Baking might be a delicious hobby, but it's easy to become disheartened when your finished cakes keep dropping down in the center. This sinking can be caused by various factors involved in the mixing and baking processes. Keep in mind that even professional bakers sometimes bake cakes that collapse in the center, but they also have the experience to overcome this setback and fix it with decorations and frosting. Several precautionary measures can help stop your cakes from dropping.
Get out all of the ingredients listed in your cake recipe. Allow eggs and butter to warm up to room temperature before using them. Cold eggs and butter won't blend well with the other ingredients, which affects your cake batter's ability to rise properly. The University of Kansas Cooperative Extension suggests letting eggs sit out for 30 minutes before baking with them.
Measure all of your cake batter ingredients carefully. Baking is a form of science, and each ingredient has a specific effect on your cake. Varying from a recipe even a little bit changes the consistency of the batter, which can cause the center of your finished cake to collapse. Use clear measuring cups for liquid ingredients and always level off your dry ingredients for the greatest accuracy.
Don't overmix your cake batter. Overmixing beats too much air into your batter. This air escapes while your cake bakes and cools, which can cause your cake to drop in the middle. Mix your cake batter on a low speed just after you add the dry ingredients, then switch to medium speed and mix the batter for about two minutes.
Don't overfill your cake pan. The University of Kentucky Extension suggests filling your pan only two-thirds full to allow plenty of room for your cake batter to expand. If you overfill your pan, the cake might rise too high in the center and then collapse as it cools.
Preheat your oven to the required temperature. Allow your oven to preheat for 15 or 20 minutes before sticking your cake pan inside. "Taste of Home" magazine reports that starting the baking process at too low of a temperature is a leading cause of collapsing cakes.
Don't underbake your cake. Finished cakes often drop in the middle if not left in the oven long enough. Set your timer for the shortest amount of time recommended in the recipe. When the timer dings, insert a toothpick into the center of your cake. If it comes out clean, take your cake out of the oven. If the toothpick comes out covered in batter or crumbs, place it back in the oven and check it every two minutes until it's finished baking.
Leave your cake alone. Resist the urge to move your cake pan while your cake is baking. If you open your oven door, cool air gets into the oven, and temperature drops often cause the center of cakes to drop.
- Cakes contain a lot of fat, sugar and calories but very few nutrients. Wash your cake down with a glass of cold milk or top your cake with fruit to add health benefits to this dessert.
- If your cake drops in the middle, remove the sunken center and fill it with frosting or fruit.
- Use softened butter and not melted butter in cake recipes. Butter breaks down when it melts, which changes the texture and consistency of your cake.
- Never overcrowd your oven racks. Cakes bake evenly only when the heat circulates freely.