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I unthinkingly followed a recipe for a type of chocolate cake where it said to dust the cake form with breadcrumbs after greasing. Unsurprisingly the toasted breadcrumbs were clearly visible on the outside of the cake after baking.

breadcrumbs on chocolate cake

This wasn't a big deal and the crumbs were easy enough to brush off anyway, but it got me thinking: when is it better to dust with breadcrumbs and when is it better to use flour?

For my chocolate cake, if I'd stopped to think, I would have used a flour/cocoa mixture. If I were making a delicate sponge most likely I would go for flour there too.

What about breadcrumbs though? Perhaps the batter is less likely to stick to the form if dusted with breadcrumbs? Or would you use breadcrumbs to add a little crunch to the cake's outer surfaces (can't say I noticed any crunch myself).

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    I've never heard of using breadcrumbs to line a cake form... – Catija Feb 21 '15 at 20:47
  • @Catija I didn't think of it, but it might be more common here in Sweden. – Chris Steinbach Feb 21 '15 at 20:52
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    Hmmm, I wonder if it's similar to using coarse ground cornmeal under bread to help it not stick? Pushing the batter away from the walls of the pan reduce the amount of sticking because there are bigger gaps between the pan and the batter. I'd guess the breadcrumbs are also less likely to absorb into the liquid of the batter than just flour would... I wonder if you could make cake breadcrumbs somehow so they'd be sweet instead of savory. – Catija Feb 21 '15 at 21:07
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    @Catija I found at least one recipe from an American cookbook (The New Best Recipe) the specified breadcrumbs: "Old-Fashioned Crumb Coffeecake". The name of the recipe itself suggests it might be for textural reasons. – Chris Steinbach Feb 21 '15 at 21:08
  • Can you link to the recipe? Most crumb coffeecakes just have crumbled topping to make it crunchy on top. – Catija Feb 21 '15 at 21:09
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i only have one recipe that calls for breadcrumbs, which is my hungarian torte (uses almond meal) and I use fine purchased breadcrumbs. I've never really noticed them but the cake does come out nicely. There's no issue from a flavour perspective as they're often used in sweet foods (like strudel) to absorb the moisture in the fillings. I would use flour unless the recipe called for breadcrumbs, but you only need a very light coating...shake around then tip out and tap well.

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Using breadcrumbs is not that unusual in the US, I found out especially in the Southern States. First issue to address is the breadcrumbs that we see on the chocolate cake. This is most likely due to the fact that the breadcrumbs were not processed fine enough. An example would be dried bread processed finely in a food processor or fine breadcrumbs purchased. Once the pan was greased, the breadcrumbs would be added, then twirled around all over the bottom and sides of the pan and the excess thrown out (I do this over my kitchen sink so there is no mess, no fuss). The breadcrumbs instead of flour are for bundt cakes, tubes, and fluted pans and especially for the intricate bundt/fluted cake pans that look like castles and special designs. You paint the inside of these pans with butter, put the breadcrumbs in, twirl around and when it bakes the appropriate time, you and invert the pan and it drop out like butter. This is wonderful for intricate pans especially since you don't have to patch it together. Now, was your chocolate cake a flourless one? If so, breadcrumbs were used to keep it flourless. Just a thought. Last idea, in the Southern US they make a Coffee Crumb Cake and use breadcrumbs instead of flour on the bundt cake pan. I found out that they do like crispy bottoms because it sort of goes with the crispy sweet crumb filling they have through out the cake (inside and out), which can also be made in a rectangle pan. I also found a reciepe for carrot cake using breadcrumbs instead flour for the pan lining. Delicious. Google Substitute breadcrumbs for flour for pan lining and Birthday Cake Recipes and Memories by Kathryn Kleinman and you will find a wealth of info on this subject. Good Luck and Enjoy

  • The photo is a close-up; the breadcrumbs were pretty fine. Even where the individual crumbs are too small to be discerned they still produce a light colored smudge. The color contrast is what I find problematic. – Chris Steinbach Feb 25 '15 at 20:24
  • Why would breadcrumbs be preferred over flour for bundt cakes? – Chris Steinbach Feb 25 '15 at 20:28
  • The cake was not flour-less in my case. It was a Kladdkaka. – Chris Steinbach Feb 25 '15 at 20:31
  • First, the problematic color of the individual crumbs on the cake could be the type of breadcrumbs they were and the fact that you just did not like it. I do not blame you, that is a personal preference and in my opinion the breadcrumbs were still not fine enough because they should have been like sand, again my opinion. s – user33210 Feb 26 '15 at 4:15
  • Next question is that when you use breadcrumbs for bundt cakes, due to the nooks, fine breadcrumbs get in and for whatever technical reason there is, maybe there's more texture than the flour, the cake just "drops" out of the bundt cake and supposedly out of all other intricate molds. If you look up why use breadcrumbs instead of flour for cake pans on google there are many answers but I feel that due to the texture of the bread it is still courser than flour so t your cake slips out easier. Lastly, flourless cake means just that, you don't want flour, so you substitute with something else. – user33210 Feb 26 '15 at 5:25

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