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justmel74

Help With Baking Cakes

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I have always considered myself a baker and have had little difficulties adapting to the gluten/wheat free baking. I can bake breads, brownies, cookies, crackers, etc. and my family can't keep their hands out of my stuff (grr). BUT even before I had to make everything wheat and dairy free, I could not make a scratch cake that wasn't heavy or dense to save my life! So, I always made a box cake. Now, I can't make the box cake and I am trying all of these recipes (I'm going to try this yellow cake recipe that I just found on another post) I have found here and there...but all of my cakes turn out so heavy! One was very tasty, but it was more like a pound cake and sat in our tummies like a rock. The others almost have a quick bread texture. And one was so awful I couldnt beg my family to eat it. Most of the time, the cake looks good in the oven, nice and risen, and the cake tester comes out clean, but as it cools, it sinks. Can anyone tell me why? I really want to be successful at this. This is the only area in the world of baking I feel SOOOOOO clueless.

Thanks!

Melanie

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Hi Mel,

I have had similar experience with baking cakes (pre & post gluten-free), and always tended to use a box mix. I was so happy to find the cakes by Really Great Food Co.. Their chocolate cake mix is absolutely wonderful! Since I started using their cake I never have any leftovers from birthday parties. I have to limit how often I make a cake, since my family of 5 (4 who are gluten-free) can finish off a 9x13 cake in less than a day! Actually my husband never got a peice until the third cake since it never lasted long enough for him to get home from work and try it! The people at the parties love the cake, and don't know it is gluten-free unless I tell them. I have bought their yellow cake mix, but have not had the opportunity to bake it. I might try it soon though. I'll let you know how it turns out.

There is a trick to making the cake though, and maybe it would work for other recipes as well. You have to beat the eggs first, until they are light and fluffy, then add the oil and liquid(water, milk, juice, etc.), and beat some more. Then add the dry ingredients, but only mix for a minute or two. It seems to help make it light and fluffy. Also when you are using rice flours you should lower the baking temperature to about 325 degrees and increase the baking time by about 10 minutes (give or take a few minutes). Try this and maybe it will work for you.

God bless,

Mariann

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There are a # of reasons for cakes to fall.. the most common is that the oven door was opened during baking and the temp wasn't consistant enough... try being sure not to touch the door until after the recommended bake time.

Another option- as mentioned above, try inserting more air into the cakes by beating the eggs before use, I do this, as well as beat the better more then recommended on all cakes.

Also- I posted in the recipe forum here a flourless chocolate cake (forget under which post) which is basically beaten egg whites with chocolate folded in, it does get a bit dense if you don't have the egss stiff enough or you add the chocolate too fast/stir too much when folding- as the eggs will deflate before baking.

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Hi Mel,

I have had similar experience with baking cakes (pre & post gluten-free), and always tended to use a box mix. I was so happy to find the cakes by Really Great Food Co.. Their chocolate cake mix is absolutely wonderful!

Where do I get this mix? And is it Dairy free? Thanks...

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I know this isn't the most immediately helpful of an answer, but it's all I've got at the moment:

If you've got cable, and get the FoodNetwork, check your listings and keep an eye out for the Good Eats cake episode. Alton Brown goes into a lengthy discussion of the chemistry behind why it can be so hard to make a good light cake from scratch instead of a mix. A lot of it, as I recall, involves the process, NOT the ingredients.

If I get a chance, I'll watch the episode again (I'm pretty sure I have it on tape), and get back to you, but don't wait for me, I may not get around to it for a while.

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There is a package to make a gluten-free cake...I'm not making this post from home, so I can't remember the name, but as soon as I get home, I'll check and post it...I'll get back to you.

-celiac3270

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Cakes are usually high in fat and that is what contributes to their tenderness.

http://www.glutenfreeforum.com/index.php?s...st=0entry1320

Here is a recipe for gluten-free yellow cake that Jessica posted a while back. It came of of the allrecipes.com website and is fantastic. I don't care for the mayo, so I substitute the same amount with a half butter half shortening mixture and it's delicious. Also it's easily modified to chocolate or spice cake or lemon or whatever you like.

