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Recently I tried to bake a cake in a silicone tube pan. I evenly distributed pastry over the bottom of the pan and put into the oven.

While the cake was baking pastry expanded and started to fall over the inner edge of the tube, but not over the outer edge.

What have I missed? Does pastry expand unevenly or what? How do I distribute pastry inside the pan so it raises evenly?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'm going to take a wild guess at what's happening, based on what I know of thermodynamics, (but I could be wrong about the whole thing)

When a cakes and bread bakes, it bakes from the outside ... as it forms a crust, it can no longer rise. (for yeast breads, this is why we slash the top, so it can get a little extra rise out of it)

With a cake, as the sides set, it'll continue to rise in the middle, creating a domed top. With a metal tube pan, the heat from the outside of the pan conducts to the middle of the pan, so the middle will set shortly after the outside.

...

With the silicone pan, you've actually got an insulator ... the heat's not going to conduct to the inside, so it's going to be able to rise longer than around the inside -- basically, the domed cake, but you've got something for it to stick to, so it doesn't fall back down as it sets.

As I don't think the issue is distribution of the batter, I'd recommend trying other techniques to reduce the domedness of the cake -- cook it at a lower temperature (try 25F / 15C lower) for a longer time. You can't remove the problem entirely, but you might be able to reduce it.

I'd also look at the instructions that might've come with the pan -- it's possible that they have reommendations on how to deal with the problem. (and it's possible that this might not be as significant a problem in convection ovens, but replacing your whole oven for a set of pans is kinda silly)

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Sounds plausible, but then it would make sense to push the dough to the outside of the pan as much as possible, right? –  iwein Dec 12 '10 at 13:34
    
@iwein : if you want a looks-even-but-really-isn't cake, as the density's going to vary from the inner and outer edge, along with if it's over/undercooked. If you want an actually evenly cooked cake, I'd go with the lower temp, longer time approach. –  Joe Dec 12 '10 at 14:41

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