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When I make cakes from scratch, I have a problem with the cake coming out too dense and heavy. I love decorating cakes, yet making the cake is difficult. What am I doing wrong?

Meredtih - from Avon Lake, OH

Baking is more of a science than other cooking. Every step of the recipe – from measuring to how long you beat a batter to oven temperature, even to how you cool the cake, will effect how a cake turns out. There are a number of things that could be happening if your cakes are coming out too dense or heavy:

  • Overmixing the batter. Make sure you are using the correct mixing method for the batter and the correct mixing time for the recipe. If there's a chance you'll be distracted, set a timer when mixing!
  • Check your ingredients and make sure you are measuring correctly. Dry ingredients (flour and sugar) should be measured in nesting dry measuring cup by overfilling then using a straight edge to remove the extra; liquids should be measured in see-through measuring cups. Also, never scoop flour or sugar – it will compact in the cup so you are getting more flour or sugar than you measured.
  • Fill your pans no more than half to two-thirds full.


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The Public Television cake decorating show providing easy projects for special celebrations. Not intended to replace instructional classes.