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Tres Leche Cake Wont Rise In Center

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Hi =)

Im a guy whos new to cooking cakes and I saw an alton brown show on the foodnetwork that was all about making this great looking Tres Leche cake.

So I downloaded the recipe, followed it..and ended up with a cooked cake that was risen on the outsides and a bubbling flat thing that resembled keish for the center.

Im not leaving out any ingredients, and im cooking it for 25 min like it said (i left it in 20 min longer and got nothing but burnt keish)

Twice now ive reached the same result. --ive heard something about hotspots and non calibrated oven (gas), or could it be that my baking soda is to old?

note: oven cooks everything else just fine (including out of the box recipies)

For the cake:

Vegetable oil

6 3/4 ounces cake flour, plus extra for pan

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

8 ounces sugar

5 whole eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the glaze:

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup half-and-half

For the topping:

2 cups heavy cream

8 ounces sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour a 13 by 9-inch metal pan and set aside.

Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and with the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar over 1 minute. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix to thoroughly combine. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 batches and mix just until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. This will appear to be a very small amount of batter. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.

Any ideas would be great! =) thx again.

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Well, call me unsophisticated, but I'm just not comfortable with recipes that use weight measurements for ingredients that are normally given in volume measurements -- like 6-3/4 ounces of cake flour, for instance. Every conversion chart I look at is different, and I don't trust my kitchen scales to give me more than ballpark measurements.

My first thought was the baking powder issue. Fresh baking powder really does make a difference. I doubt that your oven is the problem, since it bakes everything else without problems.

Here is the Tres Leches Cake recipe in our article on Texas Cooking at Mystery Solved: Tres Leches Cake. I have made this recipe a number of times with great success. Compare it with your recipe and see what you think.

Pastel de Tres Leches

* 1-1/2 cups All-purpose flour

* 1 teaspoon Baking powder

* 1/2 cup Unsalted butter

* 2 cups White sugar (divided)

* 5 Eggs

* 1-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract (divided)

* 1 cup Milk

* 1/2 of a 14-ounce can Sweetened condensed milk

* 1/2 of a 12-ounce can Evaporated milk

* 1/3 cup Liqueur, Frangelico, Brandy or Chambord, for example (optional)

* 1-1/2 cups Heavy (whipping) cream

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan.

Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside. Cream the butter and 1 cup of the sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla. Beat well. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing well until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

When cake has finished baking, pierce it in 8 or 10 places with a fork or skewer, and let it cool. Combine the whole milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk and liqueur and pour over the top of the cooled cake. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Whipped Cream Topping: When ready to serve, combine the whipping cream and the remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 cup of sugar, whipping until thick. Spread over top of cake.

Because of the milk in the cake, it is very important that you keep the cake refrigerated until ready to serve. Serve chilled.

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Yes, at 6000 feet you do need to make some alterations. The following is a direct quote from www.ochef.com, and I think it's sound advice:

Because air pressure decreases as the elevation increases, many foods respond differently at high altitudes — and not just baked goods, but beans, stews, fried foods, pasta, etc. There are some standard adjustments you can make, but you also have to experiment a bit to find what adjustments work best for your recipes where you are.

With less air pressure weighing them down, leavening agents tend to work too quickly at higher altitudes, so by the time the food is cooked, most of the gasses have escaped, producing your flat tire. For cakes leavened by egg whites, beat only to a soft-peak consistency to keep them from deflating as they bake. Also, decrease the amount of baking powder or soda in your recipes by 15% to 25% (one-eighth to one quarter teaspoon per teaspoon specified in the recipe) at 5,000 feet, and by 25% or more at 7,000. For both cakes and cookies, raise the oven temperature by 20° or so to set the batter before the cells formed by the leavening gas expand too much, causing the cake or cookies to fall, and slightly shorten the cooking time.

Flour tends to be drier at high elevation, so increase the amount of liquid in the recipe by 2 to 3 tablespoons for each cup of flour called for at 5,000 feet, and by 3 to 4 tablespoons at 7,000 ft. Often you will want to decrease the amount of sugar in a recipe by 1 to 3 tablespoons for each cup of sugar called for in the recipe.

You know, there's a cookbook called

Pie in the Sky: Successful Baking at High Altitudes: 100 Cakes, Pies, Cookies, Breads, and Pastries Home-tested for Baking at Sea Level, 3,000, 5,000, 7,000, and 10,000 feet (and Anywhere in Between). It's available on www.amazon.com, and I should think it, or one like it, would be indispensable to anyone in your situation.

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