Sep 06 2012

Baking the Perfect Cake – Why things go wrong!

Posted in Uncategorised by



Our very own 'madeitwithlove', has been extremely helpful in answering many baking questions posed on our Q&A section and now kind enough to take the time to write a blog on her experience baking cakes, which makes very interesting reading....

I learned to bake as a tiny twelve year old at school, in what appeared then, to be a massive kitchen come classroom. Teacher was a harridan when it came to following 'HER' recipes, and woe betide you if you waivered from her instructions! I hated domestic science classes with a vengeance, especially since in those days we had to beat all cake ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon. The school of thought at the time was to have all the ingredients straight out of the fridge, to cream solid block margarine with sugar for a mere weakling like me was a daunting task. Years later, I began to appreciate the harridan's constant nagging, and I wished I had paid more attention! Although thankfully today we have our ingredients at room temperature and have the assistance of marvellous kitchen aids.

I have never been what you might call an ace baker, other people however, for some reason, laud my efforts and I suddenly find myself having many, many friends, (I wonder why?). Throughout my baking journey, I've made, and continue to make, hundreds of mistakes in the endeavour to baking the perfect cake! (believe me, it doesn't exist!). What I have learned however, through scrimping and saving snippets of information, is why certain things do go wrong, and I thought it might be fun to share.

So guys, if the recipe has been followed pretty much closely, ingredients weighed, tins properly greased and lined, the oven preheated and set to the accurate temperature, you'd think great! the cake will be baked perfectly. This is not always so, the most common complaints and  frequently asked questions after all that hard work are as follows:

My cake has sunk in the middle!  What happened?

Most common reason is when the oven door is opened too soon and the cake hasn't set up and baked properly. The mixture could be too soft due to not enough ingredients or if there is too much liquid added. Using too much raising agents can make the cake rise too much too quickly and it implodes on itself.

My cake has got a dome bigger than St Paul's Cathedral!!

Cakes which dome or peak and crack are usually as a result of the butter and sugar not being creamed together for long enough. Give the ingredients a good five to seven minutes of creaming, this incorporates air into the mix making it light and fluffy. Baking in too small a tin restricts the expansion of the mix, so up it goes and pops!  Also baking  too close to the top of the oven will make the centre rise before the sides have had a chance to catch up. However, it is natural for madeira cake to dome and crack.

Now my cake is too dry

Maybe you've over baked it, or didn't use enough liquid/ not enough eggs, if the recipe says use large eggs and you haven't got large, use an extra egg, size matters! Using too much raising agents will also make for a dry cake.

Got holes in my cake

Again the culprit is not enough creaming, this time sugar, eggs and butter/marg. Oven temperature too high and too much baking powder will also cause holes and an uneven grainy texture.  Add eggs into creamed butter/sugar mix one at a time,  cream well so the mix is smooth and incorporated.  If the mix starts to separate add a tablespoon of flour with each egg. The rest of the flour should be carefully folded in with a large metal spoon so as not to lose any of the air in the mix.

Why should a cake be heavy with a closed rubbery texture?

Over mixing cake batter can result in a heavy, closed rubbery texture. Over mixing acts on the gluten in flour and will make cakes hard instead of the lovely soft spongy texture we associate with a good cake. Insufficient  creaming of sugar and eggs will also make a tight texture because there isn't enough air trapped in the mix to give it a lift.  Adding too much liquid will make it dense and pudding like.   Genoise sponge will become heavy if the melted butter is too hot when added and if it is not folded in evenly.

Sugary crust?

This is usually an indication that sugar and fats have not been adequately creamed but it may also be caused by using granulated sugar which doesn't dissolve as well as caster. Too much sugar in the recipe can also make a sugary crust and speckling on the top, in which case try reducing the amount of sugar by approx 60/70 gms. I've done this without compromising the quality of the cake. In fact, I forgot to put any sugar at all in one of my chocolate cakes,  it didn't rise but was perfectly edible with a dash of liqueur and a dollop of clotted cream!

Last, but my no means the least is the fruit cake which has it's own problems. As with all cakes, the methods of incorporating ingredients into fruit cakes is the same, the only difference being that fruit should be of good quality, washed and dried if the recipe asks for this, and sticky fruits such as glace cherries, and angelica should be washed, dried, and floured before adding to the batter other wise they just sink to the bottom. Dried fruit can be plumped up by soaking overnight in a couple of tablespoons of liqueur or warm water. I soak dried fruit for three days, but that's personal choice.  Adding too much liquid to fruit cakes can also result in the fruit sinking to the bottom and can cause a creamy wet stickiness to the baked cake which can't be remedied. Following the recipe and a little common sense will pay big dividends. Different fruit cake recipes have their own method of how to bake. Some will advise baking at a higher temperature for the first hour and then reducing the temperature for the remaining baking period. Others will bake at an even temperature throughout the bake time, this advice should be adhered to for a successful result.

