How can I use up/reuse/recycle cakes that haven’t risen?

We’ve had an email from Janet:

I love your site – it really inspires me to go to lengths to reuse and recycle things I never thought I could, and since I’m a student, that’s wisely frugal too!

I have a bit of a blind spot with cake baking, and they always come out unrisen and heavy, and doughy in the middle. Any ideas how I can reuse this (and other) lemon flavoured brick-cake?

You did cakes before, but focussed mainly on dry and stale cakes (breadcrumbs, biscotti etc)…obviously this is not going to work for me :D

Since the 3Rs always starts with reducing, we should think about reducing the occurrences of these sad brick-cakes ;)

I don’t make sponges that often so can’t be specific with my advice but one thing I will say that’s good general baking advice is check the temperature of your oven with a separate thermometer. Borrow one if you can but they’re only a couple of ££/$$ on eBay if you have to buy one – and they’re well worth it — everyone I know who has used one found that their oven thermostat was rather wrong: ours was off by about 30°C! That sort of temperature difference can make a heck of a difference when baking. Any more cake-specific advice on why Janet might be hitting the not-rising/doughy middle problem a lot?

As for reuses, could they be served as a heavy tart like pudding with cream? Or warm with custard as a pudding? A few sites also suggest bodging it by slicing the cake in half then stacking one piece on top of the other and adding a layer of cream & jam or buttercream in the middle to fake a bit of height. It still would be rather dense though.

Any other suggestions for using it up?

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9 Responses to “How can I use up/reuse/recycle cakes that haven’t risen?”

  1. Karmae says:

    Slice and bake it. Biscotti means twice baked. Serve with coffee.

  2. Melinda says:

    Isn’t this how brownies were invented? Call them something else and enjoy! Perhapes they are best served to be dunked in tea or coffee.

  3. Su says:

    How about using it at the bottom of a trifle?

  4. I hear cake pops were invented as a way of using up slightly stale cake. Add cream cheese, frosting or melted cooking chocolate to smashed-up cake and roll them into little balls. There are hundreds of recipes and ideas out there for cake pops. Good luck!

  5. Medeea says:

    At first, I thought of bread. I had a few incidents and thought to make croutons to serve with soup.
    You could make croutons. Serve with coffee or milk, even yogurt.
    Aside from the tip with the thermometer, my tip is to bake at first in lower temperature (about 125) so the cake won’t get a tough crust and not allow the heat to get in the middle. Bake the first half an hour at 125 and then raise it up.

  6. bint says:

    You can crumble it into medium sized pieces and serve with ice cream…chcolate sauce on top

    in a cup put the crumbled cake then vanilla ice cream the warm chocolate…all the best. This same thing happened to my friend when she prepared for a big party and we ended up eating cake like this…!! what shall we name it?
    ice cream cake!!

  7. Alison says:

    Using it at the bottom of a trifle is a great idea!

  8. supergeeky says:

    You can dry it out and make a batch of bread pudding. I tend to dry out all breads, muffins, bagels, cakes and use them for that. It is delicious and uses up things you would otherwise chuck.

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