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asked February 11th 2015

Not so Luscious Lemon Cake

HI

Can anybody help please? I made a 12 inch round luscious lemon cake a couple of days ago and it dipped in the middle. Firstly it was a huge quantity of batter to contend with as it actually came to the very top of my large capacity Kenwood mixer. The mix contained 22 eggs so you can imagine how much that would be. So I had to pour some of the mix into another container, and fold in the flour between the two batters. I finally mixed the two back together and baked it. It was supposed to bake in 2hrs 10mins but took an additional 1 and a half hrs. While the sides were cooked, actually a bit dry, the middle remained soggy. This recipe is one of Mitch Turner's. I have emaied feed back to a contact email on her site but I do feel with very large cakes there should be a note to advise on dealing with such vast quantities of cake batter. After all I don't imagine many home bakers would own a commercial mixing machine. Anyhow while I should probably have realised the batter was going to be too much at an earlier stage in the proceedings, having no previous experience of this, I didn't envisage potential problems. Does anybody have a foolproof 12 inch madeira lemon cake recipe please? My 12inch tin is a new deeper tin and the depth of the cake I made was great but unfortunately can't be used now. I have frozen it for later when I will have to cut out the core and probably make a pinata cake. I can't justify throwing away a cake I have spent so much time and money on. Is there any general advice on baking such large cakes? P.S. I used my oven thermometer, and lined the cake with parchment on the bottom and sides and tied outer collar of brown paper to protect sides of the cake. I'm at a total loss as to what went wrong. One very crest fallen baker!! xx

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Hi bellescakes

I always use Jane Hornby's zingy lemon cake recipe from her wedding cake collection. It never lets me down.
Here is the recipe: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4576/wedding-cake-zingy-lemon

Make a small trial cake first to see whether you like it. The cake has a good shelf life and tastes really lemony.
I made this cake for my hubby's 65th birthday and retirment cake and for my own 60th birthday. It went down a big wow and I've had lots of requests for it since then. It's quite dense so I do recommend making the trial. x

EDIT

To help even distribution of heat in deep large cakes, it is useful to use a heating core. I use three or four upturned metal royal icing flower nails in the batter. When the cakes are done leave to cool and then remove the nails. They leave a tiny hole which covers easily, filled with a little ganache or buttercream.
Ateco make flower nail type stainless steel heating cores. I've bought some and have yet to trial them, but I know they will work. This is how they look:
http://www.amazon.com/Ateco-1449-Cake-Heating-Core/dp/B0061UGRIC

Hope this helps.

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Hi madeitwithlove

Thanks very much for the info. I am making this recipe for one of the cake wedding cake tiers actually and I agee it's a fabulous recipe as I tried it last year. But the lemon cake I made a couple of nights ago of course had a quantity chart whereas Jane Hornby's zingy lemon cake doesn't have a a chart.and I needed the quantity for my 12 inch deep cake tine hen I used Mitch Turner's recipe. I did try Mitch Turner's luscious lemon cake recipe in a 6inch round cake tin a few months ago and it turned out very well indeed that's why I was so surprised when the 12inch cake was such a disaster! I never did get on with the c o meter as I couldn't see the space to enter the details.

The idea of the nails may just be worth a try. I will look at the link you sent thanks very mucc indeed. One thing about the nails though, does the batter not disturb them once it's poured into the tin? I can imagine having to fish around for the nails which would not be too good. xx

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When I spoke to Mitch Turner's pa she said some of Mitch's recipes are not intended for scaling up above 8" and this luscious lemon cake is one of them. I don't know the recipe at all, if it has been scaled up in her book, I would have thought it should have baked up ok. Mitch Turner is food scientist, her pa says she is very precise. I'm sure she will contact you with an explanation and help you

I scaled the Jane Hornby recipe using my own ready reckoner here:
http://www.cakeflix.com/blog/how-to-work-out-what-size-cake-tin-to-use
Although, the cakeometer is good because it scales the depth as well. My ready reckoner is for scaling standard 3" deep cakes. If I want a deeper cake I ask my hubby to scale it for me or use the cakeometer.

