I’ve had many a cake fail in my time and I like to think the only reason I’m good at baking now is because I’ve made so many mistakes in the past.
One of the most frustrating things in life for me is spending loads of time and money making a cake only for it to turn out a complete baking disaster and instead of on a plate it ends up in the bin.
So before you scrape the cake fail into the bin, I’ve got six tips here for how to rectify the cake into a triumph (which no one will know you didn’t start out to make).
My cake has sunk in the middle
We’ve all been there, when you’re looking in on your cake while it’s baking it looks glorious. It’s rising perfectly and everything’s going well. But as soon as it comes out of the oven the middle sinks dramatically leaving a large gaping hole.
This has happened because there was too much raising agent in the cake so it’s risen too fast and the cake can’t support its own height.
Don’t despair, cut the middle bit out and fill it with fresh cream, fruit or chocolate buttons, depending on the cake flavour. These all go well with cake and no one will know you didn’t always mean to make a ring-shaped cake.
My cake hasn’t risen and has a thick, stodgy texture
You might not have put enough raising agent in – or it could be out of date. Instead of chucking the cake away and starting again, you have a few options for rectifying this one.
Take a small cookie cutter and cut out rounds of cake. Sandwich them together with buttercream and you’ll have a tray of mini sponges to serve instead.
If you want a big cake, you could either; make another layer and sandwich it on top for height, or just pile on buttercream and fruit to the cake layer.
My cake has a large lump on one side
This is an easy one to rectify, wait till the cake is cold and then use a bread knife to cut off the extra hump (which you can then eat).
My cake is burnt
We’ve all done it, gone to make a cup of tea and forgotten all about the cake in the oven.
Now the way to rescue a burnt cake depends on how burnt it is. If it’s completely burnt to a crisp you really need to take a deep breath and throw it away but if it’s just the outer layer it’s easy to remove this with a bread knife or cheese grater. Then just cover up the edges with buttercream.
My cake is dry as a bone
One of my worst things in life is eating a piece of dry cake and luckily this doesn’t have to happen as there’s several ways to solve the problem.
First – use a sugar syrup to bring the cake back to life a little. Warm the cake up slightly and then prick it all over to make little holes. Pour the sugar syrup all over the cake and it will absorb into the sponge giving it a sticky texture.
Another way to deal with a dry cake is to make cake pops.
My cake has broken in half
Transferring a cake to a serving board of plate is an extremely delicate process and I’ve had several thousand instances when the sponge has cracked and I’ve ended up swearing a lot at all of the pieces of broken cake.
At this point – do not panic – the cake can be rectified but you’ll only be able to do it if you’re feeling calm. Arm yourself with spatulas and get the cake onto the final serving board or plate and them stick the broken bits together with jam or buttercream.