Bundt cakes are both delicious and aesthetically pleasing. However, getting them right can sometimes be a little tricky.
There are some common Bundt cake problems that you might encounter while baking, whether it’s collapsing, sticking to the Bundt pan, cracking, or other mishaps.
In today’s guide, we’ll discuss some of these issues as well as various tips and tricks to help you avoid them. So without further ado, let’s dive right in!
A collapsed Bundt cake is an unfortunate outcome of various issues. Let’s have a brief overview of each of these problems.
Baking soda and baking powders are essential leavening agents used to help the cake rise. For that reason, if you have rising problems, they’re the first things you need to inspect.
Ideally, you should stick to the amount of leavening agent used in the recipe you’re following. Using too little will strip away the cake’s ability to rise as it starts cooking.
On the other hand, If you use too much baking powder/soda, the cake will rise prematurely, making it quite difficult for the cake to hold itself together and end up collapsing from the center.
If you use just the right amount of leavening agent and the cake still doesn’t rise, you should make sure that the powder/soda isn’t too old and expired.
Luckily, there are some tests to help you make sure that your leavening agent is still working, here are the easiest ones for each type:
- Baking Power: Pour 1/4 cup of boiling water on half a teaspoon of baking powder. If it bubbles, it’s working properly. If it doesn’t you need to buy a new batch.
- Baking Soda: Mix 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a dish. If they bubble and fizz, the baking soda is good to go.
The heat from the oven isn’t only responsible for cooking the batter, but it also causes the leavening agents to react and produce carbon dioxide gas.
These gases bubble inside the batter, causing the cake to rise. For that reason, any inadequacy in oven temperature can affect rising.
For example, too much heat causes the cake to rise early, so it ends up collapsing. On the other hand, if the batter didn’t warm up properly, it may not rise at all.
This happens due to various reasons, such as:
- Skipping the oven preheating step
- Opening the oven door too frequently to check on the cake
- Taking the cake out of the oven prematurely
- Using cold ingredients straight from the fridge
Creaming the butter is the process where you mix softened butter with sugar to get a uniform, fluffy, and smooth mixture.
This process is quite critical for cakes because it ensures the consistency of the batter’s texture and helps in creating air pockets to puff up the cake and help it rise.
However, if you don’t cream the butter properly before adding the rest of the ingredients, the cake will have a hard time rising properly and maintaining its form.
The timing of some ingredients can sometimes be as critical as their amount, and that’s the case with the eggs in Bundt cakes.
Besides providing texture and flavor, eggs are an essential part of the leavening process, so you need to add them early to the mix.
This gives the eggs the right amount of time to incorporate themselves with other ingredients and help the cake rise properly.
Every type of cake has its unique consistency, and when it comes to Bundt cake, the batter should be of average thickness.
After all, you don’t want the batter to be too thin because light batter won’t hold the gas bubbles and will have trouble rising.
Similarly, thick Bundt cakes will be too heavy for leavening agents, which prevents them from rising. That’s why you should make sure that you follow a proper recipe that yields an average-thickness batter.
Although they don’t affect the flavor or texture of the cake, cracks on Bundt cakes are still quite unappealing. Here are some of the reasons why cakes, especially Bundt cakes, show cracks:
One of the primary factors behind a cracked Bundt cake is setting your oven temperature too high while baking.
As a result, the outside of the cake cooks and expands much faster than its inside, which leads to cracking at the top.
Besides excessively high temperatures, this effect can happen for other reasons, such as:
- Placing the cake pan too close to an upper heat source, especially in ovens without fans for proper heat distribution
- Opening and closing the oven frequently
Another reason why Bundt cakes end up cracking is using small pans. With limited space to cook, the only way for the batter to rise is up.
As such, the batter ends up forming a fragile dome at the top of the cake, which can easily crack or collapse as the cake cools down.
Achieving the right consistency for the batter is quite critical for the texture of the cake and how evenly it cooks.
You should make sure that the Bundt cake batter runs smoothly and doesn’t have any clumps, as they affect the cake’s form and affect the weight distribution of the cake as it cooks.
Some factors can potentially burn your Bundt cake, or at least leave an unpleasant brown crust. Let’s check them out:
Environmental conditions can affect your oven’s efficiency, and therefore, control the duration of cooking.
Even if you’re following a recipe very strictly, your cake might end up taking longer or shorter to cook properly.
If you end up leaving the cake in an oven for too long, it’ll start to brown and burnt quickly, especially if you’re cooking at a high temperature.
For that reason, instead of following the recipe’s duration, you should only use it as a reference and do your own check.
Another elusive problem that many people overlook while following recipes is the pan used to bake the cake.
Even if you’re using the same material, different colors can actually affect the cooking rate. This is because dark-colored pans absorb heat faster than light ones.
If you are using a dark-colored Bundt pan, you may need to lower the oven temperature by around 15 to 25 F.
Bundt cakes can have a solid appearance but end up crumbling and collapsing easily. Here are some reasons behind that:
Mixing the ingredients is necessary to get a homogenous cake batter. Yet, when you overmix the ingredients, a lot of issues can happen.
This is because excessive mixing activates the gluten in the flour, which can tangle and mix up, forming a dense, chewy texture that translates to a crumbly and inconsistent texture as the cake cools down.
Another common error that many people do while baking a Bundt cake is removing them from the pan right after they’re out of the oven.
The problem here is that cakes are too fragile to hold their structure properly when they’re just out of the oven.
They also still have some moisture inside that needs to evaporate properly. That’s why you need to resist the urge to release them from the baking pan too early.
Ideally, you should allow the cake to rest within the pan for around 12 to 15 minutes before turning the pan onto a cooling wire to cool down completely.
As previously established, Bundt cakes rise when you use the right leavening agent. If you overfill the Bundt pan, the cake will spill to the side of the pan and make a lot of mess in your oven.
A good rule of thumb here is to fill the Bundt pan by up to 2/3 of the pan to accommodate for expansion and rising of the batter.
Failed cakes are more common than you think! Luckily, even if a cake doesn’t turn out to be what you’re looking for, you can still salvage the cake and reuse it to make something delicious. Here are some ideas to help turn things around:
- Coat the cake with colored mirror glazing, which is perfect if you only want to hide cracks. You can also garnish the cake with various decorations to hide any imperfections.
- Break up the cake, roll it into small balls, and dip them in chocolate to make chocolate-dipped pops
- Cut the cake into small cubes and use them to make a homemade trifle with whipped cream and frozen fruits
- Use the cake as a sundae ice cream topping
- Blend them with some milk and ice cream to make a delicious cake shakes
- Cut the cake into flat slices to make an extra-sweet French toast
There you have it! A brief guide that shows you all the common Bundt cake problems and mistakes you might encounter while baking.
As you can see, different factors could lead to varying outcomes while baking. Not only that, but some might also overlap, causing several issues all at once.
For that reason, make sure you follow the tips we mentioned in this guide to get the Bundt cake right every single time!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.