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Old 04-12-2012, 11:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GLC View Post
Yes. You have to provide both the recipe and the size and types of pans, temperature and times. Include any substitutions you made, if any. One thing to know is that changing pan size from the recipe or combining a recipe for two pans in one pan will not work with the same time and temperature. And cake recipes do not necessarily scale up properly by simple multiplication. It is also a good idea to check your oven for correct temperature, using a thermometer to see if temperature on the control matches the actual temperature and if it holds.

There are a number of things that don't occur to people to report when they're asking what went wrong. For instance, it's important to know that a cake pan was put on a large baking sheet. Or if ingredients were still cold or allowed to come to room temperature. In real disasters, it's often a combination of things that all worked in one direction.

Yes, all of that.

Do you have an oven thermometer to ensure that its the proper temp?
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:56 PM   #5
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Thank you all for your replies

I think the content of your replies really show were I am going wrong

I need to know the basics of baking!

I do not have a thermometer nor did I use any baking paper or a round cake tin (small square tin)

I will note all of your comments and learn the basics as I am seeing now that I need to walk before I run!

Any good sites for the basics of baking?

There are a lot of sites but they all say diff things and I get confused!

I will also have a look around this site and see what I can learn

Thanks again for your replies :)
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Old 04-12-2012, 01:38 PM   #6
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also - disposable pans don't bake evenly. keep that in mind.
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Old 04-12-2012, 02:16 PM   #7
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I understand. It can be kind of a revelation to find that baking is an area of cooking that is not as forgiving as making a stew. And you can't really tell how it's going along the way and have to wait for the outcome to see if you did it right.

There are at least two different levels of accomplishment in baking. One is to accumulate a collection of recipes that work reliably and stick to them. At this level, you use exactly what the recipe says to use. If it says "cake flour," use cake flour, not all-purpose flour. There are many recipe sites on the Internet. Find one that includes user reviews:

Simple White Cake Recipe - Allrecipes.com

...or where the recipes are developed professionally for home kitchens:

Top-quality baking recipes - King Arthur Flour

And take advantage of sites with collected baking tips and general techniques that aren't mentioned in recipes, like these ten steps/tips in a layer cake:

The perfect layer cake (10 tips for success): King Arthur Flour

Another is to also stay with those recipes but learn to bake them in different configurations than were specified in the recipe. For instance, the recipe is for a chocolate layer cake of two layer baked in 8-inch cake pans. And you want to make a single layer of the whole recipe.

There are Internet sites about such things:

How To Substitute Pan Sizes, How to Measure Pan Size, Baking Dish and Pan Size Conversions

And it's a very good idea right from the start to stick to recipe sites with the ingredients by weight. Flour amounts can be very different, depending on how you measure volume. And you will find that nearly all baking is a matter of ratios of ingredients, like flour to liquid to fat, etc. And those ratios are by weight. If you learn the ratios, you can make up anything from scratch. Want to make bread, it's 5:3, five units of flour to three units of water (by weight), plus a teaspoon of yeast or so and a teaspoon of salt or so. Buy a reliable kitchen digital scale with a "tare" button that lets you zero the scale to a bowl or cup. We're talking metric here, grams. (It's not all ratios. Pound cake and sponge cake have the same ingredients ratio, equal weights of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar, but they're put together in very different ways.)


Knowledge that can be very useful if you don't want to have to run to the store for every specific ingredient is what can be substituted and how.

Ingredient Substitutions - Kitchen Notes - Cooking For Engineers

Ingredient Substitution - Joyofbaking.com


If you're really serious, you can work toward creating your own unique recipes. To do that successfully, you need an understanding of each ingredient and its role in the recipe. That can take a while, but you can begin by reading up on each part of the standard recipes you use. For instance, just what is "cake flour" and "all-purpose" flour? What's the difference between baking soda and baking powder and double-acting baking powder, and why is one or another used in a recipe? What does salt do in a baking recipe? The amount seems so little. Why does the tiniest bit or oil keep you from making stiff egg whites? Why can't you melt chocolate like you melt butter?

It sounds like a lot, but you just tackle it one bit at a time as you encounter things.

You do need, at the very least, a reliable oven thermometer. It doesn't have to be expensive. And some good plain cake pans. Just plain smooth metal. You don't need non-stick or silicone. Get decent ones. You can't do better than Fat Daddio. And the digital scale.


There is nothing magic of mystical here. And very little that requires any particular talent, other than perhaps high level decoration.
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Old 04-12-2012, 02:25 PM   #8
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Bake in the middle of the oven and perhaps at a lower temp.
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:39 PM   #9
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Remember, baking is different from cooking. You do HAVE to follow the recipe until you are more experienced. Baking is a science. You wouldn't mess around with the recipe for dynamite. And you can't mess around with the recipe for a cake. Both are a science. Happy baking!
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