why do cakes sink in the middle

Why Cakes Sink In The Middle – Oh No!

If you are a self-confessed sweet tooth, probably you can’t say no to sweets, cakes in particular. They are available almost anytime and everywhere. At every celebration, cakes are a must-have centerpiece. When you are out in a restaurant or cafés, the cake is one of the choices in desserts. So how could you easily say no, right? Some of us even know how to bake a cake, especially if we love to eat or share them. If you bake cakes, probably at some point you experienced to bake cakes that sink in the middle. If you are trying to learn the skill of baking, you may want to consider reading this article. This will give you an idea of how to deal with this common problem when baking a cake.

Common Reasons Why Cakes Sink In The Middle

Now you put all your efforts to buy the ingredients and believed that you followed the recipe well. When you are ready to start putting the icing on it, you realized that your cake sinks in the middle. So what could have gone wrong why this happens? We have listed here reasons why cakes sink in the middle and how to prevent them next time you bake.

1. Under baked cakes sink in the middle.

Underbaked cakes tend to sink in the middle. One reason is that the temperature of the oven is less than the required heat. Another reason is when you keep on checking the cake. By prematurely opening the door, it escapes air that affects the baking process.

How To Avoid This From Happening:

  • Make sure that you give sufficient temperature and time to bake.
  • Do not open the oven door until batter is set. Because this will create a doughy, dense texture in the center of your cake layer. If you need to sneak peek, you can look from the window of the oven.
  • To check if cake is cooked through, poke a toothpick or skewer stick on it. When moist crumb comes out of with a poke of the toothpick, then it is cooked already. Otherwise, give it a couple more minutes to cook.

2. Expired baking powder can cause cakes to sink in the middle

The baking powder is one of the main ingredients which contribute to the gorgeous rise of your cake. While baking soda can last longer, baking powder can only last between six months to one year only. So, if you missed checking the expiration of the baking powder, cake sinking in the middle most likely to result.

How To Avoid This From Happening:

  • To make the most of the shelf life of your baking powder, store it in a dry cool place. Make sure your pantry is away from humidity.
  • Write with a marker the expiry date on the box.
  • Make it a habit to check the ingredients first before using them.

3. Incorrect measurements and recipes

It is a common knowledge that baking is no ordinary process of cooking. You can’t just add later or just estimate ingredient count. Accuracy in measurements is key to a successful baking. All the ingredients should be counted carefully according to the recipe. The same goes to following the right ingredients and directions to follow.

How To Avoid This From Happening:

  • Use measuring cups and spoons to accurately measure ingredients.
  • Your memory may fail you sometimes, at best keep a written recipe close by to refer to easily.
  • Once you’ve a proven and tested recipe, follow it carefully to avoid baking disaster.

4. Follow the “Keep at room temperature” instruction seriously.

You probably would notice that most baking recipes would require ingredients to be kept at room temperature. This is because humidity may damage the quality of the ingredients. As for chilled ingredients such as the butter. It is important that, right softness is followed.

How To Avoid This From Happening:

  • If the recipe requires a soft butter, it should be soft but not melted. Remove the butter from the refrigerator prior to baking and place it at room temperature.
  • Too soft or melted butter will create bubbles. And if it’s hard or frozen, it will not blend properly with the other ingredients. Thus, will both result to cake sinking in the middle.

5. Too much leavening agent can make your cake sink.

If there’s an excessive amount of leavening or hydrogen carbonate in an exceeding cake recipe, it can cause your cake to rise too rapidly, then sink shortly thereafter. The amount really depends on the rest of the ingredients of the recipe.

Excessive leaving agent like baking soda or powder causes a cake to rise so rapidly. Just as before the cake bakes, the gas from the leavening agents builds up and escapes before the cake bakes. Therefore, the center of the cake sinks because it was not baked through.

As a general rule, the amount of leavening agent in a cake recipe should be one teaspoon of baking powder and/or ¼ teaspoon of baking soda per cup of flour. Surely there would be exceptions to the rule, as not all cake recipes will use leavening agents. Ultra acidic cakes like lemon cake, will require less baking powder to rise because the acidity of lemons cancels it out.

How to avoid this to happen :

  • Follow carefully the recipe for the amount of leavening agent to use. Be
  • For a precise measurement, use a teaspoon or digital scale.

6. Over mixing the batter makes the cake sink in the middle

Butter, sugar, and eggs are supposed to be beaten until they’re light and creamy. Baker or not are supposed to know that. However, it is crucial that combined wet and dry ingredients are not to be over mixed to form a batter. Typically, a cake recipe would need to be properly combined and folded until they are intermixed.

How to avoid this to happen :

Beating introduces more air into the batter. Therefore, particularly in this stage, it’s important not to incorporate any more air than necessary. As this will result to too much rise of the center which eventually will sink after cooling.


Baking a cake can have a therapeutic effect on those who love to cook. While the aroma when the cake starts to bake can be can give that sense of good feels and fulfillment. It’s like a sweet quick escape from your normal chaotic day. However, it is also given that baking is no easy kitchen trip. One mistake can lead to disaster, like the cake sinks in the middle. And if you’re not careful, it will not only cause you disappointment but the cost that will go to waste.

But don’t lose confidence that you can’t do it. You simply have to take note of the reasons why this major disaster happens. Most importantly, understanding the causes and how to prevent them from happening will save you from dismay.

To sum up on how to prevent cake from sinking in the middle;

  • Always place your ingredients in a dry cool place away from humidity that will compromise the quality and its shelf life.
  • Check the expiration of your ingredients every time, before using them. If possible, always use fresh or newly purchased ingredients.
  • Follow the recipe carefully. Use measuring cups and spoons for a precise measurement of ingredients.

While others follow their passion to become a doctor, others become pastry chef or sweet creators. But whichever path you choose, always believe that great work and passion will bear sweet results someday.

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