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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

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Hi Everyone

This recipe is similar the same one I have used for years (courtesy of Planet Cake Australia) and my first attempts at this cake resulted in the sinking crusting problem also. Some of the solutions I now use have been to mix the sugar (we only have fine white caster sugar in Australia) in with the chocolate and butter mixture, I also use a kitchen aid mixer for the final mixing rather than mix it by hand, and lastly I fill in 8" and 6" tins that have been lined with parchment (Gladbake) folded in half then folded again one inch from bottom edge and cut every 1/2 inch at an angle to folded edge for sides which allows the sides to lay flat on the bottom which is then covered by a circle. The sides need to extend at least two inches above pan. I then fill the pans 3/4 full so that when the cake rises and falls slightly it can be leveled to at least 3" for decorating. I also recently bought the Wilton baking strips and these (despite my sceptism) work brilliantly in keeping the cake more even. I hope these suggestions help.

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HI all, I am new to Paul's site, can you please tell me where I can find the chocolate receipe that you say is posted. Thanks

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Hi norfolk

The recipe is in the free/beginners section, click on the tab which say online courses then select the free/beginners section from the drop down menu and click. It will take you straight to the recipe.

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Hi Madeitwithlove

Many thanks for your help, I have located it from your instructions, I will give it a go.

Fingers crossed.

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It must be beginners luck, but I have just baked Paul's moist chocolate cake. I used a conversion chart to scale it down to an 8inch round cake, but so far so good. They are just about to come out the oven and they look perfect. 🙂 just hope they taste as good as they look. Xx

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Well done you!! let us know how they taste. You sound so excited, bet they'll be yummy.

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Hi bakers!
I’ve baked this recipe probable 10 times now and have experimented with all sorts of things. Different size cakes, played with the oven temperature (bought an oven thermometer), etc and I thought with everything I’ve learned I need to ask you what else I can do?

I have a fan oven and my first cake at 150 C was rock hard and burned after 2 hours (Should have read the instructions for a Fan oven!!). Then I’ve tried it again at 130 C and it was moist inside, but rock hard on top. I’ve decided to reduce the temperature even more to 125 C and increase the time to 2.5h and it seemed to be the same – moist inside but rock hard on top.

Now almost everyone who baked it mentioned that the top is like elephant skin. Mine is really hard, not at all like Paul’s and if you look at Paul video he touch the cake and it bounce back. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong.

Any advice?

I have one other questions as well – how deep is your baked cake if you follow Paul’s instructions using a 10” and 6” round tin? Mine is only about 2.5” deep and I thought looking at Paul’s it should be at least 3”

I’m really looking forward to any feedback 😉
Cx

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Hi there, I love this chocolate cake recipe but I always have a problem of sinking in the middle. Some people have suggested that the sugar content is too high and that is what makes the cake sink and make the top look like elephant skin. So the last time I baked, instead of using 600gm of sugar I reduced it to 450gms. The cake turned out perfect, no crusty top and no sinking. I think next time I try I will add an extra 50gms of sugar and see what happens. This was for a 10x8 cake. Hope this helps x

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Hi Ultimate cakeart

Reducing the temperature will not allow the cake to rise. The levening works on the temperature of the oven and if that's too low it won't do it's job. On second time of baking I actually raised the temperature to 135c fan to see whether I had different results from the 130c fan. It was minimal and the cake still came out good. I also tried at 140 but that really was a disaster in my oven which has a mind of it's own! My cakes for this recipe finish just over 2.5 inches tall. By the time I've sliced through and filled, it is 3 inches, that to me is a perfectly acceptable size. I have other similar recipes which present same characteristics because of the high sugar content. You could try adding a whisked egg white into the mixture which would give it a little more density. I'm sure you've done all the right things, however, if you read through the comments you'll see some members thought they had followed the recipe only to find something was a miss, and on correcting had a more successful bake. One time, would you believe, I left out all of the sugar!! I've learned a lot from the many comments, each person who has contributed has something new to add which is so helpful The latest addition is from Michelle Jones, as you can see from her comments, her bake has been good with some tweeking. Unfortunately not all recipes will work for each person for all different reasons.

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Thank you for the feedback madeitwithlove! and thank you Michelle!!!
I will definitely try the recipe with less sugar and let you know how I got on 😉

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Will look forward to your feed back, I hope you have a more successful outcome!

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I've made this cake about 6 times in a row in various sized tins and every time it comes out fine.

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Hi dannymarell

Thanks for your feed back. Did you follow the recipe as it is or did you modify it in any way and do you bake in a
fan oven or conventional? x

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Is it possible to make this cake with white chocolate and if Yes what do you use instead of Rowntrees Cocoa Powder as don't think you can get this in white

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I baked Paul's cake for the first time yesterday. I needed an 8" round and 3" deep. I baked the ingredients MIWL put on here for a 9" round and slightly reduced the sugar and baked in an 8 x 4" deep tin hoping I would get the 3".
The cake turned out really well but had a crust on top which I cut off and unfortunately this made the cake 2.5 deep. Really loved eating the cut offs lol x.
Anyone know how to get a 3" deep cake as I really struggle to get this depth

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Hi kathrobinson1

I've never tried this recipe with white chocolate, personally I don't think it would work because white chocolate has a lot of fat in it and barely any cocoa solids. If you want to try, use the same amount in flour as substitute for the cocoa powder. I've tried lots of white choco mud recipes, for me they don't taste very good and end up heavy and pudding like with a very sweet sugary taste. I am going to try this recipe http://www.bestrecipes.com.au/recipe/white-chocolate-mud-cake-L632.html, perhaps you might like to try it too.
It's better to make a small one first in case of disappointment. The ingredient measures are a bit of a mish mash
it uses both grams and cups (unbelievable!!), I'm just going to go with it, might be worth it, you never know.

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Hi jb1958

You did really well with your first attempt! That's the size my cake comes out after trimming. Once filled and decorated it's about three inches and looks good. You could tweek the recipe by increasing each flour by 15g and add an extra egg. I can't definitely say that it would increase the height of your cake. If you need a taller cake, the long shelf life recipe here http://www.cakeflix.com/blog/how-to-make-chocolate-mud-cake comes out about 4" but on cooling shrinks down to 3". You'll be able to see from the blog picture the height of the cake before ganache. x

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I tried this recipe yesterday following the instructions, after 1.5 hours I looked through the window and saw two beautiful cakes both around an inch higher than the tin edges, 30 mins later the bell went and I opened the dor to a 2.5 inch flat 10 inch round and a 6 inch that looked like a tiny volcano 🙁 it was so promising... I'll try again reducing the temp to 130-135 and hope for better results.

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It's possible that you have baked your cakes on too high temperature. If your oven is fan assisted the temp should be reduced by approx 10-20 degrees. Sounds like the temp might have been too high, I hope our next try is more successful, good luck Tamaramattar, would be lovely to get your feed back. x

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I just wanted to say that I followed Paul's instructions the the letter and my cakes came out perfectly with no sinking etc. Of course you have to remember when following any recip that no two ovens are the same. The family loved it and were happy I made a tester ahead of time and are looking forward to the actual cakes I have to decorate next week for our two family birthdays!

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