1001 Kitchen tips #68 - Avoiding a cake wreck - how to save a cake mix that has curdled

Sunday, January 22, 2012
Looks like my new year's resolution to finish work before midnight is falling by the wayside already - this was made sometime around 1am the other day.
Coconut and passionfruit cake
When a blogger offers their handy hints on the recipe 'Don't overwork the batter' - don't ignore it!
I'm not a pastry chef - as I went to college on my days off I neatly avoided the pastry course, and became more of a larder specialist. Everything in the pastry/ dessert line I've either learned from my mum and grandmothers (they had us cooking from the moment we could stand on a stool at the worktop without falling off it) or I've taught myself. So I tend to learn by trial and error. The other day it was the turn of error to make an appearance.......
Woops - curdled cake mix
I had ignored the recipe and creamed the butter and sugar and then added the eggs - probably too fast (it was late). Adding lemon juice to that doesn't help. 

Don't worry however - all is not lost. There's always an answer:

  1. Normally when adding flour it brings the cake mix back to life & it is saved. However this recipe had only a minimum amount of flour - not enough to bind it.
  2. Try adding cornflour - like thickening sauces, it can bring cake mixes together. Only a little though - you don't want to make it heavy. Cornflour works better for this than normal flour as it's lighter.
  3. Add a little warm water - this can sometimes bring it back - the same way you can save a split hollandaise.
  4. If all that fails (it did) - I found you can stick the kenwood mixing bowl over the gas flame for a few seconds  [obvious note - needs to be a stainless steel bowl - the plastic ones have a tendency to melt in a gas flame]. This gives it a little heat which softens the butter a little - this brought the mix back together with a little whisking and saved the cake!
All in a morning's work.