My sister does all of the baking of our cakes, which I then decorate. Lately, whenever we bake a cake that is 10" or larger, when we test it in the oven it appears to be done, but when I level it later, it is dense and underdone- not in the dead center, but around the sides about an inch in. We have tried heating cores and reducing oven temp. What are we doing wrong???
Maybe it's the recipe? Or the amount of batter you're using. Try filling the pan a little bit less than you usually do and see if that helps.
Ovens, even pricey ones and new ones, can become uncalibrated in one baking session, especially the computer oriented ones. It is good practice to never bake without an oven thermometer. When someone says, "lately", this is most likely the case.
It has been several different recipes and actually 3 different ovens (2 regular, 1 convection) which we have checked the temperatures on... Could it possibly have something to do with the pans that we are using? We have been using wilton. I just ordered some fat dadios which we have not received yet, so I am hoping those will help, but I am really beginning to wonder what it could be, and with cakes being due for clients, it is starting to get stressful. has anyone else had this problem?
I use a flower nail, inverted, in the middle of my 10" and larger cake pans. I'm never had this problem, and as someone else suggested, always bake with an oven thermometer. Heck, I even travel with it if I'm baking at a friends house
You need to verify the temp EVERY TIME. When you say, "lately", you need to look at the possible changes. Of course the better pans, and like mvucic said, the nail, plus baking strips, all make a better cake.
I had this happen to me when I changed an ingredient brand in my cakes, so we went back to the original brand and all is good.
It does sound like there has been some ingredient change if this is something different/new.
You say different ovens have been used so most likely it is not that.
Sit down and really think, think, think what is different. Are you baking from scratch or box mix? Has *any* ingredient brand changed? Is she doing anything different in the mixing order? Go over each and every ingredient and step in preparing the batter through pouring it into the pan - even how you prep the pans to see if you can come up with the answer
I really don't think this would effect it but: it is now summer. Your tap water is warmer now then in winter months; your frig might not be as cold so ingredients may be different temps.
Try to get down to the tiniest detail in each step.
Like maybe she is beating the batter longer or at a different speed; using larger or smaller eggs; things like that can sometimes effect a recipe.
This happened to me a few years ago. After much frustration, I realized that two things would help: 1- Fill the pans a little less full 2- Don't open the oven until you smell Cake! For some reason, opening the oven too early does result in heat re-distribution and 'raw' spots in the cake. HTH & good luck! Kim