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Why did my pudding cake not entirely set? And can I fix it?

I made this Mark Bittman recipe http://markbittman.com...

I usually do ok with his recipes, and this one, though slightly complex, I thought was going well. But, then after the top of the cake got "golden brown, the center set but still jiggly" I took it out of the oven and set it out to cool on a rack. At the end of the cooling period, the "cake" part had shrunken a bit, and was floating in a pool of liquid that resembled a runny version of the batter I used to make the cake.

I somewhat suspect that using one of those aluminium foil baking pans to hold the water bath might be part of the problem.

asked by Zerobot over 1 year ago
8 answers 689 views
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PieceOfLayerCake

PieceofLayerCake is a trusted source on baking.

added over 1 year ago

I've never had a pudding cake that wasn't chocolate, so I can already suspect that without the cocoa content to help set the final dish, its going to need to bake further that one would normally presume.

Since these "strategically under-baked" dishes rely so much on a keen eye, I just think it wasn't in the oven long enough. What bothers me about the recipe off the bat, is that there's no photo of the final dish, which, in baking, should be compulsory.

What I don't quite understand about the question is it sounds like the "pool of liquid" was thinner than the original batter, which, if so is an indication that water splashed in or leaked in, during the early stages of baking.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 1 year ago

I've made this one and his lemon pudding cake several times and they have turned out very well. When he says "bake until the middle is set, but jiggly" it's easy to misinterpret and under bake it. I think mine took 55 minutes. The batter being thinner than when you made it is odd. You could try putting it back into the oven for a bit. It doesn't sound edible, so it doesn't hurt to try. I doubt the water bath pan is the problem.

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added over 1 year ago

Thanks, all. I also baked mine for 55 minutes, and I don't think there's any way that water actually got in.

When I took it out, the cake filled the glass baking dish and there was what looked like batter at the bottom, but I thought maybe it would set. And then, as mentioned, after cooling, the cake part had shrunk to about 1/2 an inch in from the walls of the glass and was sitting in basically a basically watery liquid.

I haven't tasted it yet. I am sure it tastes like disappointment.

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added over 1 year ago

Follow-up: I baked it for another half hour or so and it seems to be improving. The cake re-expanded to fill the baking dish and its. But the top is less "golden brown" and more "brown." Tastes good, though all of the blueberries seem to have sunk to the bottom.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 1 year ago

I think it's a matter of an under baked cake. The blueberries didn't sink to the bottom of mine. It's a challenge to know the right moment to take pudding cakes out of the oven. I pay attention to the outer edges and a couple of inches in.

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added over 1 year ago

Here's perhaps the answer: I didn't add the melted butter to the original batter mixture. I also think I undercooked it. I am going to try it again, though, as I enjoyed it, and it tasted good, butterless.

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PieceOfLayerCake

PieceofLayerCake is a trusted source on baking.

added over 1 year ago

Was it intentional to leave the butter out initially?

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added over 1 year ago

It was not intentional, nope. Just dumb. I think that I must have read "add butter, buttermilk" and my brain did not read those as separate ingredients. The butter was melted and waiting in the microwave. Duh.