Before you can bake a cake, you will have to know what are the 8 common cake problems and solutions for you to fix those problems. We have created this guide for you on the problems you may run while baking to help you understand why it happens. Read on to bake your perfect cake!
Whether you are looking to bake a cake with a lovely crack on top or a cake that has a smooth surface, understanding the 8 common cake problems and solutions to solve them can make a world of difference for a successful presentation of cakes. So, we shall explore some usual cake failures that arise in the kitchen and what are the ways to fix that.
1. Has a hump
Sometimes your cake struggles to rise evenly and you find that your cake has a hump (or a bump or dome) in its centre. This can be frustrating if you were hoping for a nice flat cake.
Cause: This happens because the oven was overly hot when the baking started. When your oven gets too hot before the baking starts, that means your cake pan will heat up much faster than your cake batter. Before your cake can fully rise, its edges have already set causing the rest of the cake batter to cook and rise in the middle.
Solution: Line the outsides of your cake tin with a double layer of foil. Take long strips of foil, fold them to the height of your cake pan, then wrap them around the outside. The extra foil slows down the heating of the pan, so the cake batter at the edges will not cook so fast.
2. Has deep cracks
When your cake has cracks deeper than an earthquake, that needs to be addressed!
Cause: It could be due to a temperature that is too high. The exterior of your cake is receiving more heat than its batter within. With the different exposure to heat, the rate of cooking between the cake exterior and interior will differ too. So, when the crust cooks way quicker than the inside, this causes the deep cracks to surface on the cake. Another fault could be the over-usage of baking powder in the batter. Too much of it causes the cake to rise too fast and too much, hence the cracks.
Solution: Check your oven with an oven thermometer and reduce the temperature accordingly if it is running hot. If the temperature is reading as correct or the problem persists, try reducing the temperature by 10°C and see if this helps. It also helps to put your cake in the centre of the oven for even heat distribution. Another way is to reduce the amount of baking powder.
Psst… just a quick tip if you are desperate (we all can be sometimes), especially when you do not have the time to start over. One of the ways to cover up your mistakes is to mask the cake. Here are some fantastic toppings you can use to hide those imperfections:
- First up, we have our Rich’s Gold Label. It provides a creamy flavor and it is specifically developed for bakers to unleash their imagination with ease to create the best cakes. Also providing an excellent yield and overrun, truly helps bakers for their cake’s overall performance in terms of functionality and flavor.
- If you are hoping for something fresh and natural that comes with a milky taste, then Rich’s Milk Topping ticks in all the right places. It is Malaysia’s 1st premium topping and icing made with pasteurized fresh milk. Incorporating into your baked goods adds a fresh touch to it as it bursts with a unique milk flavor. Containing no less than 36% dairy content, this is the optimal choice for you to create creamy and luscious cakes and desserts.
- Perhaps you do not have a sweet tooth, that is okay. Some of us lean towards savory food a little more. That is why we have Rich’s Klasik Crème for the non-sweets people. What makes this non-dairy topping cream special is that it is enhanced with sea salt making it the perfect combination with other savory ingredients. But that is not all the benefits it has, there is always more to expect.
3. Coarse texture
A cake that is thoroughly coarse is a nightmare. Nobody wants to sink their teeth into sandpaper or a cake that is just dry.
Cause: Coarse and grainy cakes frequently result from a temperature that is not high enough. Even having improper or inadequate mixing, the use of liquid fat in place of solid, and excess baking powder may also result in coarse, gritty, or grainy texture for the cake.
Solution: Check your oven temperature and make sure the cake gets the heat it needs. Remember to mix your ingredients properly too. Do not overmix the cake batter, just ensure the ingredients are mixed until well combined. Reduce any excess baking powder.
4. Light in color
When your cake is pale and does not have the bright, rich, and golden-brown color you are looking for, it will not look as appetising as you want it to be.
Cause: It is possible that your cake was suffering from inadequate heat in the oven. Too low of a temperature causes your cake to be light in color. Another reason could be that another baking pan was placed too close together in the oven while baking.
Solution: Again, ensure that your cake is placed in the centre of the oven with enough heat penetrating it.
5. Dark bottom
Let us face it, it is easy to overbake cakes. There are a few reasons why your cake can have a dark bottom.
Cause: Aside from having an oven too hot or a cake that has been sitting there forever, you could be using the wrong pan. Darker pans absorb more heat which in return, gives off more heat to the cake batter. This burns the bottom of the cake. Another thing to note is that cheaper and thinner metal cake pans too, have the tendency to burn.
Solution: Coat your cake pan evenly with spray or butter. Make sure you are using the centre rack so that neither the top or bottom are too close to a heat source. A sheet of aluminium foil under the pan too can help prevent burning on the bottom.
6. Has fallen
Cause: A fallen cake just means that the cake was under-baked—the oven temperature was too low and/or the baking time was too short. While it can be fun to look at your cake every now and then while it is baking, do not open and close the lid of your oven whenever you feel like it.
Solution: Let the oven do its thing and bake the cake while you wait patiently. Removing the cake from the oven too early is a no-no.
7. Overfilled or overflowed
There are a few reasons why a cake batter may be overfilled or overflow from the cake pan while baking but…
Cause: One of the most common reasons is that the cake pans are too small or too shallow. Using too much baking powder can cause the cake batter to rise quickly and collapse, this happens because the air bubbles in the batter grow too large and pop, causing the batter to lose its stability and fall.
Solution: A safe rule of thumb is never to completely fill your pan. Just fill only about two-thirds or three-quarters of the way up. Place a baking sheet under your pan to catch any overflow during baking and if your cake still overflows, just cut around the edges. Piping frosting or stiff whipped cream around the outsides of ragged and uneven cake also works.
Do not let Gordon Ramsay catch your cake raw and doughy on the inside, he will get a meltdown (and so will you).
Cause: It is a sign that your temperature was too low. Even though large or moist cakes can appear cooked externally, they may still be undercooked internally. When a cake is not cooking in the middle, it is often because the cake was not baked for long enough.
Solution: Every oven is different, so you cannot always rely a hundred percent on the recipe’s timing and temperature. So, leave it longer in your oven to bake and test its doneness until it is fully baked. This might take 5 minutes longer or 30 minutes longer depending on the situation. No matter how long it takes, a cake that is slightly overcooked is better than one that is not.
Taking your cake out of the oven to find that it is not fully cooked is a pain. Regardless of the type of cake you are planning to bake, you will see that baking problems occur often. That is completely all right as it is part of the baking journey. But at least, you will understand better why these cake problems occur. If you have liked what you read, we have more fun reads and fun facts that you can check out. Of course, after reading this article to the end, we could not let you leave without some cake recipes! Those are some of the simple and delicious cakes we have for you. To never miss an update from us, check out our official site and Facebook page — share the good news with your loved ones. Thank you for reading!