Enjoy!

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I'm back....and I'm posting from home again...the Gluten-Free Pantry makes Danielle's Chocolate Cake (or something similar). It is really good....tastes like regular chocolate cake. In addition, they provide the normal recipe, but also a lactose-free version of the recipe, and an egg-free version of the recipe....a lot of options, so lactose won't hinder your cake-eating experience. :)

-celiac3270

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I don't care for the mayo, so I substitute the same amount with a half butter half shortening mixture and it's delicious.

I usually make my own mayo, it's incredibly simple, and if I were to use it in a cake recipe I'd simply leave out the vinegar and spices. To do this simply blend an egg and slowly add vegetable oil until it gets thick and forms peaks. That's all there is to it!

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Try the Pan Bar mix from 1-2-3 Gluten Free. You can make apple spice or pumpkin bars from the same mix. the mix makes a 9x13 pan and you can ice with cream cheese icing. Very good. www.123glutenfree.com

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Mel, I get my cake mix from Gluten Solutions . It is the best mix I have tried. I do admit that I have not tried all the available cake mixes out there. The one celiac3270 recommended is another one that I may try in the future. And yes the mix is dairy free as well.

God bless,

Mariann

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celiac3270,

You are definitely right! Daniell"s Chocolate Cake Mix from the Gluten-Free Pantry is great. I made it and took it to work. I had several ask for the recipe and they were even more surprised when they saw that I was eating it. I have to be careful and not make it too often---I like it too much!! :rolleyes:

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OK...I'm still trying to make a decent cake. Perhaps, my ideal is too ideal.

They are still sinking down when cooling. (I am not opening the oven at all while baking). I tried that yellow cake recipe posted several times on this board and I have to say, I didn't like the flavor at all. Too metalic tasting...I think too much baking powder/soda. But it was moist. Still heavy like a quickbread. I want something spongy and springy. I like quickbreads, but I dont like that texture for a cake. And a duncan hines box cake doesnt come out like a banana bread texture...that's what I'm looking for.

So far I've tried Bette Hagman's white cake recipe...excellent flavor...still sunk, and it was not the texture either I had hoped for.

I adapted a recipe from the Joy of Cooking called 1-2-3-4 yellow cake. The recipe called for separating the eggs and beating the whites, then folding them in at the end. That had the best texture, but it was more like a pound cake, and would have been better in a bundt pan than as a layer cake.

SO, I'm trying to get the moisture of the cake recipe posted here, the flavor of bette's cake, with a slightly lighter texture than the 1-2-3-4 yellow cake from the Joy of Cooking. I welcome any other advice and any more ideas as to why my cakes all of a sudden could be still flopping while cooling. Thanks!

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Two questions for ya...

1 - What kind of pan (aluminum, iron, glass, teflon coated etc) are you using?

2 - How old is your oven and is it convection?

The reason I ask these questions is because that yellow cake recipe has never tasted metalic at all for me, and I am very sensitive to taste (I'm a chef by education and trade). It taste very buttery, or vanilla like, actually and also has never fallen when I have made it. It is, to me and my family identical to a boxed yellow cake mix, light, fluffy, moist, and flavorful. But if your pan is aluminum, it will react with the baking powder and give it a metalic flavor. Cast iron will do the same thing.

As far as the falling goes, if you have a convection oven, it may contribute to the denseness or the falling because of too much aggressive air flow, but also it sounds like it might be that you are under baking a little, and that will cause falling everytime without fail. If your oven is on the aged side, it may be cooking at a lower temperature than you set it at and then you will inadvertantly miscalculate baking times.

My suggestion would be to try the yellow cake again, but switch the mayo out for 50% butter and 50% butter flavor shortening like crisco. Then bake as directed. Poke it with a tooth pick to check for doneness and let it sit on a cooling rack until completely cool before cutting or icing it.

