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How to be sure a Pound Cake bakes thoroughly

Toney asks: I have a question about baking a cake, a pound cake in this instance.  I have baked pound cake for the pass 30 years and have never had this problem before. My cakes will not bake all the way through.  I have had my stove checked and they found nothing wrong.  I have thrown away three cakes and a few pies.  Very frustrating. Hope you can help.

Baking S.O.S.: This sounds like a frustrating experience–especially since nothing seems to be wrong with your oven.

The only thing I can suggest is to simply bake your pound cake (or pies, since you mentioned that was a problem, too) longer and be sure to test for doneness before removing them from the oven.

If your pound cake looks like it is getting too done or too brown before it is fully baked through the center, then try turning the oven temperature down by 25 degrees until it finishes baking all the way through.

To test for doneness, I would suggest using a long wooden skewer–rather than a wooden toothpick–because pound cakes can be very deep and dense.  A toothpick will only be able to check the cake to a certain depth because it is short, but a wooden skewer can check all the way through.  Be sure the skewer comes out with no batter or only dry cake crumbs on it.  It is also a good idea to check the cake in several spots, just to be sure.

Good luck!

2 comments to How to be sure a Pound Cake bakes thoroughly

  • Jane

    Why do the sides of my pound cakes get too brown while the top and middle are still baking?

  • Hi there, good question. There could be several explanations:
    – If you are using a baking pan with non-stick coating, my experience has been that the dark lining of the pan draws in the heat of the oven more than other pans (such as glass or uncoated metal)–making the outside edges especially dark. Because every product bakes from the outside in, the outer edges of the cake will get done first before the interior. Add in the factor of the non-stick coating, and it will get more dark and done than if you use other types of pans. So my recommendation would be to bake in a glass or uncoated metal pan.
    – Even if you are not using a non-stick pan, there is still the factor of products baking from the outside in, and since pound cakes are especially dense, they take longer to bake all the way through to the center, causing the outside edges to brown in the process. So it becomes a question of whether the outer edges become a nice golden brown, which is desirable and expected, or does your pound cake simply get way too dark? If it is too dark, try lowering the oven temperature during the latter part of the baking process so that the cake can finish baking all the way through without browning too much. It will take longer to bake when you lower the oven temperature, but it won’t get as brown. Depending on what temperature your recipe calls for, you may need to lower the temperature by 25-50 degrees. I would suggest 350F or 375F at most for the final stages of baking.
    – The sugar in any baked good caramelizes during the baking process, causing the product to brown naturally. Again, we want a nice golden brown color on our baked goods, so some browning is natural and desirable. The challenge comes in controlling just how much browning. Again, try experimenting with oven temperatures and see if that helps.
    Good Luck!
    – Chef RB

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