Monday, April 12, 2021

vanilla cake: a new attempt

After what I saw as the failure of my rum cake, I decided to try making a simple vanilla Bundt cake.  I found a recipe online (and had to make my own buttermilk along the way) and baked the cake.  At the recommended baking time, the cake was still way too soft on top, so I reduced the temperature and baked the cake another ten minutes, turning on the oven's top burners during the final two minutes of baking.  A wooden skewer poked into the cake came out clean, so I took the cake out and let it cool.  When the time came to release the cake from its Bundt pan, the release went perfectly.  Alas, the cake's exterior (excepting the very bottom) was as disappointingly dark as before, but this was one reason why I chose to make a simple vanilla cake:  I wanted to see what differences or similarities there might be with the rum cake.  The cake is still cooling as I write this, so I can't apply the chocolate icing until the morning.  More photos to follow, of both the iced cake and a cross section once I serve the cake at work.  

Stay thou tunèd.  Meanwhile, here are pictures.  We start with a wide shot:

And now a food-porn shot:

Wide shot (note the suntanning):

Food-porn shot:

Maybe the cake will look better after a chocolate drizzle.  We'll see.  I'm thinking that the solution might be to adjust the temperature downward by 10-15% and increase the baking time by 10-15%.  I'll need to look into the relationship between baking times and baking temperatures.  I doubt the relationship is as simple as I've described it.  After all, recipes give their particular times and temps for a reason.


Charles said...

Probably a bit late for this comment, but in my experience if a toothpick or skewer comes out perfectly clean, the cake is probably overcooked, as it will continue to cook after it comes out of the oven. You obviously don't want uncooked batter, but moist crumbs sticking to the toothpick are a good sign. Again, though, just my experience. YMMV.

On the temperature front, if you're using a recipe you found online, the temperature may end up being too hot for your smaller oven; those temps are for larger, "normal" convection ovens that don't have red-hot heating elements. You may indeed have to lower the temperature for Bundt cakes, especially if the pan ends up taking most of the oven's vertical space..

Kevin Kim said...

I'm thinking of dropping from 350 degrees/50 minutes to 300 degrees/70 minutes. I'll let you know what happens whenever I next make a cake.

As for the toothpick/skewer thing: it worked fine for the chocolate cake, but this vanilla cake was a totally different recipe.

Charles said...

I was very confused for a moment until I realized that you must be using Fahrenheit temps. I would say maybe try 160 C, which would be about 320 F. I don't have my cake recipes on hand right now, but I'll check when I get home a little later and see what temp I use. 180 C doesn't seem too high, but then again I don't bake in a Bundt pan, which is much taller than your usual cake pan.