So much goes into baking, from carefully weighing each ingredient to ensuring your oven is at the correct temperature. Even so, there are times when precision isn’t enough and your cakes may still come out stodgy, unevenly cooked or overcooked. We have 10 troubleshooting baking tips for cakes, bakes and more to help you.
1. My cake isn’t cooked in the middle
If the middle of your cake hasn’t cooked, the cake is underbaked and needs longer in the oven. If the outer portion of your cake is cooking too fast compared to the middle, you need to lower the temperature of the oven or wrap a wet tea towel around the edge of your baking tin. This is a great tip that can cool the outside portion of your cake slightly, helping to even out the cooking time.
2. My cake is sunken in the middle
This is usually caused by opening the oven door part-way through cooking. Try to leave it until the cooking time is over halfway through (ideally three-quarters of the way through) before opening the door. If you’re baking multiple things at the same time, be sure not to bump the cake tin as this can also cause the middle to sag.
3. My cake is lumpy/stodgy/dense
Be sure not to over or under-mix your cake. Overmixing can cause a denser texture, and under-mixing can cause lumps or a crumbly texture.
4. My cake has a crust/my cake is sticky
This can be caused by adding too much sugar/syrup. Make sure to measure your ingredients accurately with a digital scale or with accurate measuring spoons. On a side note about measuring, be aware that normal cutlery isn’t accurate as the size of spoons varies greatly between manufacturers. Accurate measuring spoons/cups designed specifically for baking should be used wherever possible.
Cookies and Biscuits
5. My cookies are crumbly
This can be caused by using too many dry ingredients or not mixing the batter properly.
6. My cookies melted into one giant cookie
This can be caused by too many wet ingredients or using too much oil either on the pan or in your recipe. Also if you cream together your sugar and butter for too long, it can cause the butter to melt. You can compensate for this by adding a spoonful of flour back into your mix.
7. My cupcakes fell flat when I took them out of the oven
Like larger cakes, overmixing and opening the oven door too early can cause this. Another note is to check the expiry date of your ingredients, such as self-raising flour, baking powder and baking soda. Using these types of ingredients past their expiry date can change the chemical reaction that occurs.
8. My cupcake case came away from the cupcake
This is usually due to low-quality cupcake cases or moisture caused by steam or condensation. When taking your cupcakes out of the oven, make sure to leave them to settle in the cupcake tin for a moment or two, and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool naturally. A swift change in temperature such as putting them in the fridge can cause them to sweat and you may lose your cupcake cases.
9. My cheesecake has a crack across the top
We know you’ve heard this a few times during our baking tips but this is usually due to overmixing. If you’re having trouble incorporating your ingredients, make sure to leave them until they get to room temperature before mixing. It can also be caused by baking your cheesecake at too high of a temperature or having not greased your pan properly. When your cheesecake cools, it will shrink slightly.
10. My cheesecake is stodgy and firm
If you’re making a baked cheesecake, make sure not to keep it in the oven for too long. A lot of the setting process is done outside of the oven, so if you’re aiming to firm up your cheesecake in the oven then it will get even firmer when removed! Try to take your cheesecake out of the oven when the middle is still a little underdone and has some wobble, and leave it to set and rest before cutting into it.
We hope you enjoyed our 10 baking tips, and if you need a more in-depth look at each tip, you can visit some of the links we’ve left above to other great baking and cooking blogs.
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