Troubleshooting Chart For Cakes

 Hope This Helps...

Problem: Butter Curdles During Mixing.      
Cause:  Ingredients too warm or cold.  
Solution: Eggs must be room temp and added slowly.  

Problem: Cake lacks Volume.
Cause: Fat wasn't creamed long enough before the liquids were added to the batter/  Incorrect fat used/                      Flour too strong/ Old chemical leavener/ Egg foam under-whipped/ oven too hot.
Solution: Use correct ingredients/ Add a portion of flour then continue adding liquids/ Use a weaker flour/ Adjust oven temp/ Use fresh leavener (baking powder, baking soda, salt) / Use correct mixing method; Do not deflate eggs during folding (most cake methods use the creaming method unless making an egg white based cake).

Problem: Crust burst or cracked
Cause: Oven too hot/ Too much flour or too little liquid
Solution: Adjust oven temp./ Adjust formula; Scale accurately.

Problem: Cake shrinks after baking.
Cause: Weak internal structure/ Too much sugar or fat for the batter to support cake/ Not fully cooked.
Solution: Adjust Formula

Problem: Cake is dense or heavy
Cause: Too little leavening/ Too much fat or liquid/ Oven too cool/ Improper mixing *The longer a cake is mixed after the flour is added, the more the gluten develops, making a denser cake*
Solution: Test for doneness before removing from oven/ Cream fat or eggs properly/ Adjust oven temp/ *When adding flour, mix it just until it's incorporated unless a recipe states different.*

Problem: Texture is course with an open grain/ Poor flavor
Cause: Over mixing/ Oven too cool/ Poor ingredients/ Unclean pan
Solution: Adjust oven temp./ Alter mixing method/ Check flavor and aroma of ingredients/ Don't grease pans with rancid fats.

Problem: Uneven shape
Cause: Butter not incorporated evenly/ Batter spread unevenly/ Oven rack not level/ Uneven oven temp.
Solution: Incorporate fats complete/ Spread batter evenly/ Adjust oven racks/ Adjust oven temp.


This troubleshoot was from the book On Baking by Labenski, Martel and Van Damme. The asterisks were my personal note. Again, I hope this was easy to understand and helped someone out.

On Baking: A Textbook of Baking and Pastry Fundamentals (2nd Edition)

~Love in a Cupcake~


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