Nobody wants to end up with a cake that’s anything but sky-high. If you’re having trouble with a flat cake after baking, you need to know how to remedy it. Luckily, simple fixes like using the right oven temperature and mixing the ingredients properly are all it takes for high cakes.
Hey, there, bakers! My name is Michelle, and I have been baking for years. I enjoy baking all types of treats, including cakes of different shapes, sizes, and flavors. I never want to end up with a flat cake, so I take special precautions to ensure that doesn’t happen.
If you can’t seem to shake flat cakes, you’ve come to the right place. Below I am sharing all of my top-notch tips and tricks for reaching sky-high cake success.
Who’s ready to bake some cakes?
How to Prevent a Cake From Deflating
Before we get started, I will tell you this much: a cake falling after baking is typically a sign that something went wrong before or during the baking process. Therefore, the tips below are all of the steps you need to take before and while baking your cake.
1. Follow the Recipe Closely
When you’re baking cakes, it is imperative to follow the recipe closely. There should not be any finicking with the recipe. If it calls for a cup of milk and flour, then do those exact measurements and not a teaspoon more.
Why is this so important? Because a cake that is too dry or too moist will not rise properly, leaving you with a flattened cake.
2. Check Your Leavening Agent
Make sure you are using the exact measurement of the leavening agent. While you might think that adding a bit more leavening will produce a better and higher final result, it’s actually counterproductive. Too much leavening weakens the structure and may cause flattening.
Don’t try to use leavening agents interchangeably. You can’t swap baking powder for baking soda.
Not only that, but you need to double-check the expiration of your leavening agent. Old leaveners simply won’t work.
3. Use Room Temperature Eggs and Butter for Creaming
Most cake recipes will tell you to cream the eggs and butter, and that’s great. Creaming eggs and butter to the right consistency is key for proper rising. However, you shouldn’t use cold ingredients. There are two major issues with using cold products:
- Cold eggs won’t blend properly and may leave unblended pockets that cause collapsing.
- Cold butter is difficult to blend. But don’t swap for melted butter, either. While it may seem handy, the melted butter will not produce the right consistency and texture.
4. Don’t Overmix
Overmixing can result in “popped” air bubbles. And without the air bubbles, there is no chance for your cake to rise properly. These air bubbles can also become destroyed during baking and cooling, leaving you with a soft, flat, and undesirable center.
What’s the best thing to do? Remember that your cake batter doesn’t have to be entirely smooth. While huge clumps should be gently mixed, you shouldn’t mix at a super quick pace to make it silky smooth.
5. Always Preheat the Oven
Plenty of people think they can just skip preheating the oven. It’s true that sometimes preheating can be a pain, especially if you forgot to turn it on beforehand and are stuck standing around for 30 minutes. But preheating is key to success.
The best thing to do is to turn the oven on before you start mixing. That way, you know the oven will be nice and hot and ready for your cake. Trying to stick cake batter in a cold or warm oven is a recipe for flattened disasters.
Did you know that preheating before mixing is also imperative for timing? The chemical reaction that creates your cake starts the second the ingredients are mixed. So, waiting an extensive amount of time to place the cake in the oven may be your downfall.
The goal is to get your cake batter into the preheated oven as soon as possible. You should wait no more than 20 minutes before putting it in the oven.
6. Bake at the Right Temperature
I know what you’re thinking – of course, I bake my cake at the right temperature! Well, I am sure that you do. What I am not so sure of is whether or not your oven is lying to you.
If you didn’t know this before, ovens can be chronic liars. Even though they say they are at a certain temperature, it doesn’t mean they actually are. That’s why it is important to have an oven thermometer to know the exact temp of your oven. Otherwise, two things can happen:
- If the oven is too hot, the cake will collapse while cooling
- If the oven is not hot enough, the center won’t cook properly and collapse
Check the oven temp and make adjustments as necessary. While your cake is baking, try not to open the oven door, allowing the hot air to escape and may increase baking time. When you close the door, be gentle. A hard shut can lead to a collapsed cake, too!
7. Bake Long Enough
Sometimes, the only issue with a flat cake is that it simply didn’t bake long enough. The simplest solution is to use the toothpick test. Insert the toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean or with a few little cooked crumbs, then your cake is fully baked and ready to remove.
Don’t try to “eyeball” it. While a professional baker might be aware that their cake is ready just by looking at it, new bakers shouldn’t try it. Sometimes, cakes appear fully cooked, only to realize they’re flat and raw after cooling.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to fix a flat cake once it is cooled. Make sure you use the toothpick method so that you can stick the cake back in the oven to cook before cooling fully.
Now you know everything you need to know about keeping a cake from falling after baking. Still have some questions? Let’s dive into some of the most commonly asked questions about this topic.
Why did my sponge cake deflate after baking?
It’s normal for sponge cakes to deflate a bit after baking. If it’s more than it’s supposed to be, it’s likely an issue of too much heat escaping the oven during critical baking time.
Does opening the oven make a cake fall?
Opening the oven can make a cake fall because the hot air escapes and cold air enters the oven, which can halt and destroy the rising process. Not only that but closing the oven door too abruptly and hard can cause a cake to collapse.
A flattened cake is typically due to things that occur before baking even begins. If you end up with a flat cake, it could be due to expired leavening agents, not following the recipe closely enough, or baking at the wrong temperature.
Bakers, did I miss anything? Share with us!
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