Help!! Cakes Keep Sinking In Center

Decorating By rhopar33 Updated 1 Jun 2009 , 8:33pm by confectioneista

rhopar33 Posted 29 May 2009 , 2:12pm
post #1 of 27

Can someone please help me????!!! I have been baking for 4 years and I have been using the same recipes- I use the WASC variations. Well, for the past three days I have been attempting to bake a choc version of the WASC in a 13 inch pan. Everytime it bakes it seems to never really rise in the pan, it just kinda levels out and then gets real gooey looking. Then sometimes it starts to sink in the middle and in sort of a pattern that looks like a ring. Can anyone tell me what the culprit is? I bought new flour, new cake mixes etc and I can't figure out why this keeps happening. It even happens when I've tried to use yellow or white cake mix.

I've now thrown out six 13 inch cakes and the wedding is tomorrow. I'm desperate, please help!!!


26 replies
rhopar33 Posted 29 May 2009 , 2:28pm
post #2 of 27


CakesGoneSweet Posted 29 May 2009 , 2:34pm
post #3 of 27

Are you using a flower nail in the middle of the cake while baking? Also watch the brand of cake mix you are using. I have the center sink on cakes everytime I use Pilsbury cake mix. I have had really good luck with the Amazing Chocolate WASC Cake that is the recipes (which does recommend using a flower nail). Good luck!

MissRobin Posted 29 May 2009 , 2:36pm
post #4 of 27

Maybe you are putting too much batter in your pan. I find when I put too much batter it tends to do that. Usually I find that when my cake sinks in the middle (believe me, I have had a lot of trouble with WASC doing that), it is not done. Are you using the strips around your pan? Maybe check your oven temp? There is a fine line between done and overcooked, as I am sure you know, sometimes I think my cake is done, it feels done to touch in the middle, and then I take it out and it sinks. Just make sure, you have a good spring back when testing the top for doneness. Hope you figure it out, I know how frustrating it can be, especially the stress of a wedding cake!!! Good Luck, and don't give up, take a deep breath!!
Oh, and I like to bake mine at 325, it seems to help alot.

artscallion Posted 29 May 2009 , 2:36pm
post #5 of 27

Check your oven temp lately?

Where did you get this new recipe?

What is the recipe?

There are loads of reasons this could be happening. You hold the key. More info please.

rhopar33 Posted 29 May 2009 , 2:36pm
post #6 of 27

I typically don't use flower nails and my large layers always bake up well. I even tried a flower nail this time because of the problems but no luck.

I'm stumped. I have no idea what's going on.

confectioneista Posted 29 May 2009 , 2:38pm
post #7 of 27

Is there something you're doing differently now than before? What kind of "liquid" ingredient are you using?

rhopar33 Posted 29 May 2009 , 2:54pm
post #8 of 27

I'm not doing anything differently. I bake these variations of the WASC at least 15-20 times per week and I could probably bake it in my sleep. That's why this is so torublesome because it's what i do everyu week yet this week the cakes aren't rising.

The only other thing I can think of is the fact that it has been very overcats and raining off ad on now for a week. But I don't think I've ever not had a cake bake up correctly due to rain and temperatures outside.

TxBama Posted 29 May 2009 , 3:00pm
post #9 of 27

You may want to check out your stove ~ even if it seems to be working, it may have a thermostat going on the blink. This can cause a fluctuating temp and could cause problems with your cake falling.

confectioneista Posted 29 May 2009 , 3:07pm
post #10 of 27

I agree, check your oven temp. Is this only happening with the 13" cakes or all of them? I always bake my cakes on 325 even if the recipe says 350 - then I don't have a fallen, gooey center (especially on my large cakes). It takes longer but it works out better. And I use a toothpick to check for doneness - it's more accurate for me. Don't know about the humidity being an issue. When we lived in KY, it rained a lot there, too, but it didn't seem to affect my cakes like that. Also, if you're using a thick liquid, that will cause your centers to fall - just FYI. (Don't know if your recipe calls for any).

rhopar33 Posted 29 May 2009 , 3:17pm
post #11 of 27

The recipe calls for cooking at 325, but for the larger pans I cook at 300. here is the recipe:

1 box DH Dark Choc Fudge cake mix
1 1/3 C water
1/3 C oil
2/3 C flour
1/3 C dark cocoa
1C sugar
1/2 TS salt
2 TS vanilla
3 eggs
1 C sour cream

confectioneista Posted 29 May 2009 , 3:20pm
post #12 of 27

What about your flour? What kind are you using?