Hopefully we can get your cakes turing out better soon!

KJ

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The oven is about 17 years old, so I'm sure that's a factor. It has a digital readout of the temperature, but perhaps I should invest in an oven thermometer.

As for the other flops...one cake was really dry and it still flopped (over baked, I believe...it was out of bette's dessert book...master white cake... has a nice flavor though, quite sweet...really, it doesn't need icing). So, I'm not sure underbaking was the problem that time.

As for that other recipe, I just recently discovered I don't like the flavor of the straight rice flour (with just a little tapioca). And I know it's the rice, because it tastes like the rice milk and rice dream "ice cream" I threw out because I couldn't tolerate the flavor. And I can't use butter. I recently found out that I am allergic to cassein and whey. So I have only been able to use butter flavor crisco (or soy margarine, which, I'm afraid to bake with). Not sure how margarine will do, I've only ever used butter before all of these health issues reared their ugly heads.

And I think the rice flour I happen to have is a little coarse and grainy, anyhow. It's not bad when mixed with the other flours when using some of Bette's flour mixtures, but by itself, it isnt so hot. The metalic flavor most likely was a reaction of baking soda and pan. The pan I used for that particular recipe is from a set of pans that I 'inherited' (LOL) from my grandfather when he moved out of his home. Otherwise, I usually use stoneware baking pans.

So, today, I made a half decent cake. At least, I really enjoyed it. My extended family will still not like it (not a box cake, you know, they are very narrow minded and picky picky picky...I'm still getting teased about my daughter's birthday cake, which wasn't half bad...just a tad dry and a tad dense)

I took the Master white cake recipe today because I like the flavor the best, and and changed it up a bit. The liquid it calls for is a citrus flavored soda, and I think it really adds to it. Because I use a flour mix from a local gluten-free bakery and has the xanthan gum in it, I eliminated the extra tapioca the recipe calls for. I added an egg white. I separated the eggs and whipped the whites with cream of tartar, and added 2 tbsp of the sugar. I made sure that the shortening was whipped properly. (I realized I was making a mistake in this step after I read a cake baking site). I also reduced the temp of the oven by 25 degrees. The cake didn't fall, but still wasnt as springy as my family would probably like. But it was definitely more moist. I liked the texture, personally.

The only time I truly make cakes is for my kids birthdays, and even though they can eat reg. flour, I'm not about to contaminate my kitchen and besides, I would like to enjoy the festivities too. So, that's why I'm working so hard at this...besides, I love to bake, and I love a good challenge...and this is giving me both. :D

So, thanks for all the help from the bottom of my heart...I'm really learning and getting some good ideas. And will try some more things in the future.

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Yup, I would say that a large amount of your cake issues are comming from both your elderly oven and the inherited baking pan.

If you use stoneware it would improve the flavor greatly, and an oven thermometer could also prove to be a big help too.

Regading the butter issue, most baked goods that I have tried, have worked well with just using the butter flavor crisco as a straight across substitute. I have never baked with soy margarine, but keep in mind that margarine in general has a higher water content. So usually when you sub margarine for butter in a recipe, you need to slightly increase the amount of margarine (to make sure you have enough fat to keep it tender) and decrease the amount of other fluids in the recipe (so it doesn't get too dense).

I am glad that you are getting better and better and hopefully soon you will have a masterpiece.

Oh and one last tip.... if you have an Asian market in your area, that's where you should buy your rice flour. The Asian rice flour is a finer grain and very very smooth, not grainy like the gluten-free mixes or the straight rice flour you find in the gluten-free section of the supermarket. Its also usually sold for a lot less money and has a really nice flavor.

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This is the first time that I am going camping since being dx with celiac disease. I was wondering if anyone has a recipe for funnel cake. We have always had this when camping and it will be very difficult to watch everyone else eat my favorite dessert and not be able to have any.

Thanks

Debbie

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