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asked January 1st 2017

Maisie Fantaisie Vanilla recipe too thick why?

I've been using this recipe for years without any issues. Just recently my cake have been coming out Dense, Dry, and strangely thick batter!
(Personally with all the food packet shrinkage I think it's to do with the ingredients)
Recent changes: Aldi s.r flour, butter block 84% min fat & large eggs !

Old habits: Mc Douglas no sift s.r flour & mixed sized medium eggs + supermarket baking spread 59% fat (optional x1 tsp glycerin per gram s.f)
Always beat butter & sugar about 10mins . Eggs never weight, I always follow recipe instructions, with the adaption of adding the vanilla & glycerin to the eggs
I would always use my kitchen-aid from start to end for example if I was doing an 8" mix, now I even tried folding in the flour at the end! Still horrible thick not silky smooth batter.

My recipe is from Maisie Fantaisie - Not sure if this is called Madeira cake as it doesn't call for lemon but I use it to carve.

8" round
400g Soft marge/butter
400g Caster sugar
400g S.R Flour
x8 Eggs
1.5 tsp Vanilla

Mixture divided into 2 pans to make a tall 4" cake. Baked @ 160c fan oven
I hoping you can help me get to the bottom of this.

Thank you in advance & happy new year x

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Hi cakechef22

Happy New Year to you too!

As far as I can see this recipe is for a straightforward victoria cake rather than a madeira. It is more dense because the ratios are higher than would normally be for an 8" cake. Since you have been baking this recipe for years without incident for this size pan, the problem must lay in the ingredients or perhaps in your oven temperature. I would suggest checking your oven calibration first to make sure that the internal oven temp is reading the same as the external dial. You may find the temperature requires adjustment. The Aldi flour grade may have a slightly different protein content ( I don't know??) or it may just need aerating (sifting) a little more. Self raising flour can sometimes lose it's chemical potency if it hasn't been stored well. Butter will give a more dense, tight textured crumb because it has less water content than margarine. Without trying the recipe out myself using the same ingredients, it is difficult to give a precise answer. Perhaps try again using your normal ingredients? It may help eliminate some suspects. I would try it out myself but my son is in hospital so I'm not in a position to do so. Let me know if you manage to weed out the problem. x

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Hi Miwl,

Thank you for getting back to me. Sorry to hear about your son, I wish him a speedy recovery.
I'm happy you confirmed that recipe wasn't a madeira cake, thought so! I never knew butter makes a cake dense I thought that was caused purely because of over mixing. I used to use marge but read on line using a high % butter was better (i'm confused now :-( . I think i'm going to try doing things different, starting with using marge (stork maybe), and weighing eggs in their shells (no matter what their weight ie: medium or large and take it from there.

You state my ratio's are higher for my 8", what would you recommend instead, or do you have a suggested recipe please?
Also why do some recipes call for half P.F & S.F in the recipe?

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Personally I wouldn't use that much mixture to divide between two 8" sandwich tins. I'm surprised that your batter hasn't flowed over the top. Perhaps I am making an assumption that you are using sandwich tins?? If you're using 8" deep tins x 2 this amount should comforatably give 2 x 2" deep cakes. Butter does give a tighter crumb because as the cake cools so the butter fat content soldifies. Margarine on the other hand contains vegetable fats and doesnot contract the crumb. Butter cakes are much better for carving. If you want a really fluffy cake, margarine is best, although if you add an extra 10% flour to the recipe it will give the cake more structure. Maderia cakes are more dense with tight crumb. They are better for carving and have a longer shelf life than sponge cake. Some recipes ask for two types of flour, sf and pf and others one type but the ratios of the flour is higher than the butter and wet ingredients. If it's plain flour, chemical leavening will be asked for. I just use classic recipe or adjust ratios for my requirements. For an excellent sponge cake take a look at Mrs Jones' deep vanilla cake tutorial in the baking section here:

10’’ Round Deep Vanilla Sponge Cake


Use the following calculator to scale the recipe down: https://www.designer-cakes.com/cake-size-calculator
The calculator is already loaded with Mrs Jones' recipe, all you have to do is scale. Add an extra 10% flour only to the recipe for a more sturdy cake suitable for carving and stacking. Hope this makes sense and helps.

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Thank you for this helpful information. To confirm my tins are 3" deep pans.

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Hope your next bake is better. Your tin size will be perfect for Mrs Jones' recipe.

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