Baking SOS

It’s fair to say that sometimes baking just doesn’t quite go to plan, no matter how much experience you have.  Sometimes things just go a bit pear-shaped!

Now, most ‘cake catastrophes’ can be disguised with a bit of careful layering and artful frosting. It would be fair to say that I’ve witnessed quite a few very ugly bakes be masterfully transformed into the most beautiful cakes, and no one (apart from the baker) was ever any the wiser.

This blog is to help you with some of the main areas of troubleshooting in baking, how you can avoid them happening again and what to do if it does occur.

So don’t worry if something goes wrong, it happens to the best of us. And most importantly never forget there is always a back to your cake and that everything really does taste great with ice cream!


Ooooooops! My cake sunk!

What went wrong?
You may have added a bit too much raising agent. The Wilton measuring spoons will give you accurate measurements; just make sure that you level the surface first (unless otherwise stated on the recipe).

Or, the oven door may have been opened too soon. I know it is tempting, but try not to open the door until at least three quarters of the way through baking so that the cake has had enough time to set.

How can I fix it?
Some fruit or chocolates placed on top will look really pretty, you basically just baked the perfect ‘bowl’ for yummy fillings. Or alternatively level the surface with a Wilton cake leveller and fill with frosting to level.


 Ooooooops! My cake looks like a volcano! But it still isn’t baked through?!

What went wrong?
Your oven might have been too hot. This causes the crust to bake and set really quickly but as the rest continues to cook and rise, it pushes through the top and causes it to crack.

Next time try using Wilton bake even cake strips. These ensure an even surface bake for a perfect finish. Additionally try lowering the oven temperature by 10 degrees and baking on a lower shelf. You might also want to invest in an oven thermometer to check the accuracy of your oven.

And don’t forget to always use your Wilton cake tester to check that the cake is cooked through to the centre!

How can I fix it?
A dusting of icing sugar will always look really pretty. But if you’re levelling your cake you don’t need to worry, just trim off the top, cover with frosting, and no one will ever know.


 Ooooooops! My cake didn’t rise; I could use it for a Frisbee!

What went wrong?
It could have been that you didn’t use enough raising agent, or that it was a little old and had lost its potency. Try using the Wilton measuring spoons for accuracy. If making a whisked sponge, make sure that you don’t overmix and beat all the air out of it. Your oven may have been a little cool?

How can I fix it?
Hmmmm, not an easy one to fix, it might be easier to start again. But don’t discard the cake; why not use it for trifle or cake pops?


 Ooooooops! Urggh, my cake edges are all burnt and dry.

What went wrong?
Recipes like Madeira and fruit cake will require longer cooking times than some other recipes.  This can cause the edges to become quite dry and sometimes burn (which obviously doesn’t taste or look too nice).  Wilton bake even cake strips will help prevent the sides of your cake from over cooking. Try using a double layer of parchment paper too.

How can I fix it?
It all depends on how over baked they are? If they are burnt, the only answer is to trim off the offending bits. If they are just a little dry, but not too discoloured, soak with some sugar syrup, alcohol or fruit juice to moisten. This also has the bonus of adding extra flavour!


 Ooooooops! I could build a house with my cake; it’s so dry and dense!

What went wrong?
There could be a few things that might have happened. Was it baked in the oven for too long? Did you add the right amount of raising agent? It might be that the mix wasn’t quite right. If you overmix when adding the flour it can cause the mixture to become tough and heavy. And if the recipe used the creaming method, it might be that the sugar and butter weren’t mixed sufficiently?

How can I fix it?
There is no way to lighten this cake up, so why not try adding moistness by soaking with flavoured sugar syrup? Or serve with something yummy like cream or custard to disguise!


Ooooooops! Half of my cake got stuck in the tin when I tried to take it out!!!!!!

What went wrong?
Nothing in baking is sadder than a cake that didn’t completely come out of the tin. No pretty Bundt tin recipe ever looks quite so nice with a huge chunk missing from it.

There are a variety of ways to grease your tin; melted butter, oil and dustings of flour. But one of the best and most effective methods of greasing is to use Wilton Cake Release, guaranteed nothing will stick to the tin when you use it!

Also, make sure you cool your cake in the tin for 10 minutes once baked to firm up before ‘de moulding’. Then use a palette knife to carefully run around the edges. But be careful if you used butter; don’t leave it to cool completely, as the butter solidifies it gets trickier to remove.

How can I fix it?
Practise your plastering techniques by filling or disguising any gaps with frosting.


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