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Cake Baking Too Quickly

Asked by FlowerBomb. Answered on 7th October 2016

Full question

I was baking Nigella's Lemon-Syrup Loaf cake in a new oven and when I was only 20 minutes into baking I noticed the top of the cake was already completely brown (even past the recommended golden brown). I panicked and turned the temperature down from 180 to about 160 thinking I needed to adjust to this new oven but still the cake didn't turn out quite right. Is there a way to salvage a cake when something like this happens during baking? Thank you!

Our answer

Whenever you have a new oven it is always useful to bake a cake that you are very used to baking in your old oven and then see how the new oven bakes in comparison. This can help as a guideline to how you may need to adjust your baking. In addition before using the oven you should always check the guidelines in the handbook or user guide, as fan ovens require some adjustment in temperature from conventional ovens and the adjustment can vary. Even then a fan oven can still cook more quickly. If it is a convection oven that has heating elements in the top of the oven then you may need to use a low shelf to prevent the top of cakes from browning too quickly and again the handbook should have some guidelines.

If a cake is browning too quickly then it is best to try and shield the top of the cake by laying a piece of foil or baking parchment (parchment paper) over the top of the tin, as this will deflect some of the heat from the oven. Sometimes this is recommended towards the end of the cooking time in a recipe. The problem with having to cover a cake very early in the baking time is that the centre of the cake will not have set and there is a risk that the cake will sink when it is taken out of the oven to cover the tin. If you are able to leave the cake until it is at least halfway though the baking time then this will help to reduce this risk.

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