It’s really disappointing when you take a cake out of the oven only to realize that it turned out way too dense. When your cake is much denser than it needs to be, it’s going to make it tougher to enjoy it properly.
Sadly, there isn’t going to be a lot that you can do once it has already been baked. You might just have to enjoy it for what it is, and it can still be tasty with the right frosting.
This might be a bit disheartening to hear, but you can’t go back and change what you already did. Fixing this issue is going to be much more about learning about some preventative measures you can take.
Examine the information below to get tips about how to prevent your cake from turning out overly dense in the first place. If you utilize this advice properly, you should be able to enjoy delicious cake that turns out just right.
Whether you are baking a cake for a birthday party or if you just want to have a snack, it’s important to bake things well. The information below will allow you to do just that, and it isn’t going to be hard to learn the right steps to take either.
1 – Stop Doubling the Recipe
The mistake that you’re making could be that you’re doubling the recipe. This might sound like an appealing thing to do since you might wish to make more cake at once, but it might be better to just make two cakes using a standard recipe than it is to double it.
When you double your recipe, you’re going to run the risk of making more mistakes than usual. You could easily wind up over-creaming the cake, mixing it too much, not mixing it enough, or making other errors.
It might seem a bit inconvenient at first, but you would be better off making two cakes rather than trying to make one large one. Mix up the ingredients two times so that you can keep yourself from making various mistakes.
2 – Add Baking Powder or Baking Soda
Just a little bit of baking powder or baking soda can help your cake to turn out how it should. Sometimes you will find out that your cake will need help with the leavening process, and this is where baking soda and baking powder come into play.
Adding just a touch of one of these ingredients can give the leavening support that your cake needs. You don’t want to use too much baking soda or baking powder since it can throw off the taste.
It might be prudent to look up specific advice about the cake recipe that you are using. You could get a recommended amount of baking soda or baking powder to use.
If you can’t find that information, then just try to stick with a small amount such as one-fourth of a teaspoon of baking soda for every cup of flour. One teaspoon of baking powder for every cup of flour is generally prudent as well.
If you’re completely out, try a baking powder substitute instead.
3 – Don’t Forget to Use Room Temperature Butter
Lots of people who are baking cakes use cold butter instead of using room temperature butter. This actually makes things not turn out properly, and you need to consider following the recipes that you’re using more closely.
Many of the top cake recipes specifically call for room temperature butter, but that doesn’t mean that everyone waits for the butter to become room temperature. Properly creaming butter and sugar together is part of what makes your cake turn out so deliciously, and when it doesn’t happen properly, it can lead to dense cake issues.
It’s also good to avoid over-creaming your butter since that can cause issues. What this means is that you mixed your butter and sugar together too much, and this often happens by not being careful about how long you’re using an automatic mixer.
When this occurs, the butter traps way more air than it should, and that butter could wind up deflating during the baking process. This will cause you to have a dense cake as well, but it can easily be prevented by just being careful when mixing butter and sugar together.
4 – Consider Adding Some Sour Cream
Just taking the time to add some sour cream might be what you need to get your cake to turn out right. It can turn out dry and dense when it doesn’t have the right ingredients, and sour cream can add some much-needed creaminess to your cake.
You might be able to add a bit of sour cream in addition to your milk. It can even add some subtle sourness to the cake that will improve the overall taste, but this advice should only be used on a case-by-case basis.
It should go without saying that sour cream won’t be an appropriate ingredient in certain types of cake. However, you shouldn’t underestimate how useful sour cream can be when you’re trying to add a bit of creaminess.
If you think that sour cream might mesh well with a certain type of cake that you’re baking, it might be worth a shot. Typically, a few spoonfuls are all that you will need in addition to standard ingredients such as milk.
5 – Start Using Cake Flour
When it comes to baking cakes, it’s pretty typical for people to use all-purpose flour. Lots of people just use the standard all-purpose flour to bake cakes, but this might actually be one of the reasons why yours is turning out too dense.
It’s going to be a better idea to start using cake flour instead. The reason why this works out so nicely is that cake flour is a low protein type of flour that has incredibly fine consistency, and this makes it less likely to make a cake turn out dense.
However, it should be noted that cake flour isn’t going to be ideal when you’re baking every single type of cake out there. There are many cake styles to consider, and you might not wish to use cake flour when making something such as a chocolate cake.
Chocolate cakes use cocoa powder already, and this is a very fine ingredient that you might use alongside all-purpose flour just fine. When paired with cake flour, it’s possible that your cake could turn out a bit weaker than it should, making it not stay together as well as you would like it to.
In summation, cake flour is going to be fantastic if you’re trying to make certain types of cakes such as red velvet cake or vanilla cake. It isn’t as good when you’re using other very fine ingredients in the batter such as cocoa powder.
6 – Bake the Cake for the Proper Amount of Time
Lots of people who run into density issues will actually be causing the problems by baking the cakes longer than they should be baked. If you bake a cake for too long, it’s most likely going to turn out dry and dense.
If you aren’t paying attention, you could wind up overshooting the amount of time that it is supposed to bake. You can have an easier time getting things just right by being right there by the oven several minutes before the cake is supposed to finish baking.
A cake is going to be done when it is slightly pulling away from the sides of the cake pan that you’re using. You can also stick a toothpick in the middle of the cake and it should come out clean or with only a few crumbs if it is done.
7 – Add a Bit of Oil
Adding a bit of oil can sometimes be the right call to make when you’re looking to fix a dry or dense cake. Your cake might have too many dry ingredients that are causing it to not turn out right.
If you can add a bit of oil, it’ll be much simpler for it to turn out just right. You do have to be careful about the ratio of ingredients, though.
For instance, if you have a bit too much milk in your cake and then you add oil to it, it’s going to be way too wet. You don’t want the cake to be thrown off in either direction, and this means that you need to make sure that it could use some oil before you just throw some in the mix.
It’s possible that a couple of tablespoons worth of vegetable oil could make a positive difference. Some recipes actually call for you to use oil in place of butter as well so you’ll want to remember this moving forward.
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.