How to Save Your Baking Fails
How to Fix Cake Disasters
Baking cakes is great fun until something goes wrong. This article will help you to pinpoint the disaster and fix it where possible or learn how to avoid it in future.
Don't panic.There is always a solution, even if it is feeding the disaster to the chickens or demonstrating to your kids how not to bake a cake. Focus on what you can do before racing down to the store to buy a last minute substitute.
- Always learn from your mistakes. Cake baking is an art and mistakes are all lessons in perfecting the art. Enjoy the mistakes as much as the successes, for they turn you into a better baker!
Fix a burned cake.The first sign is often the smell and that "d'oh!" moment as you realize you have forgotten the cake! Try the following fixes before tossing it.
See if it is possible to cut off the burned parts.Do this with care and only if the cake is slightly burned. Cut the base and edges off and cover with frosting or icing.
- If a cake is severely burnt, don't try this, as the burnt taste will have permeated the whole cake.
Find a fine metal strainer to remove surface burn.Rub the strainer against the burned surface. This will remove all the charred bits without having to cut or break the cake.
Prevent burning next time by using a timer.Carry a timer with you if you are forgetful and wander off.
- To prevent the cake burning on the top, cut out two circles of baking or parchment paper larger than the cake pan. Sit these over the top of the cake before placing it in the oven for baking.
Fix a sunken cake.This is often a sign the cake was undercooked or the oven door was opened at an inopportune moment. Always use a skewer to check when a cake is done before removing it completely from the heat. There are several possibilities for a sunken cake, as follows.
Remove the sunken middle of the cake.Suddenly the failed cake turns into a successful ring cake! Frost, serve, and remain smug.
Turn the sunken cake into baked Alaska or a trifle.It'll still taste great and nobody will be any the wiser. It could also be carved into pieces while warm and have syrup or sweet sauce drizzled over it for pudding pieces.
Crumble the sunken cake into cake crumbs and use as topping on a tart.Add one beaten egg white and coconut to the crumbs, place on top of a pie and bake.
Fill the hole with many cream and fruit.For added decadence, pour liqueur or fruit juice into the sunken part before adding fruit and cream.
Cake with a Bump or Rise
If the cake surface has developed its own Mount Vesuvius, simply slice it off and turn the cake over.Frost the base instead.
Avoid repeating the bump experiment again.A bump in a cake is usually caused by an oven that is too hot. Double check the temperature next time you bake a cake.
- It can also be caused by too much mixture in too small a pan. This is usually the case where the cake develops a crack. Try to match the cake mixture to a bigger pan. Some pans cause bumps or cracking due to their shape, such as ring and loaf pans.
Stale or Dry Cake
Pierce the cake.Sprinkle alcohol or fruit juice over the cake. Wrap in a plastic bag and leave to moisten for 2-3 days.
Add a slice of bread to the cake container.Put the lid on firmly and leave to sit for 2 days. When you open it again, you will find the moisture from the bread has transferred to the cake. Throw the bread away.
Split a dry sponge cake in half.Make simple syrup from 60g/2 oz sugar dissolved in 3 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of cognac or fruit juice. Brush the syrup over the sponge cake, then add a creamy or mousse filling and fruit.
Cut stale fruit cake into slices or pieces and sauté in butter.Serve in a bowl with brandy butter; it is a great substitute for fruit pudding.
Sugary Crust on a Cake
Mend a sugary crust on a cake.This means the butter and sugar were not beaten adequately during preparation, or too much sugar has been added. Pass it off as a French delicacy and give the cake a good beating next time.
- White specks on the top of a cake suggest the sugar has not dissolved. Use a finer sugar for the recipe next time.
Repair a shrunken cake.Shrunken cakes have been subjected to too high a temperature for too long. Provided the cake is not rock hard, it is still edible, so ice or frost it and live that it is smaller than it was supposed to be. Again, consider passing it off as a French delicacy.
Find alternatives for the cake that stuck to the pan.A cake that will not release from the pan probably has excessive sugar or sweetening in it or inadequate greasing of the pan surface. If it breaks when being removed, use it for a trifle, a smaller cake, or for baked Alaska.
Make a mini cake.Small cakes can be made from larger but broken cake by using a round scone or cookie cutter or a tall glass pushed down into the cake and carefully moved out. A stack of these round pieces of cake can be piled up, frosted and made to look like a cute mini plate.
Take care to avoid a future stuck cake.Some ways around the stuck cake include:
- Always line a cake pan or use non-stick or silicon pans.
- Any cake recipe using honey or syrup should set off warning bells to line the pan with parchment paper.
Mottled or Streaked Cake
If the cake has streaks across the top, it comes down to inadequate mixing of the ingredients.This won't affect the taste and is simple to remedy. Either ice or frost it, or pass it off as a deliberately striped cake, which kids will find delightful.
- If there is a band or collar of a darker shade around the top of your cake, this shows that it was baked at too high a temperature.
- A cake with a pale top can be caused by having the parchment lining rise too high above the cake, or using a pan that is too large.
