fbpx

Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

56
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

2

Finally! Success. Baked 2 moist choc cakes this evening and they both rose beautifully high and flat on top. Figured out what the problem was. I had been using meduim sized eggs instead of large ones. Thanks so much MIWL for the 10x8 recipe - was spot on. These were my 4th and 5th attempts at this cake so v glad it worked as was gonna give up trying. Anyone who is still having difficulty with this recipe - check your egg weights - it might just be the cause of the sinking elephant skin problem we were all having! 🙂

0

Thanks Justine for your fantastic feed back! did you check out the blog? x

0

Going to have a go at this cake next week.
Just a couple of questions

A few people have said they reduce the sugar. How much would you reduce it by and do you replace it with anything else.

Also people talk about checking the weight of eggs. How much should they weigh?

Fingers crossed its turns out good as for some reason i seem to struggle with chocolate cakes.

0

Hi jb1958

I've experimented with sugar reduction for this recipe and reduced by 20% without it affecting the texture or taste. I still had some crusting, but it was slightly softer than when I had baked it with the full amount of sugar.
Some recipes can tolerate reduction of sugar by up to half. This recipe uses large eggs which should weigh between 63-75 gm in their shells. Eggs 75 gm and over are considered extra large. If you have a look at this blog http://www.cakeflix.com/blog/baking-the-perfect-cake-why-things-go-wrong there is information in the comments which might also be useful. If you are going to experiment, it would be best done with a smaller cake first, I find an 8" is a reasonable size. I'm no expert at baking anything, but I do like tinkering, for me it's the best way to find out things, however, ingredients are expensive so I don't do it as often as I'd like to. G'd luck with the cake. x

0

Hi MIWL,

Yep, I had a look at the blog alright. it didn't mention the eggs though being the possible cause of the sinkage. It was your 10x8 recipe above where it says large eggs that caught my eye last night and the penny dropped. Handy for others actually, for this size (for teddy bear cake) you need 5 large eggs - this is the same as 6 medium eggs. That's what I used last night and it worked for me.

I had a mix of medium eggs and multi sized eggs from my local market to make the 10x10 cake so I figured that 6 large eggs was approx 408g, give or take, so picked out 6 eggs that together weighed I think 402g it was and this worked fine. I was so chuffed whan at 1.30am last night I opened the oven to find a lovely tall flat topped cake! Went to sleep with a big grin 😉

0

Hi Justine

Thanks for this feed back too. It will be useful for anyone else attempting the recipe. As you can see, jb1958 will be attempting the cake soon and this will obviously be of great help. I did mention in the blog that a whisked egg white can sometimes help to add more structure. I'm so very pleased for your result, happy baking and enjoy the fruits of your labour. x

0

The answer to my question has probably already been answered but I haven't found it yet, which is - what is the shelf life/keeping qualities of this recipe please? In particular, not refrigerated/frozen after being iced and decorated.

0

Hello headrabbit

Cake never hangs around long enough to find out exactly how long it will keep, however, i remember some where David saying the cakes from the site are given a 5 day shelf life recommendation. I'm sure this will have longer but have to try it out to be sure.

0

Hi everyone, I'm not new to home baking but am new to this level of expertise/size of cake/sugarcraft etc. I had a go at a single tier of the Graduation cake. I made this cake in a 10" square tin with the quantities as listed. I have a combination fan oven but used the hot air/fan only option at the recommended 150 degrees and placed the cake with the top of the tin level with the middle. I used asda dark chocolate and mostly white caster sugar (prob around 600g) as I couldn't get the golden to make up to the full amount the day I shopped. My cake definitely didn't sink, in fact it had a little platform where it had risen more in the middle but wasn't domed. It didn't rise that much overall but I was weak willed about the beating with the hand whisk (I'm a musician, my hands are precious!) and maybe only managed another 2 minutes after it all came together. That was Friday. I froze my cake until Wednesday eve, defrosted in the fridge overnight and did need to remove that little platform (but placed that end downwards) so it would sit flat. I did a bit of trimming from the sides as I felt it was a little too crusty, mostly on the sharpest edges but it definitely wasn't burnt and was evenly cooked throughout otherwise. The bottom of the cake was perfect. It was useful to use the cake cold for the ganache to set speedily so I didn't get a real idea about the cake til I devoured the offcut at room temperature the following day (Friday again!) when the crustier parts were much much softer and the general texture fudgily dense but light. I did use a really good quality tin - Judge - so my next use of this cake recipe will feature my electric whisk (or perhaps my husband's strong arm?) and reduced time. In all honesty, I would normally reduce the time by around 10-15%, so around 15mins in this case. I've found reducing the temperature doesn't work for me unless I have a cake that is still very middle-molten after the allotted time is up but I generally use the hot air option for most cake baking.

