There are endless comments that I see on my Instagram and my Youtube channel. But, most of them revolve around failed cakes. A dessert going bad or failing is admittedly a very hurtful thing. There are a lot of things that go into making the simplest of cakes. Once your cake is in the oven, there is hardly anything you can do to it and unfortunately this also implies that you can’t save your cake when you can see it evidently failing. So, today we are going to talk about Cake Mistakes and how you can go about fixing them!
There are endless cake mistakes that one deals with. Sinking centres, cracked cakes, dry cakes, collapsing cakes, and what not. We have all had our fair share of experiences with failed cakes. Even though practice makes perfect, I feel extremely disheartened when any of my cakes fail. A lot of efforts, ingredients, and time goes into baking any cake and it’s a booger when they don’t exceed your expectations, no? Nevertheless, there are actually some very basic tips- but very important ones- to ensure that your cakes come out absolutely perfect. I personally always keep these points in my head while baking a cake. Over the years, these points have become a natural process for me. I know fully understand when I am over-beating my cake or if my cake is not done just by a slight glance at it. If you are a budding baker, trust me, this article on Cake Mistakes is going to change your world.
What are the cake mistakes that I can take care of in advance?
I have actually received endless complaints of a cracked or a domed cake. Even of a cake that ‘looks’ well-done but is under-cooked upon cutting. This has happened with the most basic of my recipes as well and I can empathise. Everyone has to start from somewhere and it’s really okay to make mistakes. It’s just my belief that when these mistakes are edible, you don’t feel as bad, haha. But, coming back to the point- there are endless cake mistakes that you can do which steers your cake into another direction altogether. Read on to know more.
Gone are those days when everyone used to advise that the more you beat your cake, the better it is. I have no understanding how this belief even came into existence because over-mixing is the worst cake mistake to commit. Not only does it make your cake chewy, it also beats the air out of your batters and makes your sponge cake not spongey at all. How disappointing is this, honestly? So, what really happens when you over-beat a cake a batter? You actually end up forcing the air out so the cake will be too dense and it will stick to your palette. Not only this, your cake becomes chewy because you are over-working the gluten in your dough. This is a strict no-no and a very disappointing cake mistake too!
Not lining properly
Each and every baker in the world will repeatedly ask you to ‘prepare your pans’. But, what does this really mean? There are a thousand different ways of preparing your cake tins. It’s basically so the cake does not stick to the bottom and sides of your tins while baking. You can use parchment paper or a simple coating of flour and butter. Even so, you can use a generous coating of either oil or butter. For chocolate cakes, dust cocoa powder instead of flour to get better and cleaner results.
Skipping pre-heating is the worst ever cake mistake
Baking soda and baking powder are super popular leavening agents which make a cake soft and spongey and they are mostly used in most sponge cakes. At least one of them is included in every sponge cake recipe. These leavening agents actually work by reacting to heat. If your oven is not pre-heated well, these leavening agents will take their own time to kickstart their reaction processes. Meanwhile, other ingredients will cook and your cake will be a total mess. Not only this, a pre-heated oven is important so your cake can immediately get down to baking without any delay! You will notice a huge difference in your cake when you put it in a pre-heated oven versus when you don’t do the same. Don’t commit this cake mistake if you don’t want your cakes to be hardy, dry, and dense.
Common cake mistakes and how to avoid them
Why is my cake too dense and rubbery?
Cakes become dense when air has been knocked out of cake batters. There are other reasons too that make your cake too dense and rubbery. This is a cake mistake that you can easily prevent so please take note. In recipes that require you to mandatorily cream sugar and eggs, please do that until you see a homogenous mixture (a mixture where the ingredients can not be differentiated). You should also not be able to feel the sugar between your fingers. If it is not creamed sufficiently, there is no air in the batter.
Also, be strict with measurements. Unnecessarily adding more liquids to a cake only makes it difficult to bake and very rubbery as well.
Why is my cake too moist?
We all will agree that moist cakes are not undesirable. But sometimes, cakes are too moist and sticky to be true and this is a strict no-no because this stickiness makes it too heavy. When you frost moist cakes, they quickly are able to break down as well. You don’t want this happening at a party. So, to prevent moist cakes, make sure you’re binding the ingredients well. If over-mixing is a problem, so is under-mixing. When the liquids are not combines well with the dry ingredients, they retain their liquid property and make a cake too moist and these cakes won’t hold well- especially in our country’s temperature. My bests advice? Don’t be impatient with batters and don’t be hasty too. These attitudes lead to super upsetting cake mistakes!
Why is my cake too sticky on top?
Here, moisture is something that again is playing a huge role. A lot of recipes suggest that you quickly wrap your cake as soon as it is out of the oven. This disables the hot air inside the cake to escape. As a result, it becomes trapped and makes cakes too sticky from the top. These cakes are again difficult to work with especially when you’re thinking of frosting them. The best way to avoid sticky tops it to let the cake cool at room temperature on a wire rack. If this makes your cakes dry, don’t worry- you can very easily brush it with a sugar syrup and it’ll go back to being super moist!
Why is my cake wet in the middle?
Wet cakes are the biggest cake mistake out there. It’s downright upsetting and heartbreaking. Such cakes are also pretty deceiving. You will notice that the sides are perfectly baked, the toothpick comes out clean too. But, the middle is a deep spot of chocolatey lava– appetising but not quite edible. This spot, on most occasions can’t even be covered with good and generous layers of frosting. Truly, nothing more disappointing than this. Thus, preventing this cake mistake is of the utmost importance!
A variety of issues can be causing a sinking middle. Too much baking powder that you intended to produce a heightened cake with, to start with. This fills the batter with a level of aeration that is much more than required. This is just the beginning of the end. Then, we have the issue of constantly opening the oven door or not baking the cake right. All recipes advice you to bake a certain cake at a certain temperature. Please follow that and definitely do not open the door of the oven unnecessarily. This allows a lot of heat to escape- a big cake mistake!
Why does my cake have a cracked top?
There are three main reasons of a cracked and/or domed top.
- Too much baking powder again is an issue. It makes the cake rise too quickly than it is normally supposed to. The cake is not able to handle this level of aeration and it cracks under pressure!
- Wrong oven settings also lead to cracked cakes. If your oven is too powerful, try baking a cake at 160 degrees. Inbuilt ovens that everyone uses nowadays are actually too strong and the best temperature for cakes to bake at is 160-170 degrees.
- Lastly, don’t overfill your tin. 3/4th level of a tin is the perfect level to fill a batter up to. The cake rises normally but beautifully!
With these simple tips, you can prevent a plethora of cake mistakes. Trust me, these might seem too intimidating right now but all of this will come naturally to you with more and more practice!
My favourite sponge cakes from the blog
Try out my favourite fool-proof cakes from the website below. Also, please let me know on Instagram if you ever try any of my recipes!