How to Overcome Problems in Cake Baking

Written by karen sheviak
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How to Overcome Problems in Cake Baking
Many things can go wrong when baking a cake, but following a few principles can prevent problems. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

You can encounter problems when baking a cake because cake baking is chemistry. The ingredients must be in certain proportions and should be mixed together in the correct way or the cake will not bake as it's supposed to. The pans should be greased and floured as directed by the recipe, both to prevent sticking and help the cake rise. The oven should be fully preheated so the cake rises properly once it's put in. Once baked, cool your cake fully in the pan on a rack on the counter, not on the oven, which will still be warm.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Ingredients listed in cake recipe
  • Dry and liquid measuring cups
  • Oven thermometer

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Use the correct ingredients. Using butter instead of oil will change the texture of the cake because butter is solid at room temperature. Brown sugar is denser and moister than granulated sugar, and whole wheat flour is not as tender as white flour. Follow the recipe exactly, ensuring all your ingredients are at room temperature before you start, and you will be more likely to get the results you're looking for. If you want to substitute ingredients, such as substituting apple sauce for some of the fat, be aware that the cake will be different.

  2. 2

    Measure carefully. Baking is a science, and cakes require the correct proportion of flour to sugar to fat. Using the wrong amounts will produce a different result. Measure dry ingredients, such as sugar and flour, in dry measuring cups that come in 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cup increments. Fill the cup so it's heaping, and level off the dry ingredients with a knife. Measure wet ingredients in clear measuring cups that come in 1-, 2- and 4-cup sizes. Bend down and check the measurement at eye level to ensure you're adding the right amount.

  3. 3

    Mix the ingredients properly. This is best done with an electric mixer or stand mixer. If your recipe starts with creaming sugar and butter, this requires beating them for at least two minutes until the two ingredients are fully incorporated and are light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time to ensure that each is fully beaten into the batter before you add the next. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl so the leavening agents, such as baking soda, are dispersed throughout the cake.

  4. 4

    Consider the recipe. If you've made the cake a few times and measured your ingredients carefully, then chances are the recipe is flawed. Most recipes are not tested before being published, so if one isn't working for you, try a different recipe and compare the amounts of ingredients to determine where the error might be.

  5. 5

    Check your oven temperature with a thermometer. Many ovens are slightly hotter or cooler than the temperature displayed, so checking your oven's accuracy can help you avoid hot spots or adjust the temperature to account for any variations. This will prevent your cake from being burnt on the bottom or cracked on the top.

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