Friday, November 5, 2010

Shrinking Pandan Chiffon Cake

Today, I made a Pandan chiffon cake again as per my husband request. He bought the eggs, cake flour and coconut milk for me yesterday. With his assistance in weighing some cake ingredients, setting the oven's fire, preparing my mixer, I must say everything went pretty smoothly during the baking preparation today. I didn't even find so much problems in separating the egg yolks from the whites! 

I used the same Pandan chiffon cake recipe as per my first attempt which can be found here. In my first attempt few months ago, everything went surprisingly pretty well. The cake rose high, tasted good and had very soft texture and strong Pandan smell. The main problem then was the cake presentation. My Mom-in-law commented that maybe the cake would have been better if I let it stayed in the oven bit longer. So from then on, I tried to put extra minutes when baking chiffon cakes to ensure the cake heated long enough.

Something apparently went wrong with my baking episode today. I had high confidence that my cake would be successful, since today was not my first time baking chiffon cake, until I realized when my husband and I took it from the oven, the cake didn't rise high. It did rise high inside the oven whilst I baked it but when we took it out, the cake just looked so shrunk. Half of the height of the chiffon cake that I once baked. Again, I had problems in getting it out from the tin despite the margarine that I layered in the tin before I poured the dough. Plus, the top part of the cake was still wet and I had to cut it out to salvage the cake and make it edible.

Thinking back, I might have done something wrong during the mixing or baking (apparently the oven fire was turned off for few minutes until my mom in law realized it and asked my husband to turn it on again) or covering the tin with too much margarine which caused more liquid in the dough when baked (resulting in less flour).

Short chiffon cake.
Unsuccessful Pandan chiffon cake baking attempt.

Anyway, after cutting the ugly part, luckily my husband's family still found the cake edible. These are what's left two hours after my husband sadly presented the cake to his family. Four slices as of now. I'm a bit comforted with this fact - that people still actually ate them. *Thanks to my husband for covering my baking mistakes in front of them*

Frankly, I was quite disheartened after today's baking disaster, which was normal I think. I called my Mom and told her about this. She said maybe it was the dough or the oven's fire problem. But she told me no need to worry about baking failures. No big deal about this. Just try bake again next time.

To conclude, I wanted to learn from mistakes especially when it involves baking. I went to the internet just now and tried to find out what caused my shrinking and wet cake. I discovered a useful link which discusses about secrets to anti-failure cakes. In the bottom of this article, there is a table explaining all the type of baking failures and many causes of  them. Unfortunately, it's written in Bahasa Indonesia. I'll make translations on this one day.

Meanwhile, I should keep on telling myself to try again and try again. Failing is normal. Baking is never easy. It often involves big pots of luck, especially when it comes to baking amateurs.

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