Baking a cake in a conventional oven seems too much of a hassle. Is it worth it if you only need a small cake as an after-dinner treat?
Can you bake a cake in a toaster oven? Yes, you can bake small cakes in a toaster oven. However, temperature and cooking time will vary from conventional oven baking. You will need to take this into account, pick the right pan, and figure out the location of the heating elements to evenly bake a cake in the toaster oven.
In this article, we give you step-by-step instructions for baking a cake in a toaster oven as well as tips and tricks for the best possible result.
Can You Bake a Cake in a Toaster Oven?
Toaster ovens usually have a bake setting. So why not use it to bake a cake?
Baking a cake in a toaster oven is certainly possible. Moreover, cakes baked in these ovens are just as good as the ones baked in traditional ovens. The only thing is, they have to be smaller.
Here are the benefits of baking in a toaster oven:
- Bake Small Batches – Is it worth turning on the big oven for a few cookies or a small cake? It certainly isn’t, especially if you have a toaster oven you can use.
- Less Clean-Up – Another benefit of cooking in small batches is that you have less cleaning to do afterward.
- Quick Baking – If you are craving a cake, it will take you way less to bake it in a toaster oven. But there is also a negative side to the cake baking quicker. If you don’t check on it every few minutes, you may skip the moment when it starts to burn.
- Quick Pre-Heating – Toaster ovens usually take half the time to preheat compared to regular ovens.
Although baking a cake in a toaster oven is something you can do, it might take you a few tries to get things right.
While you can follow instructions on how to bake a cake in the oven, remember that each device has its peculiarities. And unless you have figured all of them out, you should keep your eyes on the cake when using a toaster oven to bake it.
Baking a Cake in a Toaster Oven – What You Should Know
Baking a cake in a toaster oven is different from baking it in a regular oven, but both can yield great results. However, with a toaster oven, this is only possible if you know the specifics of the device and how to use it.
1. Finding the Hot Spots
Baking a cake in a toaster oven can be tricky if you don’t know its hot spots. As toaster ovens are small, the heating elements are located close to whatever it is that you are baking.
Because cake batter can burn easily, you need to know where the hot spots of your oven are so that you can rotate the pan for an evenly-baked cake.
Additionally, as the heating elements are close to the pan, you can’t use parchment paper in the toaster oven; this will create a high risk of starting a fire.
2. Finding the Right Pan
Before you buy all the ingredients and mix them for a cake that you will be baking in your toaster oven, make sure you have the right pan.
Toaster ovens are quite small. There’s just no way you can fit the baking pans of your conventional oven into the toaster oven.
Even if the pan fits, you need to make sure that it doesn’t touch the heating elements of the toaster.
Standard round pans with an 8-inch diameter fit nicely in almost all toaster ovens and are perfect for a cake.
Always check the recipe to see if the amount of batter will fit in the pan you have chosen. Keep in mind that the pan needs to be only 2/3 full.
3. Modifying the Time and Temperature
While the recipe you will be using will most likely come with temperature and baking time instructions, remember that not all toaster ovens are created equal; they have different heating capabilities.
The size of the oven matters too when it comes to the cooking time. If it is your first time baking a cake in a toaster oven, don’t fully rely on the instructions.
Check your cake every few minutes to see how it’s baking. A thermometer will help adjust the temperature of the toaster oven.
If you don’t have a thermometer to monitor the temperature of your oven, the instruction manual that comes with it may be useful.
Some manuals give directions for baked goods, including to what temperature you should set the oven.
Note: You should be extra cautious when baking chocolate cakes in a toaster oven, as these are more prone to burning. Setting the temperature 25 degrees lower than the recipe suggests will help you avoid burning your chocolate cake.
How to Bake a Cake in a Toaster Oven
Now that we’ve got all the most important information out of the way, let’s focus on the process itself.
Here are step-by-step instructions for baking a cake in a toaster oven:
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Allowing the oven to heat up for 10 minutes is a crucial step that you should never skip. A properly preheated toaster oven is the first step to an evenly-baked cake.
- Grease the pan with butter. Do this before pouring the cake batter into the pan.
- Fill 2/3 of the pan with batter to leave room for rising. If you fill the pan with batter to the rim, it will rise and get even closer to the top or touch the heating elements of the oven.
- Put the pan into the preheated oven. Open the toaster oven door as briefly as possible to prevent it from losing heat.
- Check on the batter every few minutes. As soon as you see that the batter has risen, which is usually midway through the cooking time, open the toaster oven and turn the pan 180° to ensure even baking.
- Cover the pan with a thin layer of aluminum foil. This is to prevent the top from burning while the cake cooks through.
- Check the doneness of the cake with a cake tester or toothpick. If it comes out clean, your cake is ready. The baking time for toaster oven cakes depends on many factors, including the heating power of your oven and pan size.
- Take the cake out and let it cool off before removing it from the pan.
Your mini cake should be fully-cooked and ready to eat in no time! Now that you know what the process looks like, we’ll share our best tips for doing all of this correctly.
3 Tips for Baking a Cake in a Toaster Oven
There are a few tips to help you perfect your cakes baked in the toaster oven and never go back to baking cakes in a regular oven unless you need a big one.
1. Find the Hot Spots Using Oatmeal
Knowing the spots of the heating coils of your toaster oven is one of the secrets to an evenly baked cake. If you are having trouble with finding them, here is what you can do.
Spread a thin layer of raw oatmeal on a pan that will fit into your toaster oven. Put the pan with oatmeal into the preheated toaster oven and leave it there for a few minutes to get toasted.
Once you take out the pan, you will easily detect the areas that were closer to the heating coils by color. They will be significantly more toasted and even burnt if you have left the oatmeal in the oven for a bit too long.
2. Use Parchment Paper Right
As we have mentioned, you need to be careful with parchment paper when baking in a toaster oven.
But parchment is the best way to prevent cake from sticking to the pan. Additionally, it is a way for some people to avoid using butter. So what you should do?
The solution is simple. Take a sheet of parchment paper and fold it in half twice. Then fold the square to form a triangle. Hold the triangle over the top of the round pan, making sure its middle point is above the center of the pan.
Cut the paper where it extends past the edge of the pan. Unfold the paper and you will have a sheet of parchment paper that fits your pan perfectly. The edges won’t stick out and get burnt in the toaster oven.
Lining square or rectangular pans with parchment paper using the same technique is much easier.
Always follow the rule – no piece of parchment paper should hang over the edges of the pan.
3. Make a Multilayered Cake
A toaster oven is not suitable for baking big cakes. But you can bake multiple to and make a beautifully constructed cake with delicious frosting between the layers.
Baking a few layers in a toaster oven for a multilayered cake will take time. However, your cake will certainly look fancy and feed more people.
If you have made a big batch of batter for multiple layers of cake, transfer the unused batter into the fridge while waiting for the layer in the oven to cook.
This will prevent the batter from losing its leavening power, as the baking powder in it will remain potent longer if you keep it chilled.
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