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Uncooked cake

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Whenever I bake my cakes the top always browns too fast and the bottom is left very sticky or uncooked. Does anyone know why? My temperature is set correctly too but perhaps my oven is still too hot. Or is it because all the granulated sugar sinks to the bottom. Did I overbeat my butter and sugar? Sigh this has happened so many times I don't know what to do 

post #2 of 18

Posting the recipe and your techniques will enable others to help you more.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

sure :) I made an apple cake recently using this recipe 


I didn't change anything except that I baked the cake layers one at a time instead of baking two at one go then rotating them 

post #4 of 18
Originally Posted by chefwriter View Post

Posting the recipe and your techniques will enable others to help you more.


Plus describe your oven.

I see a lot of posts where the OP wonders if it could be caused by the top heat source (if lacking a bottom source one trick is to cover with foil).

Or it is sooo small that there is no room to drop the rack down further.



post #5 of 18


   Good morning. Sarah, You were given good advice from a member, about posting or to identify the recipe you are using & your mixing technique.


Sarah, I do not like to speculate...however, just from your description I believe I know what may be the cause of your baking disappointment.


I believe the amount of sugar is excessive as to amount of flour being employed. If so, it causes the gluten in the flour not to become fully developed. Without this (GLUTEN) you will a glob of just flour & un dissolved sugar. The top bakes yes but that is because it is exposed directly to the heat..


Anyway my friend, post the recipe & I will adjust the recipe for you so that you will get a viable baked product.


Enjoy the day & good luck to you in your baking young lady.



post #6 of 18

@sarahconstw There are many reasons as to why baked goods turn out the way that they do. As @chefwriter has asked, it is much easier to solve a dilemma when we know all the facts than to just guess at what could have gone wrong. Baking is a SCIENCE.


I have a few extra clarifying questions:


What is the recipe and techniques used? (of course have to ask this

Have you substituted any ingredients from the original recipe?

Do you have an extra oven thermometer in your oven to determine the proper temperature? If not, get one.

Are you using dark coloured pans to bake in?

Do you use parchment paper or cooking spray for release?

Do you check for proper doneness before removing the cake from oven?

Once removed from the oven, do you leave the cake in the pan for longer than 5 minutes before removing from pan onto cooling rack?

Using convection or conventional oven? If conventional, are you placing pan in middle rack? And, are you putting the convention dial (if oven is older) on the symbol with the squiggle lines going up instead of down? (lots of people get these confused) If convection, are you reducing the temp 20 degrees?

Are you preheating your oven?


Hopefully once you have answered everyone's questions we will be able to steer you in the right direction. :D


 I believe the amount of sugar is excessive as to amount of flour being employed. If so, it causes the gluten in the flour not to become fully developed. Without this (GLUTEN) you will a glob of just flour & un dissolved sugar. The top bakes yes but that is because it is exposed directly to the heat..


@Z-BESTUS I just wanted to give a little heads up that when you are baking cakes one does not need gluten to bake a cake. Nor does it need to 'fully develop' if one is using a wheat flour (gluten) to bake a cake. Cake flour is the best flour to use when baking cakes when one is using wheat flour. It has a low protein content. All purpose flour can be used as well with only subtle differences in the cake texture. As the water content in a recipe made with wheat flour is what affects the gluten development and the contributing factors in cake recipe like fat (eggs, milk, etc) and sugar content are what regulate this gluten development........the above statement you made doesn't make sense. I am wondering if you can clarify what you said a little more so mis-communication and possible mis-understanding is not to be had. :)

post #7 of 18


  Good afternoon. You asked for me to clarify my thoughts about the GLUTEN possibly not being developed. As you know GLUTEN is formed with hydration & the chemical properties of the wheat flour being used. Now then If the sugar exceeds the weight of the flour from say 110% to 160% of the four weight Prof bakers formally trained as I am call this recipe "HI~RATIO" cake formula. In comm bakeries, butter is not used for the fat..."EMULSIFIED SHORTNING" is used. A ingredient most likely home bakers do not have in their pantry.


As you know gluten is the guts, the foundation of a baked product. True in a cake we do not welcome the gluten to be excessive but & however it is required. If there is a ingredient that causes the gluten to fail to be  developed fully then you have what I previously described 'A GLOB of wet flour & un~dissolved sugar. My posting mentioned that I do not like speculating about baking failures but I took a chance in doing so because most often it's the sugar that is the culprit, not all the time but most often when a cake fails to bake accordingly. I hope I made this clear for English composition was not my favorite subject in school


If this poster posts the recipe ete then I can be more direct  in my suggestions to modifying the recipe.