The flower nails stay in position just pour the batter in carefully. I've never had one fall over on me yet. They are heavier than the batter so they will not float up and get lost in the batter! No fishing, lol!
If you want to use the zingy lemon I can scale it up for you but there is no obligation, you must choose a recipe you feel happy with. xx

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Thanks so much I will try again. I wish to bake the cake in the deep 12inch round deep tin from Lakeland. if it's not too much to ask how would I scale the extra for the deeper cake please? xx

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If you use the cakeometer you will need to fill in the ingredients table for how deep the original recipe is for, and then fill in the table below for how deep you want the cake to be. If you want to use the ready reckoner my hubby will have to work out all the ingredients manually. How deep did you want your cake to finish at? I will need to know because I don't know how deep the Lakeland tin is.
So if Mitch Turner's recipe is for a 3" deep cake and you want a 4" deep cake you will need to divide the recipe quantities by 3 and then multiply them by 4. If you are into using decimals simply take the ingredients and mutiply the quantities by a factor of 1.33. I know this can be confusing but my hubby says he will scale it up for you tomorrow morning, it's a bit late now for figures. I think we should wait and see what Mitch Turner says about her recipe first. xx

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HI again madeitwithlove

The 12inch cake tin I will use is 4inches deep. I tried the cakemeter just now and nothing happened once I had added all the ingredients. This happened the last time I used this app. Perhaps it's my browser. I will look at the ready reckoner and see if I can work it out and if your husband really doesn't mind converting it then I can see if my calculations meet with his. Thanks very munch again, speak soon. xx

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Hi bellescakes

I searched for the recipe last night and found it. I've scaled it up on the cakeometer. For a 4" deep cake, it scales this recipe up by 1.3.
I see you have used 22 eggs, I'm not sure why as the scaled up recipe uses 16, so this might be where the problem lies. The original recipe uses 12 medium eggs
Here is the conversion for 12" round, 4" deep:

Butter, sugar, flour all 933gm
Eggs 16 (medium)
lemon zest either 10 or 11 ( cakeometer gives 10.7)
milk 400ml ( weigh in gms if you want, it's more accurate)
vanilla 5.5 teaspoon
baking powder 5 teaspoon

My hubby also scaled the recipe by 1.33 and came to the same answer as the cakeometer.

Hope this helps xx

EDIT

If I was doing this recipe I would probably divide the recipe ( not the mixture) in half and bake two 2" rounds rather than one big 4" deep round. It would reduce the risk of the cake collapsing and also reduce the baking time.
I find most large victoria sponge type recipes do have a potential for collapse because they are so light.

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Hi madeitwithlove

Thanks very much for scaling this up for me. I scaled up Jane Hornby's zingy lemon cake out of interest, but only for a 3inch tin as I think think that's called for in the recipe . I don't know how to scale up the recipe to accommodate a 4inch deep tin. This is what I came up with:

630gr butter
630gr castor sugar
10 eggs (actually 10.8)
252gr plain flour
504gr S.R. flour
Zest of 7.2 lemons and juice of 5.5 lemons

Syrup
zest of 3.5 lemons and juice of 3.5
180gr castor sugar.

The quantity of these ingredients are quite a bit less than that of Mitche's luscious lemon cake. But of course my calculations are based on a 12x3inch cake tin. I have yet to hear from Mitch and am I must confess a little nervous about using the luscious lemon cake recipe again.! xx

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Hi bellscakes

Conversion for Jane Hornby's zingy lemon cake recipe 12" round 4" deep
Hope it helps.

Butter and sugar 840g each
Eggs 14
Plain flour 336g
Self raising 672g
Zest of 10 lemons
240g of lemon juice
For the syrup: lemons 5 and sugar 250g

The lemon juice has been measured in grams rather than the amount of lemons, it's a better way to measure.
Everyone has their different ways of devicing recipes. Jane's recipe is for a madeira so the ingredients and amounts will be different. I've never had problems with any of Jane's recipes.

I'm surprised Mitch Turner has not contacted you yet. Perhaps send her another email and say you are still waiting for a reply. I do find it strange that the recipe I found in google books for the lucious lemon cake differs from what is in your own book. I suppose it is possible that there has been a printing error, however if using ratios against the other ingredients the number of eggs should be 16 for the converted recipe. Only Mitch can clarify the ingredients, it is her recipe.

