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Cake Problem - Edges Too Brown

It annoys me to no end that when I bake cakes the sides and bottoms always turn out too brown.
How do you get the cake to cook properly without overbrowning the edges and bottom?

Is it in the choice of ingredient used to grease the pan? The type of pan? The temperature of the oven? The duration of baking?

My most recent experience with this problem has been in trying to bake rum cakes in a (nonstick) bundt pan -- why is it that my cakes' sides are always much browner (and accordingly somewhat firmer, which I hate) than the cakes I can buy at the local restaurant?
But I've also had this problem with baking other cakes in regular aluminum 8-inch round pans.

I use an oven thermometer to make sure the baking temperature is exactly as called for in recipes, but that hasn't helped.

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  1. Yes, it can be any or all of the things you listed.
    If you grease the pan without dusting it with flour or grease it too heavily the edges will brown more than if the pan is prepared properly. Also, the type of "grease" you use (vegetable shortening, lard, butter, other) will influence browning.
    The type of pan (aluminum, stainless steel, mild steel, cast iron) and whether the pan is highly reflective, dull but shiny, or dark colored will also have an effect on browning.
    The temperature of the oven, where the cake is placed in the oven relative to the source of heat, whether the cake is turned at its half-baked point, can contributed to over/under browning.
    Obviously, the longer the cake remains in the oven the browner it will get.

    1. I had that problem with a pastel de tres leches and solved the problem by wrapping folded paper towels around the sides of the dish. This also helped achieving a flat cake rather than a raised center since it allows for more even cooking.

      I believe there are so called "strips" that professional bakers use for this purpose but I have not seen them myself.

      Apart from that, I guess it's most likely your baking pan, supposedly dark pans bake faster and thick vs flimsy etc

      3 Replies
      1. re: walliser

        I don't quite follow, walliser.
        You wrapped folded paper towels around the inner sides of the dish (like parchment paper) and then poured the batter onto the paper towels?

        1. re: racer x

          Towels, or the special baking strips you can buy for this precise use, around the outside of the pan.

        2. re: walliser

          you can find the strips at Michael's.

        3. Hi Racer X,

          Could be your pan and/or your cooking time and temp...

          I have a Chicago Metallic 9X13 cake pan. Dark and very heavy. The instructions that came with it say to set the temperature 25 degrees lower.

          I baked brownies in it and they were great. They baked in the exact amount of time called for in the recipe. The edges weren't overdone at all. Same with apricot bars. Much better than in my old 'ordinary' pan.

          Also, I replaced my old avocado green thin aluminum NordicWare Bundt pan with a red thin aluminum one. Found it produced a heavy crust on a pound cake. My guess is it was because of the darker color. Next time I use it I'll reduce the temp and also the baking time.

          Lucy

          1. I have two sets of mini-muffin pans, one aluminum and one dark nonstick. Baked at the same temp for the same amount of time, the ones baked in the nonstick pan come out much darker. Unless I'm baking a dark cake, like chocolate, I use aluminum pans. If I'm baking a yellow or white cake I don't want the additional browning that comes from a dark nonstick pan. I just line the bottom with parchment paper and I don't have an issue with the cake sticking to the pan.

            1. Since you're using metal nonstick, you can reduce the temperature by 25 degrees so you don't get darker edges. Grease w/ butter, not shortening.

              2 Replies
              1. re: chowser

                Thanks. Will try that.

                I've tried greasing with Crisco shortening, Wesson or Mazola veg oils, and Pam spray, but don't think I've recently tried with butter -- or at the lower temp.
                I was afraid if I used a lower temp, the middle wouldn't cook properly.

                1. re: racer x

                  It might take a little longer so don't just go by the time but it'll cook. The Crisco will definitely give you a crispier crust.