It’s a question pondered by many people: Can you “overbake a cake”?
If your cake recipe is unbalanced, with too many decorations, and not enough flour, sugar, or egg yolks, your cake will look good, but taste either tough or chewy. However, an unbalanced recipe with a lot of egg yolks, flour or sugar may taste delicious, but look short, and easily fall apart when sliced or stacked.
How well the cake batter stays put (not falling apart), depends on how well and long you mix. For example, the proteins which create gluten, are made by mixing in water. If you mix a batter which contains both flour and water, with little sugar or fat, your cake will have long strands of gluten, tasting tough and chewy on the inside.
Sugar and fat in your cake batter stop the creation of gluten strands, and should decrease the gluten-forming effects of a long mix time. In an experiment conducted by the staff at Cakealicious Cakes, the cake which was mixed the least was the strongest, in terms of durability and stableness, whilst the cake we mixed for 15 minutes, was extremely soft and fragile. We were lucky to even take it out of the pan without it crumbling to bits!
Here are some tips to avoid your next cake falling to pieces:
- The longer you mix, the more fat and protein coating will spread, weakening the protein
- The longer mix time means the sugar will spread and dissolve better.
- Mixing the cake batter for longer will allow the leavening agents to react more, decreasing the growth of air pockets, therefore, the cake will appear “shorter”.
To conclude, if you are baking a cake with a lot of fat and sugar mixed into it, the longer you mix, the thicker and weaker your cake structure will be. The idea that your cake will become tougher the longer you mix it is a myth. Some of our staff discovered that mixing the cake batter for 5 minutes gave the cake a good texture and a moderately tender crumb. You should for 2 to 6 of mixing time.