Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A
Hard outside crust after cooled
Why would I have a very hard outside crust on my Victoria sponge and white cupcakes after cooling? This has never happened to me before and I just cant understand what has happened.
Without knowing which recipes you are using it is difficult to give a definitive answer. From my own personal experience hard crust can be caused by over greasing and flouring cake pans, too much sugar in recipe, and over baking.. When a pan is over greased the crust can literally fry and if flour is used it can burn, forming a dark hard crust on a finished cake. As the cake cools the crust becomes hard and dry. Hard crust on cupcakes can be caused by over baking. Removing cupcakes from the oven a little sooner than the recipe time given can help eliminate the problem. Too much sugar and insuffcient creaming or mixing ingredients could be another cause. Sometimes even the type of flour or butter can give similar results.
These are just some reasons which could account for the problem. There are many other technical reasons which are probably more concerned with industrial baking.
If this is the first time it has happened to you with a recipe which you use regularly it may be due to your oven losing calibration. If the oven hasn't been calibrated for a while it may be worth checking out internal/external temperature with an oven thermometer.
If you already own a thermometer which you've had for a while, that too may be slightly out. Oven thermometers do lose their accuracy due to constant use. Your oven may be baking either too high or even too low a temperature, both can affect the crumb colour and texture.
Hopefully other members may be able to give the benefit of their experiences. This information is from my own, hoping it helps a little!
Hard crust on a fruit cake, even after following the recipe to the letter.
The hard crust on fruit cake may well be due to the sugars in the fruit burning. Fruit cakes bake better at a lower heat for longer, depending on the recipe and size of the cake. To further protect the edges burning, double line the inside and the outside of the cake pan and place a bowl of water in the chamber of the oven to create moisture during baking.
If you require more information, please post back. 🙂