So I've been working the chocolate cake recipe from my go-to source for solid, basic recipes, "Joy of Cooking," and am meeting with nothing but disappointment! Every time I've made the Devil's Food Cake, despite being delicious and a constant source of compliment (people will look past nearly anything for chocolate cake), the hateful thing sinks in the middle. I don't have this problem with any other cake recipe, and I'm an experienced baker who carefully weighs and measures all ingredients and constantly monitors the oven temperature.
For those who might be able to diagnose the problem, here's exactly what happens: I start one cake in the upper third and one in the lower and bake them for just over half of the time. Then I quickly open the oven and rotate the cakes, being careful not to jiggle them too much in the process. At this point, the cake are both beginning to puff in the middle and are of even heights. I know exactly how long they take to bake, so I'm normally able to open the oven, check each cake for doneness, and pull. By now, the cakes have already lost that lovely little dome and are flat. This isn't to say they haven't risen; I still get about 2" on each cake in a 9" round. Once they cooled enough to turn out, however, the middles of the cakes are collapsed about 1/2" below the edges. And yes, I'm using the correct cocoa powder (non-alkalized), and I start with all ingredients at room temperature.
Frosting and careful trimming hide the problem, but honestly I'd rather have a cake I don't have to fiddle with so much to be properly presentable! I seem to have the same problem with chocolate cakes in general, I admit...
Any and all advice is heartily welcomed.