  Good luck in your baking & enjoy the NEW YEAR holiday.



post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 


Nope I didn’t substitute any ingredients, and yes I preheated my oven :) 

I used a black coloured 9” cake tin and I think my oven is a conventional one. I used parchment paper and yup, I did check for doneness! However the cake was never really 'done' until I cooked it so long it became almost as hard as a rock.. 

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
SALTED CARAMEL APPLE CAKE INGREDIENTS: For the Cake: 4 cups (482 grams) all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground allspice 1 teaspoon ground cloves 1½ cups (340 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature 2½ cups (496 grams) granulated sugar 2 eggs 4 cups (904 grams) unsweetened applesauce For the Salted Caramel Buttercream: 1½ cups (298 grams) granulated sugar ⅓ cup (40 grams) all-purpose flour 1½ cups (340 grams) whole milk ⅓ cup (76 grams) heavy cream 1½ cups (340 grams) unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into small pieces 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ⅓ cup (109 grams) salted caramel sauce To Garnish: salted caramel sauce Chopped peanuts DIRECTIONS: 1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with a round of parchment paper, grease the parchment, then flour the pans, tapping out any excess. 2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. 3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat until combined. 4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl in three parts, alternating with the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix on low for an additional 30 seconds to combine. 5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment, and allow to cool completely. 6. Make the Salted Caramel Buttercream: In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixtures comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. 7. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and vanilla; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. (It might seem like it won't get to the fluffy point, but stick with it, it'll get there!) Add the salted caramel sauce and continue mixing until combined and fluffy. (If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it reaches a fluffy consistency.) 8. Assemble the Cake: If any of the cake layers have domed on top, trim the top off to create flat surfaces. Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread 1¼ cups of the frosting on top. Add the next layer and top with 1¼ cups of the frosting. Add the third layer on top and spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, until firm. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Drizzle some additional salted caramel sauce on top and sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Return to the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes prior to serving. The cake can be kept in an airtight cake saver (or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap) at room temperature for up to 3 days. If your kitchen is particularly warm or humid, store the cake in the refrigerator. Allow the cake to sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.
post #10 of 18


  Good morning. Thank you for you timely reply. I scrutinized the recipe for the cake portion. I did notice that 4, cups of APPLESAUCE is quiet excessive. 4 cups of applesauce equals 32, oz. Plus applesauce contains 88% of water The flour weight is 17,oz. Eggs are not enough in this recipe. Sara my friend when you assembled these ingredients didn't you notice that the batter was rather loose (wet)

I believe there was a mis-print in the ingredients. This baking disappointment you have described is not your fault. You can find another cake recipe & employ the same salted icing. I didn't scrutinize the icing.


Good luck Sara & Happy New Year to you as well.



post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

Yes I did, but I'm not a very good baker so I didn't dare to adjust the recipe myself... How should I modify this recipe to get better results? Or do you have a good recipe to recommend? :) 

post #12 of 18

@sarahconstw The recipe that you are using is sound so we will have to take a look at your oven and baking tins.


First, I believe your problem is with the baking tins you are using. The recipe has a lot of batter and may call for 3-8" baking tins to be used. If you are only using one or two 9" baking tins then there is too much batter in those tins for you to bake properly given the temp and time allowed. If you do not have three of with 8" or 9" baking tins then you will have to go out and invest in the appropriate amount to make this cake the way it is suggested in the recipe. If you have three 8-1/2"x4-1/4"x2-1/2" or 9"x5"x3" loaf pans on hand you can use those to properly bake this cake according to recipe. This recipe will yield approximately 15 cups of batter or more so you will need to space that out appropriately between three baking pans calculating that you will only fill each pan approximately half full for room to rise.


Second, always make sure you have an oven thermometer. This helps not only in baking but for every use when using an oven. Ovens can vary 15 degrees and up according to type and age so that is why we will always suggest for you to invest in one of these. They are not expensive and worth the wee cost to get perfect oven temps.


This recipe does NOT need to be modified! :D


@Z-BESTUS I am not sure what planet you are living on or what sort of bull manure you are trying to pull but you are most definitely NOT a professionally trained baker and if you are then you definitely fell asleep in class a lot or definitely did not take home a pay check as a professional baker (unless it was a corporately run monstrosity) which explains a lot.

I AM a professionally trained and professionally applied former owner and chef of my own businesses as a pastry chef, baker and former chef. This crap that you are trying to sell that there is too much applesauce in this recipe and not enough egg??? WTF?? Applesauce is a substitute for egg!!!! Gluten is NOT NEEDED in any baked product. PERIOD. It is used for convenience however, it is not the foundation of all baked goods as there are tons of baked goods that have NO GLUTEN in them. If you were a formally trained baker you would KNOW that what the OT poster had said about the browned top and soggy bottom would have NOTHING to do with your gluten comment. It would be an oven, pan or possible substitute ingredient issue. 

