Pound cake is as classic a baked treat as they come. However, things can go wrong in a blink, leaving you with a pound cake that’s not done in the middle.
There are several reasons why this may happen.
A pound cake may be undercooked in the middle because of an incorrect baking temperature or wrong oven placement. It could also happen if the pan isn’t a good match.
Read on to learn why your pound cake is undercooked and what you can do about it.
The most obvious reason is that you haven’t given the cake enough time in the oven. However, there are other culprits to watch out for.
Here are three common explanations to consider:
The most likely reason your pound cake is raw in the middle is that you baked it at an excessively high oven temperature.
When you do so, the outer layers bake faster than the core. In turn, the middle will still be raw when the outer layer is done.
I recommend baking your pound cake in a preheated oven at 350℉ for the best results.
Another aspect to consider is where you place your pound cake in the oven. If you want your batter to bake evenly, avoid placing the pan on the top rack.
In most cases, the ideal position is the middle rack because it ensures even distribution of the oven’s heat across the whole pan. That said, you’ll also want to watch out for your oven’s hot spots.
Pan size affects the baking time as the depth of the batter in the middle changes. So, if you ignore the recipe’s recommended pan, the heat might not reach the cake’s center as much as it should.
My preferred pan size when baking a pound cake is a 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan. But if you decide to switch pans, make sure to check the size conversion and bake-time charts.
Keep in mind that it’s not just the bakeware size that matters here.
Your pan’s color also affects how well your batter bakes. Light-colored pans reduce the odds of your cake ending up gooey in the middle.
If your cake comes out of the oven raw in the middle, you may be tempted to eat it anyway, so all your hard work doesn’t go to waste.
I’d avoid doing this, no matter how hard your cravings are hitting. I say this because your cake hasn’t reached a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria in the batter.
As a result, you risk upsetting your stomach or even getting food poisoning if you eat it!
Taking your pound cake out of the oven only to realize it’s all raw inside is no fun.
Don’t worry; I’ll tell you exactly what to do so you can avoid this happening to you.
The simplest way to ensure that your pound cake is baked all the way through is to use the toothpick test.
This method involves sticking a toothpick (or a long wooden pick) into your cake’s center while it’s still in the oven. If the toothpick comes out clean, it’s time to take your pan out.
One trick experience has taught me when using the toothpick test is to avoid the middle crack. This part tends to be misleadingly moist, even when the cake has baked fully.
Even if you’ve taken your pound cake out of the oven and realized it’s raw in the middle, it isn’t a lost cause.
There’s a nifty method I always use whenever I’m in this situation.
I cover the cake pan in foil and stick it back in the oven for 10–15 minutes, checking it using the toothpick every five minutes along the way. Don’t forget to do this because the road from an undercooked pound cake to a burnt one is a slippery one!
Also, be careful when covering the pan with foil. The pan’s going to be very hot and could give you a nasty burn!
Is your pound cake not done in the middle? I know how frustrating that can be, but it’s nothing you can’t handle.
To avoid this problem, bake your cake on the middle rack in a preheated oven at 350℉. Using a light-colored pan of the right size can help, too.
If you do so, you can kiss undercooked cakes goodbye!
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.