rhopar33 Posted 29 May 2009 , 3:35pm
post #13 of 27

I'm using all pupose which is what the recipe calls for. I originally thought the flour was the culprit; I bought a different brand but still have the same poblems. I even tried a different brand of cake mix.

confectioneista Posted 29 May 2009 , 3:40pm
post #14 of 27

Well, I'm stumped. I'm guessing it's your oven then. Maybe the heating element is going out. Try checking to see if it really is heating to the temp you want. HTH

artscallion Posted 29 May 2009 , 3:43pm
post #15 of 27

Try baking a completely different cake in there. If you have the same problem, at least you know it's not the recipe. That leave the oven and the new flour. What is the new flour?

rhopar33 Posted 29 May 2009 , 3:44pm
post #16 of 27

I'll have to purchase an oven thermometer today. I just installed this double oven a year and a half ago. Do you really think it could be messing up so soon?

confectioneista Posted 29 May 2009 , 3:49pm
post #17 of 27
Originally Posted by rhopar33

I'll have to purchase an oven thermometer today. I just installed this double oven a year and a half ago. Do you really think it could be messing up so soon?

Could be. Sometimes stuff like that can happen even when it's new. At least it would be under warrenty?

crazyteach Posted 29 May 2009 , 3:57pm
post #18 of 27

mine was doing something similiar to that -- the outsides were done and the middle was still sunk in so I cooked longer--- but the outside would then burn and the middle would be cooked -- it was my oven-- but my oven was old!

Good Luck!!

artscallion Posted 29 May 2009 , 4:37pm
post #19 of 27

If you find out your oven temp is off, HERE'S how you can potentially fix it yourself without calling someone in.

rhopar33 Posted 29 May 2009 , 4:44pm
post #20 of 27
Originally Posted by artscallion

If you find out your oven temp is off, HERE'S how you can potentially fix it yourself without calling someone in.

Wow, thanks for that tip! Now, if I can only get my lazy husband to do it.

BuncoHappens Posted 30 May 2009 , 7:34pm
post #21 of 27

Do you use the bake strips around the pans?

bmarlow001 Posted 30 May 2009 , 7:37pm
post #22 of 27

I recently started using the heating core and I haven't had that problem since.

mombabytiger Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 1:53am
post #23 of 27

I have that same problem but only with chocolate cake. No matter what recipe I use, I get a sunken middle and that crusty ring around the edge. It's crazy making!

beachcakes Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 5:24pm
post #24 of 27

OMG - I had this happen this weekend! WHat a nightmare! Can i ask what kind of mix you used? I swear DH is the culprit!!!

I've made choc. wasc lots of times - my recipe is identical to yours, except it's doubled - I usually use 2 boxes of BC or w/ one box 1BC & one box 1DH and this has NEVER happened. This time I used 2 DH and disaster!

eta: and i'm freaking b/c I need to make a cake for 200 next week - all chocolate!!! icon_sad.gif

rhopar33 Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 5:39pm
post #25 of 27

Update- I went out and bought an oven thermometer. My oven is right on the money with temp. Packed up, took my supplies to my mom's house to try her oven, and the same thing keeps happening- cake never really "domes" like normal.

I don't use flower nails, heating cores, or bake-even strips. I did years ago but stopped at the advice of some fellow CCer's and there were never any problems.

I switched flour-same problem. I switched cake mix (tried Pillsbury)-same problem. The only remaining variable is my Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa and the sour cream. I ran out of my Sam's Club 5 lb tub of sour cream and had to use the Wal-Mart brand. I've used Wal-mart brand before w/ no problems though. Could it be the sour cream? Or cocoa?

Any thoughts????

beachcakes Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 5:43pm
post #26 of 27

I doubt it's the sour cream. I use what ever brand is on sale, Breakstones, Daisy, Axelrod, America's Choice, IGA. And never have a problem. I do use flower nails. I'm stumped. Unless it's the Cocoa - i used Hershey's regular.

confectioneista Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 8:33pm
post #27 of 27

Well, after all that you just described, I'm thinking is it IS the sour cream. It may be that because you are increasing the recipe amount for the larger cake size it is having an adverse affect on the result - in other words, it's too much sour cream thickness for the batter causing it to sink in the middle. I would try reducing the amount of sour cream and see if that doesn't help. I can't imagine it being the cocoa. I've used Hersey's (both types) and never had an problems with it. HTH

Quote by @%username% on %date%