Cracked top or sunken cake or peaked cake or some other problem can arise anytime despite taking precautions and following a good recipe.
We often wonder why ‘my cake cracked from the top whereas it came out perfectly last time?’
These problems can be due to minor negligences and we keep wondering ‘after all what went wrong and where…’
Though I have shared ‘16 Tips For Baking A Good Cake’ in detail earlier, this post is specifically for different types of problems that emerge while baking a cake.
A short and crisp guide as to what went wrong.
Though I bake cakes, neither a professional baker nor bake every other day, so sometimes even I face such problems. In that case, I first prefer to refer to this guide and trust me it helps me a lot.
This guide is actually a compilation of tips from some books, my diary, few websites and not to miss my experience. As I am a self-learner, these books have been my teacher, my companion, my guide…everything ever since I started Baking long back. They escorted me when there was no Google and it wasn’t that easy to fix a problem, especially for learners.
Anyway, cutting my story short, let us come to the point and look for possible causes of what went wrong while baking a cake. For any specific problem, there can be a single or multiple reasons.
If you read it at one go you might find it confusing. I suggest you refer to your specific problem and thus rectify it. Also, a quick brush up is given at the end as to how to avoid ‘what went wrong’
Do remember the old idiom “Practice makes you perfect” So don’t loose heart if your cake does not come out right the first time. Think through the process with a cool mind and start again.
A Peaked Cake
- Insufficient fat or Leavening, Or
- Too much flour, Or
- Oven temperature too high.
A Sunken Cake
(Cake rises in the oven but sinks when taken out)
- Too much liquid, baking powder or sugar; Or
- Too little flour, Or
- Oven door slammed, Or
- Cake moved during baking, Or
- Taken out from the oven too soon, Or
- Batter being beaten for too long thus incorporating excess air in the batter.
A Dry Cake
- Too much baking powder or flour, Or
- Not enough sugar, Or
- Not enough fat or liquid, Or
- Cake tin too big in size, Or
- Over Mixing of Batter, Or
- Too long in the oven as the oven temperature being too slow.
A Badly Cracked Top
- Oven Too hot, Or
- Cake tin too small, Or
- Too much flour, Or
- Not enough liquid.
A Dense/Heavy Cake
- Too little Baking Powder, Or
- Too much flour, Or
- Flour mixed in too vigorously, Or
- Mixture not creamed enough, Or
- Oven too slow, Or
- Ingredients either too cold or hot, that is not used at room temperature.
Fruits Sunk To The Bottom
- Fruits added without mixed (coated) with flour, Or
- Fruits not dried properly, Or
- Cake mixture too thin.
- Covering the cake or storing it in an airtight container before completely cooled, Or
- Underbaked, either oven temperature very low or short baking time.
- Humid environment, either humid weather or a slightly steamy kitchen.
How to Fix It Up
Humid weather is something which cannot be controlled or rectified. But the cake with sticky top can be rectified. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top of the cake to help absorb some of the moisture, Or
Trim off sticky areas from the cake before frosting.
Cake Stuck to the Pan
- Cake tin not greased and floured before putting in the batter, Or
- Cake left in the tin for too long before trying to remove it, Or
- Cake not baked long enough.
- Uneven heat circulation, cake tin not kept in the centre of the oven, Or
- Not enough space between the sides of the oven and cake tin, Or
- Cake tins, if using 2 simultaneously, are kept too close to each other.
Cake with large holes
- Cake tin not tapped to release air bubbles, before putting in the oven, Or
- Too hot oven, Or
- Over or under mixing the batter, Or
- Too much baking powder.
- Cake tin too big, Or
- Cake tin greased too much, Or
- Over mixing the batter, Or
- Cake tins too close to each other, if baking 2 simultaneously, Or
- Over baking, Or
- Too much liquid.
TIPS To avoid “What went wrong’
- Measure ingredients accurately, using a weighing scale or proper measuring cups.
- All ingredients, especially dairy products, should be at room temperature unless specified otherwise.
- Ensure that your baking powder and baking soda are active and not expired.
- Use Cake tin of proper size.
- Do not open the oven for the first 20 minutes.
- Do not beat the batter vigorously, always follow cut n fold method.
- Follow instructions regarding oven temperature and timing.
- Always check for the doneness of the cake before removing from the oven.
- Always cool the cake completely on wire rack before storing or frosting it.
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