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I just made a “trial” train cake (the real one will be made in July). Two questions: 1) What’s the best way to transport this cake by auto? 2) I found a strip of underbaked cake when I sliced it. The toothpick came out clean. What caused this?

Sylvia - from Lutz, FL

If you will be transporting the train cake, make sure that it is securely fastened with icing to the cake board. Then, we recommend placing the decorated cake into a box to protect it in the car from anything that might bump into it. Make sure you keep the cake out of direct sunlight while transporting it. Also, pre-cool the car before you place the cake into it, and if it’s really hot, you’ll want to somehow keep the cake cook using frozen freezer packs. Without a better description of the portion of cake that was underbaked, and where it appeared in the cake, I can only give you general suggestions of what might have caused the problem. If the strip is across the bottom of the cake, too much water or other liquid might have been used. If it is under the top crust of the cake, it’s generally an underbaked cake (possibly your oven temperature is off). Sometimes, if too much batter is placed in the pan (no more than 2/3 full for a 2-inch pan; only 1/2 full for a 3-inch pan), you will also get the custard-like streaking of what looks like underbaked cake. Overbeating your cake batter can also sometimes make the baked cake soggy or compact.

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