Cooking/Baking Mistakes and Reasons

Cake has risen unevenly in the oven

* The flour was not blended sufficiently into the main mixture.
* The oven temperature was too high.
* Side of the tin was unevenly greased.

Cake sinks in centre

* Too much sugar used.
* Batter too dry.
* Under-manipulation.
* Tin too small.
* Oven temperature too low.
* Cake not baked through.
* Oven door opened during baking.
* Too much raising agent used.

Cake rises and sinks while in oven

* Too much liquid used.
* Too much raising agent used.
* Oven door opened too soon / too frequently.

Small brown speckles appear on surface of cake or biscuits

* Granulated sugar was used instead of castor sugar. With certain cakes too coarse sugar does not dissolve as easily.

Cake burned on the bottom

* A poor quality tin was used. If too thin, a tin can develop hot spots and warp in the oven.
* The cake was baked near to the bottom of the oven.

Cake texture heavy

* The butter, sugar and eggs were not beaten together long enough.
* The flour was stirred in too vigorously, therefore knocking out the air incorporated during creaming.
* Too much flour was added to the creamed mixture.
* The baking powder was too little or omitted.
* The oven temperature was not high enough.

Coarse, grainy texture

* Too much raising agent used.
* Insufficient creaming of ingredients.

Dry and crumbly texture

* Baked too long at low temperature.
* Too much raising agent used.

Tunnels and large holes

* Ingredients were over mixed.
* Oven temperature too high.

When mixture curdled

* The ingredients were not at room temperature when mixed.
* The butter and sugar was not creamed together well enough before adding the eggs.
* The eggs were added too soon.

A dense and heavy cake texture

* Not enough air was whisked into the egg and sugar mixture.
* The flour was not folded in gently by hand using a large metal spoon.
* Oven temperature too low.

Why has the top of cake dropped

* The oven temperature was too high.
* The cake was not baked for long enough.
* The cake tin was knocked during baking.
* The oven door was opened too soon and created a draught.

Sunken fruit mixture

* Fruit wet or damp – toss in flour to coat.
* Mixture too soft to support weight of fruit.
* Too much raising agent used.

PASTRIES

Why did pastry shrink away from the sides of the flan tin during baking

* The pastry was stretched while being rolled out.
* The pastry was not allowed to rest before and after being rolled out.

Why was the pastry hard and tough

* The raw pastry was over-mixed in the bowl or kneaded too much.
* Too much liquid was added to the rubbed-in flour and butter mixture.
* Too much flour was used for dusting the work surface when rolling out.

CHOUX PASTRY

Why did the pastry collapse as soon as it was removed from the oven

* The pastry was not baked long enough.
* A hole was not pierced through the base of the cooked pastry. The trapped steam caused the pastry to go soft again.
* The oven temperature was too high.

MERINGUES

Why did the egg whites take so long to whisk

* The egg whites were too cold. Should be at room temperature before whisking.
* The bowl or whisk was slightly greasy. Both must be clean.
* A little of the egg yolk was dropped into the egg whites during separation. The fat in the yolk inhibited the egg whites from producing a good foam.

Why did a clear syrup run out of the meringues during baking

* Granulated sugar was used. It is too coarse and does not dissolve in the mixture like castor sugar.
* The sugar was added too quickly or too much at once so that it did not have time to dissolve.
* There might have been some form of moisture present in the oven during baking.
* The meringue was not baked immediately.

Meringues still moist in the middle after baking

* They were not baked and allowed to dry out in the oven for long enough.

ICING

Icing lumps

* The icing sugar was not sifted before it was added. Lumps of icing sugar never disperse once they are mixed with the other ingredients.

Source : BlueRibbon.co.za

Baking: