Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

55
asked July 17th 2012

‘Paul’s moist chocolate cake’ My feed back

Recently Paul posted his chocolate cake recipe for us all to try. Many members have had various difficulties baking it up. The most predominant 'failing' is that the cake sinks in the middle. We've all at some point answered with feed back and suggestions as to why this may be happening, sooo with great trepidation I baked 'The Cake' this morning. My cake was scaled down to 8" square, using my hubby's conversion chart, which is posted on the site under 'ingrediants' (spelled this way to find in search). I baked in a dark heavy duty tin, greased and floured fairly generously then lined with parchment paper, exactly as shown on the cake tutorial. I have a fan assisted oven which I set at 135c. Once the mixture was in the tin I reduced the heat to 130c and baked for a complete two hours.  After an hour, through the oven glass door, I could see that the cake had risen but, had also become wrinkly, like elephant skin,towards the middle. I realised this was the prelude to the 'sink'! However, I just continued baking for a further hour, then opened the oven part way to check the cake for doneness, which it was, thoroughly. The cake had sunk slightly, and formed a hard crust only around the outer rim which resembled ginger snap biscuits. After the cake had cooled completely I turned it out,  to find a beautiful deep, moist cake with no hint of the dip present on the other side. This evening at 10.30 we cut the cake 'proof of the pudding' style and have enjoyed a very pleasant dessert. Prior to turning the cake out,and quite soon after removing it from the oven, I prematurely posted under 'Paul's chocolate cake, timing' (in search), that I had doubts whether this cake would hold up to carving and stacking. Having cut, inspected for structure and sampled it, I can conclude that it definitely will to both.

I hope this feed back will help members who may want to attempt baking the cake again. Finally, Jayess has posted many times to try and solve the concundrum of 'the chocolate cake sinking in the middle'. She has raised a salient point about the amount of sugar used in the recipe which may, or may not be a contributory factor to some of the problems experienced, although on tasting, sweetness is not excessive, and baking science is some thing I understand not! Happy baking folks x

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I think I bought it about 4 years ago, well actually I bought as a Christmas present for someone but after I had a look through it I decided to keep it - so glad I did.  There are a lot of great recipes, two of which I use all the time - well three now that I've tried the madeira - the quick fruit cake and the carrot cake.  Are you doing Paul's bowling cake ?

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I'll have to try and get that book. I've already done the bowling cake back in April for our opening of the Green, but I did mine in a rectangle for easier cutting. First day back for our outdoor bowling attracts a lot of people so I bake very large cakes to satisfy everyone's appetite. It's just such a shame the recipe hadn't been posted then. I also didn't decorate mine exactly like Paul's but I did use many of the elements from various tutorials like the daffodils, flowerpots and trees, plus the trophy. I made bowlers bowling rather than a podium. Unfortunately because of my demonic oven the cake was slightly listing and I hadn't noticed. On settling one side had dipped, luckily no one else noticed.I can't post anything because I don't do facebook, but I did send a picture to David Brice. I've also done the handbag, basque, tradition Christmas cake,round bow cake, the golfing scene and lots of the smaller tutorials. I'm very slow, the tutorials suit me down to the ground, it's so easy being able to go back and forth until I get it right. My little great niece loves the tutorials, she's only seven but is passionate about learning and picks it all up so quickly. Perhaps a testament to how good the tutorials are. We'll be attempting the teddy while she's here, also the Irish Wolf Hounds from the Loch Ness tutorial for her 8th birthday at the end of August.

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hi, i just joined and watched the chocolate cake video, on the ingredients list the 75gr of cocoa pwder is not listed, but im sure you all noted that already.  Cant wait

to try it out.

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I've baked this cake and can't wait to carve it and make a handbag with it. Do I need to cut off the crispy top or will it soften slightly with the ganache?

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Hi surfybeachbabe

I took the crust layer off before carving but, you could just wrap it up overnight in clingfilm and see how it looks in the morning. I didn't hang around to see if it softens, the crust got devoured in seconds! This cake comes with a warning, bake it once and you'll be addicted!!!! Good luck with the handbag.

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Tried this chocolate cake too and it is really really lovely, one of the best to date. If I am pushed tho I too have resorted to wrights cake mixes and their choc fudge is extremely nice too. I make a few and freeze them which I find helps with the moistness. Well worth buying and the carrot cake is gorgeous too.

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Hi Marie67

Thanks for your feed back, its much appreciated. The Wright's mixes are good, I've only tried the Madeira at a push for tea time cakes. I'm pleased the info which I posted for the mixes has been of use to many members, it is definitely a less expensive option if you want a quick cake. I'm too frightened to try the other flavours incase I waste the ingredients, not much success with mixes, I always cremate them!

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I've just tried the toffee one, and it was lovely, I've now ordered the Madeira one. I will use them for making a quick batch of cupcakes.

