What To Do If Your Cake Is Baking Too Fast On Top But Not In The Middle

It may be a "piece of cake" to whip up one of the many varieties of the fluffy dessert of the same name, but from time to time, achieving the perfect bake can be anything but easy. And if your cake is browning too much on top without being fully cooked in the middle, aluminum foil might just be to pantry staple needed to save the day.

Many home bakers experience this mishap at one point or another. Let's paint the familiar picture: Your cake looks perfect, and it's been in the oven for the recipe's recommended cook time, but when you go to perform the tried and true toothpick test, you're surprised to pull out a goopy toothpick covered in raw cake batter.

It might seem like you've run out of options and that your cake is destined for untimely doom, but all you have to do is employ your trusty aluminum foil to protect the top of your cake while continuing to cook its middle. This process, sometimes called tenting, involves rolling a sheet of aluminum foil over your dish to maintain the ideal temperature inside your pan. You can either cover your pan in a flat layer of foil or roll it into a "tent" shape to keep taller cakes from making contact with it.

Cover your cake with aluminum foil to create an even bake throughout

Not only is tenting a valuable trick for baking recipes, but it also comes in handy for savory dishes like lasagna that can easily be dried out by the oven's high temperatures. The foil plays double duty, both trapping the moisture inside the cake pan while also deflecting the direct warmth from the oven's heating element above it. 

Alternatively, you can use foil from the very beginning to promote an even bake without an overly crusty exterior. You can start by covering a cake pan with foil and poking a small hole in the foil's center, which helps keep the cake from browning too much from the get-go. For the best results with this method, be sure to coat your foil with baking spray to keep it from sticking to your cake in the event that it rises and makes contact.

So next time you're getting ready to bake a cake, remember that foil is the key to managing moisture and promoting an even bake. While this kitchen tool is often reserved for preventing messy dishes and wrapping your leftovers, foil might be the hero you need for baking a perfect cake.