We all love a good cake, and with these troubleshooting tips, you’ll be baking them perfectly in no time.The first week of 2019's The Great British Bake Off saw the bakers attempt to wow the judges with all things cake! Though knowing how to bake a good cake is a fundamental of any baking skillset, the kind of bakes the contestants were asked to produce last night is far removed from the treats made in our kitchen. From genoise sponge to chocolate collars, there was a lot of room for error in what needed to be made this week. Here, we’ve tried to troubleshoot the most common issues faced by the bakers in the tent, and have followed up with some easy yet delicious recipes for you to try out at home.
Flat spongeEspecially a problem in genoise sponge, there’s nothing more disheartening than taking a beautifully risen sponge out of the oven, only for it to have fallen as flat as a pancake two minutes later. Keep it light Our top tips? Make sure you’ve really combined the ingredients, without overbeating. Make sure there’s heaps of air in your mixture (you can even use a balloon whisk to help with this), and get the cake in the oven as fast as possible once the dry and wet ingredients meet. Oh - and don’t open the oven door until you’re ready to get it out, not even for a sneaky peek!
Raw middleThis was an issue that plagued a few of the bakers on GBBO, and though we imagine that their issues largely came down to timing while in the tent, it can be really hard to know when your cake is baked! Use a skewer The trusted skewer test (where you put a skewer into the middle of the cake and see if it comes out clean, or with mix stuck to it) is the most reliable option - but don’t begin doing this until the allotted time on your recipe has passed. Opening/closing the oven door just allows the heat to escape, which impacts the consistency of temperature for your bake. Extra ingredients It’s also worth remembering that some ingredients can make a batter wetter than others. If you’re adapting a base recipe, be mindful of any additional ingredients you add to the mix - these can have an impact on the cake batter’s consistency, which in turn changes the cooking time.
Keep it accurateIf you’re following a recipe, try not to deviate from it - not even a little bit! The recipe will have been tried-and-tested, and even things like the size of your baking tins can have a massive impact on the outcome of the cake. Weighing ingredients, preparing the mixture in the given way, and baking it for as long as stated in prepared tins can make all the difference.
Cake recipesReady to start baking yourself? Great! Here, we’ve got a heap of amazing cake recipes for you to try and bake and/or decorate.
- Gold glitter cake
- Lemon and yoghurt cake
- Vibrant rainbow cake
- Cookies and cream cake
- Gingerbread cake with maple buttercream
If you found this useful, be sure to keep an eye on our 101 top tip page - more topics coming soon!