Whether you're baking a birthday cake, wedding cake or simply a Monday afternoon cake, the chances are you want to get it right the first time. No one enjoys opening the oven to find a cake-filled disaster, and while baking a cake is an art, it's also a science. If you’re eager to bake your next cake from scratch and want to avoid the common makes associated with it, save yourself from significant cake failure with this troubleshooting guide. In this article, we'll discuss some of the most common cake failures and how to prevent them from happening to your baked masterpiece.
Cake Fail: Your Cake Is Too Dry
When it comes to cakes, we want them to be many things, but dry is not one of them. If you pull your cake from the oven, take a test bite and realize it's a bit too dry, it's usually due to one of two things. Either a little too much flour was used during the process, or not enough butter/egg was added.
The Solution: Be Mindful of Your Measuring Cup
To avoid a dry cake, all ingredients must be appropriately measured, especially the flour. If you're used to measuring your ingredients by eye or scooping the flour straight from the bag to the measuring cup, then it's time to update your method. Instead, try using a spoon to add your flour from the bag to a measuring cup, and be sure not to overpack it. Doing so will ensure that you won't press in too much flour by mistake. Now, if you really want to be precise—which is the best way to guarantee your cake turns out perfect—we recommend using a digital food scale to measure the flour before it's mixed with the wet ingredients.
If your cake is finished baking and you want to add some moisture back in, we're here to help. While the only way to truly fix your cake's texture is to re-bake it, there are a few ways you can add some moisture to an already dry cake. If your cake is just a tiny bit drier than you'd like, try adding a layer of buttercream frosting to the top for extra moisture. If your cake is too dry to eat, don't toss it out just yet! Crumble up your dried cake and mix it into the frosting to make cake balls instead.
Recipe to Try: Salted Almond Fudge Cake
Cake Fail: Your Cake Overflowed in The Oven
While baking a cake is bound to get a bit messy, most of us hope that that mess remains on the easy-to-clean countertops. One of the most chaotic cake fails around is a cake that overflows in the oven. If you want to avoid deep cleaning your oven this week and create a cake that tastes—and looks—great the first time, be sure to use the correct pan.
The Solution: Avoid Overfilling the Pan
When it comes to pouring cake batter into a pan, be sure to leave some room at the top and never overfill it. If your cake bakes appropriately, then it will likely rise a bit. That rising combined with an overfilled pan can quickly turn your oven into a cake-filled disaster. For best results, fill your cake pan ⅔ of the way full before it goes into the oven. Doing so will allow your baked treat plenty of room to rise. Additionally, if you're still worried about overflow, place a baking sheet underneath your pan to catch any batter that might spill over. If you noticed that the side spilled over a bit when pulling your cake from the oven, trim the edges and cover them with icing!
Recipe to Try: Berry Chantilly Cake
Cake Fail: The Top of Your Cake Cracked
If you're cooking a naturally dense cake like pound cake or working with a flourless batter, then some cracking is normal. However, if you're making a lighter cake that you plan to decorate with icing, you'll want the cake's surface to be as smooth as possible. When it comes to cracked cakes, it's almost always due to your oven temperature being too high. If your cakes are coming out cracked more often than not, then chances are your oven temperature is slightly off, and you need to accurately record it before placing your cake batter in there.
The Solution: Use an Oven Thermometer
The best way to get an accurate reading of your oven temperature is by using an oven thermometer. A thermometer will provide you with the actual temperature of your oven, as well as let you know just how off the reading is. Once you have the temperature measured correctly, try to avoid opening and closing the door of your oven while your cake is baking to prevent temperature fluctuation. If your cake still comes out a bit cracked, don't worry. A cracked cake still tastes great and can always be mended with a bit of buttercream.
Recipe to Try: Gluten Free Confetti Cake
We hope that you've found some solutions to your most dealt with cake-baking issues by reading this article. From dry cake to cracked cake, we're confident that anything you bake will taste great when made with love! Reference this guide before your next cake baking session and ensure that your baked treat comes out tasting and looking better than ever. From everyone at Bob's Red Mill, happy baking!