HOW TO: TIPS & TRICKS
HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOUR CAKE IS DONE
With these baking secrets you’ll never have to worry about serving an undercooked cake ever again!
“IS MY CAKE DONE?”
SCENARIO: You have your cake in the oven and the timer set according to the recipe. Then, the timer goes off and you get your cake out, but you are not sure if it is completely cooked all the way through. The recipe said to bake it for 40 minutes however you are not convinced this is long enough. Now you don’t know whether to put the cake back in the oven for another 10 minutes or whether to cross your fingers and hope for the best…
Does this scenario sound familiar to you?
Cakes are one of my favourite things to bake, however cutting into a cake in front of guests can be a little daunting if you don’t know if it is completely cooked through or not. You can always test a cookie, cupcake or muffin but you can’t always test a cake…or can you?
Usually baking times in a recipe are what has worked for the author of the recipe however, this baking time won’t always be the exact same for you because it is likely that you will be baking your cake in a different oven. And we all know ovens have different ‘personalities’. Thus, knowing a few secrets in how to tell when your cake is done can be very helpful so that you can avoid serving raw cake to guests and also this from happening. Here’s a few baking secrets of mine I’ve learned along the way to help you –
How to know when your cake is done:
1. The edges of the cake pull away
Usually a cake has finished cooking when the edges of the cake pull away from the side of the tin. You should be able to see a gap between the cake and the tin.
If your cake is bouncy/springy when you gently press down on it with your finger, it is likely that your cake is ready to be taken out of the oven. A wobbly or firm middle that doesn’t bounce back is a sign that the cake needs more baking time.
3. Skewer is Clean
When you insert a thin skewer in the cake, it should come out clean (or with a few dry crumbs). If you pull it out and wet cake mixture has stuck to the skewer, it means the cake has not finished baking completely. If the cake is not fully baked, continue reading below to learn how to rectify this.
Perhaps the most accurate way to check if your cake is done is to use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the cake which should be around 98 C (210 F).
5. Cut the cake!
If in doubt/too eager/excited to see what the cake looks like on the inside, you can always cut a very thin wedge from the cake to have a peep – but don’t eat it just yet! Fit the wedge back into the cake and cover the cake completely with icing/frosting. No one will ever know! Do ensure the cake is completely cool BEFORE cutting the slice.
Alternatively, level the cooled cake with a bread knife, taking a thin layer from the top off (you can eat this part!) Check for texture, taste, and ensure the cake is cooked through.
6. Put it back in the oven
If you have cut a little bit off the top of the cake to check if the cake is done and you see that it is not fully baked, you CAN put the cake back in the oven to continue baking – BUT only if the cake is still warm. Doing this may lead to a drier cake around the edges but you can ensure that the cake will be cooked right through. I have done this with success with many cakes in the past. Sometimes it is helpful to put a layer of tinfoil over top to prevent burning or too much browning on the top of the cake.
How to save an undercooked cake
If you have tested your cake once cool and it is not fully cooked, don’t panic! You can still save it.
Usually when a cake is undercooked the middle of it is the part that suffers the most but the outsides usually are fine. In this case, scoop out the undercooked cake in the middle and discard. Fill the gap with candy, fruit, frosting or chocolate ganache. Or you can make the hole bigger to make a ring cake. Check out this post for more ideas on how to save a sunken/undercooked cake.