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Hi madeitwithlove

Thanks so much for the zingy lemon conversion for the 12inch x4inch deep cake tin. I will try your suggestion of baking in 2 rounds which seems more sensible.

No I didn't recieve a phone call from Mitch but got an email from MItche's P.A. which I just read a little while ago and here is the 12inch recipe she gave me from Mitch which is the one used in the Cake School:

840g self raising flour
600g golden caster sugar
600g unsalted butter
12 (600g) whole egg
200ml whole milk
1tbsp vanilla bean paste
Zest of 8 lemons

The tin is 12inches round x 3inches deep. I can send the rest of the recipe if you'd like which just includes the method and the syrup recipe This is I imagine the one you found on the internet last night.

Anyhow the P.A. apologised for the issues wth the care and stated it was rare. I told her the name of the book and emailed her a scanned copy of the recipe I used a few days ago so that they will be able to see for themselves how misleading this recipe appears to be. I have included the updated in this answer which gives far fewer quantities that the one in my book; nor does it include plain flour like the one in my book. I queried this and asked that she ceck if this is correct. But frankly I have lost confidence it this recipe now and would hesitate to use it again. As I pointed out to the P.A. this was to be my son's 40th birthday cake and I now have to start all over again so the whole experience has been very disappointing to say the least. THanks again for your tireless efforts in helping me out. xx

P.S. When baking the 12inch zingy lemon cake in the 4inch deep tin do I cook the cake at the same temperature as the 9inch one featued on Good Food website?
.

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Hi bellescakes

Well at least now we know you hadn't done anything wrong!

I think the suggested temperature will be fine. Obviously it will take a longer than the given time because it is deeper. I can't tell you how much longer, the best thing to do is let it bake for the given time and then have a very quick look at it. Open the oven door slightly so as not to let too much heat escape, touch the top of the cake to feel how set it is. This will give you an instant indication to approximately how much longer it will take to bake through. Close the oven door gently but firmly, try not to cause a draft inside the oven. Then it's just a case of baby sitting until done.
Maderia cakes always has a dome or a slight crack as it comes near to completion. This is a good indicator that the centre is becoming set or is set. At this stage you can quickly check it for doneness. Use a wooden skewer because it gives a better indication of how wet the centre is. If the skewer comes out wet, bake on and check every five minutes until done. It might seem the cake is baking for ever, you will just have to trust your oven, eyes and nose, that's what I do!

If you have never baked this cake before, make a trial cake first as per my earlier suggestion. This is not a soft spongy cake, it is dense and firm ideal for stacking and cutting into finger size portions.

I'm so sorry that you have lost confidence with Mitch Turner's recipe. My hubby and I could have balanced it by using ratios but it is not our recipe to alter. I hope you have a better experience with Jane Hornby's recipe. xx

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Hi madeitwithlove

Thanks again for all your help. Yes I made a 9inch lemon zingy cake last year and it was gorgeous. But I did find I had to make two as the cakes were pretty shallow but sandwiched together the overall effect was great. I just don't have the heart to start this for a couple of days as I currently feel all caked out and clean out of steam! xx

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Hi Madeitwithlove

I am going to make the 12inch zingy lemon cake tomorrow and am going to freeze it for a week. I wondered if I should pour the lemon syrup over the cake before freezing or after defrosting just prior to decorating.

Thanks very much.

xx

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I would leave it until you defrost. I had a bad experience freezing cake with syrup so I don't do it anymore. The syrup crytalised and made horrible crunchy bits in the cake. Don't know if anyone else has ever experienced this but it really put me off.
Hope you feel less caked out and more rested now. Good luck with baking tomorrow. xx

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Hi there,

I have found this thread very useful.

Would you be able to suggest what the recipe for a 10inch zingy lemon cake would be please.

Many thanks and best wishes.

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Hi p.hewitt7

The recipe can be easily scaled up using the Cakeflix calculator. Here is the link for all the calculator. Just select the recipe re-calculator and enter the details for the original recipe and then for the recipe size you need.

Cake Calculators

If you have any problems at all , please post back. 🙂