Obviously these are just a few things which can go wrong in cake baking.  Most mistakes can be remedied, but in my book there is no such thing as a baking failure, just a learning curve. More experienced bakers will have come across all these problems through their baking journey. For the less experienced baker, those who are starting out, baking can be a mystery and some disappointment is inevitable. Baking is a science, ingredients all have an interactive role to play although small discrepancies in weights and measures won't affect the overall quality of your baked creations, it is advisable to follow recipes accurately and enjoy your baking!



  1. Reply Jgibb

    Hi Madeitwithlove, many thanks for an excellent tutorial, a well written piece which I am sure people will refer to time after time. As with most skills, it takes time and lots of practice. I used to turn out those horrors from school domestic science lessons too…thankfully I have had a few years to practice and mostly get good results. My daughter now tells me that if you weigh the eggs you get a much better chance at a good result. I must say her cakes are lovely so maybe there is something in that. And if my cakes don’t turn out too well…they still get eaten by my daughters and my two grandsons!

    • Reply madeitwithlove


      I weigh eggs as well if I’m doing an all in one mix, and yes the results are good. This method is fantastic for quick sponges. It is an easy way too, to teach young people who are interested in baking. I’m sure you are being modest about your cakes, I bet they are really lovely. I envy you for your grandsons, I have a great niece, I share her with my sister whose grand child she is. I had so much fun making the fairy castle cake for her birthday, and we enjoy making models together. Perhaps one day I’ll teach her to bake, she’s only eight so a while to go yet. Thank you for your generous comment.

  2. Reply Arwen

    Hi madeitwithlove, I totally agree with Jgibb. I think you covered every mistake I have ever had. I am still a relative beginner, but enjoying every minute. Your advice on my ‘holes in cake’ was brilliant. Next cake was so much better. Thank you for your help from afar! Much appreciated.

  3. Reply jane-ross

    Hi made with love would you recommend anodised aluminium cake pans for baking as i am about to purchase some for my business that I am starting up


    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi Jane
      I’m so sorry for not responding to your comment sooner. With regard to your aluminum anodised baking tins,
      I can’t give you a personal opinion as I haven’t actually used them. I do have some individual ones which
      I haven’t got around to using. As far as I know, anodized aluminium baking tins per se, have no advantage when baking cakes compared with ordinary aluminium tins. Anodizing applies an extra coating of aluminium on the surface of a tin, this makes the surface resistant to surface oxidation and keeps the tin shiny. The tins can still be scratched and damaged just like normal ones.

      There are many baking tins on the market and they all claim they are the best, however, in my experience heavy duty tins without seams are best. They do not warp. and they distribute heat evenly. I use the dark non stick tins and have had no problems with them. Once lined with parchment paper, cleaning is easy and they present no misshaping or rusting. I’ve had some of mine for twenty years and they’re still going strong.

      Since you are making this purchase for your business, I would advise that you buy the best you can afford.
      If you have never previously used anodized aluminum tins, it would be wiser to buy just one to see how you
      fare with it. Better to err on the side of caution than to spend your hard earned cash on something you may
      not get along with. I hope some of this information helps you with your decision.
      Finally, congratulations on setting up your own business, and I wish you the very best of luck in your venture.

  4. Reply olusola

    hi made with love,enjoy ur write ? is my cupcakes when i bring them out of the oven after baking they are soft but after they cooldown for some hours,it becomes a little hard not as soft as when fresh from the oven.

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi Olusola

      Warm cakes always feel very soft and fluffy, as they start to cool down so does the butter or margarine making the cakes appear more dense or hard. Over mixing cupcake batter or any cake batter will make the crumb hard and grainy. So with your cupcakes make sure you fold the flour in gently into the egg and butter/margarine until it is just mixed in. Over mixing stretches the gluten in the flour and cakes can become very dense. Over baking cupcakes and too high temperature can also do this. Most cupcake recipes ask for them to be baked between 12- 20 minutes depending on the ingredients. If you follow Mrs Jones’ cupcake recipe you won’t go far wrong. I don’t bake very good cupcakes, so when I do make them, I make a simple syrup from equal quantities of sugar and water, boil for a minute, cool, then while the cakes are still a little warm use it to give them a little soak (not too much, use a pastry brush). The syrup goes down into the sponge and makes it moist. For 12 cupcakes I make 50ml water and 50 gm sugar, there is always some left over. I find that helps my cupcakes Hope this helps.

  5. Reply diane

    Hi i wonder if you can help? i weigh out all of my ingredients very accuratly and use ingredients at room temperature and also use an oven thermomiter in my oven, but my cakes still never cook in the times given in the recipies. They always take a lot longer than the recipe says sometimes up to an hour! I also weigh out my wet ingredients. I am an experienced cook but i just can not think what the problem is and why my cakes are not cooked in the times given even though i am using the internal oven thermomiter as well to ensure i am getting the correct internal temp in my oven. Please can you help?

