Baking Help – When Cakes Go Wrong


According to the BBC, the return of The Great British Bake Off attracted a whopping 7.9 million viewers. Proving to be a hit once again, there’s no doubt many amateurs will be inspired to get into the kitchen and bake this summer.

No matter how skilled a baker you are, we’ve all had those tragic baking disasters where the cake doesn’t turn out exactly to plan. Often these mishaps can be fixed, but sometimes it’s just too late to save, requiring you to start from scratch. Everything must be spot on to bake the perfect cake; the ingredients need to be measured to a tee, the temperature correct, followed by all the right steps. See The Caterer for a selection of cake recipes. Below are some common baking mistakes and FAQs to help you improve for next time:

The cake is burnt and overcooked
This is a very common problem; either the oven is too hot, you have left the cake in the oven for longer than necessary, too much fat has been used to grease the tin, or the tin hasn’t been lined properly. If the cake is only slightly burnt, you can save it by cutting off the burnt parts and covering with frosting.

Why has my cake sunk in the middle?
There are a few reasons why this could have happened; the oven door has been opened before the cake has set, the cake wasn’t put into the oven as soon as the mixture was ready or there was too much raising agent. You could save the cake by either removing the sunken part, making it into a ring cake, or by filling the hole with fruit and cream.

My cake is still gooey in the middle
Your cake hasn’t been in the oven long enough. Before taking the cake out of the oven, you should insert a skewer and ensure it comes out clean. It should feel the same in the middle as it does around the edges of the cake.

How do I avoid a soggy bottom?
Make sure you always use a metal tin – never use ceramic, they are not practical. Ex British Bake Off contestant, Beca Lyne-Pirkis, told Wales Online that Mary Berry always advised her to put a baking tray in the oven and then place your bake on that tray when it’s ready to go back into the oven; that way you know you’ve got that extra boost of heat.

Why is my cake dense?
This could be because you didn’t beat enough air into the cake mixture, the eggs were added too quickly and curdled, or there wasn’t enough raising agent added.

My cake is stuck in the tin
Before baking any cake, make sure the tin is greased properly before you add the batter. Lining it with baking parchment can also help when removing the cake. It is also important to allow the cake to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before you try and remove it.

It is important to remember that no matter what disasters you face, they will make you a better baker in the long run. Cake baking is a form of art and any mistakes are all lessons in perfecting it.


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