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What Happens When A Cake Is Catching In The Oven

Asked by PiApple. Answered on 19th July 2018

Full question

What does “catching” mean in cooking? In the Honey Chocolate Cake recipe method it mentions when baking the cake “if it’s catching” to cover the top lightly with foil and check every 15 minutes. Sorry to ask, I’m new to this!

Honey Chocolate Cake
Photo by James Merrell
Honey Chocolate Cake
By Nigella
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Our answer

If something is referred to as "catching" when cooking it means it is starting to slightly scorch or burn. With cakes it usually means that the edges of the cake are starting to become too dark. Nigella's Honey Chocolate Cake (from KITCHEN) contains both brown sugar and honey and the combination of the two means that the cake can sometimes darken too quickly as it bakes, as the type of sugars found in honey tend to brown faster than crystalline sugars. Covering the top of the cake pan with some foil can help to reduce the amount of heat reaching the top of the cake and lets the centre of the cake bake through without the top burning.

If something is "catching" on the bottom of a pan, such as frying onions, then it also means that the ingredients are starting to scorch. In this situation simply take the pan off the heat or reduce the heat so that the pan cools down enough to prevent the ingredients from burning.

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