Have you ever baked a cake, stabbed it with a skewer that came out clean, then let it cool, cut it, and become completely disappointed to see that it’s undercooked?
Denser cakes like mud cakes can give you the illusion of being done even when they aren’t cooked in the middle. For example, you might think your cake is ready, only to discover that it’s stodgy and uncooked in the middle when you cut into it.
No one likes eating uncooked cake or fixing cake that’s supposed to be cooked but isn’t. Luckily, there are tips and tricks you can use so that your cake will be fully cooked.
Skewer Comes Out clean but Cake Not Cooked – Here’s Why.
The Cake Pan Is Filled Too Deep
If you pour too much batter into your cake pan, it will have a hard time baking evenly. It’s common for the cake exterior to be fully cooked whilst the interior is still raw. A skewer test will only work if your cake is cooked evenly.
Many people make the mistake of using a smaller cake pan, even if they follow the recipe correctly. If you don’t have the right-sized cake pans, you can buy some on Amazon. They don’t have to be expensive, but they will help improve how your cake turns out. Also, use a skewer that’s deep enough to reach down the center of the cake.
Your Oven Heats Unevenly
Many large ovens don’t produce heat evenly. Most have hot and cold spots, which can cause problems when baking a cake. In addition, the poor heat of large ovens can cause foods to cook unevenly, so throwing a cake into your oven might not be cooking properly.
When one side of the cake is baked, the other side might still be raw cake batter. So if your skewer comes out clean, you’re probably poking it in the cooked side of your cake. You should rotate your cake a few times during the baking process to help even out the heat.
How to Tell if Your Cake is Done Baking?
Before you start poking a skewer into the cake, make sure it has other signs of a cooked cake. Here, we’ve outlined additional signs to tell when your cake is made.
Once your cake is near the end of the baking time, peek through the oven window and check cake’s edges. When your cake is ready, the edges will slightly pull away from the pan.
The cakes’ edges are the first part to fully bake. After that, they turn inward as the rest of the cake bakes, and the crust tightens.
Look for a small gap that forms between the edges of the cake and the pan when it’s done baking. This tells you that the outer layer of the cake is fully baked, and the middle probably is too.
The edges pulling away is a first sign that you’re near the end of bake time, but you’ll also want to use other techniques to make sure the cake is ready.
Note: If you’re making a sponge cake, this test won’t work because your cake’s edges will stick to the pan even when it’s fully baked. This helps give the sponge cake support, but it means you can’t look for the edges pulling away as a visual sign of doneness.
Cake Smells Fragrant
When looking at the sides of the cake, you should notice the fragrance of the cake too. When your cake is fully cooked, it’ll fill your space with an aroma of butter and sugar.
Here’s how vanilla or chocolate smells like:
The vanilla cake smells sweet, and chocolate gives off a mouthwatering fragrance, sometimes with hints of coffee — once they’re properly baked. Fully baked cakes might remind you of s’mores, hot chocolate, butter cookies or some other nostalgic chocolate desserts of your childhood.
Bottom line: Your cake is probably done if you detect any aroma. If you can’t smell anything, your cake probably needs more time in the oven.
Golden Brown Top
Once your cake smells delicious, and the edges have pulled away from the sides of your pan, it’s time to take a look.
When you’re baking white or vanilla cake, look for golden brown edges. For most cakes, the edges should be slightly darker than the deep golden center.
Note The more sugar in your cake recipe, the browner it will be.
You may be wondering, what about chocolate cake? Because of the cocoa powder, it will be hard to tell if the center is turning golden brown.
You can still look at your chocolate cake and check the edges and top. You might notice a change in color; fully cooked chocolate cakes can sometimes have a reddish hue. Chocolate cake will also go from a shiny color to a matte finish once it’s baked.
The Cake Springs Back
You’ll want to gauge the cake’s texture for signs of doneness. The best way to do this is to press down on the center of the cake with your index finger to see if it springs back.
If your finger leaves indents, your cake isn’t done. Return it to the oven for up to 10 minutes before checking it again.
If the cake springs back, it’s a sign that your cake is fully baked. You can take your cake out of the oven and let it cool on a rack.
Some bakers use a probe thermometer to test the internal temperature of baked goods to check if they’re done baking.
For the cake, this isn’t very reliable. The internal temperature of the cake varies based on its formula, ranging from 200°F to 210°F. Classic cakes such as butter cakes, pound cakes, and chocolate and vanilla cakes hover around 210°F when they’re baked, but this isn’t a reliable temperature threshold to look for.
Instead, use the five techniques outlined above to get a complete understanding of whether your cake is fully baked or not.
Use your senses to tell if your cake is ready. Also, gather more info about the cakes you bake. Soon you’ll develop a sense of when certain cake recipes are properly baked.
Remember that practice makes the perfect cakes, so keep on baking and honing your skills (and instincts) by making more and more cakes!