Making the ideal cake is an art as well as a science.
When we bake, even the tiniest error might result in a huge disaster. In this example, we’re talking about the little details that might result in a cake that sinks instead of rising.
Many processes in the cake baking process, believe it or not, may result in a falling or sinking cake. These may include the manner in which the batter is mixed, the ingredients themselves, or the manner in which the cake is baked.
To restore a sunken cake or prevent it from sinking in the first place, let’s look at the several factors that might cause a cake to collapse.
After we’ve identified the problem, we may attempt to correct our errors and prevent them from happening again.
- What Makes a Cake Fall & How to Avoid It
- How to Fix a Cake That is Already Sunken
- Wrapping It Up
- How do you fix a cake that has fallen?
- Can you save a cake that is falling apart?
- What causes a cake to fall in the middle after baking?
- How do you keep a moist cake from falling down?
- Can you Rebake a fallen cake?
- What does it mean if my cake has fallen and sunk?
- Is a cake ruined if it falls?
- How do you store a cake once made?
- Why does my cake fall apart so easily?
What Makes a Cake Fall & How to Avoid It
Let’s start with the basics: the ingredients.
Every cake has fundamental components. Of course, important elements in any recipe may be substituted in a variety of ways, but when our cake falls, the ingredients we use and how they are made might be our first hint as to what went wrong.
A variety of things might happen to the ingredients throughout the mixing and baking processes that can affect the finished outcome.
So, if we have a sunken cake, what should we check for?
Creaming the Eggs and Butter
Letting your butter and eggs to get to room temperature is an important step that many people overlook.
Room temperature eggs combine better than cold eggs. When you use cold eggs in your cake batter, you risk having pockets of batter that are not well mixed. These unblended pockets have the potential to cause a cake to collapse.
Another item that should be let to come to room temperature is butter. Unlike cold butter, room temperature butter is pliable and simple to combine. If we go too far and melt the butter, the texture and consistency of the cake will change.
To illustrate the impact of combining cold ingredients, watch this short video from the Rachael Ray Show:
Read the Recipe & Follow it Closely
Consider mixing cake as a scientific experiment. Each component has a distinct influence on your cake.
Making changes to the ingredients or not measuring them correctly might lead to a sinking cake.
If the cake batter is too wet or too dry, it will fall in the middle.
If the batter is excessively wet, it will rise quickly and then sink as it cools.
A batter that is overly dry will solidify and fall in the middle.
Another common issue is an error in the leavening agents (baking soda and baking powder). Keep these suggestions in mind when adding Baking Soda and Baking Powder to your recipe.
- Measure the leavening agents carefully. Too much will cause too much air to develop in the cake, which results in a weakened structure.
- Baking Soda and Baking Powder are not interchangeable.
- If your baking powder isn’t fresh, it won’t do what it’s supposed to, which is to add air to your batter. You can check the freshness of your baking powder by performing a simple five second test: add a teaspoon to a half cup of hot water. If you see rapid bubbling, then your baking powder is still good.
- The normal ratio of baking powder to all-purpose flour in a cake mix is 1 to 1.5 teaspoons baking powder per 1 cup of flour.
Keep Geography in Mind
The environment in which you bake may influence how your cake comes out.
For example, problems might arise in both hot and humid situations.
Excessive humidity might cause moisture to condense on your dry components. If you live in a humid climate, try freezing your dry ingredients to assist prevent this issue.
Weighing the components by weight will also ensure that you receive the correct quantity of each.
High altitude areas bring their unique set of challenges for baking. High elevations have lower air pressure and oxygen levels, which may cause baked foods to lose moisture more quickly.
If you live more than 3,000 feet above sea level, you may need to modify the recipe, oven temperature, and bake time.
For information on how to make these necessary modifications, see my 7 Practical Guidelines for Baking at High Altitudes.
Be Careful to Not Over-Mix the Batter
How you combine your components is equally as crucial as anything else we’ve covered thus far.
It’s simple to understand why overmixing the batter is the most prevalent cause of cake failure. Overmixing introduces too much air into the dough, which escapes throughout the baking and chilling processes. This will result in the centre of the cake falling out towards the end.
Rather of pounding the mixture until totally smooth, fold the dry ingredients into the wet components to avoid adding excess air to the mix.
If you must use a mixer, the best method to do it is on low speed for fewer than three minutes.
Timing is Essential
As you mix the wet and dry materials, the chemical reaction starts. You’ll want to get the batter into the oven as quickly as possible.
After mixing together the wet and dry ingredients, you should be able to get all of the batter into the oven in less than 20 minutes.
Now that we’ve mastered the ingredients, mixing, and scheduling, it’s time to bake the cake. A lot may happen to your cake’s structure here as well.
You Must Preheat the Oven
The oven might take up to 30 minutes to heat up. Since the batter should be in the oven within 20 minutes of being mixed, it is critical to begin preheating your oven before you begin mixing your batter.
If you put your cake in before the oven is ready, it will almost likely collapse.
Leave Room to Rise
Fill your cake pans no more than two-thirds of the way to the top. This gives your cake enough space to rise inside the pan.
Overfilling the pan may cause the cake to rise too high and then collapse.
Again … Timing is Essential
Cakes are baked from the outside inwards. The middle of the cake may suffer if the timing is not correct.
