You Can Determine If Your Cake Is Under-Baked Just By Looking At It

It can be tricky to tell when your baked goods are done. And, to make matters more complicated, there is no one-size-fits-all method. According to The Spruce Eats, you can tell if your quick breads (like Brown Butter Banana Bread) are done when the edges slightly pull away from the loaf pan and a toothpick only has a few crumbs attached once it's pulled out of the center. If you're whipping up a batch of chocolate chip cookies, however, you'll want to see crispy edges and a soft center before pulling them out of the oven — although this rule can be tweaked slightly depending on your texture preferences (via Bon Appétit). And, if you're making a delicious Spiced Baked Apple Crumb, you'll know it's done when the top is golden brown.

Whether you're baking a pie, cheesecake, or anything else, it's important to make sure your dish is done before digging in. Most people know that salmonella is a possibility when consuming uncooked eggs, although this hasn't always stopped us from spooning raw cookie dough. But eating under-baked desserts can come with a plethora of health risks. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), raw flour has actually been shown to cause E. coli infections, as its germs are only killed when flour is baked. 

Fortunately, when it comes to baking a cake, there is a simple way to tell if your batter is fully done.

A sunken cake is an under-baked cake

While a wet cake obviously needs more time in the oven, a sunken cake is also an indicator that it's not fully baked. Wilton explains that if you pull your cake out of the oven and the center sinks a little bit, it means only the outside of the cake is cooked. According to Baking How, the reason for this is that the cake just wasn't in the oven long enough to bake throughout. If this happens to you, there's no need to get out a toothpick or any other tools for further testing — just pop it right back in the oven for a few more minutes.

As long as your cake's surface is level, there are a few other ways you can check if it's done baking, the most common of which is the toothpick test. The Spruce Eats recommends inserting a toothpick in the middle of the cake. If it comes out mostly clean and with no wet batter, you should be good to go. You can also touch the top of the cake with your fingertip: If it feels slightly springy, that's a good sign it's fully cooked, according to Bon Appétit. And if you'd really like to verify your cake is done, King Arthur Baking advises using a thermometer, as most cakes will be finish baking at 200 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit.