Unfortunately, baking lemon cake, chocolate cake, and other desserts is a very difficult task. Not everyone can cope with this. Quite often, people are faced with the fact that inside, the cake layers are not baked. At this time, a logical question arises, why is my cake sink in the middle?
Why the cake sinks in the middle: reasons
There are several reasons why is my cake sink in the middle. Almost all of them are easy to fix.
Not fully baked cake layers
Often the problem lies in the fact that you take the cakes out of the oven too early. If you’re planning on making cake fudge, this is a pretty good idea. If your plans include cooking a biscuit, then the cake layers need to be fully baked within enough time.
As you know, during baking, the outer cake layer heats up first. After that, heat is transferred inside the cake layer. Therefore, in the center, the cakes are baked longer. If you take out the cakes early, they may be a little damp. Because of this, the structure of the cake layers deteriorates.
If you notice that the cake layers are not completely baked, put them in the oven for another 3-5 minutes. Then check the readiness with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out of the cake layer dry, then you can safely get the cake out of the oven.
To avoid such a problem in the future, you need to stick to the time that is written in the recipe. However, you still have to focus on the quality of the oven.
As already mentioned, you should always check a cake layer with a toothpick and review whether are there a few moist crumbs on it or not.
Incorrect measurement of components
As mentioned, baking is a science. If you measure the ingredients incorrectly, the cake does not turn out to be of high quality. So cakes sink in the middle. If you choose the wrong ratio of dry and wet ingredients, the texture of the cake is spoiled.
If you are into baking, then you must have a digital scale at home. They ensure consistent success in baking. Their cost is small; however, you can prevent serious problems in the future.
Expired baking powder or baking soda for cake bakes
Often, cakes remain raw inside because the baking powder or baking soda, which is added to the cake batter, has expired. You must look at the baking powder or baking soda best-by date and then add it to the cake balls.
It is important to use baking powder or baking soda that has been released recently. This guarantees success in making the cake.
Prevention in the future
On average, a pack of the leavening agent is designed for 12 months or less. If you have been using the pack for a long time, review the expiration date and replace the component if necessary.
Even if you have doubts about the quality of the ingredient, it is better to replace them immediately. For baking powder to last longer, store it away from moisture.
Too many baking powders
Often people wonder why the cake sunk in the middle. This can happen if you add too much leavening agent. Typically, the recipe clearly states how much of the component to add. Its main purpose is to lift the pie.
If you add too much leavening agent in the hope that the cake rises well, you may get the opposite result. At first, the cake may rise, however, as you get it out of the oven, you may notice the cake sink in the middle.
Try to measure how many grams of leavening agent you add to the cake batter.
If the volume is written in spoons, then this recommendation must also be followed.
If the amount is written in grams, use a digital scale. Before introducing the baking powder into the dough, mix it with other dry ingredients.
Incorrect component temperatures
If you are making a cake, then all ingredients should be at room temperature. This applies to milk, eggs, and butter. Otherwise, it is difficult for you to achieve the same cake batter consistency. The structure deteriorates, causing the cakes sink in the middle.
If you take the ingredients out of the refrigerator, then they should be left for several hours at room temperature, or heated in the microwave for a few seconds.
Before you start whipping the butter with sugar, the butter needs to be warmed up. It should become soft, but not melt. If the room-temperature butter is very soft, the foam forms when whipped. Soon it is settled, which will ruin the texture of the cake.
Try to pre-measure the temperature of the butter. It should be at 73℉. If it is higher, you have to cool it for several minutes.
Excessive whipping of butter and sugar
All cake recipes imply that you first need to beat the butter and sugar. This process is very important because it has a direct impact on the structure of the dessert. The job requires special equipment, as well as the exact amount of time.
When you beat the butter and sugar, a bubble of gas should form. The main thing is to have the right amount of them. If there are too many of them, the cake will rise first, and then fall.
Try to beat the ingredients correctly. The optimal amount of time is 2-3 minutes. The speed of the mixer should be medium. This achieves the airiness and lightness of the cream.
Excessive dough mixing
When you start mixing dry and wet ingredients, they need to be mixed properly. Enough air should get inside. The components must be mixed until a homogeneous consistency is obtained. Then turn off the mixer.
If you beat the cake batter for a long time, or set the mixer to high speed, you mix the wet and dry ingredients strongly. Because of this, too much air accumulate inside. The cake will rise while baking and then immediately fall.
On average, it takes no more than a minute to mix the components. To make it easier to control the process, it is recommended to use a rubber spatula, not a mixer.
Wrong-size cake pan
Read the cake recipe carefully. It should indicate which baking pan is required. You need to find just such a baking pan. As you know, the cake pans support the dough while baking takes place. It is important to correctly determine the shape and size of the form.
If the baking dish is too small, and you pour all the batter into it, the cake does not bake completely. After all, the set time does not be enough. Therefore, the lemon cake, at the end of the process, drowns. Due to the shape mismatch, the layers of the cake are thin or thick.
You can also use colored nails, which are set in the center of the form. This allows the cakes to bake evenly because there will be small holes, and the heat will penetrate better.
Try to use the dimensions of the form, as prescribed in the cake recipe. If this is not possible, you have to control the amount of dough poured in. Focus on what baking pans are at home.
Strong oven heat
Before you start baking cakes, you need to make sure that the oven is hot enough. The oven temperature should correspond to the indicators that are prescribed in the cake recipe. You need to understand that not all devices show the correct oven temperature. The display may show a temperature of 360° F, but in fact, it is 380° F.
To achieve the best result, it is recommended to stock up on a special digital thermometer. If the oven temperature is high, the dough quickly rises, after which it settles upon contact with air.
