Why do cakes get a thick crust?

  • Posted by: laura
  • April 8, 2015


Voted the Best Reply!

Shuna L. April 9, 2015
Hi Laura,
Good question! There are a few reasons why cakes get thick crusts.

Sometimes it's the baking vessel. If a cake pan is thin, or glass, or a dark color; the way the heat reaches the batter might be circuitous. Poor conductors of heat, such as aluminum or glass, force the cake to spend more time in the oven than they should.

Cakes that are high in flour, but low in moisture, (i.e. eggs, sugar, liquid etc.), like proper "pound cake," for instance, need far more baking time than the average yellow or white cake, let's say, and so can develop a thick outer later because the whole of the batter takes a long time to bake through.

If there's more batter in a baking vessel than there should be, the outside of the cake overtakes while the interior remains raw. I'm sure there's a logarithm to understand which baking pan needs X amount of cake batter to produce the best cake, but I just go by eye.

If you have buttered & floured your pan, or buttered & dusted with cocoa, these dry elements can produce a dry, thick crust. I very rarely butter & flour, for this very reason.

Some European, or non Western style cakes develop thick crusts, because they tend to have less leaveners in them. Americans crave tall, light, "fluffy," "tender," cakes, but not all cake recipes are meant top produce that. I make a Gâteau Basque at Bakeri that has a thick crust, but I like that this texture gives way to a tender, fruit & vanilla cream filled interior...

A cake recipe that employs the "creaming method," really needs all ingredients to be "room temperature." I see a lot of cakes that are hard and flat because the baker rushed through the first steps, using cold butter and cold eggs. But those first steps are crucial in developing the air pockets that create a light cake with an even "crumb."

Lastly, it could be your "all purpose" flour. There's no such thing as AP flour, in a way, as all flours come from many kinds of wheat, grown at different times of the year, in many geographical regions, and could be "harder" or "softer" - even from bag to bag! Many "Cake Flours" have little to no nutritional value once they have been stripped of their "wholeness," so I prefer to use a mixture of pastry and "AP" flour, and spend more time fluffing in the mixer...

I hope these possibilities help! I know what it's like the spend all that time making cake, only to have something come out of the oven that is not delicious. I will say that I have often just trimmed the outside of a cake if the interior is fine ;[]
LE B. April 12, 2015
shuna, you are so impressive to take this much time to answer this question. We all learn from you!
Droplet April 9, 2015
Either your oven temperature is set too high (or your oven is running hot unbeknownst to you), or you are baking them for too long.
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