One of the oft repeated queries in my site is with respect to baking. While some of them are curious enough to ask for suggestions and explain what went wrong for them, few others are confident that its the recipe that’s at fault. In 99% of the cases, I find that it's the problem with not knowing/following some important baking rules. Here is a following list of the most common mistakes that happens in Baking from my own experience.

1. Not taking Ingredient Measurement Seriously

Just like cooking, baking is also based on a science. But unlike regular day to day cooking, the impact of not being precise shows most in baking. It is important to know the rules for proper measuring for both dry and wet ingredients for them to work together in harmony.
Also See:
1.How to measure flour properly for baking
2.Measurement Conversion Chart

2. Not Understanding Your Oven

Ideally, you would assume that when your oven shows 350F, its indeed 350F right? But sadly that's not always true. Every oven is different and at times even the expensive, upper rung models, can be off. It could be because of general wear and tear and/or because the seals on your Oven door would have worn out etc. My best bet would be to use an Oven thermometer.
Also See:
1.Oven Temperature Conversion
2.How to bake using Microwave Convection Oven
3.How to bake using Microwave

Another common problem is with “Hot Spots”. You might find that one part of your baked product burning/cooked faster than the rest. Its ‘cos of these Hot spots. Turning the pan at regular intervals or avoiding such spots is the way to go. You can find out your Hot spots by lining a cookie sheet with slices of bread. Bake for few minutes and depending upon the varying level of browning of bread, you will know your hot spots.

3. Under/Over Beating the batter

One of the commonest mistakes is overbeating the batter (more so than underbeating). In most of the recipes folding or light stirring would be enough. Showing frustrations works great when you are kneading the dough for bread (helps to develop gluten) but unfortunately not so much in case of baking cakes and such :)

4. Opening Oven Often During Baking

I have been guilty of this mistake during my early years of baking. But it is one of those things where being overzealous is counterproductive. The regular opening drops the temperature of the oven causing the baked product to cook unevenly. So resist the urge to do.

5. Making Substitutions Without Understanding the Science

Image Source

Another of those extremely common queries I get in my site. Our tastes and requirements vary and making substitutions is the way to go. But it is necessary to understand why a certain ingredient is used in the recipe before making the substitution. Once the chemistry is down pat, you can make a decision to make a best substitution possible. For example, one of the common substitutions is to make a recipe Eggless. But to make such a substitution it is necessary to understand what is the role/purpose of egg in that particular recipe before making a swap. Same rule goes behind making any kind of Baking Substitution.

Also See:
1.Ingredient Substitutions in Baking (Flour, Leaveners, Sweeteners and Fats)
2.Egg Substitutions
3.Tips to Successful Egg Substitution
4.How to Substitute Eggs and Milk to make Vegan Cakes?
5.How to find the Purpose of Eggs in a Recipe?

6. Wrong Temperature of the Ingredients

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I have done this during my initial phase of baking and I am sure I am not alone in that group. Having forgotten to bring the required amount of butter to room temperature and then cutting corners by placing it in M/W or near pre heated Oven door to do that quickly. Room temperature butter is very crucial to the creaming process (with sugar) that provides the fluffy and tender texture to the baked goods. Ditto goes for eggs. On the other hand for many pastry based recipes, it is crucial to keep the ingredients cold. Its worth taking the time to follow this rule to avoid inferior results.

7. Using Inferior, Expired and/or Out of Season Ingredients

Needless to say, yet one of the common slips made by bakers is to overlook the expiry dates for leaveners (and other ingredients). Fresh ingredients make a remarkable difference to the end results. Same goes for using superior ingredients. Using cheap ingredients may be great for the wallet but not so much in the department of taste. Use good quality ingredients where it matters. For most of my baking with fruits and vegetables, I opt for what’s in season. The taste and quality differs substantially. Ripe, very sweet strawberries make for a much superior Strawberry shortcakes than when you make it with out of season strawberries.

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By Pam on Dec 22, 2020

Last night I made a Christmas pavlova ( Mary Berry) . I baked it as said in electric oven 160 c reduced to 140c when putting it in the oven . Baked for one hour then turned off the heat and left overnight in the oven to cool and dry out . However this morning when wrapping in cling film it broke easily and the interior seemed still wet . Will it be safe to eat on 25 th ?

