If only reading a recipe was the only thing necessary to bake a perfect cake! Unfortunately, factors involved in the chemistry of baking are sometimes out of our control. However, some of the most common problems that arise when baking cake are easy to remedy. Consider the following common baking woes, and learn how to bake a cake perfectly every time.
Sure, the cake tastes good regardless, but the sight alone might scare people away from trying it. While you could take the easy way out with a no-bake cake, the real thing will always taste more delicious. When it comes to impressing guests and yourself with mad cake baking skills, it just takes a little practice to learn how to bake a cake right the first time.
Pick one of the recipes below, and follow our tips to learn how to bake a cake you'll be proud to serve.
Cake recipes to consider:
10 Common Baking Problems (and how to solve them!)
1. Peaks and Cracks
When your baking experiment emerges peaked and cracked, there are several possible explanations. 1) Too much rising agent may have been used, causing the cake to rise beyond its limits. 2) The cake tin was too small 3) The oven temperature was too high, causing the cake to rise before it set properly. Next time, double check amounts, tin size, and oven temperature (especially in high altitudes).
2. Too Dense
Cake batter needs air in it to rise, so it's important to beat the batter long enough to incorporate the right amount of air bubbles. Other reasons for over-dense cake include adding the eggs too fast, which can cause them to curdle, or the lack of enough rising agent.
If you peek inside the oven to find cake batter overflowing the sides of the pan, it's most likely because the pan was too small. Your baking is only as good as the equipment you use, so choose wisely.
If you interrupt the cake's cooking process too often by opening the oven door, the cool air entering the oven will disturb the center's ability to properly set. Other explanations for this baking mistake could be that the cake didn't cook long enough; that the full pan was allowed to sit out too long before going in the oven, or too much rising agent was added to the mix, causing a big rise that crashed once removed from the oven.
5. Top Air Bubbles
If cake batter sits for too long in its pan before being cooked, air bubbles will rise to the top. Make sure that you preheat the oven before assembling and mixing together the ingredients. Once you pour the mixture into a baking dish, it should immediately be put into the oven.
6. Soggy Edges
Allowing the cake to remain in its tin after cooking for too long will cause the edges to condensate and attract moisture. Once it is cool, but still not at room temperature, set the cake on a cooling rack to cool properly.
Check the instructions and make sure you are using the appropriate-sized tin as well as setting the oven to the proper temperature and cooking for the right amoung of time.
8. Stuck to the Tin
Make sure to properly grease or line the cooking tin. Parchment paper is a cake's best friend. Don't forget it.
9. Burnt on the Outside, Uncooked on the Inside
This baking mistake occurs when a cake appears to be finished, with a slightly browned appearance on top, but still has a raw center. Re-check the cooking temperature in the recipe and make sure that your oven is set to the proper baking mode -- remember, broiling is a no-go with cakes (I've made that mistake before). With that said, keep the cake centered, from top to bottom, in the oven. A cake baking too high in the oven can prematurely cook the top and leave the rest unable to catch up. Also, be sure the cooking tin being used isn't too small and look for the suggested size in the recipe.
10. Crusty Edges
Over-greasing a cake tin can cause the sides to "fry". A little goes a long way, so don't get too excited with the sprays and butters. In this same vein, under-greasing could cause crusty edges as well. Keep it moderate. Crusty edges could also indicate that the cake was cooked for too long or the fat used in the cake wasn't appropriate for baking.
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