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What Went Wrong?

Asked by karenhaddock. Answered on 8th April 2012

Full question

I made the Easy Almond Cake from Domestic Goddess (p6) last night and I think I must have done something wrong. I made sure that everything was at room temperature and followed the recipe to the letter. The cake went into a preheated oven, I have a fan oven so adjusted the temperature from 170c to 160c. When the cake came out it had risen up and pulled away from the edge of the tin and also from the funnel in the middle, the tester came out clean and I left it in the tin to cool. The cake has collapsed and looks sad. This morning it feels like rubber. What have I done wrong?

Our answer

Usually if a cake is drastically shrinking away from the sides of its tin then it has been overbaked, though has not got to the stage of actually burning. We suspect that this is probably the case with your cake. Fan ovens cook more quickly than regular ovens and do normally need to be turned down. Usually the rule of thumb is to reduce the temperature by 20c (50F) for a fan oven though it is best to consult your oven manufacturer's handbook for specific advice. It is also worth checking the cake slightly early as all ovens cook slightly differently. The recipe suggests checking after 40 minutes, even though the cooking time is 50 minutes.

There is also a chance that the cake batter was overmixed - this would give a tough texture to the cake. Once the flour has been added to the food processor you should only need to whiz for a few seconds to combine the flour. If you are not sure then switch off the processor, add the flour and just use a few pulses to incorporate the flour into the batter.

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