By Suzanne Smith-King on Jun 22, 2020

I made a banana bread this morning. The bread never firmed up. It looked like it was boiling in the oven. I followed the recipe but... Thank you!

By Emely on Oct 22, 2018

Thanks this helps me a lot when I'm cooking sweets,

By Barbara Wood on Nov 12, 2017

Why do some of my Victoria Sandwich cakes feel moist on the top, although they are cooked and taste ok?

By Mary Kinvig on Jul 29, 2016

i have never had a problem with Victoria sponge but I made one last night and both of the cakes sunk. Can't use them. I made another sponge cake today and one of the cakes sunk but the other is ok. What is wrong. Why can'tI get an answer to this simple question. It's two separate cakes with a problem

By Mary Kinvig on Jul 29, 2016

i have never had a problem with Victoria sponge but I made one last night and both of the cakes sunk. Can't use them. I made another sponge cake today and one of the cakes sunk but the other is ok. What is wrong

By Mary Kinvig on Jul 29, 2016

Have never had a problem making victori sponge but last night both cakes sank. I did them again today and one has sunk badly. What is wrong?

By Deb on May 11, 2016

Great info for seasoned & new bakers. Thanks.

By Fran Whyte on Apr 18, 2016

I often bake victoria sponges, coffee cakes, etc. When I remove them from the baking tins and let them cool on the cooling rack, bits of the cake stick to the rack and it spoils the look of the cake. What am I doing wrong? Regards, Fran Whyte (Limerick, Ireland)

By Foluso Adeyemi on Apr 11, 2016

My cake comes out well after baking but it becomes hard after cooling and I dont always like it. Please, what can I do?

By Doesn't Matter on Jan 30, 2016

You might want to run your articles past an editor befroe posting. This was full of grammar errors which distracted from the main point.

"befroe"? You might want to run your comments past an editor as well. Might distract others like you from the comment :) --DK

By sue on Jan 23, 2016

I an an experienced baker who has been terribly frustrated with the results of my cakes. Some recipes call for sprinkling of crumbs on top of the batter to produce a nice crunchy topping. But, the crumbs tend to sink to the bottom of the cake. The result is not pretty! The inside is gummy because of the crumbs. Help!

By Ruchi on Jan 19, 2016

My cakes just don't seem to come out right..I've changed two oven for that :(( if I keep the upper and lower elements on as I have been taught then the top gets burnt and the insides remain raw and if I keep just the bottom on it gets near to burnt or black from the bottom and the top doesn't have a very appealing look either ...tastes good though .... What could b going wrong ..pls pls guide me as I love baking

By PoundcakeLady on Jan 16, 2016

Recently, when I've baked pound cakes, they rise perfectly during the baking process. But once taken out of the oven, they sink sometimes as much of 2/3s the size of the 12 cup bundt pan. Yesterday, I baked a cream cheese pound cake and the same thing happen in addition to it having a different texture in the center; not crumbly like the rest of the cake but more solid. Can you tell me what I'm doing wrong please, particularly that is causing my cakes to sink once out of the oven. Thanks so much!

By Granny on Dec 7, 2015

Been making this recipe for 50 years and two attempts today failed for first time ever. Sandcakes: 1 1/3 cups butter 1 3/4 cups flour, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, cream butter, sift together flour & sugar, mix with butter, put into 2 round cake pans, preheated oven 400 degrees for 15 minutes. What could be the problem?

By Pamela on Nov 29, 2015

Lately my pound cake looks great when taken from oven. Then falls after cooling. When cut butter isn't completely dissolved .This appear throughout cake. What's wrong. Never had this happen before.

By rahma on Nov 27, 2015

iv learned a lot from all those above tips!!!!!!!!!!! thank you very much!!!!!!!!!

By Kenneth on Oct 29, 2015

I make oat bran muffins using a recipe which requires adding buttermilk to oat bran. For convenience I use reconstituted buttermilk. Would it be acceptable to mix the buttermilk powder with the oat bran and then add water, or would the bran absorb the water resulting in water soaked bran and buttermilk powder instead of bran soaked in buttermilk?

