Sunken Cake

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by lfouquette, May 12, 2005.

  1. lfouquette


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    I am an amateur cook. I have been making a wonderful cake for years. It has been reliable under all kinds of conditions and even rather laissez-faire measuring methods. Suddenly today both layers came out dramatically sunken in the middle. I will include the recipe below. The baking soda is not past date. I am baffled. Help please! It's a wonderful cake.

    Cake (this is from Bon Appetite about 10 years ago) (1 recipe fills 1 round 14" X 2" pan or 2 round 9" X 2" pans)
    2 C espresso, room temp
    3C sifted cake flour
    2/3 C plus 4 tsp sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
    2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp (generous) baking powder
    1C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
    3 C sugar
    4 large eggs, room temp
    2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped, melted, cooled to barely lukewarm

    Preheat oven to 325degrees F. Butter 4 cake pans (9" round). Butter bottom and sides of the pan. Line bottom and sides with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper. Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and baking powder into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, using electric mixer, cream butter until light. Gradually add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat just until combined. Add melted chocolate and beat until just blended. Mix dry ingredients and espresso liquid alternately into batter, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.

    Divide batter among the pans (half full). Bake until tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on racks. Wrap in foil or plastic wrap and freeze or refrigerate over night.
  2. harpua


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    Professional Pastry Chef
    Perhaps your oven is wearing. I would invest in an oven thermometer. After I got mine, I was shocked at how long it took to heat up, and how it was 5-10 degrees off. My baking has magically improved!
  3. cookieguy


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    My experience is that very rarely are ingredients to blame. Usually something is not scaled right or something is left out. Did you maybe grab all-purpose flour by mistake? By the way, baking soda, when properly sealed, lasts almost forever. One clue might be the fact that it only sank in the middle which does point to perhaps underbaking. Preheating the oven is very important. Wait one or two on cycles beyond the temp. reached indicator so the whole oven is heated (walls, etc.) not just the air within. Do you bake by time? No toothpicks please! Try to bake by feel instead. The center part of the cake is the last to bake. When it looks baked reach in and very, very gently touch the center. The cake should spring back. If you leave a depression bake a little more. Practice on the soft part on the inside of your forearm. Lastly, the only way to achieve true repeatability is by scaling your ingredients. Either in grams or ounces. Volumetric scaling is very iffy. Good luck.