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi Diane

      In my experience the culprit has always been the oven, although I have come across recipes which were down right incorrect in their timing. If I don’t trust a recipe for timing I normally check the cake two thirds the way through by opening the oven door very slightly (so as not to let too much heat escape) and touching the top of
      the cake. If it’s very wobbly I allow it to bake on until I can see the sides of the cake pulling away from the lining paper. Of course this means keeping an eye on the baking but it does avert a few disasters. Since you’ve taken all the necessary precautions I would suggest raising the temperature slightly, make a note of it and see whether the result is better. I used to have a lot of problems with madeira cake but by constant adjustment I finally found the correct baking temp for my oven. You may have to do it with several recipes as timing is not set for every oven but as a guide. I’ve included this link!/2013/01/culinary-lesson-14-knowing-your-oven.html. It makes for interesting reading and lots of sense. I hope it helps you find a happy temperature solution. ps apologies for late reply.

      • Reply diane

        Thank you so much, your right this is a very interesting topic. I am going to experement with my oven and hopefully this will solve the problem.

  6. Reply Leanne

    Thank you for writing this. Yesterday I made a caramel mud cake which turned out dense, hard on the sides and undercooked in the center. Thanks to this blog I realised some big errors I made – overmixing the batter, opening the oven door often to check the cake and having too high an oven temp. I did the same temperature the recipe called for but my cakes so far always go hard at the sides and I’m thinking this is because my oven is fan assisted? One thing I’m not sure how to fix though is the cake being undercooked in the center while the outside is overcooked. My springform tin is 23cm. Any further advice on how to change this? Thanks!

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi Leanne

      I hope some of your problems are now behind you. We chatted quite a bit in Q & A and I derived from your comments that your results are better. Keep a record of the temperature for each cake you bake, you’ll soon get to know a happy temperature for your oven. Best of luck with your future baking.

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi Bunmi

      Please excuse me if I have not understood your question properly. Do you mean your cakes are heavy and not fluffy and light? If this is the case it might be because you are not getting enough air into your cake mixture.
      First, all the ingredients must be at room temperature. When you cream the sugar and butter beat for a good five to seven minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well before adding the next one. If it is not well beaten the mixture will not go smooth, it will look like scrambled egg. It is better to whisk the egg first with a fork and add a little at a time. Do this with every egg. If the mixture starts to break add a table spoon of flour and beat it in on low speed to prevent the gluten in the flour forming. Over beating flour in cake mixture will make gluten form which makes cake hard and heavy. When all the eggs are incorporated, add sifted flour in three stages, use a big metal spoon and fold it into the butter, sugar and egg mixture until you can’t see any flour. Do all this gently so you don’t knock the air out of the batter. Try and get the cake into the oven as quickly as possible especially if you have used self raising flour or baking powder. Other things to do is to make sure your oven is pre heated for a good 20 minutes and use the correct temperature guidelines. Follow the recipe properly, use raising agents if the recipe asks for extra to be added. Sometimes the mixture can be very stiff, in this case add a table spoon or two of hot water ( not boiling) or milk ( room temperature not cold from the fridge) to the batter which should be dropping consistency. Is it important not to open the oven door too soon as this will make your cake drop. I hope this helps, please try again with your cakes and I hope you will have a lovely light cake.

  7. Reply Tracy allan

    Hi I seem to have the same problem with a chocolate cake recipe I use all the time. Did a large on about 11″ square, left in overn for two hours recipe stated 160 degrees, I used fan oven so reduced to 150. Cooked on outside. Skewer came out clean. But when I cut it it’s still a little uncooked in the centre.used the same recipe for a 6″ a few weeks back and it was fine. What am I doing wrong? I am thinking I might just need to split the cake batter and bake in two halves in future for the bigger cakes.

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi TracyAllan

      For an 11″ cake your temperature is still too high. For a fan oven reduce down to 140c and bake for slightly longer, approx 2 hours 20minutes (but check it at 2 hours 10 mins) If the centre is not baked when your cooking time is up keep baking and check every five minutes until done. I suggest the tin is double lined with parchment paper which should be approx 2″ above the rim of the tin. Large cakes square cakes take longer to bake, the centre takes a long time to heat up and the sides can begin to burn. Protect the side by wrapping the outside of the tin with brown paper or baking strips.

  8. Reply Dhivvyaa

    Hey, I don’t know what’s wrong with my cake. It has this sandy-like taste in every bite of the cake. There are invisible tiny little suspended particles which cause that kind of texture and taste i guess. But, i couldn’t figure out what it is. I did sift my cocoa powder and baking powder. So, what could have gone wrong? Please help, thanks (:

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi Dhivvyaa

      Sounds like the sugar and butter were not creamed for long enough or you perhaps didn’t use caster sugar. If you used regular granulated sugar it can make cake crumb gritty and speckly because it takes longer to break down during baking. Try creaming the sugar and butter for a good 5 minutes until white and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beat well until you have a glossy emulsion. Add flour in 3 stages and fold with a large metal spoon until combined with the wet ingredients.

