Tips & Techniques

This Simple Step Helps Your Cakes Bake More Evenly

October 18, 2016

You've heard that you should prepare your pans according to the recipe and weigh any ingredients whose volume might trick you.

But what's a step to cake success that you might be skipping? Bake the cake on a pizza stone (or baking steel) that you've heated in the oven.

We've written about how pizza stones can help you set the bottom of a pie crust (goodbye, soggy bottoms) or crisp up the underside of a ciabatta (see tip 2), but Shirley Corriher, a baker and food scientist whose practically-miraculous Touch of Grace Biscuits transform from a wet slosh to biscuits you'd mistake for clouds, relies on pizza stones for cake-baking, too. She calls heating a pizza stone in the oven one of "the basics" you need to know before baking a cake:

Place a heavy baking (pizza) stone on the low oven rack, then set the baking pan directly on the stone. The stone gives very even heat from the bottom so the batter can start cooking and rising before the heat from the top of the oven sets the batter and crusts the top.

Not only does a pizza stone provide an evenly hot baking surface, but it also retains heat—keeping the oven's temperature more stable—and acts as a diffuser, protecting your food from the hot spots flaming up from the underbelly below.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“It usually turns out fairly well, but a firmer bottom crust would make it even better. Thanks for the great tip, Sarah!”
— BerryBaby

There you have it: even cooking, a higher rise, and a reason to leave your pizza stone in the oven. In my apartment, my pizza stone has taken up permanent residence there—mostly because I'm lazy and because my kitchen is so small there's not enough space for even the flattest wheel to squeak by. But alas, a windfall benefit to my negligence.

Know any creative ways to use a pizza stone? Tell us in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Marlene
  • aaCooks
  • Kaitlin Bray
    Kaitlin Bray
  • dinner at ten
    dinner at ten
  • Vicki Buffalo
    Vicki Buffalo
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Marlene October 23, 2016
I can see how this would work well for pies and one-pan cakes. How would you do layer cakes, however? Bake in batches? (My stone is round and old only accommodate one pan at a time.)
aaCooks October 23, 2016
Do you prefer then using convection in your oven or not when baking?
Kaitlin B. October 18, 2016
This is welcome news, as I always leave my baking steel in the oven. Usually forget it's in there until after I've pre-heated the oven, which has resulted in some dangerous maneuvering.
dinner A. October 18, 2016
In the last paragraph, I think you mean "a reason to leave your pizza stone in the oven," not "...out of the oven" as written.
Sarah J. October 18, 2016
Whoops, yes!
Vicki B. October 18, 2016
I always have a pizza stone in my oven. I never remember to take it out so I am glad to know I can now bake directly on it with my cake pans. I do throw my biscuits directly on the stone. They rise immediately and cook in a shorter amount of time.
BerryBaby October 18, 2016
I'm definitely going to give this a try with our traditional Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie. It usually turns out fairly well, but a firmer bottom crust would make it even better. Thanks for the great tip, Sarah!