Cakes Not Rising
Baking is real science and can often be a challenging exercise for novices. Many things can go wrong when baking a cake, especially if you do not pay close attention to the details. The most common failure is a flat cake.
Why do cakes not rise? Cakes do not rise for many reasons. It could be because of your leavening agents, overmixed batter, or the wrong ingredients. Other times, the recipe is not meant to rise, or you might have trusted it too much.
When you are baking, always pay close attention to the ingredients and the procedure. In this article, I will list the reasons why cakes do not rise and how to avoid them.
Reasons Why Cake Doesn’t Rise
Old Leavening Agents
Leavening agents cause cakes and other baked goods to rise. They create a foaming motion that traps air bubbles in the product as it heats.
The trapped air gives a soft and fuzzy feel to the finished product.
Baking soda and baking powder have a long shelf life, but they’re not going to stay fresh forever. If you are worried about yours, you should check the baking powder.
Apply a little bit of hot water to a small tub, or use vinegar. They should respond and start to fizzle right away. If they do not, they are not fresh anymore.
Trusting the Recipe
Many novices and even certain bakers have made the most basic error in trusting the recipe. Often, recipes are written under time constraints. For this reason, mistakes make their way into the process.
Before you prepare a cake for the first time, it is useful to equate it to other recipes of the same sort. If the three recipes are the same, and the fourth is different, the fourth must be wrong.
Some recipes are formulated to rise, and some are not. As long as the cake’s flavor and texture are good, it is okay if your cake does not rise much.
Even if the recipe lists all the ingredients in their right proportions, it is easy to make errors when weighing them.
Professionals typically calculate and identify all their ingredients before starting. Measure using good-quality measuring cups and spoons.
Follow the path of the recipe if you have precise instructions.
Your mother may know the ingredients by sight, but you do not have her expertise.
A significant percentage of cake errors are attributed to poor calculations. That is why expert recipes are calculated by weight. Weight makes for greater precision.
Aside from that, ensure that you are using the correct leavening agent. Baking soda is around three times more potent than baking powder, which is not interchangeable.
Different problems can arise when you overmix baked goods. The dough should be aerated, which ensures that not much oxygen can be applied to the mixture.
Mixing the ingredients for a long time can make your cakes chewy. Extended mixing will cause a further reaction of leavening agents.
This minimizes the expansion of air pockets, leading to a flatter cake.
Problems With Baking
If your cake fails to rise and sets with a crack in the middle, it might be because your oven is not hot enough.
To avoid this, periodically check the temperature inside the oven using an oven thermometer to be sure it is accurate.
If you are baking a sponge cake, do not grease the sides of the pan. Your cake must cling to the sides.
If you grease the sides, the cake will not be able to support its weight until the baking is done.
How to Avoid Short Cakes
Add Some Leavening
Another way to make the cake rise higher is by applying some leavening agent. There are different ways to do so. One is to add a small amount of baking powder, perhaps 1/4 teaspoon.
Add this to the dry mixture before adding the liquid ingredients. You may also add meringue powder or an extra egg to lighten the mixture.
Another method is to remove the eggs and separately whip the whites. Then place them in the batter after mixing. Egg whites take the cake away, much as they do with a sponge cake.
Make Enough Batter
Some package mixes can be a bit skimpy when you are using big pans. If the finished batter does not come at least halfway up the pan’s sides, the cake will be flat.
You might also reach as far as 2/3 of the way up the side of the pan for some batters.
If you are uncertain, many baking sites have pan size conversion charts. They should tell you how many cups of batter you are going to need for every pan.
If your mix is less than that, you might need to use a box and a half to get a high cake.
Monitor the Oven Temperature
The oven’s heat allows the baking powder to react more to the cake mixture. This creates more air bubbles when changing the structure of the cake.
It is necessary to use the proper oven temperature to let the cake rise before the structure sets.
When the temperature inside the oven is too high, the cake sets too quickly before the air bubbles are formed.
If the temperature is not hot enough, the cake can rise too much and fall to the middle of the oven until it is set.
To check the temperature of your oven, bake a cake mix for a test run. Be sure you’ve preheated your oven, too.
Follow the Instructions
It might sound like sarcasm, but it’s not. Follow the directions as written. Cake mixtures tend to be mixed for a certain amount of time to blast air into them. This is where much of their height comes from.
You might be tired of mixing after spending two minutes standing over the bowl. In fact, you may need to set a timer on your phone to make sure you keep going for the required time.
Accept some additions or substitutions, such as a pudding mixture or a dollop of mayonnaise.
Now you have the fundamentals to make sure your cake will rise. If the cake comes out of the oven a bit flat but still tastes good, don’t throw it away.
Use your imagination and be creative. Give new life to your cake by adding frosting or making ice cream cakes.