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What Are The Main Reasons Why Your Perfect Cake Went Wrong?

Common Reasons Your Perfect Cake Went Wrong

Baking has never been more popular inspired no doubt by the hit TV show The Great British Bake Off.

But while there are countless websites created to showcase the perfect cake, or ultimate recipes, trying to work out why things keep going wrong can be much more of a challenge.

At Nelstrops, as a key supplier of high-quality flour ingredients to thousands of artisan bakers across the country, we are in the privileged position of being able to discuss these types of issues with some of the most prominent bakers in the country. This article aims to discuss some of the most common problems our bakers face and the solutions to those issues.


My Cakes Always Turn Out Too Dry

Although there is a risk that you have overbaked the cake, the solution to this problem typically revolves around not using the right-sized eggs, or not using enough eggs. If your recipe involves the use of large eggs, then using medium eggs can cause this specific problem.

If you do not have large eggs, then the solution is to throw in one extra medium-sized egg to replicate having enough eggs in your recipe. Likewise be careful that you do not use too much raising agent in your baking, as this can also cause you to end up with a dry cake.

A medium egg typically weighs around 50g, a large egg 57g and an extra-large egg 63g. Knowing this, if you only have medium eggs and it asks for extra large eggs you can always add the difference in liquid, be it milk or water. There is also the risk that you set your oven heat too low for the product. What this will do is take longer to bake, meaning you will bake out more moisture to achieve a baked exterior.

My Cakes Frequently Sink In The Middle

This is one of the most frequent issues enthusiastic new bakers face, and it is also one of the most frustrating. Your cake looks great and tastes great, but then you realise that yet again it has sunk in the centre. One of the reasons this happens to new bakers in particular is that they are too impatient because they can't wait to open the oven door to check how everything is going. If the recipe says 45 minutes then wait at least 45 minutes before opening the oven door. This will ensure that the cake has had time to bake. Another common cause for this particular problem is if you haven't added enough ingredients, or conversely, if you have added too much liquid. If you add too many raising agents this can make the cake rise too quickly, to the point where it then implodes upon itself. Also if you haven’t mixed your ingredients long enough then the strength of the cake won’t be as strong, which will make the cake sink. Another common cause is if you add too much sugar to the recipe.

My Cakes Don't Sink They End Up With a Huge Dome

Another common problem that many new bakers face is the opposite of their cakes sinking, the cakes literally come out of the oven with a huge dome. It could be argued once again that this is due in part to a lack of patience from the baker. That is because the root cause of this issue is the fact that the butter and sugar in your recipe haven't been creamed together for a long enough period of time. The general rule of thumb is to give all of your ingredients around five to seven minutes of creaming, as this allows sufficient air to get into the mix which in turn ensures that it remains light and fluffy with just the right consistency. Another good tip for this problem is to make sure that your baking tin is big enough, as sometimes with a smaller tin the mix is prevented from expanding quite as much as it needs to, essentially forcing the mix to expand upwards and then go pop, much like a volcano. Finally, the position you bake your cakes in the oven can have a huge impact on how the cake bakes. If you place it too high in the oven, the centre can sometimes rise, before the sides are ready, causing the dome problem. There is also the issue that you may not have enough liquid or fat in the cake recipe. It’s also good to position the cake in the centre of the oven as this will in essence bake the cake evenly top and bottom and not push the heat up through the cake and dome it.

I Keep Ending Up With Holes In My Cake

This is another one of those baking problems that are directly related to not enough creaming, in this case, sugar, eggs and butter or margarine. Additionally, if the temperature of the oven is too high, or you have added too much baking powder, then the end result will be a grainy uneven texture, with holes in the cake. When adding eggs into your butter/sugar mix always add them one at a time and then mix it well ensuring that the mix is smooth and fully mixed. If at any time during the mixing process, the mixture starts to separate simply add one tablespoon of flour for every egg that you have added. Any additional flour should then be carefully folded into the mix using a large metal spoon. This is to ensure that you do not lose any of the air in the mix. If you are adding fruit, especially glacé cherries, it’s always good to wash and dry them completely before adding to the cake. What happens is fruit tends to have sugar on the exterior and as the cake bakes this layer around the fruit and the fruit drops to the bottom of the cake and will produce air pockets.

Sugary Crusts

Anytime that you encounter sugary crusts the culprit is normally the fact that the sugar and fats have not been adequately creamed, but another simple solution may be that you have used granulated sugar, rather than caster sugar.

This is because granulated sugar does not dissolve as well as caster sugar which explains why the sugar and the fats may not have mixed as well as they should have. It's also critical to ensure that you do not add too much sugar as this can cause not only a sugary crust but also speckling on the top of your cake.

Hopefully, this article will help you resolve some of the most common issues bakers new and experienced face. However, the foundation of all good baking revolves around using high-quality ingredients. With the most important ingredient being flour. Nelstrops has been making the highest quality flours for over 200 years in Cheshire and is trusted by artisan bakers the length and breadth of the UK.

To order your Nelstrops flour and ensure your baking starts on a firm foundation, visit our online store today.


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