  9. Reply swarn

    pls suggest me how to prevent white patches on the surface of jaffa base cake?? It is niether a fat bloom nor sugar bloom, i have already checked for sugar & fat bloom….

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hello Swarn

      I know you say that it can’t be be fat or sugar bloom but how did you melt your chocolate and how was your cake stored? I suspect this has to do with either steam getting into the chocolate during melting (if you used bain marie method) or condensation if the cake was refrigerated. Please have a peek at the information here you may find it helpful.

  10. Reply Joolsnoose

    My mud cake seems to soufflé in the middle with the whole middle cracked in a circle. Once cools it falls back into place. It bugs me because I like a perfect nice slight dome on my mud cakes but it seems the oven in my new rental property is the worst oven in the world. I know it has a hot spot so I have to turn the cake a 1/4 every 20-30 mins which doesn’t help the temp either. I’ve tried lowering the temp to 140deg (I have a thermometer that I use also) but it still happens. I tried cooling the melted component of my cake right down but it still happened. Is it my recipe? Do you recommend a good mud cake recipe?? I’m at a loss.

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi Joolsnoose

      A lot of mud cake recipes collapse particularly if they’re the very molten high sugar ratio type. You could try reducing the sugar slightly say by 10%. I don’t know which recipe you’ve used so can’t make really say why you might be having this problem. If you’d like to try an alternative recipe there is a long shelf life mud cake recipe here
      I’ve baked it several times, it doesn’t sink at all and the taste and texture improve with keeping.

  11. Reply leigha

    Hi thanks for the tips they really make sense one thing i was wondering was why my cakes are coming out of the oven lumpy looking not smooth on top at all ??

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi Leigha

      In the picture of Mrs Jones’ sponge cake here you’ll see her victoria cake and cupcakes are not perfectly smooth either. If your cakes look similar there’s nothing to worry about. Those are air bubbles which are trapped in the batter during mixing and which give rise to your cake. It can happen more in cakes baked with margarine instead of butter. Margarine has a higher content of water which already has air bubbles trapped in it’s composition. When it is beaten to create an emulsion for cake batter more air bubbles are trapped which rise to the surface during baking and can make the cake appear lumpy. The crust is usually soft and can be levelled off or just turn the cake over and use the flat base for decorating. Try using butter to see whether that stops the lumpy appearance, reduce your oven temperature if using a fan oven and bake on the middle shelf.

  12. Reply Hannah A


    I love the blog it is so useful. I have a really important question I have never measured my ingredients I learnt as a child from my grandmother and my cakes seem to be enjoyed by family and friends. However now that I am venturing out and trying new and different style of cakes I wanted some advice. Do you recommend following recipes? And if so is it important to follow word for word? I love baking and want to make foolproof cakes for my family.

    Many thanks

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi Hannah A

      There was a time when bakers and home bakers used ratios to create beautiful pastries, obviously your grandma was one of those clever people and has taught you her method. Today we can just look in a book or on the internet and choose from the multitude of recipes available. I would say following a recipe as closely to original is important even if it’s just to sample the result. Not all recipes work so it’s a good way of finding which to use and which to avoid. I experiment with recipes, sometimes reducing sugar or perhaps the ratios of the other ingredients but have never bothered actually creating a recipe from scratch, I leave that to the experts and test kitchens! I wouldn’t recommend for beginners to alter recipes. It’s important to learn the disciple of weighing ingredients and to have an understanding of the science behind how they all interact in the whole process of baking. I think for someone like yourself who understands amounts visually, tweeking recipes will always be a temptation. Recipes are guide lines which can be altered within reasonable limits, science plays a massive part in baking so it is important to keep ingredients in balance.
      Most bakers play around with ratios and ingredients, that’s how recipes evolve. Best wishes and success in your new ventures.

  13. Reply domygirl

    You are simply a Godsent. May God continue to bless u. So glad that I found this blog. I am just a beginner an i do have questions which you have already answered.

  14. Reply Linda

    I am trying hard to make a good sponge cake and all these TV bakers keep banging on about creaming butter and sugar and making sure it doesn’t curdle but no matter how long I cream the s and b for, It looks like the mixture has separated slightly anyway. Can you show a photo of a curdled and non-curdled mix, coz I suspect down in the bottom of their posh Artisan mixers, it has curdled!!

  15. Reply Enne


    My butter cakes always hv a loose crust. What I meant is the crust sort of peel off from the cake. Why?

  16. Reply Phoebe

    I’m so glad with all the contribution u give to all ur fans. This are some the questions i want 2 asked.

  17. Reply Master_Maeree

    Umm, Hey Madeitwithlove. I love making desserts, and i make it with my heart, but I’m also just a beginner, so I’m not that good yet but I made a cake today, and the sponge cake turned out bad. It was moist, soft and it looked nothing like a sponge cake. It was totally hard , but I gave it a try with my frosting, and it was good. It was only good because of the cream and because, before i spread on the frosting, I sprinkled on some confectioners sugar to make the taste better. So please help me!!!

