Friday, January 6, 2012

My RHC Devil's Food Cake Ended in Disaster

I made this cake for the first time during New Year's Eve and noticed that this cake was a little on the tender side (also acknowledged by Rose Levy Beranbaum in the errata section of her blog). In fact, one of the cakes practically crumbled into pieces as I was re-inverting it after un-molding. It was that tender. Another problem I encountered while making DFC was of the cakes sticking at the bottom of the pans even after properly preparing them with parchment and baker's spray with flour. Good thing I was able to scrape off some of the pieces and place them back on top of the cake. The sticking problem led me to wonder if my Baking Spray was the problem. I didn't use Baker's Joy which I believe is made up of shortening and flour. Instead, I used Spectrum Baking Spray which is made of high heat canola oil plus flour. Maybe the magic ingredient is shortening? Sigh...It's so frustrating to not have Baker's Joy here. I had intended to use Wilton Cake release or Wilton baking spray but our local store that carries Wilton products were out of these.

I made this cake again this afternoon. I followed the recipe to the Tee -- from the timing of the mixing down to the temperature of the ingredients. The only thing I did differently was that I added a little more flour to the pans after spraying them with Spectrum. The cakes rose beautifully and baked within the given timeframe stated in the recipe, so I thought this time, the cakes would be much better than before. Well, I was wrong. After I un-molded the cakes, more cake pieces were left clinging to the pan and they were really crumbly and tender and at the same time really, really dry like saw dust! I wonder what could be causing this? Others who I have seen bake Rose's DFC seem to have better luck making these cakes.

So now I know that my baking spray is faulty but what could be causing the overt tenderness and dryness of the cakes? I'm starting to think that it could be because of the kind of Muscovado sugar I used. When I went to the supermarket there were a lot of brands of Muscovado sugar and I ended up getting a different brand from what I normally use to bake with. I still have some MS left from the normal brand I buy so I compared the two and the two sugars are indeed so different. The one I used for DFC was so dry that it feels like sand and the grains are really loose. The old brand however feels moist and would clump up when you press a small amount with your fingers. A-ha!

So now that I have somewhat discovered what could possibly be making these cakes flop, I'm going to bake these again to see if my hunches are right. This time I'm going to use a different brand of muscovado and I WON'T spray the cake pans with baking spray after lining the bottom with parchment. I've always found it very easy to un-mold my butter cakes if I just brush shortening and line the bottom and sides of the pans with parchment so that's what I'm gonna do next time. Might as well stick to what works for me and not to what works for RLB :)

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear that. I read about the issues some of the Heavenly Cake Bakers had with this cake, even with the alternative method provided by Rose to make it less crumbly, so I came up with "my own way" which worked great for me. You can find my changes (and the WHYs behind them) here: If you follow it, let me know how it turned out for you :o)