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 Post subject: Cake Baking Question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:14 pm 
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Hoards Peppermint Jo-Jos
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Location: New Yawk
I am baking my birthday cake this year, and I've so far done a few trial runs. I am making it gluten-free and vegan. My most recent attempt has a nice crumb, was quite soft. However, the crumb was very sticky*, the sides were sorta crusty and hard, and the flavor isn't totally perfect, more like the vanilla is an after thought even though the recipe uses 1 TBSP vanilla (I'm guessing to counteract some of the taste of the flours).

I was wondering in your experience with vegan baking, does this happen as well? I mean, the times I've had no problem with crustiness have been with recipes containing agave in place of sugar, or applesauce in place of oil. I also want to call attention the fact that the cake is oil based, from Gluten-Free Goddess' site. I recall some of my gluteny vegan cakes being similar, but not with as much of a crisp edge.

Do you know what I could be doing wrong?
Also, any tips on cutting the cake to make even layers? I can't get that down even though my serrated breadknife is much longer than the 6'' cake. Thanks!

*not gummy!


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 Post subject: Re: Cake Baking Question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:31 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Cake Baking Question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:47 pm 
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Never tried it myself, but I have heard you can use unflavored dental floss to make layers.


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 Post subject: Re: Cake Baking Question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:55 pm 
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Have you tried the vanilla gluten freedom recipe in VCTOTW? I've used it to make cakes instead of cupcakes and my omni family has loved it.

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 Post subject: Re: Cake Baking Question
PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:29 am 
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I'm not useful enough to have any advice re: the recipe you are using, but I can recommend this recipe: Sugar Mama's Gluten Free Vanilla Cake.

To be honest, my previous gluten-free baking escapades had been pretty disastrous, so I didn't have the highest of hopes, but the recipe above turned out *delicious* - very moist, but not spongy and it held together perfectly without any crusty/hard sides. Enjoyed by gluten-loving omnis and gluten-dodging vegans alike! I saw it with my own eyes :p

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 Post subject: Re: Cake Baking Question
PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:26 pm 
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Hoards Peppermint Jo-Jos
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Actually, that's the next one on my list to try out... Do you think I can sub something for the coconut flour? We just spent alot on rebuilding our stock of flours after the blackout and I could buy it but wondered if there's some way around buying something new.

I want to try the gluten freedom cupcake from VCTOTW but I really dislike the taste of quinoa flour, and almonds/almond flour are quite expensive. I may just have to bite the bullet with that one, though, seeing as it comes so highly recommended. Thanks for the reminder~


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 Post subject: Re: Cake Baking Question
PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:48 pm 
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Smitten Kitchen isn't vegan, but this post

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/03/layer-cake-tips-the-biggest-birthday-cake-yet/

includes Deb's "10 Tips for Better Layer Cakes", which can successfully applied to vegan cakes, too. (She talks about leveling & baking even layers.)


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 Post subject: Re: Cake Baking Question
PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:25 pm 
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Hoards Peppermint Jo-Jos
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Location: New Yawk
That last post made no sense. I meant after Sandy, my flours in my freezer weren't sealed properly and thus were exposed to lots of funky stuff that went rotting in the freezer. Just in case you were wondering why I said blackout.

And OOH Yes! That link was so helpful. Exactly what I was looking for as far as cake decorating goes. Thank you for linking me to that!


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 Post subject: Re: Cake Baking Question
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:55 am 
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To cut layers, poke toothpicks in around the outside, lying horizontally (parallel with the table or the top). Then use that as a guide as you use your serrated knife or dental floss across to cut it.

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 Post subject: Re: Cake Baking Question
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:58 am 
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I'm having a flashback! viewtopic.php?f=18&t=18308

Flavor and texture-wise: What type of cake is this? I'm assuming vanilla/white, but you don't tell us what flavor you're shooting for!
What sugar/s, flour/s, fat/s, liquids, and binders are you using? What are the alkaline and acidic ingredients and how are they balanced? Without knowing the specific recipe it's pretty much impossible to give you advice about flavor.

Hard crusts: Those hard crusts can form from improper balance of sugar and protein, perhaps improper pH of the batter. Often too much sugar, especially when the crumb is as you describe. There's also over baking, baking at the wrong temperature/for the wrong amount of time for the particular type of pan you're using, or combination of those things. So knowing the recipe helps here too. Baking strips can help, but only to a degree if the problem is with the formula.

As for the trimming and torting (splitting the layers): It helps if the cake is partially frozen. Wrap in plastic wrap after cooled completely, freeze over night, thaw for at least 30 min, dip your knife in hot water. Score a line around the middle of the cake layer, or mark it out with toothpicks placed at regular intervals as guideposts for levelness and middleness. You can even use a ruler to measure up to the middle rather than eyeball it. If you have a rotating platform of any kind, this is what I do.

That said, the waxed, unflavored dental floss trick really does work (as does thread or a very very thing guitar wire). If you're willing to make an investment (we're talking over $100) the best leveler, bar none, is Agbay. If you sell a few cakes at some point in your life, you'll easily recover the cost. Don't bother with the other cake levelers, you're better off using floss.


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 Post subject: Re: Cake Baking Question
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:49 am 
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Hoards Peppermint Jo-Jos
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Location: New Yawk
Gwen, thank you! I know I mention this all the time, partly because of the lack of vegan, gluten free CAKE recipes out there. Everyone loves them some cupcakes, but the cake is so painful to achieve that it gets no love. I guess it isn't always as direct as just scaling up the recipe, either, so as a novice, I don't really know what else to do.

So the cake I am using right now is this one from Gluten-Free Goddess, originally a cupcake recipe. The batter itself tasted phenomenal, which made me feel like the cake was headed in the right direction, and it was. The problem is that the taste is still a little off or isn't delicate enough. I don't know if it's because it's gluten free that this is a problem, but sorghum flour definitely doesn't have the worst flavor of the gluten free flours I've tried, so I don't chalk it up to that.

Thank you for the other tips as well


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