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Oct 7, 2010 01:35 AM

My cake get Cracked on top and burned underneath

Dear all,

I am new at Chow. Please take my Greetings .

I have one question :

When I make cake ,everytime it gets cracked on the top , gets burned the underneath also gets dark browned in both side while the inside remains raw. I use normal recipe only for regular evening table as cake is my son's favourite. I use Soyabin Oil instead of Butter ( since butter is expensive) , eggs , milk,flour, sugar and baking powder, give 180*C or F , keep 45 minutes. It tests good though I face the same problem everytime; It gets too dark brown or burn while the inside remains uncooked and gummy. I have an old model NOVA Convection Oven .

Your any kind of advice on my above problem will be highly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your kind reply .


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  1. sounds like your thermostat in your oven is not working properly, and your oven is much, much hotter than 180C (about 350 for the Fahrenheit people).

    See if you can find an oven thermometer and check the temperature, and then you can turn down the dial to where the oven is the right temperature.

    1. Welcome! It sounds like your oven runs much too hot, which is common with older ovens. Get an oven thermometer if you can, and use that to set the oven to the right temperature. If you can't get one, next time bake the cake at 150° Celsius, and drop the oven temperature about 15 or 20 degrees Celsius each time you bake the cake, until you find the temperature the cake is done properly. If you get a cake where the outside of it is shiny and sticky, then you went too far low and need to set the oven a little higher next time.

      Oh, also, I think 45 minutes is too long to bake a cake. If you have a 9 inch/23 cm cake pan, it should take about 30-35 minutes to bake. If you put a toothpick in the center and it has a couple of crumbs sticking to it when you pull it out, it's done perfectly. Wet batter on the toothpick means it needs to bake longer, a completely clean toothpick means it baked for too long.

      23 Replies
      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

        It sounds like a combination of everything mentioned--especially considering she's using a convection oven.

        Susmita, did you adjust the time and temperature for using a convection oven? I've never baked a cake in one but you need to turn down both temp and time. I've read that regular ovens are better for cakes. This might help (and explains why the outsides are overcooked):

        1. re: chowser

          Chowser, for my convection oven, I keep the temperature the same, but check for doneness a minute or two before the shortest time given in the recipe (i.e., if the recipe says bake 15-20 minutes, I'll check at 12 min or so). No problems in 2 years with that process...and once in a while, something takes the whole amount of time to be done.

          Worth it, though, for the evenly browned, evenly done result.

          1. re: chowser

            Thanks for reply. Actually , I do not know much about Oven. The Oven I am using for cake has grill option and cake bowls . It is not Microwave oven. So, I thought that it was a Convection Oven . I also was told from the shop that Cake can not be made in Microwave Oven . However, I wish to get some lesson on different types of Oven. In our country we generally use Microwave Oven for heating food. We generally do not cook food in electric Oven in our country. Cooking in Electric Oven is Fancy for us. We use Gas or mud stove . So, my question is : What kind of Oven is good for making cakes ? What name it is Called ? If I want to make Cookee or Bread what kind of Oven should I use? Is this the same Oven for Cake ?


            1. re: susmita

              You were told correctly that cakes should not be made in microwave ovens. Had you tried that, you would have had a far worst result, especially given the amount of time you baked it. Added to that, you wouldn't have a temperature.

              A convection oven has a fan that blows the air so you need, generally, a lower temperature and less time because the air is circulating. I don't know about the newest ones but ones I've used are fairly noisy in comparison to other ovens. I'm not familiar with mud stoves. What you want is an oven that holds a constant temperature but not a convection oven. I've baked cakes while camping w/ coal in a box wrapped w/ aluminum foil--it's all about the temperature.

