The Biggest Cake Mistake You're Making Is Checking It Too Often

cake baking in oven
cake baking in oven - Alexander Donin/Getty Images

Spending all afternoon baking a pandan chiffon cake, you anticipated its rise to airy and fluffy perfection. Unfortunately, toward the end of baking, you discover it has collapsed into a disappointing green crater. The culprit? It's actually you. While your cake was in the oven, you kept checking on it. While the habit seems innocuous, opening the oven door too often while baking a cake can lead to its dreaded collapse. Thus, the biggest cake mistake you're making is checking it constantly.

When baking, consistency in oven temperature is key.  The integrity of a cake's structure depends on the steady heat that allows it to rise gradually and set properly. Each time you open the oven door, it disrupts the baking environment. The heat, steadily circulating in the oven quickly escapes, and cooler room-temperature air flows right in, causing it to drop by as much as 25 degrees whenever the oven door is opened. This creates a fluctuation in the oven's temperature and may lead to uneven baking and your cake collapsing instead of rising steadily.

Read more: 30 Types Of Cake, Explained

Turn On The Oven Light Instead

person looking in oven
person looking in oven - Bojanstory/Getty Images

We know how the temptation to frequently open the oven door for a quick check tests a baker's patience. Understanding the impact of this habit is crucial for preventing unsightly collapsed cakes and uneven baking. A simple fix is to, one, trust the baking process and resist the temptation to open the oven door while your cake is cooking continuously. The second fix is to utilize the oven light and window to monitor your cake's progress. Using the light allows you to visually check the cake without opening the oven's door. A third way to check your cake is to trust your nose. If something smells like it's burning in the oven, it is burning, and your cake will be overbaked.

If opening the oven is absolutely necessary, like turning the pan, do so briefly and gently. Remember that your cake's structure is still setting during the first two-thirds of the baking time. You don't want to disrupt it during this time.

With this advice, you now know how to avoid the biggest cake mistake and stop yourself from frequently checking the oven. A change in your strategy and a little patience ultimately will help ensure your cakes rise to the occasion every time.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.