There’s little doubt that you know someone who can bake the perfect cake. It’s strange, actually, how some people can make a perfect cake every time and then there are the rest of us that can follow each and every detail on the back of a box mix and still create a cake with a cracked top and a burnt bottom. It seems no matter how hard we try, our cakes come out bearable at best but truly capturing grandma’s perfect cake is a long gone dream. After so many failed attempts you may not even want to try again but here are some tips to help you overcome some of the most common cake baking mistakes.
If your cakes tend to have a course texture, it is likely one of two problems. One common problem is adding too much baking soda in the mix. The other is too little liquid in the mix. A less likely option is that the sugar and butter wasn’t mixed well enough to create a smooth batter.Another thing that can lead to a coarsely textured cake is having the temperature too low in your oven. Not all ovens are 350 degrees when you set the dial on 350 degrees. Some ovens run hotter or cooler than the thermostat reads. You can use a heat resistant thermometer to see if your ovens’ setting matches the actual temperature of the oven.
If you tend to bake cakes that seem to be difficult to break away from the pan, there are a few reasons for this. It may be something as simple as the pan requiring more oil and flour. Not removing the cake from the pan at the right time can also cause this issue. If you try to remove it too soon it may be too hot to loosen from the pan, but, on the other hand if it stays in the pan until it’s completely cooled it can cause the same problem.Time the cake’s release the same as you would the cooking time, as recommended in the recipe. Another way to fix this problem is to cool the pan on a wire rack so air is accessible to the bottom of the cake pan.
If your cake tends to come out too dry, it’s usually caused by too much baking powder or too much flour. Of course not using enough liquid in the mix will cause the same problem. Using temperatures too high or even lower temperatures but for too long.
There are many problems that can cause a cake to “fall” or sink in the center. One is excess liquid used in the batter. Opening the oven door during cooking can also cause this problem, and allowing the oven door to slam will often cause this sinking middle to occur. Not enough baking time is another frequent cause for this. On occasion you can get baking powder that is old and it does not do its job during baking can be a culprit. Fresh ingredients and keeping the oven door shut while baking your cake will likely avoid this issue.
Hopefully these tips will help you turn out a cake as good as grandma used to make. Good luck and happy baking!