  18. Reply Master_Maeree

    Hey Madeitwithlove!! I’m a little worried because I don’t think i got what it takes to become a baker. But all I’m doing is discouraging myself and letting myself down. I should keep trying and believe in myself. But here’s my problem, I baked a cake today (March 9th, 2014) and it turned out bad. I don’t know what happened but it was soft and moist. Can you please explain to me why that happened

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hello Master_Maeree

      We all have disasters when first learning. Just keep practicing by following the recipes properly. Weighing ingredients accurately is very important as is the mixing method. Take care to pre heat the oven for at least 20 minutes and bake on the correct temperature for the correct time. It’s a good idea to have an oven thermometer so you can make sure your oven is running at the right temperature. Oven thermometers are cheap and can be bought in most kitchen shops and online. If you need more help or information it may be quicker to receive answers in Q & A here:

  19. Reply Lola

    Hmmmmm so helpful. Tnk u so much. But please can you tell ow to measure or give some examples of how you measure need it urgently cos am about baking in 20mins time. tnks

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi Lola

      It is more accurate to measure by weighing all your ingredients. I use digital scales and use the metric method ie grams and mls rather than pounds and ounces or cup measures. Cup measures are not particularly accurate. For very small measures of liquid use teaspoons or tablespoon measures. Most liquid measures like cream, buttermilk, milk, yogurt, oil or water can be measured in grams so don’t be intimidated and think it has to be all in mls. If you need help and information on any other baking problems post your questions in Q & A where the wider site commiunity can also give the benefit of their experience. Q & A is here

    • Reply Andy (Staff)

      Hi Emelike,

      It’s possible a case of the oven being opened during baking or the temperature not being quite right – Take a look on this page for some advice and post a question if you’re still stuck x

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hello Shola

      I’m sorry to have missed your question. I’m sure you will have the answer by now. Just in case you didn’t find the answer, if you have insufficient leavening in your batter your cake will either not rise at all or rise very little.

  20. Reply Faiqa Akram

    Hi madeitwith love, I was wondering if you could help me, every time I bake a victoria sponge it turns out ok but is always greasy to touch. I use the same amount of ingredients. Can you help? Thanks Home baker.

  21. Reply Saniya

    Hello…I baked my sponge cake today n it a rubbery texture..dont knw why….but yes I baked it in an oven toaster on upper n lower both at the same time covering the cake with foi!

    • Reply Danielle

      Hi Saniya!

      Thank you for your message. If your cake was rubbery this may have been caused by your oven temperature being too low or if it had not been properly pre heated.

      We have a Q&A section that can be accessed at the link below where professional cake makers can help to give you some advice!

      If there is anything else we can do to help, please let us know! :)

      Thanks, D x

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hello Saniya

      One reason why cakes become rubbery is if the batter is over mixed. The gluten becomes stretched so instead of getting a light fluffy cake it becomes more like bread. To get a nice fluffy cake beat your butter and sugar until it is very, very light and fluffy, it takes about 5 – 7 minutes. Break one egg at a time in a separate bowl and beat it slightly with a fork. Pour some egg a little at a time into the butter sugar mixture and combine it very well before adding a little more in. It should look like thick cream or mayonaisse. Do this with all the eggs. If you hurry this stage your mixture will split. If you find the mixture does split add a tablespoon full of the flour and beat gently until you can see the mixture blended together. Finally when all the eggs have been incorporated into the butter, sugar and eggs, add your flour in two or three stages each time folding in with a big metal spoon. Don’t beat this mixture, it should be folded in until it is a dropping consistency. If the cake batter is a little too stiff add a table spoon or two, depending on how stiff the batter is, of luke warm water or if you prefer milk. Get your batter into the oven as quickly as you can so the leavening doesn’t become flat. Don’t open the oven door to check the cake until two thirds of the way through baking. If you have more questions go over to the Q & A section where the wider site community will be able to give you helps and guidance.
      You’ll find Q & A here
      Good luck with your next cake!

  22. Reply Fatima

    love your tips! You are very supportive. Thanks for your guidance and i am learning a lot from your tips. please keep on writing and guiding us. I made chocolate cake last week. However the mixture was very stiff so I added one medium size egg and then one tablespoon of vegetable oil. It became a bit better but the cake was very hard. It didnt turn out to be a soft chocolate cake.

  23. Reply Pipsqueak

    Just cooked Christmas cake and it appears that the butter has oozed out the bottom or bubbled up around the edges like its swimming in oil-where have I gone wrong, any ideas gratefully received. Many thanks!

    • Reply Danielle

      Hi Pipsqueak thank you for getting in touch!

      It may be that the temperature that your over was set at was too high? What butter did you use as well – non salted?

      If you get the chance, post your question on the Q&A section of our website too and lots of cake superhero’s may have had the same problem!