Broken Swiss Roll
Mend a Swiss roll that falls apart.In this case, use a round cookie cutter or glass to make as many circles as possible. Use a filling and berries or fruit slices between each round and make triple deck cake towers. Arrange beautifully on a plate and call it a gourmet dessert.
Improve a heavy cake.If a cake comes out of the oven feeling heavier than you know it should be, the solution depends on the texture.
- If it is soggy and dense from fruit or other moist content, turn it into a pudding. Allow to cool, and then reheat as a pudding for dessert. Smother slices in custard or ice cream.
- Turn it into a slice for dessert. Heavy cake can often pass off as a dessert slice provided fruit, cream, ice cream, or custard are included as compensation.
- If it's heavy and your heart sinks to look at it, try slicing it thinly, brushing each thin slice with oil or melted butter, and baking them the oven as for cookies. The slices will dry out and turn crunchy, and can be enjoyed as cookies or slices.
Be careful when making the same recipe that caused the heavy cake.Follow the ingredients carefully; if you have done so and it still turns out heavy, the recipe may be at fault.
- Don't double the ingredients for the recipe that produces a cake like this. Some recipes produce excellent cakes in the 1x1 proportions but turn out heavy and stodgy when doubled. Baking is, after all, a journey of chemistry and experimentation!
Fix a broken cake.Use frosting, icing, or cream to join a broken cake. Gently push the cake into place and ice the whole to prevent the joins from being noticed. Allow to dry before serving.
QuestionMy bundt cake is too moist. How can I fix it?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerA cake that is too moist is often under baked, so you could try to continue the baking process until it is baked. Other reasons behind an overly moist cake include failing to completely cool it before storing or frosting the cake or storing it in too warm a place. Try putting the cake in a dry, cool place to let the moisture come out in a day. If it doesn't improve, add the cake to a dessert dish.Thanks!
QuestionWhy does a cake fall while firming in the fridge?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is possible that you transferred it to the fridge before allowing it to cool down completely. If it is still warm, then it is not fully firmed up and the clash of temperatures will weaken its structure when placed in the fridge, causing it to sink.Thanks!
QuestionI began to frost my cake and the cake began to break up into the frosting. What did I do wrong?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThis is probably due to the cake either being under cooked and therefore still very fragile or it still being warm when adding the frosting. Another possibility is pressing too hard when adding the frosting. The frosting itself could be the cause -- if too thick or difficult to spread, this can cause the cake to break up through pressure to put it on.Thanks!
QuestionIf I overcook it by 10 minutes, will it affect the cake?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is likely to burn on the top and/or bottom if you overcook it. This can be scraped or sliced off, but the cake will be slightly tainted by the burnt flavour. It may also be drier than expected.Thanks!
QuestionWhat must I do so my fruit cake comes out really fresh?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMake syrup made up of 50 percent water and 50 percent sugar melted and put all over the cake after taking it out so it stays moist. You can also use maple syrup but it has a distinctive flavor.Thanks!
QuestionWhy does my cake sink in the middle?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThink back to how you made the cake. If a fat and sugar were over-creamed or you added too much raising agent, these can cause a cake to sink in the middle. Another cause can be cooking at too cool a temperature or checking by opening the door too early during cooking.Thanks!
QuestionI added a half cup too much water to mix and now have a runny batter. How do I fix it?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can add a little bit more flour to it, but you may have extra cake batter.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I repair a fruit cake which has broken in half?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPush the two halves together, then cover the whole cake with royal icing. Nobody will notice and when it's cut, the crumbling at the join can just be scooped onto plates and excused as part of the cutting process.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I fix a cake that is crumbled?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerUse icing to stick the crumbled parts together, wait until the icing hardens, then continue decorating the cake. You can also make mini cakes out of the larger pieces instead. Lastly, you can crumble the cake up completely, mix it with frosting, and make cake pops.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I cool a cake down faster?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe cake needs time to rest so once you take it out of the pan it wouldn't crumble or break. You could try putting it in the fridge for a couple minutes and then take it out of the pan.Thanks!
Added sugar to dry ingredients instead of adding it to the eggs. Can it be saved?
Why did the cake come out moist but crumbly?
What caused my cake to split in two Layers?
My strawberry cakes always fall in the middle? I tried keeping door closed lowered temperature to prevent crusty sides
Rock hard cake forgot to put the butter in do I have to chuck it?
- No matter what happens, pretend it was intentional, or laugh it off.
- A cake that has not defrosted in time for a dinner party can pass off as a partially frozen dessert in some cases. Think creatively!
- A flat and tough cake shows the flour and liquid ingredients were not folded in together properly.
- Check the oven shelves. A cake that has not risen evenly may be sitting on uneven shelves.
- Make sure to not over mix, this can cause batter to be too thin or too thick depending on the batter. This can also effect the amount of time and temperature that the cake needs to bake at, causing the cake to be burnt or under cooked. It may also effect the rising of the cake.
- Some cakes are best eaten on the day they are baked, such as a sponge. Trying to revive an old sponge is not successful and is best left to a trifle.
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