Why did my cake not rise?

+21 votes
asked Mar 13, 2015 in Food & Drink by Kristin (1,030 points)
My best friend’s birthday is coming up, and I plan on baking her favorite cake from scratch for the party. Thankfully I decided to do a test run because I’m not much of a baker, but my cake ended up completely flat! I’m not sure if I left something out or didn’t bake it correctly, but I’d really like to make another successful cake from scratch still. Why didn’t my cake rise correctly?

2 Answers

+14 votes
answered Mar 16, 2015 by Ross (1,800 points)
edited Aug 3, 2015 by Kris

For bakers who are just learning the art, it can sometimes be a frustrating experience. So many little things can completely change the outcome from delicious to disastrous. There are many things that may be at fault. Here are a few things that may have gone wrong and caused your cake to not rise.

One common problem is the use of outdated baking powder or baking soda. These ingredients, when combined in the liquids used in the recipe, causing air bubbles to form which in turn make the batter rise while in the hot oven. One way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to check the use by date on the canister. If it’s old, toss it and replace it.

Stirring may seem like an insignificant part of baking. It’s just blending the ingredients together, right? Wrong. When creaming your butter and sugar together you’re also incorporating air. Without enough air, again, your cake won’t rise. Don’t cut short this important step. Always beat these ingredients as long as the recipe directs you to.

Adding eggs to the batter is also an important step. Once again, this is a way to add air to the mix. Be sure to follow the directions concerning how the eggs are to be blended. If you’re using egg whites, even a minute bit of yolk in the whites can prevent them from foaming properly.

If above is not the answer to why your cake didn't rise, then here's another factor you can consider: the proper oven temperature. Even though the dial may say 350 your oven might actually only be reaching 325. Double check your oven for temperature accuracy using an oven thermometer. If it’s off, you can adjust it accordingly.

Make sure you measure each ingredient carefully with quality measuring cups and spoons. A little bit more or less of an ingredient can dramatically affect the results of baked goods.

Turning out a perfectly baked cake is a satisfying experience but it takes practice. Don’t get discouraged and soon you’ll be turning out cakes like a pro.

commented Mar 18, 2015 by Linda (480 points)
Wow, such a great answer to why did my cake not rise. I think I know what's going wrong.
+4 votes
answered Mar 21, 2015 by Jan (740 points)
Baking a cake in the wrong tin size can make it not rise. If the container is too big, then the batter won’t be able to rise enough while baking in the oven to fill the pan correctly.
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