              1. re: chowser

                Chowser, you're giving the OP great advice, except that convection ovens are FINE for cakes, better in my opinion. They tend to make the cake brown more evenly , especially if you have more than one layer in the oven. I simply reduce the heat by 25 degrees, and reduce the time by about 20%. So you get cake faster! ;-)

                  1. re: danna

                    Thanks, danna--I might give it a try. Everything I've read about it has said it doesn't work as well and I've never been sure how much to reduce the temperature or the time. I'm just an old dog with new tricks sometimes. Also, my convection oven is a combination extra large microwave and it blows really hard. I have the fear the batter will get blown.

                    1. re: chowser

                      That seems to be the difference, Chowser -- ovens built as ovens work really well -- the multitaskers tend to be not so great.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        I've never tried cakes or pastries in it since I've read it doesn't work well for it. I bought one big enough to hold a 9x13 pan, even. We use it as a high priced microwave because it's so inefficient.

                1. re: susmita

                  Susmita, to answer your question explicitly, yes, you use the same oven to make cookies, bread, and cakes.

                  Perhaps you should post your recipe here, including the amounts of your ingredients, to help troubleshoot your problem.

                  1. re: susmita

                    Susmita, is this a very small oven that sits on your worktop? Can you make toast in it?

                    does it look like this?


                    A "regular oven" is a large box that is installed under the worktop of your kitchen - mine is about 60cm x 60 cm, and about 60 cm deep. It has a fan mounted in the back wall that stirs the hot air in the oven so that the temperature stays the same everywhere in the oven. They can be either gas or electric.

                    There are also small ones that sit on the worktop, like this:


                    It looks a lot like a microwave, but it works like its larger sister the "regular oven".

                    If you can help us get a little closer to what you have, I'm sure we can help you make nicer cakes for your son.

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      Many thanks for your reply. Today I checked my Oven : It is an ‘AUTOMATIC ELECTRIC OVEN’. NOVA –NT-219 G . (Old Model). Small size. It May has a Fan at backside. (When the Oven is Switched ON sounds and hot weather come out through the wall.) Has picture of Cakes, pizzas , toast and grilled chicken. Temperature : 0◦ - 205◦ . (Only has the Degree sign.) There is not indicated whether it is Celsius or Fahrenheit or Centigrade. It also has a key regulator which has 3 options(in picture): heat up&down,heat up and heat down.(I never touched the regulator). Actually , I do not know much about Oven. As, It is not Microwave oven. So, I thought that it was a Convection Oven . Oh God ,I am so confused !
                      Sometimes you told for Celsius sometime you told for Fahrenheit . Or Centigrade ? I can not understand this . Wish you give me some brief on it. Next time, when I will buy a new Oven I must ask you for your advice.

                      1. re: susmita

                        Got it! I googled the model number -- you have what is called here a mini-oven -- it's a real oven, just a small one that sits on top of the worktop (it's like the one in the link above). If it has a fan, then yes, it's a convection oven. (convection means it makes the air move) I love my convection oven -- it helps everything cook very evenly -- and there's no reason to turn it off. It's a good feature to have.

                        Now that we know what you have, we can help you!

                        The temperatures are listed in Centigrade (or Celsius - it's the same scale, just two different words).

                        for a cake, you want to have the heat up (coming from the bottom of the oven) selected. the other two will burn the outside too fast. With the fan, this will make the oven very even in temperature and make sure that the cake cooks the same, with no spots too dark in one place and too light in another place.

                        A regular cake should bake at 180C for about 30 minutes. At about 25 minutes, if it looks done through the window, pull it out and test it with a tooth pick or a clean broom straw. If the toothpick or broom straw comes out clean (no batter stuck to it) then your cake is done. Take it out and let it cool.

                        If it is still cooking too fast and is burned on the outside, turn the heat 170, then 160, then 150, and so on...until the cake is done well.

                        I hope this helps you!

                        Keep checking every few minutes until it is a nice brown, and the straw comes out clean with no batter on it.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          sunshine's advice is excellent. i'll just add that the pan you bake the cake in can also make a difference. if you're using a dark metal pan, try a light aluminum one next time. the darker shiny surface can conduct heat too quickly, burning the outside before the inside is done.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Yes, I agree. I've had problems with the dark ones that are nonstick in different ovens. I like the ones that are light heavier aluminum.

