HOW TO AVOID THE MOST COMMON CAKE PROBLEM

January 19, 2017

The uncooked middle.

I bet the first thing you’re thinking is, “Is it the most common cake problem?”

Who knows?  Probably. But the point is, it happens a lot.  And it’s really annoying if you’re an adult and should know better.

But it’s no good lamenting all those childhood years spent climbing trees when you could have been slaving away in the kitchen.  (For the record, I can’t climb a tree to save my life.)

So what are you doing wrong?

Firstly, you need to check your oven’s the temperature it says it is.  Buy an oven thermometer (they don’t cost much – about the same as the cost of a binned cake) and put it in the oven for 15 minutes at the designated temperature.

Does the thermometer read the same temperature as the oven claims it should be?

Yes?  Good.  We can move on.  (For all those who answered no, you now need either to adjust your oven temperature accordingly or, like the oven I inherited in my first house, have it put in Room 101 and a new oven put in its place.)

Next question: is it a fan oven?  If so, it shouldn’t matter too much whereabouts in the oven you place your cake.  The whole point of fan ovens is that they maintain a regular temperature throughout.  That said, the best place for a cake is roughly the middle both ways – i.e. in the centre of the rungs and on a middle level.  The same goes for a ‘normal’ oven.  Whatever you do, don’t put the cake in the same place you would for the grill.

Now that you’ve got those issues sorted, it’s time to check the temperature at which you’re cooking your cake.  Sponges like 190 degrees (Celsius, obvs).  Fruit cakes prefer something cooler.  Then there are those that are in-between.  The point is, check your recipe.

Finally, if you’re doing all this and the middle’s still not cooked, then you’re not cooking the cake for long enough.  Simple as that.  So get a cake tester (or a toothpick) and put it in the middle of the cake.  If it comes out clean, push your finger gently in the middle and side of the cake.  Does the cake spring back or show a dent?  If it’s the latter, keep it in the oven a bit longer.

Just don’t forget about it or you’ll have to see my post last week on how to deal with burnt cake.

Does this answer your cake middle woes?  Make sure you comment below to let me know!

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