By laniya on Oct 8, 2015

thanks so much this really helped me yay!!!!!

By Valerie on Sep 28, 2015

I have a recipe for pumpkin carrot chiffon cake and it calls for seven eggs. I would like to at least cut back on the number of eggs for health reasons, but will I sacrifice the integrity of the cake?

By Chris Peterson on Sep 10, 2015

I think the main problem people experience is understanding their oven! People treat them all the same which normally ends in disaster.

By The Dark Sides of Cake! / Cakesmiths Blog on Aug 11, 2015

[…] the mood right. Bake up a sweet treat that’s high on indulgence and quality avoiding the major baking blunders a baker can ever experience. After all, you don’t want a sweet ending to end on a not-so-sweet […]

By Fouzia on Jun 29, 2015

Hi iam Fouzia, Please guide me for a soft and fluffy bakery like cakes than hard ones that I face with my baking techniques.I want the spoon get down smooth in making a piece of the cake. :wink:

By Susanne Peter on Mar 4, 2015

My cakes always collapse in the middle half way through the baking, what is it what I am doing wrong , thank you

By The Dark Sides of Cake! | Cakesmiths Create on Mar 4, 2015

[…] the mood right. Bake up a sweet treat that’s high on indulgence and quality avoiding the major baking blunders a baker can ever experience. After all, you don’t want a sweet ending to end on a not-so-sweet […]

By Lorraine Hitchens on Dec 22, 2014

I had a query from a friend who has problems when baking cakes. They always have a sticky top. Can you give me some idea what she is doing wrong?

By marpar43 on Dec 13, 2014

My 9 x 13 cakes end up with corners that are sunken and a bit hard

By simplekudi on Oct 10, 2014

while letting my cake batter into the oven a small amount of water fell into it will it spoil the taste of the cake?? or the cake may spoil??

By sue lavis on Jul 11, 2014

Why do my cakes dip in the middle please

By Lesley S on Jun 20, 2014

Why do my traybake cakes, look good when taken out the oven, but once cooled, the top becomes wrinkly and sinks slightly

By chandima on Mar 29, 2014

:( I made a cake and without thinking I added baking powder to self raising flour.Is it not suitable to eat?

By Common Oven Blunders to Avoid While Baking for Thanksgiving on Dec 15, 2013

[...] understanding your oven and where its “hot spots” are or whether 350 degrees really means 350 degrees. (Some [...]

By Mary on Nov 30, 2013

Made cookie dough that called specifically for oil and margarine. Refrigerated dough for baking later. When I did get it out, next day, it had "leaked" oil. What could have caused this? Never happened before. Had trouble w dryness in dough, too. Our air has bee very, very dry lately. Would this fact be part of the problems?

By Mary on Nov 30, 2013

I wrote the last query re: oil leakage from cookie dough...had my email misspelled, corrected it and am sending this in hopes you can match the question w this email address.

By Mary on Nov 30, 2013

Made cookie dough that calls for oil and margarine. I put the dough in refrig to bake later. When I took it out to make the cookies the batter had leaked oil. Never had this happen before. What could be the reason for the oil leakage?

By fati on Sep 8, 2013

:cry: I love baking cupcakes vanilla but when ever I baked it ti rise in the oven nice and looked lovely but when it comes out from theoven after somtime it falls down and comes out from the cupcake case wat is the problem

By Cleve Rennie on Jul 23, 2013

Hi! I baked chocolate mocha cake the other day. It was a 2-layer cake. This was not the first i baked such a cake. I made 2 layers which I cooled in 2 separate baking tins. I removed each cake from the tins and put them in a cooling rack to let them in cool completely. When I checked on them to see if they were ready for icing, to my horror I found each of the cake had a vertical crack in the middle from top to bottom - the whole length- and when I closely examined each, I discovered each was broken into at least 2 separate halves. The other one even broke into 3 parts as if it was intentionally done. What caused the breaking? The oven temp was 175 deg C. I used an oven thermometer because my oven's temp on its own is unreliable. I hope you can enlighten me. Thanks!

By chi mimi on Jul 1, 2013

i always have a flat and heavey cake.what really is the problem?