If you’re one of the many people who loves eating pound cake as a dessert, you likely try to make it fairly often. Even if you’re new to the idea of baking pound cake, it’s nice to know that baking it isn’t all that difficult.
Even so, that doesn’t mean that things can’t go wrong during the baking process. Have you ever started baking a pound cake and then opened the oven to find that it has fallen?
It can be maddening when you thought that you did everything right to have the cake fall in the middle like this. What causes a pound cake to fall and how can you prevent this from happening again?
Well, there are actually quite a few potential causes for this issue, and it’s going to be best to go over all of them. Keep reading to learn more about why this happens so you can avoid it next time.
1 – Moisture Issues
One of the most common reasons why pound cakes fall in the middle has to do with moisture. Moisture issues can wind up sinking the center of a cake if you aren’t careful.
Generally, this will occur when there isn’t enough moisture in the center of the cake. However, it’s also notable that too much moisture can easily make a cake turn out bad as well.
When you’re baking a pound cake or any other type of cake, it’s always appropriate to try to get the moisture just right. It’s a bit harder to do this when you’re baking in a particularly humid climate.
Sometimes extra moisture can make its way into ingredients such as flour when you’re living in a humid area. This could make your cake rise faster than it should, and then it will wind up falling in the middle.
When you live in a humid climate, it’s going to be wise to keep dry ingredients in the freezer so that you won’t encounter moisture issues. Otherwise, you just want to be very careful with your measuring so that your cake won’t turn out too dry.
2 – Temperature Issues
Temperature issues might be to blame for your pound cake falling. If you’re baking the pound cake at a temperature that is slightly off, that is going to change how the cake will turn out.
It’s a good idea to be very careful about following the recipe to avoid any mishaps. Double-check to ensure that you set the temperature on your oven correctly just to be safe.
Sadly, there are times when temperature issues will occur even when you do everything right. Some ovens might have hotspots or they could be off just a little bit compared to what the dial is set at.
You can check this using a heat-proof thermometer while baking something. It might be worth doing this if you suspect that something is wrong with your oven, but hopefully, this won’t be necessary at all.
3 – Not Baking Long Enough
Failing to bake a cake for long enough can sometimes leave it sunken in the middle. This is usually the case when the cake looks a bit wet and sticky in the middle.
You should try to check to see if your cake is done before you move forward and take it out of the oven. The toothpick test method works great, and you can just stick a toothpick in the center of the cake to see if it comes out clean.
Sometimes you can make a mistake by just looking at the cake and assuming that it’s done. Everyone can mess up from time to time, and this is why it’s good to always do the toothpick test to be sure the cake has actually finished baking.
It’s good to check things instead of just going by the recommended baking times since ovens can vary a little. Just be smart about it and you’ll make far fewer mistakes.
4 – Ingredient Mistakes
Does your pound cake recipe call for baking soda or baking powder? Many cake recipes utilize ingredients like this because leavening agents are required to make the cake rise.
However, it’s going to be important to get the ingredients just right so that you don’t have your cake fall down. If you use a bit too much baking soda, baking powder, or other leavening agents, your cake will rise too fast before ultimately falling.
This is frustrating, but it just drives home the point that you need to be meticulous about ingredients. Take the time to measure your ingredients out very carefully and avoid the temptation to rush the process.
5 – Baking at a High Altitude
Some people fail to factor in the altitude when they’re baking a pound cake. This can actually cause things to turn out a lot differently, and this means that it could be the reason why your cake is falling.
Baking in a city that has a high altitude is going to be different than you’re used to if you come from an area that is close to sea level. In fact, it’s going to be wise to look for recipes that are specifically written with high altitudes in mind.
You might need to change the measurements of the ingredients that you’re using if altitude is impacting your pound cake. If flat cakes are a big issue for you, then perhaps the altitude is to blame for what’s going on.
Enjoy Your Pound Cake
Now that you’ve read the potential reasons why pound cakes will fall, it should be easier to avoid making these mistakes. Being a bit more careful is likely all you need to do to avoid having this happen, but sometimes things such as altitude and humidity levels will play a role.
Use the information above to troubleshoot and you should be able to determine what the cause of your issue is. Making the necessary changes shouldn’t be difficult, and you’ll be enjoying delicious pound cake in no time.
This advice applies to other types of cakes that you might try to bake as well. You’re going to have a lot more success with your baking if you’re able to utilize the tips above.
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.