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Back in June I posted a topic "Chocolate Cake with Extended Life" where I referred to a Chocolate Mud recipe which had the virtue of a shelf life of around 4-5 weeks. Paul wanted to know more and I forwarded the recipe to see what he thought and whether he thought it worth publishing for all. I've heard nothing more - however, my recipe has none of the problems mentioned here, it's only shortcoming being the hard sugary crust on top it sometimes produces. By reducing the sugar content of the recipe, lowering the oven temperature (with extending baking time) and covering the top of the cake with foil mask halfway through the baking time has virtually eliminated the problem Perhaps this procedure would work on other recipes. Worth trying? 🙂

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Hi headrabbit

I'd love to try your recipe. Is it one which you have formulated yourself? What do you suggest? I've reduced the sugar in Paul's recipe mainly for taste reason and have never really encountered too many problems with it as it stands. The crust doesn't bother me, I just lobe it off. Have you tried the Jane Hornby chocolate wedding cake recipe? very similar to Paul's, no crusting probs with it. Mud cake recipes made just with coco powder also do not crust or sink but, I'm not impressed with taste. What do I know! I'm just a lowley home baker. Love your cake pics bthw, would like to pick your brains sometime on printers.

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Madeitwithlove - contact me via email address on cake slide show www.pinkrabbits.org.uk/cakes and I will forward recipe.

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I had a go with Paul's moist choc cake recently. My problem was that the cake was crumbly when i cut it. it didn't seem to hold it's shape. I followed every single step. does anyone know why it happened? please help.
thank you.

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Hi Jenny V

Crumbly cake is usually as a result of being baked at too high temperature, but you have said you followed the recipe to the letter. Is your oven fan assisted or normal? If it is fan assisted the recipe temperature in the tutorial would be too high, you'd need to reduce it by about 20 degrees depending on the manufacturer's recommendations. If that is not the case, what size eggs did you use? If the eggs were medium (recipe uses large), it would mean you didn't have enough liquid in your batter making the cake dry and prone to crumbling. On the other hand too many eggs can also make for a dry crumbly cake. Eggs act as a binding agent in batter, so too many would over bind the cake making it more dense than is required for this recipe. If non of these suggestions apply, could your oven be off calibration and perhaps baking a little hotter than you feel? Other reasons might be trying to remove the cake from the tin while it is still a little too warm, but I don't think that's what is happening here??? I've baked up this recipe a few times now without any serious problems. I bake at 135 fan assisted, but that's my oven. I also grease and flour dust the tin and double line with parchment paper (extra thickness). I don't lag the tin on the outside, however, i know other members have mentioned that they do. I hope some of my suggestions are of help and I would love to know if you finally succeed with the recipe. x

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Thank you madeitwithlove..I am planning to have another go this weekend and I will share how did it go... I have noted your advice.

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MIchellejones,
I'm hoping to try out paul recipe this weeeknd in a 10x8 tin for the teddy cake. Just wondering what quantity of the mix you used and how long you baked it for?
Thanks!

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I also tried Lindy Smith's chocolate cake and it also turned out very dry.

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Hi guys,
I've tried this recipe yesterday. I followed the exact recipe from Paul and the recipe makes 2, 20cm round cakes.
I took everyone's advice & turned my oven down to 130 degrees as my oven is a fan oven for 2 hours and didn't open the oven door.. Both cakes turned out great, no sinking. There was a crust on the top layer and the top did wrinkle up but this was easily cut off. Very tasty moist cake, I'm going to try this again next week once my new rectangular tin turns up and trial this for the teddy bear cake.

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Hi Meeraben

So pleased your cakes turned out good, and thank you for the feed back. Happy baking!

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Thanks MIWL,

The first time I tried this it worked a treat but haven't been able to replicate since. Thinking back I 'm pretty sure I put in less buttermilk that required so going to try it again with less tonight and see how I get on. Had the same probs as many others with the edges crisp and the centre sunk and wrinkly. When I cut it it was stodgy although knife did come out clean. Still, wasn't good for eating or carving. Perplexed! First time was in a friends oven so that may have something to do with it but have been using a thermomenter in mine so pretty sure it is at 150 (large monster of a gas oven, non fan). Hope it's not the oven cuz I'm renting the house so can't change it.

I'll let you know how I get on. Need to make a 10x8 for a teddy cake tonight and then making a scaled down 10x10 cake for a pirate cake too.

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Hi Justine

Did you make the last one for a 10 x 8 or did you use the whole recipe? Weird how a lot of people say they don't have the same result twice. In the blog http://www.cakeflix.com/blog/baking-the-perfect-cake-why-things-go-wrong you', see my suggestion to member Audes that a whipped egg white in the batter sometimes helps to stabilise the mix. Have a quick look at her response, it might be useful. I really hope it isn't your oven, I have a demon too, mine likes baking wonky cakes! x