Underbaking will result in a mushy middle, while overbaking will result in a dry cake.
Set your timer for the minimum bake time, then test with a toothpick every five minutes until the toothpick comes out clean. The cake is ready to be removed from the oven when the toothpick comes out clean.
Keep the Temp Right
The temperature of your oven may differ from what you set it to. An over thermometer, such as this one, is required to determine the real temperature. They’re inexpensive and widely accessible, so it’s simple to have one on hand for when you need it.
- If your oven is too hot, the cake will rise higher in the middle in a dome-like shape, which will then collapse when the cake cools.
- If your oven is not hot enough, then the middle won’t bake all the way through.
Remember that every time you open the oven door, warm air leaves and the temperature decreases within. This temperature reduction might be at least 10 degrees each time, and it will undoubtedly alter the chemical processes that are taking place in your cake.
As a result, you should keep the door closed for at least the first three quarters of the baking period.
Give the Cake Space in the Oven
There must be enough space in your oven for the heat to flow in order for your cakes to bake evenly. Put the oven rack in the middle of the oven, and your cake pans on the rack.
Place no cake pans above or below the centered pans. While baking your four-layer cake in the middle of the oven may take longer, the layers will be uniformly done and tasty.
Check read our page on the most frequent challenges you’re likely to experience for additional answers to common cake baking concerns.
How to Fix a Cake That is Already Sunken
It’s not the end of the world if you tried your hardest and things still went wrong. There are still options for saving your cake. What these stages are depends on a variety of things.
Is the cake still warm or hot?
If a toothpick test indicates that the center is not done, you may return the cake to the oven to complete baking and, hopefully, rising.
If you’re going to put it back in, use a lower temperature to protect the sides from burning while the middle bakes.
Is the cake completely cool?
If it has already cooled, putting it back in the oven is out of the question, but there are still options.
If the cake is just slightly dropping in the middle, simply cover that area with more frosting to make the cake seem even. Isn’t it simple?
Fill the hollow with buttercream to provide a smooth surface for the fondant to sit on if you’re using fondant.
If the cake has already cooled but the center isn’t entirely cooked, you’ll need to cut it out. Fill the empty space with icing and strawberries for a delectable core.
You may use your fruity mixture to adorn the outside ring of the cake, and you will have a gorgeous and delectable cake that may become an unintentional favorite.
Wrapping It Up
Baking is a science that has evolved through time. Bakers have experimented with ingredients, methods, temperatures, and time to find what works best. Each of these components may differ from recipe to recipe, but if you do not follow the recipe precisely, you may end up with unsatisfactory results.
Although there are several reasons that might cause a cake to fall or sink in the middle, you should be able to determine which one (or perhaps more!) is causing your issue by observing what you are doing differently than the recipe.
And if your cake still sinks in the end, remember that there are numerous delicious methods to replace the holes!
Check out our article with some of our favorite cake-baking ideas for beginners for additional information.
Do you have any scary tales about cake falling? How did you become better? Please let us know in the comments section below.
How do you fix a cake that has fallen?
It should be toasted. If you’re constructing a layer cake and just one layer has cracked, ice the other layers normally. Next crush half of the shattered layer into irregular bits and shred the other half into crumbles. Toast the uneven pieces in a toaster oven until the edges are slightly crisp.
Can you save a cake that is falling apart?
Depending on how your cake shattered, “gluing” it back together may be your best choice. Consider the icing to be mortar, and put it in and around the crack to help the cake stick together. Then frost all around it to conceal the error, chill, and you’re done!
What causes a cake to fall in the middle after baking?
Before the cake bakes through in the middle, the gas from the leavening chemicals builds up and escapes. This causes the core to collapse, causing your cake layers to sink in the center. When it comes to leavening agents, a little goes a long way, so be sure you correctly measure them!
How do you keep a moist cake from falling down?
Allowing a moist and sensitive cake to cool in the pan long enough to become firm before turning it out of the pan will keep it from coming apart. Refrigerate the cake in an airtight container before frosting it.
Can you Rebake a fallen cake?
However, after a cake has cooled, it cannot be re-baked. The cake would have to be heated all the way through again, and the exterior would become too dry. Also, if the cake has sunk in the center due to underbaking, it will not rise again since the raising ingredients in the recipe have expired.
What does it mean if my cake has fallen and sunk?
A cake that has too much baking powder or baking soda will sink. When too many leavening agents are introduced, too many air bubbles form in the batter, and the cake rises too much without adequate support, sinking.
Is a cake ruined if it falls?
The good news is that you may save your cake as long as it is fully cooked. Then, test it to ensure that another problem, such as too much baking soda, hasn’t ruined the flavor. If it hasn’t, level the cake; you’ll have a little thinner cake but still a cake.
How do you store a cake once made?
How are cakes kept fresh? Cakes should be stored in sealed containers in a cold, dry area to keep them fresh. If you don’t have an airtight container or cake pan, an inverted bowl can suffice (but it will not keep the cake as fresh). Try freezing cakes to keep them fresh for longer than a week.
Why does my cake fall apart so easily?
If you used too much sugar, shortening, or leavening, or if you used too few eggs, your cake may crumble. Just be more cautious the next time.