Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

Baking troubles - tunnels and big holes in my cakes. What to do?

I have no idea what is going on. I am using same recipes (WASC), same ingredients but for a month or two, I keep getting those terrible holes and tunnels in my cakes. I don't think I overmix or undermix batter because I all I did worked before.

I tried to do S with knife in the middle of pan, or drop the cake pan a couple of inches onto the counter. Still, I keep getting air bubbles.

What can I do?

Views: 6211

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Omg, we all are using DH!

I never tried any other brand because I like the taste. My recipe does not ask for extra baking powder. I only add 4 eggs, oil, cup sour cream, flour, sugar, vanilla and water. That's all. I do everything just like I did before including using shifter for my already made batter because I cannot stand those lumps in it. Maybe crazy, but I done it before and everything was just fine. I do have lumps problem with mixes only.

About size of a pan. It happened to me with 8, 6 and I got beautiful tunnels in my cupcakes as well. ;(

But I love WASC so I don't want to give up on it yet. Is the one from scratch good too?

Ok ladies

I made a scratch wasc this morning.  Red velvet with additions of mushed beets, beet juice & cherry jello mix to make the cake red.

Came out perfect.  I actually have been making wasc without knowing it. I have a go to recipe from a old Sunbeam Mixmaster cookbook from the 1950's. All I did was add the sour cream & oil instead of shortening. 

Here is my recipe:


3 cups all purpose flour

1 2/3 c sugar

2 1/2 tsp baking pwrd

3/4 tsp salt


1/2 cup oil

2/3-3/4 cup sour cream  ( or mayo, even ricotta or marscopone cheese!!!)

2 tsp almond ext

3 eggs

1/4 cup buttermilk ( I just sour reg milk with vinegar )

Add dry ingredients to mixer bowl, add liqiud ingredients. Mix until incorporated. DON'T OVER MIX. otherewise it will create a tough cake.  Bake at 350 d for 35-40 min

This makes one 9x3' cake



I have read that the new smaller sizes actually are a different formula ..  just found one quote:

Betty Crocker SuperMoist line of cake mixes went through a reformulation {Forum Moderator, Betty Crocker site}

I would expect that the other manufacturers would have done the same ..

[page to read:]




I knew there was a good reason why I buy large bulk bags of flour, sugar etc. Scratch is the way to go.  :o)

Would you share your scratch WASC recipe?  My scratch ones ALWAYS turn out dry and dense!!



Look above Charlotte. It is posted there. :0)

Sorry, June, I missed that some how.  Thanks!


The holes ant tunnels can be caused by air pockets

I have used nails for the larger cakes, but may try them for the smaller ones too now. I also use the bake right strips to help keep the cake from doming too much. And finally, I thought I was one of the few that pressed his cakes flat. Almost no leveling needed after that and cakes are tall and straight. After my layers cool enough, I wrap them in plastic and return them to the cleaned pans to rest in the fridge over night. A "just slightly bigger" cardboard round keeps the layers flat when I stack them.

June Kowalczyk said:

Well ladies

Maybe it IS the Duncan Hines. I confess, I buy whatever is on sale. No Name store brands, whatever. I usually use Monarch, which has now become Lorretta brand I believe, from my Dollarama store. I always ck the best before date before I buy.    Anne:  See below a answer to a post I made yesterday regarding "sagging" cakes.


Sometimes Carlette if cakes are large they can sag. Baking is a science, and everytime we bake, depending on  our oven, even the way we prepare, can change the outcome.  I have had large cakes sag in the past, but when they did,  like you, added a bit of extra buttercream.... no one is the wiser. Still tastes good and no one is judging the "naked cake".   Now the science behind the  "Why"?   Sometimes it is the wrong flour. Good old fashioned all purpose  flour is the best.  Cake flour can be too soft. Also too much leavening agent...baking powder. The larger the cake, the less baking powder per cup you need. This is because the distance from the sides of the pan to the centre are greater so that the batter needs a stronger structure to support itself.  I am quoting Rose Levy Beranbaum. I have her book..."The Cake Bible".  You can also go on her website. Huge wealth of info on baking.

But I do a couple of things where by this doesn't happen so often. Sometimes I doctor cake mixes. So, your baking powder is already in right? Can't change that. So,  I use rose nails in my cake pan to help distribute the heat evenly when baking. I place my cake on a pizza stone, which also helps distribute heat. The bigger the cake pan, the more rose nails I use.  The cake you baked I would have used minimum of 4 rose nails in my cake pan.  Another thing I do, and this will make most bakers shudder. As soon as I take the cake out of the oven, I place a heavy clean hand towel over the cake, & with my oven mitts still on, I press down on the cake with even pressure all around the cake. It flattens out and condenses quite a bit. I tend to overfill my cake pan because I do this. Easier to cut away cake after the fact anyway then to doctor up with buttercream. This sounds scary, but where is the cake going to go????.......  no where, cause it is held in place by the sides of the metal pan. And, crazy as it sounds, it works!!  I find almost 99.9 % of my cakes never sink after that.  A very old, wise,  and I am sure deseased, cake decorator taught me this years ago when my children were very young. She owned her own shop in town & I took my first lessons from her. Heck, fondant didn't even exsist then.

Hope this helps.     :o)


I am having the same problem with holes.  They're EVERYWHERE!!  It all started when Betty Crocker reduced the amount of product in their box and reformulated the mix.  So then I was forced to go to Pillsbury or Duncan Hines.  Then everything was fine for several months.  Then one by one they both did the same thing.  Reducing their boxes also.  I don't know if they reformulated their mixes, but something is going on, and the cakes have so many holes they look like swiss cheese and gopher trails!  It's very hard on the nerves!!  So I guess I'm now going to try some of the store brands, they all seem to still be the 18oz boxes, so maybe they haven't been altered yet.  Hopefully there is a solution to this.  I just want my old mixes back!!! They were always great,  and there were never any issues with holes or not baking in the center.

I am almost 100% sure these companies added more leavner.... ie} baking powder to the mixes. They have done the same thing here in Canada. They reduce the amount of product, but by adding more bp, you get more "lift/rise" of the cake. They want you to think you are getting the "same" cake as before. Obviously ... NOT.
I have never had this problem as I mostly bake from scratch. If I do use a mix, unless a well known brand was on sale, I always use the store brand. They worked just fine!!

I purchased a 50lb bag of Pillsbury commercial white cake mix.  It baked with a whole lot of holes in the cakes also!!!  So evidently those mixes have been altered also.  So then I purchased Hy Vee's own store brand.  It baked very nice, solid, no holes or tunnels, and it was still 18.25 oz.   So I used that for a couple of weeks, , then the ones I bought last week, I baked a couple of days ago, they seemed to have a large amount of holes also!!!!  One of the employees at Hy Vee had told me a long time ago that Pillsbury made all of their store brand mixes.  So it appears that the reformulated mixes have finally gotten to the store brand boxes.   I am at my wits end with dealing with all of these holes.  And when all of this first started, it was only the white mixes, but now it is also the lemon, strawberry, and some of the chocolates.  I can't help but think that all of these cake mix companies are going to lose a lot of business because of this.  I probably use at least 400 cases a year, and I know there are a lot of others that use that many also,  so if we all stop buying their mixes, thats a lot of revenue to lose.

Reply to Discussion


© 2023   Created by Theresa Happe.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service