You've spent your afternoon finding a good recipe, buying the ingredients and baking a cake - and then it cracks while baking. Dilemma!
Cakes shouldn't crack under pressure. Humans sometimes unfortunately do, but cakes should not. And when we say pressure, we mean heat. Simple 'doming' isn't an issue - cakes can be trimmed down before decorating, but what to do about the cakes which come out the oven with more crack than anyone ever wants to see?
Even the best of us have had a cake crack but there are some things you can do to prevent it happening again - even if they do make comical smiley faces sometimes.
Check your oven temperature
A cake can crack when it's cooked at too high a temperature, causing it to rise too quickly without the structural support below and the flexibility in the crust. A cheap oven thermometer can help you calibrate your oven.
Easy on the baking powder
Go easy on the white stuff, as it can make the cake too excited and grow like crazy, too fast for an even bake. The same goes for baking soda - too much of either of these will make the cake taste a little 'off' anyway, so make sure you follow the recipe.
Problems with pans
Always try to bake your cakes on the middle shelf in the oven - top shelf baking is more likely to cause cracks. Dark coloured, heavy pans can also absorb more heat than lighter ones, so bear this in mind when you come to purchase new cake tins.
The Tea Towel Effect
Wrapping a wet tea towel around your cake tins while they're in the oven can help too. It's all about insulation and an even distribution of heat for an even bake. Silicone cake pans also insulate the batter better, but they do tend to cause more doming.
Don't over-stir your batter
Over-stirring can make the batter form too much gluten, making the cake dry, leathery and crack-prone. Just mix as the recipe says (e.g. mix until combined, beat for 2 minutes), and you should be ok. Obviously, this tip doesn't apply to gluten free baking - you're off the hook!
And if it all gets too much and you need some help, we'd love to bake for you - no cracks, promise!
We'd love to hear if any of our advice has helped with your cracking cakes. What's you're favourite tip?
The Team @ 280 Bakes
Welcome to the 280 Bakes blog! Most posts are by myself, Louise, but if you fancy guest blogging, give me a shout!