How to Know When Cake Is Done

February 20, 2013

Inspired by conversations on the FOOD52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun. 


Today: How to bake perfect cakes, every time.

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Sometimes baking may not always seem like a piece of cake -- especially when you slice that cake fresh out of the oven, only to find out that it's undercooked. 

Senior Editor and resident genius Kristen gives us three foolproof ways to make sure every cake we bake will never go undercooked. If you're without a cake tester at home, even a quick dry spaghetti noodle into the middle of the cake will do! At the end of the day, all you need is the right touch and a confident nose -- and once you get comfortable with trusting your senses, try whipping up a Gingerbread Beer Bundt Cake.

This video was shot and edited by Kyle Orosz

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • fitsxarts
  • Laura Moseley
    Laura Moseley
  • Greenstuff
  • pollopicu
  • Ambitious

Written by: gheanna

My two (current) favorite foods start with the letter D: doughnuts, and dumplings. If a dish has bacon in it, I will most likely eat it. If I could marry honey butter, I would.


fitsxarts February 21, 2013
This is great! But I spy a typo in the text card...
Laura M. February 20, 2013
I would love to be able to tell if a cake is done by the way it looks or smells! I usually use a toothpick though. Love the noodle idea. Thanks for sharing, your site is lovely!
Greenstuff February 20, 2013
Does anyone remember that people used to use broom straws to test cakes? True story, germaphobe young people!
Kristen M. February 20, 2013
Yes -- of all things, why broom straws? I hardly want to touch my broom, let alone put it in my hard-earned cake!
SeaJambon February 20, 2013
Because brooms were readily available and the straws the right size (toothpicks and manufactured spaghetti didn't even exist! -- yes, this was quite awhile ago)? Oh, and you would pull the straw off the broom and use the portion that is furthest away from what sweeps the floor. Finally, they are called broom "straws" because brooms were made of straw -- you can still find that type of broom, but the synthetics are much more common. Geez, suddenly I'm feeling old -- and no, I'm not really.k
Kristen M. February 20, 2013
That makes sense -- I'll stop judging our elders now!
pollopicu February 20, 2013
Who doesn't know this already?
Kenzi W. February 20, 2013
For every person out there who can bake a cake to perfection, there's another one who's intimidated to give it a go. Cakes can be scary! But really: I'm in it for the spaghetti noodle tip alone.
Ambitious February 20, 2013
The tips about the sides and springy-ness are very helpful!

My go to tool for cake testing is a trusty chopstick though. I can't imagine buying a cake tester solely for this purpose. :)
Kristen M. February 20, 2013
I loved learning the spaghetti noodle trick. I always have noodles lying around.