Have you ever baked a cake only to find it rising into a dome shape, leaving you wondering, “Why Does My cake have a dome?” The development of cake doming is a common issue that many home bakers encounter. However, understanding the causes behind this problem can help you achieve beautifully baked cakes with level tops. In this article, we will delve into the science behind cake doming, explore the various factors that contribute to its occurrence, and provide practical solutions to help you overcome this challenge. Get ready to uncover the secrets to achieving perfectly flat cakes that are as delightful to look at as they are to taste!
Why Does My Cake Have A Dome?
Baking a cake includes such actions as just the right balance of ingredients, your mixing techniques, and even heat The dome shape that forms on top of a cake can be chalked up to a few key factors: Leavening agents such as baking powder and baking soda create air bubbles in the cake batter, causing it to rise. However, they can result in excessive rise and cake doming if not measured correctly. Uneven oven temperature or a high baking temperature can cause the edges of the cake to set faster than the center, leading to a dome formation. Using the wrong-sized pan or a pan that doesn’t distribute heat evenly can disrupt the cake’s baking process and contribute to doming.
Overmixing the batter can lead to excessive gluten development, resulting in a cake that rises too much in the center. On the other hand, undermixing can cause uneven distribution of leavening agents, leading to an uneven rise.
Always make sure of your measurements. Reading through the recipe once before you start helps. I can’t tell you how often I have misread a measurement and either measured too much or too little. Too much baking powder or baking soda can cause the cake to rise too much and therefore causing your cake to dome in the middle.
Oven Temperature and Rack Placement
To minimize cake doming, paying attention to oven temperature and rack placement is important: Make sure your oven is heating properly. Use an oven thermometer to check the temperature of your oven. You may have to adjust the temperature. For example, if you set your oven to 350 degrees and the oven thermometer shows 360 degrees after preheating, you may have to lower the temperature a tad.
There is also the lower/slower method. This allows the cake to bake more evenly. If the temperature stated in the recipe is 350 degrees, set your oven to 325 degrees and bake a little longer.
Another option is to calibrate your oven temperature. Read more about it here.
A temperature that is too hot can cause the edges of the cake to set faster than the center, causing a dome to form in the middle of your cake.
Bake your cake on the center rack or the middle of your oven to help with even heating which helps with even baking.Always start checking on your cake’s doneness about 10 minutes before the end of the baking time stated in your recipe.
Pan Size and Type
Choosing the right pan size and type is important in getting a level cake Always use the pan size recommended in the recipe. Using a too-small pan can cause the cake to rise and dome excessively. And choose pans that distribute heat evenly, such as aluminum or light-colored pans. Dark or non-stick pans can retain more heat and lead to uneven baking.
Proper mixing of the cake batter is also important for achieving a level cake top. Avoid overmixing. Once the dry and wet ingredients are combined, mix just until they are incorporated. Overmixing can lead to excess gluten formation and an uneven rise.
Follow the recipe’s instructions to get the desired batter consistency. This ensures an even distribution of leavening agents and prevents an uneven rise.
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How To Prevent Cake Doming
Cake strips can be used to help with even baking and prevent doming. You soak the cake strips in water, wring out the excess water and wrap them around the sides of your cake pan. The strips keep the edges cooler, thus allowing the center to rise more evenly. I bought a set and I absolutely love them.
You can make your own insulating wraps as well. Measure paper towels so that they will wrap around your pan. Fold the paper towels so that they cover the outside of the pan. Wet them and then wring them out. Measure aluminum foil the same as you did the paper towels. Now fold the wet folded paper towels in the aluminum foil and then wrap this around your pan. See the photos below.
I did the paper towel and foil thing until I finally decided to buy myself the cake strips. Made my life so much easier and saved me from running out of paper towels or foil:)
Heating cores can help distribute heat more evenly as well.
Place a heating core in the center of the cake batter before baking. The core conducts heat to the center, encouraging even baking and reducing doming. Heating cores are usually used for larger cakes or cakes that are deep.
See the video below:
If doming in your cake doesn’t bother you much but makes decorating difficult, you can always level your cake after baking using a cake leveler.
Understanding the causes of cake doming is the first step towards getting those beautifully baked cakes with level tops. You can overcome this common challenge by Remembering to measure the leavening agents accurately, mix the batter properly, and adjust the oven temperature and rack placement as needed. And using the right pan sizes. Don’t be discouraged if your cakes have domed in the past. Armed with these insights and practical solutions, you can confidently bake cakes with perfectly flat tops. Enjoy the journey of baking, and may your future cakes be beautifully leveled from edge to edge!
Do your cakes come out with a dome? Please leave me a comment below.
And As Always
Keep On Baking!
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I’m Taianne, the owner and operator behind We Are Baking. Baking my first cake at age 11 hooked me on creating sweet treats. Though my interest faded during childhood, it was rekindled when I married my apple pie-loving husband. I love trying new recipes, tweaking classics, and helping others learn the science and art of baking. I started We Are Baking to share tips, tricks, and favorite recipes I’ve discovered over the years. When not in the kitchen, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. My goal is to inspire others to embrace their creativity through baking. Feel free to contact me with any questions!