                            So that may be a factor.

                          2. re: sunshine842

                            Dear Sunshine,
                            Thank you very much for your advice. Your patience is really appreciated .Next time I will trun the heat down by 10 degrees and keep a note . I will let you know the result.


                            1. re: susmita

                              I just hope it helps, Susmita! Good luck to you!

                  2. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                    Dear JK,
                    Thanks for your reply. I will try to get a Oven Thermometer . But , I am afraid , if it is really available in our country . Next time I will bake the Cake at 150* Celsius and keep 35 minutes . Now, I want to know : How does the Oven Thermometer work ? When and How I will use the thermometer ?


                    1. re: susmita

                      An oven thermometer works just like a regular thermometer, except that it is made for the temperature range of ovens; 0 to 350° C is a typical range. If you don't mind a few more cakes not coming out right, once you figure out how far off your oven is from the real temperature, then you can just set it that way every time. In other words, if a recipe says to set your oven for 180 but you only have to set it for 140 (40 degrees less), then if a recipe says 235 then you set the oven for 40 degrees less, which is 195.

                    2. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                      Could you or someone recommend a good oven thermometer for a typical electric oven?

                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                        I have one made by a company called TruTemp, and it cost me about $8. It goes up to 300°C. The temperature indication corresponds to what I have my electric oven's digital control set to. I do know that the temperature varies across the oven, but I haven't spent time measuring it all over.

                        1. re: souschef

                          I have a TruTemp thermometer too and it works very well and I just paid $3.50 at the restaurant supply. I bought two because I was having quite a bit of oven trouble at the time. I checked them against an oven that I knew was accurate. It will give you a very good idea what is going on in your oven. Keep in mind that you can expect some swing in temperature from the set temperature and that amount will vary oven to oven. I think if they are dropped or over time accumulate stuff from the oven they may go off, but for most baking they are pretty good. Another reason I bought two was to make sure they read about the same.

                    3. I might also look into a recipe that is meant to use oil, if the oil you are using is liquid. Liquid oil will not cream with the sugar the way butter will. There are a lot of recipes for olive oil cakes that would work with another liquid oil.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Becca Porter

                        Dear Becca Porter ,
                        Thanks for your reply. I use liquid Soyabin oil for cake. I make cake for my family for regular evening table. Since Butter is expensive in our country I cut the Butter and replace Soyabin Oil for a low Price but testy food. Olive oil also expensive in our country. in our Country , we mainly use Soyabin oil . Butter Oil , Palm Oil also is avalable. But , I heard that Palm Oil is NOT GOOD for Heart . So, My question is : Should I really need to use Butter for a nice cake ? Also, we are not accustomed with the taste of Olive Oil . Please advise .

                        1. re: susmita

                          I didn't mean that you should use olive oil, merely that you should use a recipe that was made to be used with liquid fat, instead of solid.

                        2. re: Becca Porter

                          On that note, Susmita if you are using a recipe that specifies butter but you are using oil instead, I suggest that you do use butter once to see if that is what's causing your problem. I do realize that butter is expensive there, but it may be worth it to do it once.

                        3. Can you turn your convection fan off? I do not bake cakes with convection because it can affect the way the cake rises and make it bake unevenly.

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: wekick

                            So, Which kind of foods are made in Convection Oven ? All I heard that Convection Ovens are used for Baking !!! Please advise .

                            1. re: wekick

                              Dear Wekick,
                              I will try to take the Oven to the Service center and trun off the fan. then I will re -experiment and let you know the result. One question : If not cake then What does the Convection Oven ae used for ? What kind of Oven is good for making cakes ? What name it is Called ? If I want to make Cookie or Bread what kind of Oven should I use? Is this the same Oven used for Cake ?

                              1. re: susmita

                                No reason to turn the fan off. The fan will help to make a very nice cake. See my post above - I found the model of oven you have, so now we can work to help you.