On the outside, the cake burns, but inside it remains damp.
If you plan to bake large biscuits, it makes sense to purchase a small baking strip. You can buy it in the store, or make it yourself. This ensures even baking.
Insufficient oven heating
It is extremely important to have a special digital oven thermometer at home. Almost all ovens are always at the wrong temperature. Some may not fully heat up, while others overheat. Therefore, the baking process does not be reliable and becomes much more complicated.
If the oven is not heated enough, the cake rise first. Because of this, you can take it out early, because of which it remains raw inside and settle. Therefore, try to check the temperature with an oven thermometer and check the cake with a toothpick. If, due to insufficient temperature, you notice the underbaked cake, send it to bake a little more.
Experienced pastry chefs also advise overheating the oven a little. However, it is better to check with an oven thermometer for greater reliability.
Fast or slow closing of the oven door
As soon as you pour the cake batter into the cake pan, you can start baking. When you place the baking dish inside the oven, you need to close the oven door.
If you do it wrong, ruin the whole texture of the cake. If you do this quickly, then the cabinet feels a jolt.
This may cause the dough to move. Because of this, cakes sink in the middle during baking. If you close the oven door slowly, the temperature inside will decrease. Therefore, the baking process will be longer when compared with the time in the recipe. And chances are you’ll get the cake too soon.
It is recommended to close the oven door carefully. It doesn’t have to be fast or slow. Also, do not leave the door open for a long time so that hot air does not escape.
Early opening of the oven door
Many cooks sin by opening doors early. After all, they want to quickly see the desired result. Often, looking at a cake through glass doesn’t give the desired result, so people open their doors to check it out. However, this is prohibited.
If you open the oven door, then release the hot air. Because of this, the cakes sink. Especially if you open doors too often. Some recipes call for flipping the cake halfway through the baking process.
If the heating of your oven is uneven, then it is better not to do this. Leave the cake to bake quietly in the oven.
You should not open the door to check the readiness or the beauty of the dessert. You can open the door if you need to flip the dessert. However, this should be done towards the end of readiness. You can also open the door if there is an emergency.
Quite often, people use cake recipes from the Internet. However, they are not always reliable. Even if you met all the requirements for the number of ingredients, strictly followed the instructions, closed the doors correctly, and monitored the baking temperature, the cake bakes do not always turn out beautiful and uniform.
You need to understand that the use of recipes that are published on the Internet does not always be appropriate.
Some chefs do not have professional experience in their work; therefore they cannot correctly describe the ratio of ingredients, as well as the baking time.
Some authors do not explain everything at all, so it is difficult to follow the cooking steps.
Often people notice that using a recipe from the Internet does not give the desired result. The cake will be terrible, both in taste and appearance. Therefore, try to use proven recipes. If you decide to pay attention to a recipe from the Internet, then first study the reviews of other users.
Also, try to avoid the mistakes that are written in this article. Remember that baking turns out to be of high quality if you follow everything and follow the basic recommendations.
Drowning cake application
If you notice that the cake has settled in the middle, this is not a reason to throw it away. You have every chance to save it.
The main thing is to do everything right, based on the basic tips. If the cake is not burnt and does not have a liquid texture, you can use it. However, not completely, but only partially.
First, make sure that the taste of the cake corresponds to reality. If the cakes sink due to too much baking powder, the taste will be ruined, and you won’t want to go into further tasting. If the sunken cake tastes good, you can salvage it. First, you need to level the surface of the cake with a knife.
It should take on a flat shape. If necessary, you can decorate the dessert. To do this, cover the top with ordinary glaze. If you plan to use glaze to smear the inner cake layers, it makes sense to turn the recessed part up.
This helps maintain the cake’s structure and prevent it from being wobbly.
You can also show a little imagination. To do this, instead of the sunken cake, make a small hole. Inside, pour jam or your favorite cream that matches the theme of the cake. If you don’t plan on decorating the cake, you can turn it into small cubes.
Some confectioners make parfaits, cake pops, and ice cream from the wrong cake. All this is a good and universal solution that everyone likes.
Cake fix options
As mentioned, you always have the option to fix a sunken cake.
1. Leveling the layer
As already mentioned, first you need to level the top layer of the cake. To do this, it makes sense to cut off parts that are not baked, or that remain raw. There should be an even layer of cake. This solution is optimal if the central part drops a little.
2. Return to the oven
If you notice that some cake has started to sink after you take it out of the oven, you can put it back in the oven for a few minutes. No, it won’t fix a center that’s started to fail. However, you can avoid damp areas.
3. Applying buttercream to assemble the cake
If all methods fail, you can cut off the parts that are not cooked through. Additionally, use a small amount of additional glaze. It is believed that an oil-based cream helps to cope with almost all problems.
You can also use a round cookie cutter. Use it to remove the center. Fill it with sweets or sprinkles, forming an original filling.
When it comes to the fact that the cake is drowning, you can face numerous questions.
Can you put a sunken cake back in the oven?
Once the cake has cooled, the baking powder stops working. Air holes are designed to create a light texture. Therefore, returning to the oven does not save your dessert.
What can cause a cake to sink in the middle?
As already mentioned, this may be due to the use of an incorrect form. Also, the cake can sink if the oven temperature is not correct, or if you add the wrong amount of baking powder.
The category of no less common causes includes improper kneading of the dough, as well as its over-saturation with a large amount of air. The cakes must be baked at the correct time. Often the dough sinks if you rotate the cake pan at the wrong time.
As you can see, cakes can sink for various reasons. All of them are related to the mistakes of the cook. If you keep a close eye on everything, you can avoid problems.