Why do Cakes Fall When Baking? Here are some Surprising Answers
Illustration You can probably recall being told not to stomp through the house when baking a cake or you would cause it to fall. While sudden jarring motions can cause a cake to fall, there are actually quite a...
You can probably recall being told not to stomp through the house when baking a cake or you would cause it to fall. While sudden jarring motions can cause a cake to fall, there are actually quite a few other things that may cause it as well. Here are some surprising answers to the question of why cakes fall when baking.
#1. Baking too slowly
Cakes have a tendency to fall whenever they bake too slowly. This typically happens whenever the oven isn't preheated properly or the oven temperature is set too low for the recipe.
#2. Over-mixing or under-mixing the batter
Over-mixing the batter will result in too little air in it, while under-mixing causes too much air in the batter. To avoid either one of these scenarios, follow the directions for your particular cake very carefully. For most recipes, you need to beat just a minute or two longer than what's required to mix all the ingredients evenly.
Cakes that are under-baked are more likely to fall after you take them out of the oven. To avoid under-baking, set your oven timer for the shortest time possible so you can check your cake for doneness. To do this, insert a clean toothpick into the center and then pull it out. If the toothpick is clean, this means your cake is done.
#4: Batter is too moist or too dry
Having too much liquid in your batter can affect the way your leavening agents perform. Too much moisture can result from adding extra liquid, or by adding too much of your dry ingredients. Batter that is too dry may also “puff up” while baking and then sink in the middle.
To avoid having batter that is too moist or too dry, measure your ingredients carefully and use the right type of measuring cup for each. Never pack dry ingredients unless your recipe expressly tells you to do so. Always level off dry measuring cups with the back of a butter knife to ensure your measurements are accurate.
#5. Cake is moved during the baking process
You may feel as though moving your cake from the top rack to the bottom one or vice versa is needed; however, doing so increases the odds of your cake falling. Likewise, placing a cake back into the oven after you have removed it can also create a problem. To avoid moving your cake, make sure your oven racks are properly positioned ahead of time. Take care not to remove your cake until it is completely done so you won't have to place it back inside the oven to let it cook longer.
#6: Oven door is opened during the baking process
We've already talked about how jarring movements can cause a cake to fall. Opening your oven door can create a jarring sensation just like stomping across the floor can. This is especially true if your oven is not level or the door is especially difficult to open. For best results, you should open your oven door only as often as absolutely necessary to check for doneness. If you must watch your cake bake, turn on the light inside your oven and peer through the window instead.
#7: Too much baking powder or baking soda
You may think that adding a little extra baking powder or baking soda will actually help your cake rise higher; however, that's not at all the case. Too much of either one of these ingredients will actually have the opposite effect, causing your cake to deflate in the center rather than raise. A common reason why people add extra baking soda or powder is because they are trying to “use up” dated ingredients. For best results, you should toss ingredients that have expired, and use only the exact amount required by the recipe.
These are just a few ways you can prevent your cake from falling. For more baking tips, contact us .