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I've tried making Baked's Ultra Lemony Lemon Bundt Cake four times (recipe here: http://bakedsundaymornings.com/2015/04/27/in-the-oven-ultralemony-lemon-bundt-cake-with-almond-glaze/). Four times because the first time it came out pretty well - a bit too moist with a dense crumb but overall good enough to make again. The 2nd and 3rd times though, it looked ok but when I cut it open, it was undercooked even though the toothpick had come out clean and the crust was dark brown and dry.

This fourth time, I tried baking it longer. Instead of 50-60 minutes, I took it out after 85 minutes. It was better --not undercooked-- but still fell apart a bit. Here's a picture.

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If you Google that recipe, many people's results look almost like a beautifully textured pound cake. I'm open to my technique being wrong even though I thought I followed things to the letter. Any thoughts? My oven is calibrated and my baking powder was very fresh (as was all of my other ingredients). I tapped out any air bubbles and smoothed the batter in the pan.

FWIW, it looks like the cake rose, fell a bit, then when I inverted it the innards separated from the crust?

  • BTW, when I say "fell apart a bit," I'm referring to the inner crumb. The cakes have always released perfectly from the pan (a heavy aluminum Nordicware). The cakes always look great until you cut into them. – DaveBurns Feb 10 '16 at 16:52
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    How do you measure? Do you use volume or weight? – Catija Feb 10 '16 at 16:54
  • @Catija: Good question. I always weigh. Assuming I didn't make a silly mistake, things should have been the same every time. – DaveBurns Feb 10 '16 at 16:57
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    The power sockets look shocked at the results... – ElendilTheTall Feb 10 '16 at 17:03
  • @ElindilTheTall That is hilarious. – DaveBurns Feb 10 '16 at 17:04
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I did some googling as you suggested and found a few things:

  1. One blog made the exact recipe and the top shows a deep "trench" between the outer rim and the middle chimney. As if the cake didn't rise well in the middle areas. Invert this, and the top may sink down on the platter, leaving a cavity like in your cake unless the cake is properly set.

  2. Another blog shows beautiful pictures, but admits to have adjusted the recipe - less sugar, fewer egg yolks and cream. This brings it to standard pound cake ratios.

A pound cake is called pound cake for a reason: all main ingredients (sugar, fat, eggs, flour) come in equal parts, originally a pound (for very large cakes!).

The original one from the blog uses way more sugar and skimps a bit on the eggs, when looking at ca. 340g of flour and fat. Also, using butter and oil may be a problem - some pound cakes deal well with oil, others get a bit "mushy" in my experience. Replacing some eggs with cream (again, 180 ml is too much, as your too wet results show) can be done, but "weakens" the inner structure a bit, combined with extra sugar and oil it may be just too much. Looks like the baking powder either couldn't lift enough or the texture couldn't stabilize during baking and cooling.

You probably won't like this, but I suggest using ratios closer to a standard pound cake (less sugar, use only as much cream as needed to get the correct texture), then work from there towards the original until you find your personal threshold.

  • Thanks for taking the time to Google around. If it were you with this problem, what specific changes would your next iteration have? Try the adjustments in the second blog? She mentions "three cups of all purpose flour for the whole amount of flour required and increased the baking powder to three teaspoons" but the original recipe calls for a tablespoon of baking powder so I'm not sure I see what's changed with the leavening. – DaveBurns Feb 10 '16 at 17:57
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    @DaveBurns I'd use probably the ratios from the 2nd blog (very much like my go-to recipe) and yes, 3 teaspoons should be 1 tablespoon. Oh, judging and from my recipe, I'd go down to 160 C and bake for an hour. – Stephie Feb 10 '16 at 18:03
  • The mixing instructions aren't great in the that recipe. It's possible that you are overmixing the flour or eggs. I would keep the mixer at medium while adding the eggs, but only just until the eggs are combined. Once you start adding flour I would definitely move to a low speed. If you develop the gluten too much can make your cake fall once it starts to cool. – djmadscribbler Feb 10 '16 at 18:04
  • I'll throw in one more thought: the pictures on those blogs shows a crumb with a fine texture. I'm grating the 10 lemons with a Microplane grater and the bits of lemon zest are not tiny. Is it possible that's a problem and I should use a different grater - maybe a box grater with smaller holes? – DaveBurns Feb 10 '16 at 18:08
  • Nope, shouldn't be a problem, imho. – Stephie Feb 10 '16 at 18:09
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Bundt cakes are prone to heating transfer problems. The whole purpose of the bundt pan is to give you a chimney which heats the cake from the middle, because this type of dough will stay underbaked if poured into a more compact pan.

The cake seems to have some underbaking and setting problems. The first place I would tweak would be the ratios. Specifically, I would try upping the baking powder slightly (maybe 10 to 15% - note that more baking powder does not always lead to better leavening) and reducing the cream somewhat at the same time. Both should lead to a less stickily underbaked interior. You'll have to play with the amount of cream to use.

Also, adding more yolks is the last thing you want to do to a clumping wet dough. Try using 4 whole eggs and one yolk, or even 4 whole eggs and 1 white instead of 3 whole + 3 yolks. This should dry out the dough nicely.

If it still needs a bit more tweaking afterwards, temperature is the second place to look at. Try a slightly lower temperature and baking even longer. Seeing that the longer bake wasn't sufficient on its own, I would only use this after playing with the ratios.

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