                                1. re: susmita

                                  Convection is great for things like roasting a chicken, you will have nice crispy skin, cookies, and pizza. Making cakes and muffins or quick breads is another story. The fan distributes the heated air which is very drying so dries the outside of the cake which can inhibit the rise. In a conventional oven the heat comes from the bottom, so the cake rises and cooks from the bottom. In convection the heat comes from all directions. This explains how convection works.


                                  Having said that though since your oven is small it may be that the element is very close to your cake and when it comes on, it can cause a higher sugar item to burn. I had an oven like that once and You will have to play with it a little to see what works. I initially preheated my oven by 50-75 degrees over the desired temperature, just to prevent the element from coming on right away due to heat loss when you put the cake in. As soon as you put the cake in, turn the temperature down to the baking temperature. This worked better for muffins because they baked for less time but had less effect for a cake. .As sunshine says you just have to try different temperatures. If you have to have it serviced, and your convection is turned off completely, I wouldn't do that. I thought there may be a switch that you could turn it off. In a small oven it may be the lesser of two evils to have the convection. You still have the drying effect but with the elements being so close, it may help dissipate the heat of the element a little.

                                  1. re: wekick

                                    Wekick, it's a shame you're not within reach of shipping you things...everything I make in my convection oven -- including cakes, quick breads, and muffins, comes out gorgeous and moist, with an even golden crust. No overbaking in two years of having baking something at least 2-3 times a week.

                                    I know not all convection ovens are equal, and that not everyone has good results...but anyone who owns a convection oven should try it both ways...they just might be happy with it.

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      I'm sure that is true. I don't doubt you experience in the least. It is true that all ovens are different. I think there are huge differences in convection depending on the angle, speed, size and number of fans. Some fans have an element surrounding the fan and some do not. Some ovens have hidden elements and some do not. If you have gas and a fan that has got to be quite a bit different because the gas is a moister heat than electric. Susmita was looking for a reason that her cakes were not coming out and that can be one reason as quite a few other reasons posted. I have had three brands of convection in the last three years and each has been different but I have had better results in my own experience, not using convection for the more delicate cakes. I have also noticed that pies and quiches have had more touble with the bottom getting done with the convection, but also the bottom element is hidden on these last three ovens. Sunshine you can send me any baked good any time! ;-)

                                      1. re: wekick

                                        I was just going from the standpoint of okay -- now we know what sort of oven Susmita has, let's try working toward success with the way it is, and save the service center visits for when we run out of options. (Especially because she might *want* the convection for roasting and the other uses).

                                        Mine is electric, by the way...and tonight I did banana nut muffins and a rotisserie chicken (because my oven has a rotisserie option, too!) -- and they all came out there ARE good ones out there!

                                        (Hubby messed up...we bought this oven from a factory outlet -- full warranty, etc.,etc., -- , and a top-of-the-line model was the same price as the cheap ones at the regular stores. Now if we ever move, he's bagged...he *has* to buy me an oven as nice as this one!)

                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                          I don't think it's a matter of good oven and bad oven they just bake differently. As I stated in an earlier post I wouldn't take it for a service call either but if it is a matter of turning it off it is something worth trying. Once you figure it out you can bake in any oven. What is your brand of oven?

                                    2. re: wekick

                                      Dear Wikick,

                                      Thanks for your reply .


                                2. What kind of pans are you using?

                                  Are you using pans with a nonstick coating? I have had bad luck with those using different ovens here. I had some of the results you are talking about - burned sides and undercooked inside in one case.

                                  The oven is probably your main concern but I would think about the pans too.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: karykat

                                    Dear Karykat,

                                    Yes, I was using non-stick coating pan. I will now buy a light aluminum pan very soon. Thanks for your advice .


                                    1. re: susmita

                                      I wil be curious to hear how that works. I use light colored aluminum ones that are a little heavier and use parchment paper on the bottom. No sticking that way.