Ask Me Anything – Post 11 – A Baking Special

Ask me anything is a series of posts where I answer any questions you may have about me. Cake decorating related or not 🙂
I’ve had a few baking related questions lately and this week I thought I’d round them up and ask an expert. The lovely Joanne who is a pastry chef by trade and works for me part time, has answered some of your questions below

Do you find that cakes baked with cake flour tend to be drier than those made with flour (or am I doing something wrong?) 

The main difference between cake flour and plain flour is their protein content. Cake flour has protein content between 7-9% while plain flour usually has protein content between 9-11%. The lower protein level in cake flour helps to produce more tender products with a denser texture, and it is usually milled to fine particle size to improve moisture absorbing properties. But different brands of cake flour have different quality in their moisture carrying ability. In general, cakes baked with cake flour will not be drier, considering a proper balance of quality ingredients, correct oven temperature and proper mixing methods are applied.

I find that my chocolate mud cake sinks in the middle after baking, why is that? Is it the recipe I am using or my oven? 

When a dense cake, like chocolate mud cake, sinks in the middle after baking, it is usually because the centre of the cake is not cooked through, so it will collapse when it cools. It usually requires a long baking time at a lower temperature, 150-160ºC, but everyone’s ovens are not the same so you will need to find out the optimum baking time with your oven. Also test the cake to see if it is completely cooked through – gently pressed the surface of the cake with fingers to test if it ‘springs back’, or insert a fine skewer into the centre of the cake and test if it is clean and dry when slowly withdrawn. If it does not come out completely clean, bake it a little longer than your recipe suggested. Also avoid incorporating too much air in the batter when mixing ingredients together. When your cake is removed from the oven, leave to cool in cake tin for 5-10 minutes, as a considerable amount of residual heat will continue the baking process, so baking is finished as the product cools for slightly under-baked cake (when removed from the oven).

When I bake my cupcakes…the cupcake wrapper comes off after its cooled down. I do grease it before baking, and have tried to let the cupcakes rest for 5 mins in the tray before taking them out. I have also tried to take them out straight away. Can you suggest what might be going wrong here? 

In general, cake tins/pans are greased before baking paper is lined so that the baked items are easily removed from the pans/tins. Greasing it before baking will usually make it harder for the cake to stick with the paper. I find cupcake wrapper will usually come off after it is cooled when cupcake batter is too greasy or wet. Also batter should be spread evenly, ensuring that it is fully extended to the bottom and into the corners of the cupcake wrappers. I always tap the cupcake pans on the kitchen table to let the batter settle in any spaces that are not filled properly so no air pockets are formed.

A little bit about Joanne…
Joanne graduated in 2010 from University of New South Wales with a combined degree in Bachelors of Commerce and Arts, and decided to follow her dream and passion for patisserie and sugar art instead of joining the corporate world. She completed Diplome de Patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu Sydney while attending various sugar art workshops and working at various patisseries. Upon successful completion of Superior Patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu, she started to work as a junior pastry chef at The Restaurant Art Gallery of NSW. She eventually found her ultimate passion in sugar art. With her family and friends’ encouragement, she has recently set up an online business, Simple Ingredients and currently is very privileged to have such great opportunity to work at Sharon Wee Creations.

If you’d like to ask a question feel free to email me ( or send me a message through Facebook. 

2 thoughts on “Ask Me Anything – Post 11 – A Baking Special

  1. Hi Joanne,
    You have mentioned wet batters, and the recipes i use for moist chocolate and red velvet cupcakes are “watery”, hence the cupcake wrappers come off immediately, what should i do coz i really like the recipes??

    1. Hi,
      I have some cupcakes recipes that are more “liquid” compared to others. I did few things to avoid the cupcake cases peeling away and it worked for me:
      – with my oven, I bake another 5-8 minutes to ensure the cupcakes are completely baked, so you may have to experiment what is the appropriate baking time with your oven;
      – I tried different brands of cupcake cases as they have different quality. In my cases, I found some did not peel as easy
      – Some recipes, I add 2-3 tablespoon of cornflour to keep the recipe moist but the batter less “liquid”
      Hopefully these tips will help you.

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