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
@FablesableHi I actually halved the recipe then separated the batter into two pans! sorry for the misunderstanding :/
post #14 of 18
Originally Posted by sarahconstw View Post


I used a black coloured 9” cake tin


One 9 inch pan is not large enuf to hold even 1/2 of the linked recipe if you are filling it to the half way mark (assuming a 2 in tall pan).

There can be exceptions (one of my recipes rises slowly and bakes flat giving me the wiggle room to fill 2/3 but it is an exception rather than a rule).

A too full pan will rise up to the top and spill over a bit leaving a hardened dome above the rim of the pan.

The middle of the cake will never have time to bake thru before this hard shell scorches.


Another cause of this sort of thing is using very cold ingredients (maybe applesauce straight from the fridge?)

The center of the cake will never get warm enuf to catch up with the exterior.



Edited by flipflopgirl - 12/30/15 at 6:38am
post #15 of 18
Originally Posted by sarahconstw View Post

Yes I did, but I'm not a very good baker so I didn't dare to adjust the recipe myself... How should I modify this recipe to get better results? Or do you have a good recipe to recommend? :)


   Good morning Sarah. You asked me to suggest to you a recipe for you using APPLESAUCE CAKE. I am sorry for taking longer than I would reply when requested for help.

   Sarah there is a recipe in a XLNT baking book called "BAKEWISE". written by a world class Baking Scientist. called Shirley Corriher.

If you do not have this book go to the library to see if they have it or if they will get it for you. There you can photo copy the recipe or I am sure your local book store may have it. It is located on page 54 & it is called "POP CORRIHER's APPLESAUCE CAKE"


It features only 2, cups of applesauce, 16, oz worth as opposed to 4, cups in your recipe's 32, oz .. Also, the flour in both recipes are with-in 1, oz. of each other.

The eggs are the same just 2 large but have an additional 4, yolks.

I trust this recipe Sarah. I would like to see you succeed in this cake bake & for you to become a better baker as you claim you are not. So, I am trying to encourage you to do it. Sarah, If you can buy this book it would be that much better for you because for all you would need in baking, the baking science is just about all in this book. So much to little time Sarah.


  Enjoy the day Sarah.




Sarah, if you need further assistance post back.

post #16 of 18

     I'll throw in two cents. As you may have noted by now, following proper technique is vitally important in baking. When the recipe provides directions such as "beat the sugar and eggs until light and fluffy" or "all ingredients should be room temperature" or "let the dough rest for twenty minutes" you should make sure you are doing precisely that.

    In my attempts at baking, I have found that my disasters are virtually always caused because I overlooked or neglected one of this type of instruction. While recipes can be written poorly, I find most often that the fault is mine for not paying close enough attention to the details.  But remember that a glass of milk and/or a large cup of coffee makes a badly done recipe much easier to swallow.   

post #17 of 18

@sarahconstw Okie dokie......that gives a more clearer picture. This means that you will have approximately 8-ish cups of batter you have to bake by halving the recipe and you are using two 9" baking tins with approximately 6-8 cups each worth of room to fill them fully yet we only want to fill them by half (2/3 at the most). By your description of that not working out for you it would seem that your baking tins are 9x1-1/2" round (only a guess) which is a 6 cup max tin and your approximately 8 cups worth of batter divided by the two will be too much batter. What you could do is fill each baking tin half full with batter and any leftover batter you can make cupcakes (fill each cup half full) with or throw away. It's a quick sort of description however, give it a shot if you try the recipe again.


 I didn't change anything except that I baked the cake layers one at a time instead of baking two at one go then rotating them 
I actually halved the recipe then separated the batter into two pans! sorry for the misunderstanding :/

In baking, when you say you did not adjust nor change the recipe yet cut the recipe in half and then baked it in different sized baking tins than the original recipe called for..........this is called adjusting or changing the original recipe. It does have an effect on the outcome of the recipe as baking is a SCIENCE. It is all about math and chemistry to be precise. So in the future when you are learning to bake, it is a good thing to make the original recipe at hand AS IT STATES to see the outcome and then adjust from there or acquire another recipe for the amount you are looking for in the final outcome. Not to worry though, the more you bake and have challenges along the way, the more you learn and become a better baker. It is funny, it is not the successes that make us great, it is the disasters and disappointments that help us achieve great success.


Best of luck in your baking and don't give up!! ;) 

Edited by Fablesable - 12/30/15 at 3:14pm
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 

@Fablesable haha alright. Thanks so much! :) 

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