How to Know When a Cake is Done

It can be a disappointing to put so much effort into baking a delicious cake only to discover it’s raw. After years of creating different kinds of baked goods, the experts at NewGen Baker understand only too well how you feel. That’s why we’ve come up with a guide to help you know when a cake is done.

Basic Signs That a Cake is Done

  1. The cake pulls away from the sides of the pan.

One way to tell is when you see a gap between the cake and the sides of the pan. Heat causes the cake to shrink. Check the edges of the cake, too, to see if they’re dry. Note that if the gap is too wide, this is also a sign that your oven’s temperature is too high, or the cake has been baking for too long.

  1. A toothpick stuck in the center of the cake comes out clean.     

A common and easy way to know when a cake is done is to stick something thin (like a toothpick or a barbecue skewer) in the center of the cake. If you don’t see any batter or crumbs, then your cake is most likely done. 

  1. The temperature of the center of the cake is 98.8 degrees Celsius.

Use a thermometer for cooking that reads the temperature instantly. Also known as instant read thermometers, these digital tools come with a thin skewer attached and usually take up to 20 seconds to read the temperature of your food. Simply stick one in the center of your cake and if it reads 98.8 degrees Celsius (or 210 degrees Fahrenheit), then the cake is done baking. Note that this is a general rule of thumb and may not apply to all cakes. 

  1. The center of the cake has a springy consistency.

Another easy way to tell if a cake is done is to gently poke the center with your fingertips. If it feels soft to the touch yet springs back, then you’re good to go.  

  1. Use two or more of these tips together to check doneness. 

To be sure, use a combination of these four tips to know if a cake is done.

How to Check Doneness of Different Types of Cakes

Now that you’re armed with the basics, you should also know how to test the doneness for different kinds of cakes. Well-baked yummies vary not just in terms of taste, but also in texture. Here are tips on how to tell for the most common types of cake.  

  1. How to Know When a Cheesecake is Done Cooking

Cheesecakes are one of the most delicate things to bake. It’s made from a soft and creamy cheese mixture, surrounded by a crumbly crust. While there are cheesecakes that don’t need baking, the traditional kind requires baking until the center has set. To check for doneness, use your oven mitts, hold the sides of your cake pan and give it a gentle shake. If only the center of the filling moves, then your cheesecake is done baking. If not, it likely needs a little more time to bake.      

Baking idea: Check out our delicious recipe for Burnt Cheesecake.

  1. How to Know When a Flourless Chocolate Cake is Done

There are two things that set a flourless chocolate cake apart from others. One is the fact that it doesn’t contain the most common baking ingredient: flour, and its smooth and silky consistency. This is a favorite among those who have gluten allergies. Check to see if the edges of the cake have separated from the sides of the pan. The fourth basic tip applies to this type of cake, which is to press the center to see if it springs back. The top of the cake should also have a smooth consistency and shouldn’t be shiny like icing. 

  1. How to Know When a Bundt Cake is Done

For those unfamiliar with this type of cake, the name is derived from the type of the pan it’s baked in. A Bundt pan is dome-shaped with a hollow funnel in the center. This creates a hole in the center of the cake much like a donut. To check for doneness, simply insert a toothpick or skewer near the center of your cake. If it comes out clean, then it’s baked through.

Baking idea: You’ll love our recipe for Pineapple Banana Bundt Cake.

  1. How to Know When Carrot Cake is Done 

Some like their carrot cake with pineapple and some like it with nuts. Others swear by cream cheese frosting and some like it plain. But one thing lovers of carrot cake can agree on is that it must be moist. To test for doneness, apply three of the basic tips mentioned above. First, check to see that the sides of the cake are pulling away from the pan. Second, insert a toothpick to see if it comes out clean. Know that some people prefer to have crumbs sticking to their toothpick because they like their carrot cake extra moist. Third, press the center to see if it springs back.  

Baking idea: For a healthy treat, try out our recipe for Whole Wheat Pineapple Walnut Carrot Cake.

We hope this article helps you turn bake your gorgeous cake creations to perfection. Make sure to read up on more baking tips from the pros.

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