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I'm working to a pretty standard recipe for cake (s.r. flour, butter, sugar, egg, flavours, etc), and it comes out too eggy.

I can usually make a sponge without faff but to do that I use a different recipe. But for this cake, for non-baking reasons I need to use this recipe with minimal tweaks.

I initially thought it was a cooking time/temperature thing but after a few trials it seems like it just has way too much egg in it. Assuming that it was originally written for smaller eggs, I just reduced the amount of egg and it's now too dry. Not remarkably dry, par for the course for, say, a cherry loaf cake, but this one is supposed to be moister than that.

Is there a way I can add the moisture in a less eggy way? I was thinking of just adding milk or water (say 150ml per replaced egg). Is that too naive? I've heard about tricks involving cornstarch but I can't get my head around them. Would such a trick work?

Current base recipe is (I've tried lots of variants around this and various additional flavour ingredients): 1/2lb each: c. sugar, s.r. flour, butter, 4 eggs. Seived and mixed at each step. Flour in last (which is new to me). 160C (fan) until skewer comes out clean. 4 eggs is v eggy; 3 eggs is dry. Running short of half-chickens to try in between!

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    Welcome! Could you please add a few details about the current / tweaked recipe? Like what ratios of ingredients and which method you are using? – Stephie Apr 14 at 20:19
  • Sure, I'll do that now – Dannie Apr 14 at 20:20
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    Instead of half chickens: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/1610/… ;-) – Stephie Apr 14 at 20:28
  • Thank you all for your excellent answers. I won't accept one until I've had a chance to try these out in the oven and (surprising to me!) my family seem to have a finite capacity for cake. But I'll accept as soon as! – Dannie Apr 24 at 9:51
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Substitute oil for some of the butter.

Here is a trick to reduce dryness that I just learned from The Perfect Cookie. Omit a tablespoon or 2 of butter and swap in vegetable oil. I used safflower last but any mild liquid vegetable oil would do.

It is awesome for chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal cookies. I have gone 50/50 butter and oil in the banana bread that I made lately and the texture was good.

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    This is the one which came out lovely in the end. I've not tried it with the lemon cake yet (finite lemon appetite) but did with a similar recipe for raspberry and coconut cake which I'd made before in the old way, and came out amazingly lovely and moist by substituting oil (grapeseed I had to hand). – Dannie May 7 at 15:29
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The "too eggy" taste shouldn't be from the amount of eggs, since a standard pound cake is 1:1:1:1, and that means that you would need 4.5 eggs for 1/2 lb of the other ingredients. So the first thing to consider would be whether your cake is overcooked, or somehow not well enough beaten. I would try it with a creaming step, and really make a very smooth beginning before adding the dry ingredients - cream sugar and butter really well until very fluffy, then add eggs one at a time while keeping everything creamy, like making buttercream. When the egg is incorporated that way, it shouldn't produce off tastes. As for the potentially overcooked cake, just test it more frequently before taking out.

If you are sure you are mixing and baking it well and still want to reduce the egg taste, it is a bit difficult, because it is indeed the egg yolk which makes it moist. If you can say that the eggy taste comes from the egg whites, then you can replace one of the three eggs with two yolks, or use three whole eggs and one yolk. But if you find it too yolky tasting, do not replace with more egg white, since egg whites dry out the cake.

If you have to have less yolks and still moist cake, do not add liquid. If anything, it makes for a drier cake. The cornstarch also won't help, this is for making softer cakes. You can try instead pure lecithine (make sure it doesn't taste slightly eggy with that too), a spoonful of commercial mayonnaise (homemade won't give you anything different from what the yolk already gives you), more sugar, or something with pectin content. A couple of tablespoons of applesauce or quince jelly can help here.

  • I'm sure I'm beating well, but I could be overcooking, and will also look into the yolk trick and the sugar. This oven is a bit of a nightmare compared to the others I've had. I'd not realised that overcooking could make it eggier and have been altering it in the other direction. – Dannie Apr 15 at 18:12
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Adding "moistness" to cake is easily done by just dumping in extra vegetable oil. For your recipe start with an extra 1/2 cup vegetable oil.

You can make the batter more soft/"airy" while also reducing egg content by adding Xanthan gum, which acts as an emulsifier and thickener. It will thicken your batter when it gets runny from all that extra oil you added to make the cake even "moister".

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