Help with Cake Recipe

Joined Dec 14, 2008
Hi - I'm new here, and I really hope someone can help!

I have this white cake recipe that needs help. I've tried to bake it three times, but each time it doesn't rise in the middle. Can anyone help me figure out what is the problem? If I could succesfully make this cake, it would be the best Christmas present.
Thanks in advance.

1 cup crisco shortening
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 1/2 tablespoons dry milk
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
3/4 cup water, divided
2 1/4 cup SOFT A SILK Cake Flour
1/2 cup Egg Whites, divided

Oven to 350.
Grease flour 2 eight inch cake pans
Add shortening, sugar, salt, milk power, cream of tartar, vanilla, lemon extract, 1/2 cup water, baking powder and flour in a bowl. Mix for 2 minutes at medium speed. Scrape bowl.

Add 1/4 cup egg whites and mix for two minutes at low speed. Scrape Bowl.

Add 1/4 cup egg whites and 1/4 cup water and mix for two minutes at low speed. Scrape Bowl.

Pour better into prepared cake pans, filling them 1/2 full and baking for 35 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean. Immediately invert cake pan onto serving plate.
Joined Sep 4, 2008
This is kind of an odd recipe. You could try a couple of things--like ymget says, there's no chemical leavener. I'd add 2 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder well whisked into the flour. I also think the egg white need to be beaten to medium-soft peaks and then folded into the batter. The bubbles in the foam would provide the leavening. Lots of times, recipes are written incorrectly--this could be one of those cases.

It's frustrating, I know. Here's what I would do:

Blend together thoroughly the flour, 1 1/2 cups of the sugar, the salt, and the milk powder. Add maybe 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder. Blend this really well; beat for a minute or two. Make sure you scrape the bowl. Add the water and extract and mix until just blended. Whip egg whites with 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar and the last 1/2 cup of sugar to medium peaks. Stir a little into the batter to lighten it, then fold the rest in until there are no more streaks. Then, fill pans and bake.

Good luck. Hope it works for you. To make life easier, you might consider substituting the milk powder and water for 3/4 c. milk.

Questions: have you ever made this before? Why this particular cake? Just wondering.

Again, good luck!
Joined Dec 14, 2008
I've done some research, but I'm still having trouble after another try - looks like there are a few reasons a cake doesn't rise in the middle while baking. Hard and time consuming to figure it out.

I'm suspecting too much sugar or too much baking powder. The original recipe, though I forgot to type it in, calls for 4 tsp baking powder, which sounds like too much, especially given that you suggested adding just 2 1/4 tsp.

I tried less baking powder, cutting it in half, but maybe I need to play with it more. Does the sugar amount seem high?

This is a recipe from a cookbook from a beloved but now closed local bakery. I used to have it every year from the bakery on my birthday. I've never tasted anything like it since, that's why I wanted to get it right. It's lemony but not too much and just delicious. Or maybe it's just in my memory. lol. I've made other things from the cookbook, and they've been spot on - tastes just like it came from their bakery.

Anway, what are your thoughts on the sugar? Does two cups sound excessive?

Thanks for the help.
Joined Sep 4, 2008
You're right--4 t. baking powder is too much for the amount of flour. Rule of thumb in a neutral batter is 1 teaspoon of baking powder per cup of flour.

The recipe does seem out of balance. Using shortening (Crisco, I guess), the weigh of the whites plus the water/milk should be more than the weight of the sugar. 2 cups of sugar is about 13-14 oz, and you've only got about 10 oz. liquid. I'd reduce the sugar to 1 1/2 cups and see how that works for you. Too much sugar=not enough gluten production to add structure to the cake.

I recommend folding in the meringue, or at least whipping 1/2 of the whites separately, just to help with lift.

I hope it works out for you--it sounds nice. You might try microplaning in a bit of lemon zest, too. Just a thought:smiles:
Joined Dec 13, 2005
Good morning to you. Jilly I have some good news for you.....your baking failure isn't your fault. The failure lies in the recipe.
Jilly notice the 2, cups of sugar =14,oz. Notice the 2 1/4 cups of cake flour=9.75 oz. average. Jilly whenever the weight of the sugar exceeds the weight of the flour you have what is known as a "HI~RATIO" Cake formula. In comm. bakeries the ingredient employed is "EMULSIFIED SHORTENING." If you have a few baking books find the 2~stage mixing method... that is the mixing method that is used for home use for hi ratio cakes.
Also all you need is 2 to 2 1/4 teas of baking powder. Soda is not required in this recipe.
Jilly re~do this recipe now -& come back & let us know how well you did.

Good luck & Happy Holidays to you.

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