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How to Check the Cause of Cake Failure

Published January 09, 2008        by Nicole

Cake falls:

  1. Flour may be stale, or incorrectly measured.
  2. Cake did not bake long enough, or oven was opened before center was firmly set.
  3. Oven temperature out of regulation.

Cake is flat and insufficiently risen:

  1. Pan used was too large for amount of batter.
  2. Not enough leavening or leavening was stale.
  3. Wrong oven temperature.

Cake has a coarse-grained texture:

  1. All-purpose flour used; use cake flour.
  2. Check carefully the measurements of all ingredients; possible error in proportions of ingredients used.
  3. Excess leavening or too many egg yolks.
  4. Oven temperature too low.
  5. Ingredients not mixed together smoothly enough.
  6. Sugar is not fine enough.

Cake is too soft and falls apart:

  1. Excessive sugar, leavening, shortening; check measurements.
  2. Not enough eggs or stale eggs.
  3. Oven temperature too low; or cake removed from pan before cooled.

Cake pulls away from the sides of cake pan:

  1. Ingredients not at room temperature when combined. (This is particularly   important for egg whites and liquids which should be at room temperature, not cold.)
  2. Ingredients improperly mixed together.
  3. Too much liquid used; check measurements of ingredients.
  4. Oven temperature wrong; probably baked too long for temperature used.
  5. Insufficient amount of batter for size of pan; measure size of pans.

Cake is too heavy:

  1. Excessive amounts of sugar, flour or fat; check amount specified against amount used.
  2. Oven temperature wrong-probably too hot.
  3. Too much mixing of batter; air bubbles may have broken down in over mixing.
  4. If egg whites used, may not have been gently combined with other ingredients.