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How to save a sunken cake?

  • Soop Apr 25, 2010 08:47 AM

I've just taken my marble cake out of the oven too early; I wasn't really timing it properly, but a knife went in and came out clean.

So I left it to cool, and the middle had sunk. Tried to lift it out, and that's when I realised it wasn't cooked.

I've stuck it back in (probably for about 15 minutes) - what will this do? Make a heavier cake?

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  1. There is no fixing it by continued baking. You can re-purpose it like a trifle or pudding, soaking it with juice or liqueur of choice and topping with whipped cream or something.

    1. If you can get it out of the pan (regular? springform? tube or bundt?) in one piece and set it upright after the second bake, pile on some fruit and whipped cream. If not, go w/KarlS's trifle suggestion.

      1. I put it back in, and surprisingly, it was still really good. I have no idea why. it even rose again to make a reasonable cake.

        I literally have no idea what happened.

        20 Replies
        1. re: Soop

          Nor do I, you are one lucky guy, Soop. How did you realise it wasn't cooked, after testing if, letting it cool, and removing it from the pan? Aside from it collapsing, how was the texture? I''m quite curious about this, as normally you cannot get a cake to do what your's did.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            This was the recipe:
            http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/55...

            When I lifted it from the (spingform) base, it was still a thick liquid in the middle. The rest of the outside looked fine.

            Not sure whether it was the fact that the pan was on a pizza stone, or the typr of cake, or that I used plain flour with 2 tsp of baking powder rather than self-raising.

            Maybe I just got lucky?

            1. re: Soop

              You know, I had luck when I did the same with a quick bread. I put it back in the oven which had a pizza stone in it and I wonder if that made the difference. I wonder if it retained enough residual heat. I was very surprised.

          2. re: Soop

            The only way that could have happened is if double acting baking powder in the liquid part of the cake had yet to be activated, and was finally activated when you put it back in. Which makes me wonder if your oven runs cold or was not properly preheated (like being at the proper temperature for at least 20 minutes before putting something in).

            1. re: Karl S

              How could it not have activated the first time around, since the cake was almost fully baked, and only the center sunk?

              For the record, when I said I did it w/ the banana bread, it wasn't fully cooked and putting it back on pizza stone, after the banana bread had cooled some, didn't make it rise, just continued cooking it.

              1. re: chowser

                If the temperature of the center was relatively cold, and the oven not properly heated, there is a remote chance that the center did not reach the temperature needed to activate the second leavening until it was put back in for more cooking. It's speculation.

                1. re: Karl S

                  It's the only explanation I can think of it but it seems that if the cake rose and then sunk, and the knife came out clean, it must have been hot enough to activate it. I know double acting bp needs heat but never knew what temperature it took to activate it (never thought about it really).

                  1. re: chowser

                    I agree with Karl S, "center was relatively cold, and the oven not properly heated, there is a remote chance that the center did not reach the temperature needed to activate the second leavening ." As Karl said, it's speculation, but certainly a plausible theory.

                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                      Though I now retract what I speculated when I read more carefully that the cake apparently cooked enough in the center for the probe to come out clean. So that means it was a different structure issue.

                      1. re: Karl S

                        However, we're not sure exactly where in the cake Soop stuck the cake tester...and he does mention that in lifting the cake from the springform base, "it was still a thick liquid in the middle."

                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                          yeah, that's what I first paid attention to....a mystery.

                          1. re: Karl S

                            LOL, I think the mystery is why Soop would remove a cake from the oven if the center was thick liquid in the middle!

                            1. re: chowser

                              He admits to lack of proper timing...Oh, Soop!

                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                LOL, maybe he wears glasses and they were fogged up when he pulled out the cake? Baking requires different senses for me, including sight!:-)

                                1. re: chowser

                                  No, I think his girlfriend told him to take out the cake and he simply followed his order. A good solider he is. :)

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    Smart man.;-) And, he fixed the problem, too. What more could she want?

            2. re: Soop

              I have never heard of this. I think you have video-taped this because the video could have demonstrated what is thought to be impossible. It would have been a rare footage that could be auction for money.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                lol, in aswer to some of the speculation:

                I inserted the knife off-center of the cake
                I'd just made a cornish pasty before, so the oven was pre-heated for over an hour with a baking stone in it

                I'm guessing that it might be down to a combination of factors, possibly also the type of cake? who knows...

                1. re: Soop

                  Center of cake next time, Soop. I guess you probably figured that out by now, though.

                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                    yup -that and paying attention to cooking times!