Jana is a baking enthusiast. She loves sharing tips and recipes with fellow flour-sprinkled souls.
Help! My Cake Cracked on Top
You bought all the expensive ingredients and followed the recipe’s instructions down to the letter. Your kid is looking forward to their favourite cake that afternoon. But things are going wrong...
There is no time left to run to the store again to get ingredients for a second cake and let's make the scenario worse, your kid wanted that cake so you cannot buy a generic creation from a bakery.
You have only this cake—the one that came out of the oven looking like an earthquake zone. The surface is marred with a massive crack or several smaller ones. Needless to say, it is a disheartening moment.
Let's learn more about why cakes betray your expectations in this manner (come on, you feel betrayed) and how to prevent it from happening again!
Two Possible Culprits
If you are new to baking or have never really tried to make a cake before, then the two main causes might surprise you.
Not What You Think
At first, one might think that something went wrong with the ingredients. Was the flour too old? Did I fail to mix the stuff in the right order? Here’s the truth. When the top of a cake fractures, it’s got nothing to do with the preparation process of the dry and wet ingredients.
The problem occurs when you choose the pan or the moment you stick the cake into the oven. Confused? Read on!
Culprit 1: The Oven Is Too Hot
The most common cause is temperature. When the heat is too high, the cake’s surface is almost guaranteed to impersonate an earthquake.
But how do things go wrong, exactly? The reason is interesting. When your oven is too toasty, the outside layer of the cake receives more heat than the batter within. This causes the exterior and the interior to mature at different rates. The crust cooks a lot faster than the cake’s innards and this causes cracks to appear.
Read More From Delishably
A good recipe will always explain how to properly preheat an oven and the correct temperature for baking the cake. Follow these instructions very closely.
Another thing to look out for is how you place the pan inside the oven. Even when the temperature is correct, and you place the cake on the incorrect rack, then you might end up with a heating problem and a cracked appearance.
Use a thermometer to nail the right temperature. If you do not have one, consider investing in an accurate thermometer designed for cooking and baking. You'll thank yourself later!
Culprit 2: You've Used the Incorrect Pan
At least once in our lives, most of us are guilty of the following scenario. We rush around, get all excited about trying a new recipe, we have all the ingredients—and then you realize that the pan is not quite the right size. Oh well, since it’s just a little too big or small, we decide to use it anyway.
Unfortunately, this extra space, or lack thereof, can both lead to an unsightly cake. The same counts for depth. Very often the depth of a pan is not considered as important as its size, but this can also lead to the same unsatisfying results.
Resist that urge! It’s hard to hold off on a wonderful new recipe just because the pan is not the right size. But in order to avoid a waste of ingredients or a terrible-looking cake, it might be better to wait until you can buy the correct pan.
If you are an avid baker, a new pan is never a loss! You purchase it once and then use the bowl forever.
Additional Crust Care Tips
- Peeking at your yummy cake through the oven window is allowed—but don’t open the oven’s door until the baking time is up.
- Bread can also crack rather badly, but this is normally prevented by pressing a line down the middle of the dough before slotting the pan into the oven
- An advanced tip is to place a bowl of water in the oven when you adjust the recipe to fit a different size pan. The steam produced by the water can help to bake the batter more evenly.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Jana Louise Smit