Baking a cake is not always as easy as pie. You have to get everything right in order not to undercook it. What if your cake is still moist after cooking it for the time stated in the instructions?
Is there anything you can do to save it? Fortunately, fixing undercooked cake is possible, at least in certain cases.
So how do you fix undercooked cake? If the cake is undercooked overall, put it back in the oven for 10-15 minutes. If the middle part is still wet, cover the cake with foil and bake for up to 15 minutes. If the bottom is moist, turn off the upper heat or cover with foil, and cook for a few minutes.
In this article, you will learn all about undercooked cake, from causes to ways to fix and prevent it. Read on so your masterpieces never have to go to waste!
Undercooked Cake: Biggest Baking Problem
It doesn’t matter whether you are a newbie in baking or an experienced pastry chef, there are some baking troubles you experience at least once.
One of the common problems to encounter when baking a cake is undercooking it. You measure the ingredients taking into account every gram, follow the steps, and end up with the unexpected – an undercooked cake.
But you can’t start it over and nor can you put an underbaked cake on the table. What should you do? Blame the recipe, complain, and leave it aside – or try to fix it?
It’s also possible you just followed a bad recipe, to avoid this, take a look at my all-time favorite cake cookbook that you can pick up on Amazon.
You may also try to eat the undercooked cake. Yes, an undercooked cake can be delicious. But should you eat it?
Is It Okay to Eat Undercooked Cake?
It is not a good idea to eat undercooked cake, no matter how tempting it may be. Just as you are advised not to lick the bowl of your cake batter, as much as we may want to, it is not recommendable to eat undercooked cake either.
In the case of raw cake batter, eggs and flour come with health risks. Raw eggs are risky because of the chance of salmonella infection.
Flour is also not recommended for consumption unless it undergoes high-temperature cooking.
When it comes to undercooked cake, the flour and the egg have most likely been cooked enough to not have any bacteria anymore. But why risk it?
It’s just a good idea to avoid eating undercooked cake, especially if the middle is runny or too moist. Besides, we have some ways of fixing your undercooked cake below so there’s no reason to risk it!
Why Is My Cake Wet in the Middle?
Just like anything else you cook in the oven, the heat reaches the outer layers earlier than it does the center. So, if your cake is still wet in the middle, you may have not cooked it long enough.
Additionally, most people bake cakes in aluminum pans. These contribute to the sides and the bottom of the cake cooking much quicker than the center of the cake that has no contact with metal. I personally prefer steel cake pans, like my favorite one on Amazon.
A solution to this problem is to change the temperature and cooking time slightly.
Reduce the heat but leave the cake in the oven longer. This way, you are not risking getting the edges and the bottom of the cake brown and leaving the inside wet. Do this only if you are good at detecting a perfectly cooked cake.
However, a cake that’s too moist in the middle can be the result of other factors. Here are some other reasons your cake may remain wet in the middle:
- The problem is in your oven. If your oven doesn’t heat up evenly, this can cause your dessert to cook unevenly as well.
- You are using the wrong pan. Always use a pan with a size corresponding to the one indicated in the recipe. A common problem is using a deeper and smaller pan which doesn’t work with the cooking time indicated in the recipe.
- You messed up with the baking powder. Using old baking powder may cause the cake to stay moist in the middle. Another problem with baking powder is using too much of it.
How to Fix Undercooked Cake
In certain cases, an undercooked cake can still be fixed.
If you have taken the cake out of the oven and immediately realized that it needs more time, don’t waste a minute. Put it back into the oven for another for 10 to 15 minutes. Check after every 5 minutes to see if there is any difference.
Cover the cake with foil if you don’t need the top to brown even more or if you have already sliced a piece of it out.
How to Fix Undercooked Cake Chart
Here is a quick and easy chart-guide to fixing the most common undercooked cake problems:
|The Problem||Possible Causes||How to Fix|
|An overall undercooked cake||Low oven temperature, Insufficient cooking time ||Put the cake back into the oven. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes with or without foil. Check every 5 minutes to avoid overcooking.|
|Wet/ raw in the middle||Low oven temperature, Wrong pan size, Insufficient cooking time||Cover with foil to trap the heat inside and cook further. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Check halfway through the cooking time. Use a skewer or a toothpick.|
|Undercooked bottom of the cake||Pan placed in the wrong spot in the oven, Uneven heating of oven||Check the heat in the oven. Place the cake in the center of the oven and cook further at a lower heat. Cover with foil to prevent burning the top while the bottom is cooking. |
Alternatively, you can turn off the upper heat in your oven and cook with the lower heat only.
Signs of Undercooked Cake
If you are new to baking cakes, you may have a hard time figuring out when it is a good time to take out your cake. Even if the recipes tell you the cooking time and temperature, it is always good to have common knowledge of baking cakes.
The smell and the look are the common indicators of a cooked cake. However, an undercooked cake can still look beautiful from the outside and smell as if it ready for some frosting.
But don’t be fooled. There are some things we just can’t see.
So here are some signs of undercooked cake:
1. The Cake Doesn’t Feel Right
Just like a steak, you can check whether a cake is done by touching it.
Once you take your cake out at the time when it is supposed to be done according to the recipe, don’t hurry to de-pan it. Instead, press on the middle part of the cake to see how it feels.
If the cake feels spongy, it is done. If it doesn’t fill like a sponge or the most comfortable pillow, it should go back into the oven.
2. The Cake is Still Sizzling Too Much
If you are someone that makes too much noise in the kitchen, you may have never heard the soothing sound of a sizzling cake.
Next time you bake a cake, leave everything aside, and try to hear the sound of small bubbles popping. For a cake that is still undercooked, the sizzling sound will be quite distinctive.
A well-done cake will retain just the slightest sizzle. But if you don’t hear any sizzling at all, overcooked cake alert! (If you’ve really overdone it, consider repurposing it into a soft, moist dessert like a trifle).
3. The Outer Cake Edges Haven’t Pulled Away
Yes, even the sides of a cake can show whether it’s done.
If the edges of your cakes haven’t pulled away yet, it is still undercooked. A gap should form between the sides of your pan and the cake.
But you shouldn’t wait too long either. If you let the sides pull away too much, you will cause the edges to burn and you will fail to achieve the perfect shape of a cake.
How to Prevent Undercooked Cake
There are a few things you should keep in mind to avoid undercooked cake next time you decide to bake a birthday cake on your own.
1. Check the Oven Temperature
It is important to follow the instructions if you are baking a cake you are not familiar with. Check the oven temperature to make sure you have got it right.
If you put your oven on a lower temperature than indicated in the cooking instructions, it will obviously remain undercooked.
If you put the oven on a higher setting to accelerate the cooking process and cut it short, you will burn your cake.
You can overlook the temperature in the recipe only if you know the specifics of your oven or are very experienced in baking a certain type of cake.
2. Use a Thermometer
If you are on a professional level of baking cakes at home, buying a thermometer would be great.
No matter what kind of cake you cook, this handy tool will save you a lot of hustle and worries. All you need to do is to insert it into the cake avoiding touching the pan.
For flourless cakes, the ideal temperature is around 205°F, while for cakes with a light and airy texture the temperature of perfectly cooked cake is not higher than 210°F.
3. Test with a Skewer
The good old skewer test never fails when trying to figure out whether your cake is done or not.
What you need to do is to insert the skewer into the middle part of the cake and take it out. If you see batter on it, it means it still needs cooking. If it comes out dry and clean, time to take your creation out.
A toothpick will work fine in place of a metal skewer.
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