18 June 2010

Baking woes

I’m pretty sure by now everyone knows that my cakes usually doesn’t turn out right during the first try. It’s either the cakes/muffins

Sinks ,

browns unevenly,

has cracked top,

or has a heavy layer at the bottom of the cake

And more often than not I’m left puzzled wondering what went wrong since I followed the recipe to the T. Luckily a friend told me of a wonderful site called Baking 911. Ah how appropriate the name for the site, an emergency site for all your baking problems ! Although sometimes I’m just as confused as before for some of the possible explanations for why my cake turned out that way. For example,

Heavy layer on bottom
  • Not enough mixing
  • Too much liquid
  • Too many eggs

how is it that I have too much liquid or eggs when I followed what the recipe asks for or for uneven browning, the heat in the oven isn’t being circulated evenly but I only have an oven like this with limited functionality (but I reckon it’s good enough especially when I bought it only at RM30!)

I can only fit two 6's muffin trays and I have to rotate them otherwise one side usually the one at the back of the oven browns faster than the side nearer to the door

The oven's heating element

I have the option of turning off either of the up or bottom heating element 

When a recipe states ‘bake at 170 Celsius’. I usually just turn the knob slightly after the 160C mark not sure if that’s right at all.

So really, I'd appreciate a lot if someone especially those who uses this kind of oven could shed some light and rescue me from my baking woes. :D 


  1. I'm really sorry to break it to you, but those kinds of ovens are really not meant for baking cakes. They're simply too small and not very well (if at all) insulated. That's why you get the uneven browning and a heavy layer on the bottom. The heat source is also too close to the food, which causes outer layers to be done (and dark) far too quickly for the inside to get done.
    I used to have an oven like that and all my baking came out terrible. Once I got a real oven, all my troubles were gone and my baking came out great again. Looking at your pictures, I'm actually impressed at how good they do come out. The only thing I can suggest is lower the heat on that oven a lot from what the recipe states. Baking will take way longer, but that way it has a better chance to cook evenly. Just put some tinfoil over the top to prevent the cake getting black on top.
    Good luck!!!!

  2. Hi Valerie,

    Thanks so much for taking your time and help me out with my woes :).

    Yea I pretty much guessed it's not a very good oven for baking cakes but we're staying with my inlaws while waiting for our house to be ready (hopefully by next year) and I've been itching to do some baking, so when a friend's friend had a garage sale and I saw what a bargain the oven was I quickly bought it.

    It's working for now although not the best I expected it to be. I have to be by the oven most times, lowering and increasing the temperature. Rotating the trays every now and then. And I noticed whenever I use mini loaf pans or muffin trays, I have better luck in getting good cakes. My attempt in making Almond Sponge Cake clearly shows how much I want this little oven to work before I finally have my dream kitchen :D (http://alesiathehomecook.blogspot.com/2009/09/ashley-was-down-with-stomach-flu.html)

    But thanks so much again for sharing your tips and advice. I'm slowly reading through your blog, you have lots of wonderful recipes!Can't wait to try them

    Hope to keep in touch with you.


  3. I'm having the same brand oven as well. Like you said, cakes and muffins turn out better when I used the mini/smaller sized ones. And I normally lower the temp by 20C.

  4. hi dear, my mum used to have a similar problem with that sort of oven as well! Fingers crossed for your future kitchen!

    I also find that if I open it to check before hte cake is baked (just taking a stab with a skewer) sometimes it sinks as well when you put it back in for a little longer...


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