Cake Baking: Learning Through Failure


I am not an avid cake baker and haven’t done much research about it before deciding to bake a cake. I’ve experienced too many failures in the past at cake baking that I was rather hesitant about baking this fruit cake for the season.

Something got into me that I wanted to bake something for my children’s teachers in school for Christmas yet I am tired of baking cookies because I’ve done that too many times for the teachers. I gathered some courage, bought all the ingredients I needed to and there was no turning back for me.


The first attempt was a disaster! I baked 2 fruit cakes at one go and there were volcano eruptions happening on the cakes. There was a huge crack on the surface of the cakes and it was a major setback! But since there was some more of the ingredients remaining I did a second attempt on making the same fruit cake.

Before I attempted on the second round I decided to conscientiously look up for the reasons and ways to prevent the same problem from happening. Here are a few very useful tips I’ve gathered –

Ingredient Temperature
One major problem I realized was that many of my ingredients were cold just lifted out of the refrigerator when I was preparing to bake the cake. That was a hindrance to prevent air bubbles in the batter from forming and a proper rise from happening. I’ve learned that ALL ingredients especially the eggs, butter and milk must be at room temperature before mixing.

Overworked Batter
In my enthusiasm, I have over mixed the batter. This was also another deadly mistake. All ingredients should be mix just until they are combined. As too much mixing causes excessive air to get trapped in the batter. During the baking process the escaping air will leave behind cracks on the top of the cake. On my second attempt, I carefully knocked out all the air in the batter by gently dropping the cake pan (with the batter inside) a few times on the counter top before pushing the pan into the oven.

Too Much Baking Powder
I added a heap teaspoonful of baking powder in my first attempt. When making cakes from scratch, baking powder or baking soda must be measured accurately and not adding too much. As this will cause the cake to rise too quickly, resulting in cracks.

Oven Temperature
My oven at home is generally higher in temperature than many other regular ovens. I adjusted approximately 10C below the stated temperature that the cakes should be baked in. Even then the temperature was still too high. If the oven is too hot, the cake will rise too quickly and cause the top to crack. So in my second attempt I adjusted the temp down by 25C and that somehow worked perfectly.

This is a dicy matter as most ovens work differently, the 180C on my oven might differ from yours. So it’d be good to trial and error and best if you have a thermometer you could use for measuring the oven temperature to get the exact temp that you need for your baking needs.

I’m glad I’ve made the blunder in cake baking in order for me to learn from it and gain a new experience. I hope this sharing would be useful to you.

You may refer to the recipe at this link 

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