0

I tried baking pauls cake using the converter for a 6" cake. I was devastated that it sunk in the middle. I'm wondering if I didn't manage to get enough air into it. Does anyone use an electric whisk or is a wooden spoon ok? It tasted fabulous, but looked awful. I did use a heavy duty tin and I have a fan oven and alwys use an oven thermometer.

0

Hi Heather

The recipe can be difficult sometimes but not because you've done something wrong. The converter is correct so there has to be another reason. The batter doesn't need whisking or beating as in creaming in method. If you want to use an electric mix, use the slowest setting and mix for two or three minutes until just combined as in a muffin mix. Just like to draw your attention to the eggs which should be large. Insufficient eggs will not allow the batter to set during baking. I increased the temp and baked at 135c fan on my second bake, although my first attempt was just as good as you can read from my initial feed back. Don't give up, g'd luck. x

0

Hi all,
Bit of a disaster today, first time to make choc cake, sort of followed recipe to the letter ( Havn't got proper size round tins, so used 6inch square and 8inch square) rest of instructions to the letter, I thought. I took out the cake, left on side in tins as suggested by Paul, to cool down, and looked on line at this blog to see what problems other people had and see if i could assist, feeling very smug I must add.. Then I noticed eggs needed to be large, I used medium! I thought at the time, that my mixture didn't look quite the same, not as runny, so I thought I had better check out my cooling cakes, whoops, the top resembled a cracked egg which had caved in, deflated, I chipped away at it, hubby loving the crusty bits, I am dieting so didn't even get the satisfaction of trying it, it does feel very moist underneath and wondering if I can salvage it... Thinking of going straight to a taste test, well hubby anyway or practice covering it, Granache in fridge, help.

0

Hi Karenmarie

Quite a few other people have made the same mistake with the egg size so you're in good company. The cake doesn't have to be wasted, you can make cake pops (delish!, I'm greedy), just crumble it up. It should be moist enough to roll up into balls without additional ganache to hold it together, but you can add a little ganache just to make sure. Once you have the balls dip a lolly stick into melted chocolate and secure it into the ball, then dip again in either ganache or melted chocolate to cover completely and leave to set. The pops can be frozen for a couple of months.This is a really lovely moist cake and worth making again. Have a look at Justine's feedback at the top of this page and other members comments on this blog http://www.cakeflix.com/blog/baking-the-perfect-cake-why-things-go-wrong. Try it again, it'll be fine, and you have a piece of it, never mind the diet just enjoy! And the cake tin size converter is here http://www.cakeflix.com/blog/how-to-work-out-what-size-cake-tin-to-use. G'd luck with it x

0

Oh thank you madeitwithlove, I cut off the top of the cake, and it looked great inside, I used it to practice ganache on, which for first time I was impressed with myself, but definitely need more practice before I move onto decorating..will be starting Paul's course on 16th, excited.. I took the cake into work today and it was devoured, so I did something right, they said it wasn't dry at all and it tasted like fudge cake, but not as heavy. I still have the 6inch in the freezer so that is my next project, ganache and fondant, we will see, will update when done. Thanks again x

0

Hello Everyone,

I made Paul's cake last week and it was great. I did not have any buttermilk but found out that when you put lemon juice in milk and leave for 10 mins it is a good substitute. Other than that I copied the recipe to the letter and turned out nice deep flat cakes a little crusty on top but even that was like eating chewy chocolate brownies/cookies.

The cake is a chocoholics dream...we all had heartburn from tasting it whilst still warm...however, worth it xx I have an 8 and a half inch in the freezer and a 6" dome. We ate the 6" round one with fresh cream ! Well we had to taste it after all this hype....lol

0

Two more satisfied customers then? Well that's good!

0

Hi Susan

I've been looking for answers to scale down Paul's chocolate cake to a 6" cake when I came across your question about Lindy Smith's chocolate cake. I have made Lindy's cake once for my neice's birthday and sampled the cutt off's which I found a little dry but this could be down to the chocolate being dark and a high percentage of cocoa. I'm dying to make paul's cake but being a mother of two I don't always have the time but I'm looking forward to the results.

0

Hi Lindsay, goodness, that was a long time ago! I still haven't tried Lindy's recipe yet as the ones I have are perfect - Paul's and Jane's. I do believe that Lindy has 2 recipes though, a chocolate cake - which I think is the one that most people say is dry - and a rich chocolate fudge cake.

0

Hi Susan

I don't normally post feedback on web sites (to explain the gap in time!) and I'm new to Paul's school as I only just signed up at NEC bake show but I have been a fan of Lindy Smith for a while and thought I should say something.

Happy Baking

0

Hi Lindsay, I am a big fan of Lindy's work too. If I remember correctly I think Paul recommended her "bible" when I attended one of his courses - which was brilliant - last year. I always refer to this book.

I would loved to have gone to the show but unfortunately it coincided with my granddaughter's - who lives in Whitstable - 1st birthday and travelling down from Scotland took up all the weekend!!

Well, keep on baking!!

7 Day FREE Trial