      Hope we get the to the bottom of it for you :) D x

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi Pipsqueak

      When you buy dried fruits you’ll see in the ingredients list that they are covered in some sort of oil. Some say palm oil others vegetable oil. It’s possible if you didn’t wash and dry your fruit first, some of these oils liquified into your batter. I have to admit I”ve never experienced this myself but have heard from other bakers that it can or has happened. Sometimes its just the butter in your ingredients which is still hot when you remove the cake from the oven. This will solidify as your cake cools. Let your cake cool completely in the tin, bear in mind a fruit cake is very dense and can take up to three days to cool depending on size. Once totally cool it can be wrapped up and stored. It can also be fed with some alcohol of your choice before wrapping.
      Information on storing fruit cake can be found here
      If you need more information or support pop over to the Q & A section where the wider site community will be able to help you. Find Q & A here
      See you in there!

      • Reply Sara

        Hi made with love its been now like 3 years since ive been making my usual chicolate cake recipie but in the past week ive been trying it out again and agan but it seems to come out veerrry dense and sometimes even doughy knowing that im following the steps exactly the way i used to could this mean that somthing might be wrong with the ovenn ????!!!!

        • Reply madeitwithlove

          Hi Sara

          If your recipe usually works well and this is a recent problem, it is possible that your oven is not calibrated properly. An oven thermometer will soon let you know if the internal temperature is the same as what the dial is reading. Make adjustments if the temperatures are different. If the oven temperature is too low for the recipe you are using, the cake will still rise but it will be shallower and denser as you have described.. Other things you should check is that any leavening used is in date or that it hasn’t become damp. If you are using self raising flour, check that it has not become damp and that it is well in date. Self raising flour contains leavening which can lose it’s effectiveness. I hope your next cake comes out good.

  24. Reply Rachael

    Hi there. I wonder if you could help me. I’m making my first ever Christmas cake and my fruit is currently soaking. When I fold it into the batter tomorrow do I fold in any of the liquid as well. Thanks in advance. Btw, I love your blog.

  25. Reply Chanel

    Hi, I hope you can read and answer this. I too have been baking for a long time. The fact that you said there will never be a perfect cake 100% of the time……makes me feel so much better. Because I have a failure—I feel like crummy.

    I do have a question. What are reasons I may get what I call a ‘weight-line’ in my pound cakes? This occurs mostly at the bottom of the cake. It looks like a ‘solid’ streak. I have a thermometer in my over to account for correct temp. Besides under baking…could there be another culprit. Sometimes the entire cake is unsalvageable. Sometimes I can get half a cake out of it. Please…any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi Chanel

      I am assuming you just get a dark crumbly or crusty ring at the base of your cake layer. This can happen if the cake pan is over greased/floured. If a pan is over greased it can ‘fry’ the sides and base of the cake crumb. Similarly so can changing pans from light to dark. If you’ve changed your pans from light to dark it may help to reduce your baking temperature slightly. Too low a temperature can also cause this. The top part of the cake begins to set while the bottom remains overly moist. As the bottom eventually cooks the crumb discolours and becomes stodgy or dry.
      There are some basic rules for deciding what temperature to bake at. For example:
      If there is more flour to butter/egg ratio the oven temperature needs to be higher, conversly if you increase the fat you need to lower the temperature. Other basic rules as listed below are probably not causing your problem, however out of interest I’ll just pop them down.
      The bigger the cake the lower the temperature to give slow even bake.
      If you increase heat input, for eg by changing light pans to dark pans, the rate of moisture loss will be increased. If temperature adjustment is not made cake crumb over bakes.
      I don’t know what type of oven you use but I expect you are already aware that a fan oven increases heat input so baking temperature should be reduces by approx 10- 20 degrees.
      The heat input is also higher at the top of an oven than at the bottom, for both fan or conventional.
      Putting silver foil or silver baking pan at the bottom of the oven will also increase heat.
      Baking two cakes at a time will reduce heat input.
      The points covered are no means exhaustive but I hope you may find something here which you think could perhaps be responsible for your problem.
      What I haven’t mentioned is the oven thermometer. If you’ve had it for some while it may need replacing, they do need changing fairly regularly as they can become unreliable due to contant exposure to heat changes.
      I hope some of this helps.

  26. Reply anisha singh

    my cake was cooked perfectly and it tasted really good..but it was stuck to the tin even when i had buttered it properly..and i had preheated my oven and i did not add cold eggs or was just too was like mashed brownies.Please help me in making moist but solid cakes..

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hello Anisha

      Looks like you’ve had a bit of bad luck! Next time you bake Paul’s moist chocolate cake, grease and line your baking pan with parchment paper to prevent the cake sticking. Follow the tutorial for lining baking pans here:
      Don’t over mix the batter, over mixing will over aerate this recipe, it just needs to be mixed until all the ingredients are incorporated. Once your cake is baked let it cool completely in the tin before unmoulding. This way it will be firm when you turn it out. If you need any more help post your questons in Q & A where the wider site community will be able to help and advise you. Don’t give up, good luck with your next bake and let us know how your cake turns out in Q & A.

