I'm making my SIL's wedding cake in a couple of weeks. I've been baking a couple of different recipes to try them out. I've tried 4 so far so I think the problem is me or the oven. EVERY cake dips in the middle.
I just took out of the oven a chocolate WASC which I baked at 325 and even wrapped the Wilton baking strips around the pans. I can't afford (financially) to continue to make these mistakes.
Any ideas? The altitude here is about 5000 feet if that makes any difference. However, this isn't the first time I bake a cake. I've been making cakes consistently as a hobby for the past six years and I've never had this!
How big are the cakes? Are you using anything to heat the center (heating core or flower nail)?
You have to wait until the center is set before you open the oven or move the cake. Don't be tempted to peek in at it or it will sink.
i think it would help to know what size cakes you are trying to bake-i haven't made anything bigger than a 1/4 slab at a time and i know that anything bigger requires those nails or baking core to distribute the heat to the middle (it would sink if it's not thouroughly cooked) hope that helps and i agree with ohmyganache too about not peeking or moving the cake
i bake my cakes at 300...they cook more evenly IMHO.
Have you checked the temperature of your oven. Get an oven thermometer to make sure your oven has the right temp.
Are they 2" or 3" high pans? The Wilton 3" pan requires a lot more baking time, the 8" x 3" almost takes an hour in my oven at 350 and I live in Denver (so altitude is close).
I have baked my *original* WASC recipe at 8500 feet so I doubt that is the problem. I think you either are not letting it bake long enough or your oven is off.
Use your nose....when you can smell that wonderful aroma you know your cake is done Time is just a help as to when it *might* be ready.....different ovens take different amounts of time.
Do bake at lower temps......300 or 325. Some sizes can take as much as 90 minutes to completely bake thru. Again, use your nose
Kakeladi, that is such excellent advice. I read on another thread a while back that you should not even think of opening that oven door until you can smell the cake baking. It really works. I have a couple of recipes that try to fall in the center, but as long as I use a flower nail, bake even strips and don't open the oven too soon (I use every measure available!!), they've been fine.
I usually bake cakes up to 14" round, 3 in. deep, on 350 for about an hour, and I use a rose nail in the center of the pan. I know is done when I insert a fork around the middle of the cake and it comes out clean, the outer part of the cake usually bakes first. Good luck
I live in Colorado and what I do is add 1/4 cup of flour and an extra egg to every recipe. I don't have many cakes that dip in the middle but when I do I just over compensate the batter in the pan so I can cut the dip off. I hope this helps a little.
I have been having the same problems with my cakes and it makes me so mad and discouraged. I went and got an oven thermometer and that helped (my oven was about 10 degrees off) and I've also had to add an extra 1/4 cup of flour to recipies and that seems to have helped a little. But I'm with you it is so frustrating to put all the time, energy and money into a cake and have disasters. If you find a better answer let me know. I've tried everything.
i've read several times that anything over a ten inch cake SHould have a heating core in the center. i make my own. depending on the size of the pan, say like a 12 inch or so or even my own home version of the wondermold pan- i use a tomatoe paste can, both ends removed, paper of course gone, and i use the pam with flour spray on the inside and out. just slip right in, once baked, slips right out.. for the larger pans- i use the same concept- just use say like a spaghetti sauce can.
Thank God someone else does the "smell" method! People use to look at me like I was nuts when I told them that I didnt time my cakes or cookies or even roasts! I told them that I could tell when it was done by the smell. They would look at me like I was crazy or something! But its true!
And yes, when you are baking 4" high pans they will sink in the middle if you dont use a core or the flower nail trick. I have confection and I still have to use it when the cakes are any bigger than a 8" cake.
You're all terrific, thanks for your advice.
I'm embarrassed to say that these trial cakes I've been making have only been 8"! From what I'm reading it seems I'm not baking them long enough and probably peeked in too early. It looked like the sides were pretty much done so I opened the oven to check the middle.
I wanted to try baking a little longer at lower temperature but wasn't sure how to gauge it. I will wait for the wonderful aroma of cake the next time. Where could I find an approximate timeline for the different sizes at 300 and 325?
I will also have to check the oven temp. It's pretty old and has never been quite right for me. In fact, I called my DH crying saying we needed to get a new oven. You can imagine what he said.
Thanks again. I will post my progress.
My oven is only a few years old, I finally checked the temperature and sure enough, I'm 25 degrees under!
I'm glad I read this, I really need to check my oven temp. Thanks!
Ovens can vary 25 degrees up or down. You may want to adjust your cooking time and save the expense of getting it repaired.
We have insurance through our utility company and they don't consider 25 degrees a problem.
I just got a new stove today. My other one varied 25 degrees but it depended in what mood it was in. Some times 25 to hot, sometimes 25 not hot enough.
I really had enough when it would change it's mind in mid-cooking.
i bake to a certain time that its nearly done (basically ten minutes before) then i check its progress about every 5 to ten minutes after, mines a gas oven so i wouldn't know how to set the temp if it was off..
okay probably a stupid question to most of you - but i am pretty new at this
what is a heating core all about?
the typical one i have by i think wilton, is a metal cone shape you put in the center that acts much like the edges of the cake pan does, it helps bake the center of the cake that in large pans doesn't get the heat that the batter near the sides of the pan does.
You don't have to adjust the oven, there should be 2 little screws on the knob. You loosen those, twist the dial until it's correct and re-tighten.