Vanilla cake mix - Technical issues

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Joined Sep 23, 2013
Guys

I'm wondering if someone can help with a technical issue I have,,, We have a vanilla mix that tastes amazing but one of our teams seems to really struggle to get it right. I think they are over mixing it and as a result the baked cake looks dense and raw (it isn't). It's a reverse cream method.

It does contain lots of fat BUT our second store never get it wrong. Although I've built an amazing baking business I'm not a trained pastry chef and I need some advice if anyone can help?


B x
 

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Joined Apr 29, 2019
Is it butter? do both teams use the same brand of butter? butterfat can make a huge difference. so can the temperature of the butter. warm soft butter will never beat properly
 

chefpeon

Kitchen Dork
770
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Joined Jun 15, 2006
So, first thing in regard to cake mixes. It's very important to mix the cakes as recommended by the manufacturer and the instructions are usually on the bag. Are they following the instructions to the T? Are you able to visit that location and observe what they might be doing wrong? Does the manufacturer call for reverse creaming?

Secondly, from the pictures you posted, it definitely looks like more of an undermixing problem than overmixing especially in regard to reverse creaming. In reverse creaming you are coating flour (mix) with fat before you add most of the liquids in order to inhibit too much gluten development. To me, those dense raw spots seem to be large fat globules that haven't been thoroughly incorporated in to the mix before the liquids were added. Just a guess on my part, but the obvious problem here is mixing technique, and/or mismeasurement of any particular ingredient. Alternatively, oven temperature could be a culprit as well, but less likely. Look at the differences between the two locations to rule anything else out. You either need to ask your staff what they are doing explicitly, or go and observe for yourself.
 
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5
10
Joined Sep 23, 2013
Is it butter? do both teams use the same brand of butter? butterfat can make a huge difference. so can the temperature of the butter. warm soft butter will never beat properly
Yeah it's butter and oil. We're super careful about the butter having structure and not being too soft. The recipe itself tases amazing when it's correct but we keep getting these parts of the mix that are raw looking and dense - The only thing I can think of is that it's strands of overworked gluten BUT as it's a reverse cream method and we only beat for one min once the liquid is in.. it shouldn't be causing that to happen

Thanks so much for your
 

chefpeon

Kitchen Dork
770
185
Joined Jun 15, 2006
Yeah it's butter and oil. We're super careful about the butter having structure and not being too soft. The recipe itself tases amazing when it's correct but we keep getting these parts of the mix that are raw looking and dense - The only thing I can think of is that it's strands of overworked gluten BUT as it's a reverse cream method and we only beat for one min once the liquid is in.. it shouldn't be causing that to happen

Thanks so much for your
After reading this answer, I will ask if your team is adding the butter first and then the oil and not both at the same time?
 
5
10
Joined Sep 23, 2013
After reading this answer, I will ask if your team is adding the butter first and then the oil and not both at the same time?
Yeah the cubed butter, sugar, leavening and flour go in together until the mix reaches a breadcrumb consistency, then we add the eggs, oil and vanilla and then stream in the buttermilk. We scrape down and beat for one min.

When I look at the mix I can see that the ones that are going wrong really inflate and fluff up - I think they are then losing structure when they bake

x
 
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Joined Feb 18, 2007
The team (member) that successfully makes this should go to the second location and make the cake. This can help you narrow the problem to staff error (if the cake comes out right when the visiting team makes it) or equipment/possible ingredient issue if it doesn't come out right.
 
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Joined Oct 22, 2020
Have you done an audit of the two locations to determine where differences may lie?
Are ovens the same and are they calibrated?
Same mixers?
 
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Joined Nov 9, 2020
I'm still wondering if it's either an ingredient difference (Different butter? Different flour? Different flour mills?) or a production issue (cold V warm mixing bowls / paddles , Refrigeration units at different temps, etc.) ... Baking isn't rocket science (it's science, just not rocket science), but little differences can make big changes to results.

We had a hand donut production line, and had an issue with one of our 4 fryers turning out greasy, broken-surfaced product. We had a tech come out and he couldn't find anything wrong until he used the same thermometer to verify the temperatures between units, and it turned out ALL but the "bum unit" were running 7-8 degrees hotter than the thermostats were telling us, and the bum unit was about 4 degrees cooler. :emoji_rolling_eyes:

Little things.
 

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