Stopping cakes from crumbling


October 03, 2007|By Kathleen Purvis | Kathleen Purvis,McClatchy-Tribune

Could you suggest the best methods to ensure that my cakes unmold without crumbling?

I can offer a few suggestions:

Get an oven thermometer. Most home ovens run as much as 50 degrees high or low. If the temperature is too high, the cake may overbake and get dry.

Learn how to check for doneness. Doneness indicators vary by recipe (a cheescake shows different signs from a devil's food cake). But for most butter-based cakes, a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean, the cake should pull away from the edges, and the top should spring back when you touch it lightly.

Grease the pan if the recipe calls for it. Either cooking spray or shortening are fine. Butter tastes better, but it can scorch.

Pay attention to the recipe's cooling time. If you try to remove a cake too soon, it can stick. If you let the cake cool too long and it's sticking, put it back in a 350-degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes.

Pans do make a difference. Metal cake pans are the best. Aluminum conducts heat evenly. Dark-colored metal can retain more heat, so you may need to lower the temperature by 25 degrees. Dark aluminum pans with nonstick coatings, such as Baker's Secret, give good results.

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