Technical question - mystery - cake color

agmss15

Ok I came across this recipe for a orange flavored olive oil cake a few months ago. I think I posted about it here. I have made it more than any cake recipe I have made in years. Or ever. It is a basic recipe using ingredients I usually have on hand. I am not a big cake eater but I have been baking for my mom’s household a lot.


So yesterday was my uh ‘stepdad’’s birthday. He wanted the same cake with lemon and poppy seed. I made cupcakes but I thought they looked funny. They didn’t rise is as high and looked super dark. I had overfilled the cups and had some overflow. So I made a cake. The same. And when I cut open a cupcake the whole cake is dark. Kind of like red velvet darkness but a somewhat different color.


My only differences from the recipe are I used double the amount of zest, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and 3 tablespoons of poppyseeds. I always add the double zest and turmeric. And I usually get a moist fluffy yellow cake. I am somewhat perplexed. Do poppyseeds dye cakes? Not my experience as far as I can remember. I thought maybe the seeds didn’t let the cake rise quite as high but the texture and flavor are fine.


I try not to have too much cake in my house. I left most of it at mom’s and promised my neighbor some cupcakes. So I will take a photo when I eat my last one.


https://www.salon.com/2020/10/31/karen-tedescos-orange-flower-olive-oil-cake-from-family-style-is-a-feast-for-your-eyes/



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plllog

That's just weird. Poppy seeds, used plentifully, can make a plain cake a little grayish, but not dark like red velvet. There are pictures of lemon-olive oil cakes with poppy seeds on the 'net, which are yellow. Olive oil cakes can be yellowish, beigeish, or greenish, but not highly so. It shouldn't be an acid reaction since it doesn't have juice. I found pictures of lemon, poppy seed, buttermilk bundt cake with a bit of the poppy greige, but normal light color.


3 tbsp of seeds shouldn't weigh down your cake, and 1/2 tsp of turmeric shouldn't do a lot except color. My best thought, a rank guess, is that the turmeric and poppy seeds, in the acid of the buttermilk, had a dance off. That some unknown chemical reaction took place. Or maybe just the turmeric itself, either in this particular company, or perhaps from going funky, or being a different batch if it's fresh or a new bottle, is the culprit. It's certainly the most dominant color in the mix, and can be a deep yellowish brown in some foods.

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chloebud

I'm clueless. Can't imagine it being anything other than maybe plllog's thoughts. Curious...

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lindac92

Are you sure you used poppy seeds? not maybe cocoa powder?
I, once mistook black pepper for poppy seeds....the results were..uh...eye opening and caused a few gasps of...uh...amazement. The recipe also called for some red pepper flakes...yep...gasps!

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agmss15

Oh boy! That sounds bad. I once made a very garlicky cold dill/yogurt/cucumber soup with vanilla yogurt. It was horrendous.


Oh no definitely poppy seed. Same jar of turmeric. Whatever I did I did twice.... It tasted good at least.

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chloebud

lol agmiss, I once made tzatziki with vanilla yogurt instead of plain. 😖

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bbstx

Speaking of recipe mistakes, I had a very sweet, very young secretary once. When she finally moved out of her parents’ house into her own apartment, she invited me and my then-husband for dinner. She made some sort of Mexican casserole that her whole family loved. The only problem was she did not know that condensed milk is not the same as evaporated milk. The dish had an odd sweetness.

I’m anxiously awaiting photos of these cupcakes!

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chloebud

LOL, bbstx, that would be a problem! My worst recipe mistake was with oatmeal cookies when I was 8 or 9. I just remember the recipe called for shortening. I figured the bacon grease in a canister my mom had was the same as shortening. I still remember the taste of those cookies. 😩 They might not have been as bad as my older brother's Oreos. He scraped out the white filling, replaced it with toothpaste, then generously handed some to me. 😝 Those were the days when any brand of toothpaste was usually white.

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bbstx

Chloe, you were ahead of your time and didn’t know it. I tried this recipe for Bacon Fat Gingersnaps. https://leitesculinaria.com/82849/recipes-bacon-fat-gingersnaps.html. It might be the only time I’ve thrown out cookies!

I hope you paid your brother back! We all know “paybacks are he11”😂

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Lars

My brother buys vanilla yogurt to have with granola for breakfast, but of course I cannot use it for any recipes. I don't know why he cannot just add vanilla to plain yogurt if he likes vanilla yogurt so much - I won't eat it even with granola.

I would try leaving out the turmeric - I would prefer not to have that flavor in a cake anyway and would probably use ginger instead, if you think the cake is too bland.

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

I wonder if the unusual result was because of the oven or the baking pans, rather than ingredients?

And I still recall my first attempt at reducing a cake recipe so it would fit in my Easy Bake oven's cake pan. I managed to get the proper amount of everything except the baking soda - 1 whole teaspoon for about 1 cup of batter! I was maybe 8 or 9.

We learn from our mistakes 😆

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chloebud

"I hope you paid your brother back!"

Sure did! 👍🏻

Pretty funny about the Bacon Fat Gingersnaps!

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wednesday morning

It does not look as if the original recipe has turmeric. It seem that the tumeric would be the most likely suspect that would change the color ,even though you have used it times before.

That is the only real variable that seems reasonable. Perhaps you measured wrongly on the tumeric? Maybe?


One other thought is to ask is if you think that maybe there is something with your baking soda. Did you, accidentally, use baking powder? The baking soda is there to interact with the buttermilk. I am sure that you know this, but since you said that it did not rise like it normally does, maybe you reached for the wrong one? Just maybe? Although it doesn't seem likely it wold make that much difference. Maybe? The baking powder would still rise, but a bit differently than the acid and base of buttermilk and soda.

I use buttermilk exclusively in my baking and I always add a bit more baking soda even after the baking powder. Even though there is soda in the powder, a bit extra makes a difference.

Your problem with both color and rise are perplexing and they must be related to what gives it color or what gives it rise.

Perhaps it just appeasr to be darker because it rose less and is more dense? Maybe?


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