It’s incredibly frustrating to go to bite into a piece of cake and find out that it’s raw in the middle. You might encounter a section in the middle of the cake that isn’t baked right, and this might mean that it’ll be all gooey.
You shouldn’t be too embarrassed if this has happened to you recently. This is actually a very common baking error that people make when they don’t bake cakes all that often.
Keep reading to learn why your cake turned out raw in the middle. Once you understand what’s wrong, it’s going to be simpler to remedy things for the future.
1 – You Didn’t Bake It Long Enough
The most obvious thing to consider is that you might not have baked the cake long enough. Sometimes a cake might look as if it’s done, but this doesn’t mean that it has baked all the way through.
If you assumed that your cake was done since you baked it for the recommended amount of time, you might have made a mistake. It’s never wise to assume that a cake is completely finished baking until you have checked things out first.
You can easily check to see if your cake is done baking using a handy little trick. Just grab a toothpick and poke it directly in the center of the cake.
When you pull the toothpick out, it should come out clean if the cake is finished baking. It’s fine if it has a few crumbs stuck to it, but the toothpick should not be runny or have a bunch of cake residue stuck to it.
If the toothpick didn’t come out cleanly enough, you’re going to need to bake it a little bit longer. Stick it back in the oven for several more minutes and then check it again to see if it is done.
Sometimes different ovens will take different amounts of time to bake things. Thankfully, you can keep a cake from burning by watching it closely and checking to see if it’s done every so often.
If you don’t have toothpicks handy that you can use, using something such as a butter knife to check the cake will work just as well. As long as you’re checking the cake to see if it’s done, you’re likely going to have good results.
2 – Oven Issues
Sadly, there is the possibility that there could be something up with your oven. If you’ve been checking the cake to see if it’s done in the middle and things just aren’t baking right, you might need a new oven or need it to be repaired.
Sometimes ovens will have problems with baking things unevenly. There could be an issue where the sides of your oven will bake things very fast while the center will bake things slowly.
Your oven could have what is referred to as “hot spots,” and this can throw you off when trying to bake a cake. If you’re noticing that the sides of your cake are burnt while the middle is gooey, something is definitely wrong.
It’s possible to check your oven to see if it has hot spots or if it’s baking things evenly. You can place a loaf of bread on the top rack of the oven to see how things go.
The idea behind doing this is that each piece of bread will toast, and if the oven bakes things evenly, all of the pieces of bread should come out roughly the same.
If you’re noticing that the pieces of bread that are placed at the sides of your oven are toasting much darker than the ones in the middle, you have your answer. Typically, people who have problematic ovens such as this will want to replace the oven with something more reliable if they wish to bake often.
You could also try baking the cake as close to the center of the oven as possible so that it’ll bake evenly. If you were placing your cake to the left or the right of the oven, that could have been part of your problem.
3 – Using the Wrong Type of Pan
Using the wrong type of pan can make your cake turn out wrong. For example, using an aluminum pan might make the sides bake a lot faster than the center of the cake.
If you want to get better results, you should purchase a high-quality baking pan that will do a good job for you. It’s also going to be wise to consider the pan size that was recommended to you in the recipe that you’re making.
Keep in mind that recipes are written with certain portions and pan sizes in mind. If you’re using a pan that is much larger or much smaller than the recommended pan size, things are going to turn out different than expected.
Thankfully, it’s not going to be all that hard to switch pans, and you likely already own several baking pans of various sizes. Many people don’t think to look at the recommended pan size when reading a recipe, but you can do that now to try to get things right the next time.
If the pan material is the problem, then investing in a few new pans might help you to turn things around. There are many excellent options out there that could help you to have your cakes turn out brilliantly.
4 – Making Mistakes When Mixing Ingredients
Another problem that might be the cause of your cake being raw in the middle has to do with the ingredients being used. You see, it’s possible that you might have made a mistake somewhere when you were mixing things up.
This can happen to even experienced bakers if they were distracted while doing something. Perhaps you got a phone call during the middle of measuring your ingredients out.
You might not have added enough of a certain ingredient or you could have left an ingredient out entirely. It’s even possible that you might have put too much of an ingredient in the mix.
When you don’t mix cake batter up the right way, it’s going to be hard to tell how it will turn out. You might wind up baking a cake that never seems as if it’s going to bake all the way through.
This is why it’s so important to focus during the ingredient-measuring and mixing process. Getting things right will mean the difference between a perfect cake and one that you’ll have to throw out.
You Won’t Always Be Able to Fix Things
Note that you won’t always be able to fix things when you make mistakes while baking a cake. If your cake is raw in the middle, it might not be salvageable if further baking isn’t doing the trick.
You’ll have to troubleshoot the various things that could be going wrong. It could have been a simple error with the ingredients or mixing process, but it could also be a problem with your oven.
Sometimes you’ll have a cake not bake well in the middle because of the pan that you’re using. Pan size and the material that the pan is made out of will matter more than many people realize.
With so many potential causes, it’s just going to be up to you to retrace your steps to figure out the problem. Hopefully, you’ll be able to determine where you went wrong so that you can remedy things for next time.
Don’t be discouraged if you wind up having to throw out your cake to start over. Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s important to chalk it up as a lesson learned so that you can enjoy more tasty cakes in the future.
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.