Baking is a skill that requires creativity and ingenuity to be able to achieve your desired cake masterpiece. It takes time, practice and lots of failed attempts to bake the right cake.
The problem with the Internet is that it makes everything seem so easy. Take baking for example. Do a quick scroll through Instagram and Pinterest, and you’ll find countless birthday cakes, and wedding cakes are so perfectly baked that they barely even seem real. However, they are, and they were baked by humans, so if they can do it, why can’t you? It can’t be so difficult … right? Well, now it won’t. We have bought you some tips to prevent cake failure.
Your leavener is expired
Air bubbles are necessary for a cake to rise, but if your leavener is stale, the chemical reaction that causes air bubbles to form will never leave your cake dense, sticky and flat. It is smart to check your baking powder or baking soda for freshness, before setting to make any baked good, especially if you don’t bake very often.
Your cake didn’t rise
You may end up with a flat cake for several reasons.
- You forgot to add baking powder, or you used expired baking powder.
- Your pan is too big, so the mixture may not rise enough to fill it. Or
- You over whisked.
Next time, make sure to use baking powder, and pay attention to the expiration date. An expired leavener is only going to give you a flat cake. Always be sure to bake in the designated pan, and whisk only until your ingredients are combined, not any longer.
To garnish a flat cake, you can always cut it and serve it as a mini cake (masked with a little icing), until it is baked.
Your cake Have a Cracked Top
There are three main reasons for a cracked and / or domed top.
- Too much baking powder is an issue again. It is generally believed that this increases the cake very quickly. The cake is not able to handle this level of aeration and it cracks under pressure!
- Wrong oven settings also result in cracked cakes. If your oven is very powerful, try baking a cake at 160 degrees. The inbuilt oven that everyone uses nowadays is actually very strong and the best temperature for baking cakes is 160–170 degrees.
- Lastly, do not overfill your tin. The 3 / 4th level of a tin is the correct level to fill a batter. The cake rises normally but beautifully!
Your cake is very dry
This is probably one of the biggest cake fails out there! Everyone loves rich, moist cakes, but sometimes we fail to achieve that juicy texture.
To prevent a dry cake, make sure the temperature of your oven is correct and avoid over baking the cake. An oven that is too hot and a batter that has been exposed to heat for too long can give you a dry out.
Also, if you find that your cake is too dry with the right baking time and temps, maybe you are mixing lots of dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda). To correct this, you may need to do a little experimentation with adding less dry ingredients or increasing the amount of butter in your batter.
Use our list of amazing cake fails as a guideline to avoid an epic fail.