If we think about baking a cake, the first thing that comes to our mind is about the sinking in the centre. So, why do cakes sink in the middle? Well, if you are looking for the reasons and solution regarding this particular problem, you’ve come to the right place. Please go through the blog to get rid of this peculiar issue.
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6 Reasons Why Cakes Sink in the Middle
Sometimes baking a perfect cake becomes the real challenge because out of nowhere you’ll see that your ideal cake has a hole in the middle! The most common yet overlooked reasons why do cakes sink in the middle may include:
1. Inaccurate Oven Temperature
Oven temperature can alone ruin your cake! Woefully not all ovens bake accurately. You can face some serious problems if your oven runs hot or cold.
For example, let’s assume the temperature that your oven operates is a bit cool. Even if you bake your cake according to the bake time included in a recipe, it won’t bake through in time. Or if the scenario is the opposite, the cake layers will get brown faster. This incident might make you think the cake is baked through. But unluckily the cake layers haven’t had sufficient time in the oven to bake through in the centre. As the layer cools, the centre will sink because it didn’t have a chance to set.
2. Old and Excessive Baking Powder/Soda
Baking powder and baking soda are the two leavening agents, which help the cake rise in the oven. To clarify, when you introduce your cake to the heat of the oven, the leavening agents react with other ingredients, and as a result, little air pockets form. After that, the batter bakes around the air pockets and holds its shape, making a firm, spongy cake. However, expired baking powder and soda definitely won’t help the cake to rise but assists it to sink in the middle for sure.
Similarly, too much leavening agent can cause your cake to uplift too high too quickly. That is to say; the gas from them builds up and leaves before the cake bakes through in the midsection causing the centre to collapse and makes your cake sink.
3. Under-cooked Cake Layers
It is one of the most typical reasons why do cakes sink in the middle. If you take your cake out of the oven before the centre is done, it will sink as it cools. On the other hand, if the cake isn’t fully baked through, the centre doesn’t have a chance to set, and it will sink also. Moreover, it creates a doughy, dense texture in the centre of your cake layer.
4. Incorrect Measurements
As a baker, whether professional or novice, you know that cake recipes are exact. Whereas while making other dishes, you can easily swap ingredients and ended up having a perfect meal. But, you can’t do that with cakes regardless you really know what you’re doing.
When it comes to cakes, success or failure can lie between a couple of ounces short of flour and not having enough eggs. Therefore, without the right quantities and proportions, your cake won’t have the proper structure, which may result in sinking in the middle.
5. Overbeating the Batter
We all are well aware that we’re supposed to beat the butter, sugar, and eggs until they’re light and creamy. However, when it comes time to merge the wet and dry ingredients, it’s crucial not to over mix the batter. Usually, the recipe will recommend you to firmly fold or lightly mix both types of elements until they are intermixed. The main reason for this is that beating introduces more air into the batter. Therefore, at this particular stage, it’s essential not to incorporate any more air than necessary. As a result, too much air causes to much rise to your cake and eventually, it’ll sink in the middle after cooling.
6. Too little or too much Moisture
Baking can be very sensitive to moisture, so if you live in a damp area, you may have to be more cautious. Even a minute change in moisture content inside the ingredients may make your cake look ugly by sinking in the middle. As a result, all your hard work will go in vain! Elements such as eggs, milk, essences, which we keep in the fridge, may also cause this nuisance if you use them directly from the refrigerator.
5 Ways to Prevent Cakes from Sinking in the Middle
Humans are pretty awesome as they have solutions for every problem of life. So we’ve invented many solutions and hacks to get rid of this problem. However, I’ve come out with 5 ways to keep your cakes from sinking in the middle.
1. Know Your Oven
At the outset, you have to know your oven. Here are some factors that you may need to ensure for baking the layers to the perfect.
- Oven Thermometer: Take an oven thermometer to make sure the internal temperature peers what your oven screen is showing you. Even just a few degrees off in a single direction can manipulate the way your cake bakes. Calibrate your oven; therefore, you can set the internal oven thermometer to the right value.
- Avoid Opening the Oven Door: Back to back opening of the oven door during the baking process, allows cold air to get in the oven, and this affects the way the cake bakes.
- Cake Layer Test: When you test your cake layers, insert a toothpick in the centre of the cake. Your cake is made when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.
- Middle Rack: Whether your oven is big enough to fit all of your pans on one rack or not, we always want to bake our cake layers on the middle shelf with about 1 inch between each pan.
2. Fresh Ingredients
While baking cakes, always use fresh and comparatively new raw materials. Take a look at the expiration date of baking soda, baking powder, flour, etc. and use fresh eggs and milk, and most importantly don’t forget to bring the ingredients at room temperature before using. Because sometimes old and damp elements can be a significant reason for the sinking.
3. Creaming the Eggs and Butter
It’s essential to allow the eggs and butter to warm to room temperature before you blend them. That is to say; cold eggs don’t mix well with other ingredients and can cause pockets of unmixed batter that may cause your cake to collapse.
Besides, butter is ideal for whipping when in room temperature. If it is too cold, it won’t mingle with the other ingredients. On the other hand, too warm (melted) butter will also break down, causing the consistency and texture of the cake to change. So, use room temperature ingredients to avoid the hazard.
4. Precise Measurement
Measuring accuracy is the key to success in baking. You must count all the ingredients carefully according to the recipe. Using measuring cups and spoons can be of great help in this regard.
5. Perfect Timing
Don’t let a prepared batter sit for very long before baking unless it is required. You can wait up to 20-25 minutes while the first batch bakes, but a few hours will definitely lessen the quality of your batter and hence may cause sinking. If your batter is sitting on the counter or the fridge, the air created inside will escape into the room, and come time for baking, there will be less to lift the cake.
To put it shorty, the reasons why do cakes sink in the middle may involve inadequacy in oven temperature, expire ingredients, overbeating, inaccurate measurements, etc. But to get your desired cake you can easily overcome the problems by using new and fresh raw materials, thermometer, and being accurate in measuring.
Anyway, hope you’ve found the blog pretty helpful and also hope that you can apply the tricks effectively while baking. If you are interested in building your career as a baker, please do visit our website and learn from our world-class expert online. Click Here.