  27. Reply Beke


    My question is on sponge cakes which have equal amounts of butter,sugar& flour,Whenever i bake this kind of sponge ,the cake is oily and crumb texture is not good.All my ingredients will be at room temperature and weighed accurately using a scale.i have checked the accuracy of the scale and its fine.can you help on this?

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi Beke

      I know we have everything at room temperature when we bake. However if your butter is too soft it will become very oily when you start beating it with the other ingredients and this can make the sponge as you have described. Butter should be soft so when squeezed it just leaves finger dent. The butter will soften further from the heat generated by the beaters and become the correct temperature for emulsifying with all the other ingredients. Try it and see if it works for you. x

  28. Reply aaa

    Admiring the dedication you put into your website and in depth
    information you present. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed
    material. Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my
    Google account.

  29. Reply aaa

    I read this post fully concerning the difference of most up-to-date and earlier technologies, it’s awesome article.

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hello aaa

      Thank you for reading my blog and for your comments. I’m glad you find it helpful. I have only covered the more common problems encountered in baking. There are many other problems which can occur, sometimes even experienced bakers can become baffled. This site has many, many experienced bakers so don’t forget to look through answers in Q & A section where you will can see answers and solutions on all different baking and decorating topics. You’ll find Q & A is here:
      See you in there!

  30. Reply aaa

    Wonderful goods from you, man. I’ve be mindful your stuff prior to and you’re simply
    extremely wonderful. I actually like what you’ve bought here, really like what you’re stating and the best way in which you are saying it.
    You are making it enjoyable and you continue to take care
    of to keep it sensible. I can’t wait to learn far more from you.
    That is actually a tremendous website.

  31. Reply Jude

    Hi, I ,m having a problem with my sponge cakes, and wondered if anyone could help.
    The cakes are fine when I take them out of the oven, but when I remove them after approximately 10 mins, from the tins, the sides just fall away, leaving an uneven edge around the cakes.
    I would be very grateful for any advice.
    Thank you

    • Reply Danielle

      Hi Jude,

      Thank you for getting in touch. If you were to pop the cake in the fridge for about an hour to chill it or in the freezer for about half an hour. You’ll find the chilling will prevent the cake from crumbling and allow you to get a better finish when you crumb coat. Have a look in the free/beginners section at the tutorial where Paul fills and crumb coats a cake with butter cream.
      I hope this helps D xx

  32. Reply reha

    i made cake but also added milk in it ,,, while in recipe it was not mention,,,i used 1/2 teaspon baking soda,,,,coz i have no baking powder,,,,,,i putted it for the sake of low beating the better i made,,,,,my cake raised well,,,but after i putted it in fridge it became stiffed and hard,,,by agin warming it it was too soft and sunk,,,why it sunked and why it is not a great cake

    • Reply Danielle

      Hi Reha, Thanks for getting in touch. It maybe because you used different ingredients in your recipes than what was recommended and therefore caused the cake to sink.
      It also depends how long you cooked the cake for as well as how you stored it in the fridge. If you stored it in a plastic container, the cake would sweat and therefore may have caused it to sink when warming to room temperature. I am sorry for this inconvenience. Try out Mrs Jones recipes for a fantastic baking here –
      I hope this helps! D xx

  33. Reply Precious

    Hi, nice comments and help all d way. My cake is quite ok but for the greasy and shiny finishing. The inside is quite oily. I baked cake severally but it comes out the same way. What do I do?

  34. Reply Precious

    Again, I want to ask. What effect do too much sugar, folding in quickly, flavour types (coconut flavour) have on cakes?

    • Reply Danielle

      A cake that is overly dense typically has too much liquid, too much sugar or too little leavening, and not too much flour can often have problems. Over beating the flour overworks the gluten in it, so fold in the dry ingredients with a light hand. Our baking expert, Mrs Jones also provides great tips for adding flavourings to your cakes. You can watch the tutorial here –
      I hope this helps! If you have any other cake related questions, please feel free to ask our Q&A section, where we have many cake experts at hand that can offer their advice.
      Danielle x

    • Reply Danielle

      Hi Muskaan,

      To keep a cake moist for longer time after baking, it has been suggested to freeze your cake, until you need it. You could also include some type of alcohol in your cake to keep it moist. Paul often uses Baileys when making his chocolate cake and this works very well. I also found someone discussing using sugar-syrup to keep your sponge moist too. You can read more about it here –
      I hope this helps:-) Kind Regards,
      Danielle x

  35. Reply daymuffin

    hi, your information is very useful. thank u !
    sometimes, i noticed there are many white spots on the top surface of the cake after it comes out from oven, what can it be?

