Wanda asks: I have used a pound cake recipe, handed down from my grandmother, for years without any problems. Lately the crust has separated and crumbled from the rest of the cake. I use 6 egg whites that are whipped to soft peaks, then folded into the cake batter. I initially thought that I was not completely folding in the whites and that was the cause. But I folded them in more without any difference in the results. The only other ingredients are sifted flour, sugar, egg yolks, baking soda and sour cream. Please help and tell me what I could be doing wrong.
Baking S.O.S. says: It is always frustrating when a trusted recipe starts having problems when it was never a problem before. It becomes a complete mystery to try to figure out what changed!
I noticed in your ingredient list that you did not mention butter. Typically, a pound cake is supposed to call for a pound of flour, a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs, and a pound of butter–hence the name “pound cake.”
I know recipes for pound cake have changed a lot over the years, but all cake recipes typically call for some very basic ingredients, including some type of fat. The only fat I see in your recipe is the sour cream. Have you started using a different brand of sour cream? Or perhaps you switched to a low-fat or fat-free version of sour cream? Perhaps there is not enough fat in your cake recipe to make it moist and hold it all together?
The only other suggestion I can think of might be your oven. Have you tested the oven temperature to make sure it is baking properly? Perhaps if the oven is too hot, that might cause the top crust to brown too quickly before the interior of the pound cake is done baking, thereby drying the top crust so much that it crumbles off.
To test the temperature of your oven, buy an inexpensive oven thermometer and place it in your oven as you preheat it. Check the thermometer several times as the pound cake is baking to see if the oven temperature is fluctuating a lot. If so, perhaps you need to have your oven calibrated to get it working properly again.
I hope one of these solutions might be helpful to you. Good luck!