Hi, I'm new to this site and new to cake baking and decorating as well. Last night I baked a Pilsbury yellow cake mix and after I took it out of the oven it was severely cracked at the top and raised up very high in the middle. I was so dissappointed that I attempted to do it again but with the same result. I have baked this same recipe before with near perfect result so I'm not sure what is causing this. Could it be the oven, the position in the oven, the temperature ect. Please let me know if you have any ideas. Also please let me know if you have a basic cake recipe that I could try from scratch. Thanks so much.
I would try the recipe section here, seems to be lots and must work. I use bake even strips (Wilton), but have also tried in the past decreasing oven temp and putting a pan of water in the bottom. Helps bake more evenly. Also, if you have the flower nails, tried that trick last week. You flour/ spray/ grease them and place them in the bottom of the pan nail head down. aCts as a heating core. Students have also told me about wrapping foil around a wet disposable cloth and wrapping that around the pan. I have not tried it, but I would not go too far away from the oven. lol
You may want to consider purchasing an oven thermometer--they're inexpensive and it sounds like yours may be running hot.
Welcome to CC carmy! Here's a chart I refer to a lot when I have baking problems.
Here are the causes the chart lists for peaked, cracked tops.
Oven temperature too hot.
Not using magi-cake strips which prevent the edges from baking and setting faster than the middle
Too much flour or too little liquid
Pan placed too high in oven. Before preheating the oven, adjust oven shelf to the middle.
I had used Pillsbury for many years until they changed the recipe. They made the recipe too moist and when I called them, they denied that they changed the recipe. They told me to reduce the number of eggs by one and that would help. I did this and the wedding cake still was too moist. It almost felt wet when I cut it. The box even said they changed it. I have had the same problem with Super Moist cake mix, I think from Duncan Hines. I changed to the regular Duncan Hines cake mix (can't remember the name now) and it was better but I didn't like the taste as much. It still cracked a little when transferring the cake to a cake board. I have to try several others.
Have you tried lowering the oven temp to 325 degrees to avoid the cake from rising too high? I always bake my cakes at 325 now. Good luck.
Yellow cakemix (esp DH) will rise to incredible heights. Bundt cake recipes will create a denser cake.
Vicky, you are right about the mixes being too moist. You did not used to have to doctor the mix in order to keep the cake from falling apart. It's so annoying! When I was little, people added boxes of pudding to give more flavor to the cake. Now, people add a box of pudding to help stabilize the cake.
Bubblezmom.....So you're using bundt reciepes and baking them on layer pans??????
What people call "doctored" is standard bundt cake instructions. I'm a child of the seventies and my mom cooked every cake in a bundt pan. She was not a great baker, but knew that it's near impossible to screw up a bundt cake. Bundt cake recipes always say to add a box of pudding or a cup of sourcream or both to the cakemix. The heating core in the center of the bundt pan ensures that the cake will rise perfectly. The cake comes out dense enough to drizzle a glaze over the cake without it getting mushy. A bundt pan is a wonderful thing!
I use cakemix and a bundt pan when I need a quick dessert that will travel well. It's for when I don't want to be bothered with torting and frosting.
try leveling it a bit before you flip it, the hump is probably causing it to crack!
Waw, I'm so overwhelmed by all of the thoughtful responses. This is my first post so I figured that maybe one person may respond by Monday and after just a few hours I have so many great ideas to try. What a great group. I have to keep experimenting using the information provided (I had actually used the wilson bake even strips but that didn't seem to help). Thanks so much for your enthusiasm and willingness to help. I know where to turn in times of cakes related 'crisis' now . Thanks again.
I have recently been using Pillsbury yellow mixes. I like to fill my pans with plenty of batter and then level off the excess with the Wilton large leveler. I have also had sucess with the bake even strips and lowering the oven temp to about 325. Good luck on your next cake.
are you saying you add a box of pudding to make the cake mix less moist and less chance of splitting? Wouldn't it make it even harder to handle and more apt to break apart? I am confused...
but that wouldn't be anything new...
2 different issues-density and moistness. Adding a box of pudding just makes the cake a little heavier and easier to handle. It in no way makes it dry. The pudding just reduces the fluff factor.
I get really confused when people talk about dry cakemix cakes as it is pretty much impossible for cakemix cake to come out dry. The Pillsbury boy has been working 20yrs to make sure his cake isn't dry.
You can also add a little sifted flour to increase the density of the cake. I'm not a big fan of instant vanilla pudding so I added flour and vanilla to white cakemix instead.
Hello again, I just wanted to let you know that the problem did actually turn out to be the temperature of the oven. After reading your posts, I went out and got an oven thermometer which indicated that even though my oven dial was placed on 350 degrees, the thermometer inside actually read 450 degrees! I couldn't belive that the temperature was actually 100 degrees off; no wonding the cake was drying out and cracking at the top. So moral of the story: everyone should invest in an oven termometer and place the cake in the middle of the oven . The thermometer actually only cost $5.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond and was definitely worth the price. I just put the oven dial to about 275 degrees so that I could reach my desired 325-350 degrees, used the bake even strips and put the pan in the middle shelf of the oven. What a difference it made.
Anyway I truly appreciate you help and suggestions. Thanks so much everyone for the great advice.
I know this is an older thread but, I wanted to share my experience...
For many years I baked cakes and never had a problem with them cracking apart until just recently. I hadn't changed a single thing about the way I baked! I was soooo frustrated and wanted to throw in the towel.
Then, one night laying in bed (best time for thinking) it occured to me that the problem started when DH replaced an element in the oven!
So, I hot-footed to the store, got me an oven thermometer and found that the oven was 50 degrees hotter than it should be!! Wah-lah, problem solved!
If you have a "knob-style" temp selector, it can be calibrated. Pull the knob off, follow the directions on the back of the knob.
I have this same exact problem with my cakes, splitting and cracking and actually also shrinking....YUCK..
So, now I will try decreasing my oven temp...Let you guys know how it turns out...Thanks ladies/gents...I love you!