Your grandmother probably made the art of cake baking look like a cinch but in reality, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. One of the things that I always like to keep in mind when baking is that there’s always a lesson to be learned. So, if you have found yourself with an undercooked cake, don’t let this get you down. It’s something we’ve all experienced.
How you fix an undercooked cake will depend on which part hasn’t cooked properly. However, if you’ve just taken the cake out of the oven and noticed it’s not quite done, it’s as simple as popping it back in.
Understanding how and why cakes don’t cook all the way through will help you to prevent undercooking in the future. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about cooking a cake to perfection.
Why Is My Cake Undercooked?
It’s one thing to understand how to fix your cake if it comes out undercooked but isn’t it so much better to get to grips as to why this might happen in the first place? Understanding this will ensure that, in future, you don’t fall victim to the same mistakes again.
The most obvious reason that a cake would be undercooked is because you didn’t leave it baking for long enough. If the recipe has a specific baking time, make sure you follow this, Moreover, it could be that the oven simply wasn’t hot enough. You need to make sure to set it to the right temperature to avoid undercooking, and overcooking if it is too hot.
If the recipe calls for a specific sized pan, always adhere to this. Using something narrower could result in your cake being undercooked. Additionally, you should make sure that you put the pan on the right shelf in the oven, if you don’t, this could affect how evenly it cooks. For the most part, recipes will ask you to put the cake in the centre.
Amazingly, the baking powder you use can affect how the cake cooks. Using baking powder that is too old or expired will impact cooking as will using too much so follow the recipe amounts to the letter.
How Can I Tell If A Cake Is Undercooked?
When you first start baking, it can be difficult to tell when your cake is ready. There are several ways you can check its condition and determine whether it’s undercooked or needs a little longer in the oven.
One of the first things you’ll notice is that the cake is not spongy. When properly cooked, the cake will have a nice spongy texture which you can feel when you touch it. When you take the cake out of the oven, lightly press it with your fingers. If it moves about at all, then it needs a bit longer.
We don’t usually associate sizzling with cakes; this is normally something you would look for when cooking meat. However, anything that’s just come out of a piping hot oven will sizzle to a degree. A perfectly cooked cake will make a sizzling sound so keep your ears open as this will quickly disappear once the cake comes out.
Check The Edges
When you bake a cake, as it cooks, the edges will move away from the side of the baking pan. This is a really easy way to tell if your cake is cooked as you’ll clearly be able to see whether or not this has happened. It’s not the most reliable method but for a quick visual, it’s great.
Check The Inside
You were probably taught that putting a knife or toothpick into the centre of a cake will tell you if it is undercooked. This is because a cooked cake won’t leave any residue on the implement. If it’s undercooked, the still moist batter will stick to it and you’ll know that it needs a little longer.
Will Eating Undercooked Cake Hurt You?
I would never recommend eating anything that is undercooked. A lot of people grew up licking the spoon when baking with their parents or grandparents. While this is a cute tradition, it might not be safe which is why it’s also not recommended to eat undercooked cake.
The reason for this is that the mixture contains raw flour and raw eggs. Both of these things could cause health problems. With eggs, there is a risk of salmonella while flour is only recommended for consumption after it’s been blasted in a hot oven.
If the cake is only slightly undercooked then the chances of it doing you any real harm are low. But when you can simply cook it for a bit longer, is it really worth risking it?
How To Fix Undercooked Cake
So, you’ve checked your cake and have realised that it isn’t quite where it needs to be. Don’t worry, this is a relatively simple fix and in a few more minutes, you’ll have a perfectly cooked cake. It is important to keep in mind that the cake may have undercooked at different parts and this will determine how you fix the issue.
All Over Undercooking
If the cake is generally undercooked in all areas then this is the easiest fix. It doesn’t take me to tell you that putting it back into the oven is going to save the recipe. You’ll know if it is undercooked all over as it will look less like a cake and more like batter.
It’s hard to say how long you would need to put the cake back into the oven as this will depend on how undercooked it is. In some instances you might need to leave it for another 15 minutes whereas some cakes might only require another two or three minutes.
This is why it is important to constantly check your cake in the final moments of cooking. Try to avoid opening the oven door as much as possible as this will make the temperature uneven. But it’s essential to monitor it otherwise you may end up with something overcooked and this is much more difficult, if not impossible, to fix.
Sometimes you will find that the whole cake is cooked but the bottom remains moist. This isn’t as easy to fix as the previous scenario but it’s certainly possible. You will need to make sure that the cake is placed right in the centre of the oven and cover the top using tin foil as this will prevent it from burning.
If the oven has an upper and lower heat control, turn the upper one off to further reduce the risk of burning the top of your cake.
If you find that it is the middle part of your cake that isn’t cooked then you’re in luck; this is the most common issue and something that almost every baker will experience at some point or another. You will need to use foil again to cover the cake to prevent the outside from burning. Then you can simply pop it back into the oven for between ten and fifteen minutes.
Again, it’s really important to keep an eye on your cake and check it regularly. Just make sure your oven door is clear and the light is on so you can see without having to open it.
There’s quite an art to cooking the perfect cake and part of this involves knowing exactly when the cake is done. If you take the cake out of the oven to find that it isn’t properly cooked, then it’s usually just a matter of putting it back in. However, which part of the cake is undercooked will determine how to approach this.