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Old 10-22-2012, 02:39 PM   #1
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HELP!!...Crunchy Cake Edges!!

I am new to the baking world. My mother got me an old-school cookbook for my B-Day that I thought was no longer in print because I could never find the darn thing whenever I went to various book stores.......but somehow my mom found it. Well, anyway... I have been trying cakes from my book and this is what's happening......

The first cake I tried was a banana cake - it turned out great...I used wax paper to line the pans as the recipe book instructed. Smoke filled my entire house.....was not pleasant.

The second cake was a spice cake ...I opted not to use the wax paper.. SO I coated the the bunt pan with Pam Baking Spray. The oven temp - which is electric - was 350 degress - per the recipe book.
I kept a watchful eye on it and stuck a fork in it to test the center - pulled the cake out just at the time indicated and my edges were DRY - I could peel it if I wanted too.

Needless to say.... I was not happy....my fiance' didn't mind - he actually liked it - I did not.

I read a few things on line to try to figure what could be causing it; I saw that the electric oven temp may run hotter than indicated so I should reduce my degrees by about 25 (325 degrees).

Well.......

I attempted a red velvet cake recipe, used Pam to coat the pan... watched my cakes like a hawk - poked the center more than I propably should have.The oven was set at 325 degrees.
Popped the cakes out and....... CRUNCHY EDGES.....

So I ask.... what am I doing wrong?
How can I correct this for soft egdes?
Lower the oven temp another 25 degrees?
Or do I have to keep using this funky wax paper?

I appreciate all advice. :o)

Thanks

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Old 10-22-2012, 02:51 PM   #2
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Sounds to me like your oven is too hot.

Buy an oven thermometer and check you oven's temp at several different temp settings. If it's off, call for service. It's not going to get any better.

Also keep in mind that glass or dark metal baking pans require a 25F oven temp reduction.

Once you get the oven fixed, you'll have great fun with that old cookbook.
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:02 PM   #3
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Hi Trycar, welcome to DC :)

Make sure your cake is in the center off the oven so it bakes evenly. Preheat the oven in advance, try buttering the pan then dust with flour and shake out the excess. Check your wax paper, some wax paper is meant for wrapping sandwiches etc. Make sure it's baking parchment that can be used for baking.
You could get an oven thermometer to check your oven temp and check that your cake mixture is not too liquid. That causes edges to dry out too.
Hope this helps.
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:15 PM   #4
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Just greasing the pan causes the batter around the edges to "fry". If you grease and flour, making sure to bang the extra flour off the pan, the cakes can climb and rise higher and not get that crisp edge. There may be a slight bit of crispness but will soften as it cools. The flouring step will help prevent the very high middle and the short crunchy edges.
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:40 PM   #5
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Since you were watching for the center to be done and not going to a specific time, I'm going to take a guess that your oven is running 75 degrees of more high. It's not an uncommon failure. Confirm with a thermometer.

There is always some sort of adjustment associated with the oven temperature knob, when there is one. It may be on the back of the knob or under it, and it may make in one of a number of ways. Adjusting the zero position, adjusting the ring of temperature marks, etc.

BUT - unless it's obvious that something has slipped badly on the knob, like it just doesn't look right at all, it's likely the thermostat. The whole assembly will look something like this:


While it can be failure of just the thermocouple (the tubular device), it's easier to replace it, the thermostat, and the capillary tube all together. It's should not be an expensive repair ($50-$75 plus tech time), and I wouldn't advise doing it yourself unless you have some experience with similar jobs.

Of course, as already stated, check things with an oven thermometer to confirm the problem. If it's off, check for the minor adjustment around the knob, and if it's way off, have it fixed. It's almost certain to be the thermostat.


The clue to the likelihood of the oven running way over heat is the burning wax paper. Wax paper, when used to line pans (meaning all of it is under the batter, not exposed) will not threaten to burn until well over 350F or for a long time. Parchment might have done okay, because it can take more heat. But neither should be used to line cookie sheets and should not overhand pans where they are exposed to the hot oven environment directly.

And what you describe is similar to what happens when someone modifies a recipe so that it involves more or less batter in a different depth pan without properly adjusting both time and temperature. In this case, I think it happened backwards. Your oven changed the temperature, while you kept the same recipe.
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Old 10-22-2012, 05:37 PM   #6
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Also remember that every time you open the oven door to check the center you are letting out heat and the oven has to heat back up, if your pan is to low in the oven the heat is hitting it more directly.

Make sure your rack in in the middle or top 3rd and that you don't start checking for done-ness until the earlier bake time listed on the recipe.
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:32 PM   #7
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Thanks Everyone

I really do appreciate the fantastic feedback.
I'm going to apply the suggestions and see how it goes.

Iwill let ya all know.

MUCH THANKS AGAIN
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:48 PM   #8
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Good advice above.

I wouldn't use waxed paper in the oven. The wax will melt. It's great stuff, but not for the oven. I would use parchment paper for the oven.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:18 PM   #9
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I will use waxed paper (if out of parchment) to line the very bottom of a pan that will be completely covered with batter. But my go to is parchment.
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