  36. Reply madeitwithlove

    Hi daymuffin

    Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I hope the following explanation helps to answer your question.
    Sometimes if the sugar and butter haven’t been beaten suffciently the sugar will not dissolve and form tiny crystals in the cake. This is more especially if you use granualted sugar which is not as fine as caster sugar. Another reason may be that the flour has not been thoroughly incorporated into the other ingredients. If this happens you will find tiny hard white flour streaks in the baked cake. In this instance I do think it is a sugar crust. Please scroll up to the blog and read the content about sugary crust which explains further how sugar can affect some baked goods.

  37. Reply SHANK

    hello designer cakes dot com,

    i was challenge by my colleagues to a chopped-style bake off where i was ggifted chocolate milk, eggs, and sugar to make a custard. I tried to bake some of the mixture but it collapsed. Thereupon i mADE THE SNAP DECISION TO CONVERT my custard into a chocolate cake. I added baking powder, chocolate powder, and flour until it was a batter consistency. it baked in a 350 oven for half an hour, and went it came out it was spongey, dense, and rubbery. It was a silicone entity like that of a children’s plastic pumpkin pie. what went wrong in my endeavor? was there any way to save my creation; a salvation i was too blind to see? or was it doomed to Sponge


  38. Reply pinky

    Hi I made chocolate mug cake..things turned good..but when it got cooled it turned hard rubbery texture…is it because of the palm sugar I used???

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi pinky

      Some recipes give 4 – 5 minutes and this can be far too long. Try baking it for half that time or try baking on a lower microwave temp. Depends on how powerful your machine is. I don’t think it has anything to do with the palm sugar but like all sugar, if over heated it will burn and go hard. Have another bash at it and go gently with the heat and time! Good luck next time :)

  39. Reply Lesley

    Hi I found it helpful reading your piece my sponges seem to have a crispy top and are OK at bottom
    Have u used silicone moulds for sponge cakes but my sponge always seems to stick no matter what I do, any tips to stop them
    Sticking. Thanks

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi Lesley

      Crispy top suggests that perhaps your oven tempeature is too high and will need to be reduced slightly. You haven’t mentioned which type of oven you are using. A fan oven will make the top and side of the cake crispy. A silicone mould for sponge sometimes distorts the cake and the batter doesn’t rise as much. I expect you will notice that the crumb is also very light. I do have silicone pans but I no longer use them. If you want to carry on using your pans, line the bottom with a round of parchment paper and grease the sides lightly with butter and sprinkle with a small amount of plain flour to coat the sides. Tap out any excess and then pour in your batter and bake. I also think you will greatly benefit from using a good heavy duty metal cake pan.
      Invicta is a very good brand. Let me know if this helps and if you need any more information.

  40. Reply Pauline

    I’m loving the write up and comments thank you!
    Today I had a disaster. Trying to make lemon drizzle cake and when I tried folding the flour into the eggs and butter it didn’t mix properly, there were big lumps of flour. To try and fix it I put the mix in the blender which got rid of the lumps and made the mix nice and smooth but my cake is awful! It’s flat, rubbery and has holes throughout. The inside tastes ok but looks awful and the texture is like a bath sponge.
    I used stork margarine (specifically for cakes apparently)
    Any ideas? Thank you.

  41. Reply Pauline

    Oh maybe I should have said the start of it all seemed to be the butter and eggs curdled as soon as I started mixing them. Was the butter too warm or soft? The eggs too cold? Sorry for all the questions.

    • Reply madeitwithlove

      Hi Pauline

      Thank you for your question. For perfect emulsification to take place between the butter and egg, it helps to have all the ingredients at the same temperature. Take your ingredients out of the fridge to allow them to come to room temperature at the same time. Curdling can be controlled by adding the egg to the butter and sugar in small amounts and mixing until smooth. Adding egg too quickly will split the mixture, it’s like adding oil to egg when make mayonaise or oil to water. Curdling can also be prevented by adding a tablespoon of flour to the mix if it appears split. Fold this in slowly as over mixing will make the cake tough. After all the egg has been used, fold in the remaider of the flour in three stages. Fold each stage in gently with a large metal spoon until it is mixed in with the wet ingredients to form a smooth batter. Blitzing the batter in a blender will knock all the air out of the mixture. It will also stretch the gluten in the flour. Hence the structure of cake as you have described. Margarine is fine to use, all the same principles apply as when using butter. The end result is in the temperature of the ingredients and the method of mixing. If you need more information, pop over to the Q & A section of the site. Hope this helps.

  42. Reply Ain

    Will the surrounding temperature and humidity (high temp and very humid) affect the cake outcome?

    • Reply David Brice

      Humidity can affect the weight of ingredients if they are not stored properly, as the moisture makes the weight of flour and sugar appear heavier. So long as you store your ingredients in air tight containers in a cool dry place then you should be fine. Put the mix quickly from the bowl to the tin then into then oven for best effect.
      In hot and humid conditions the baked cake will deteriorate quickly unless stored in a cool, dry environment.

Add a Comment