You think you’ve made the perfect cake. Not only does it smell delicious, but it looks baked to perfection. You remove it from the oven, let it cool, and can’t wait to dive in. Yet, when you cut a slice, you open up a sea of wetness. What went wrong?
Cakes end up wet in the middle when the exterior and top of the cake bake faster than the middle. This can be caused by a number of reasons, such as an incorrect baking temperature, not baking long enough, or using a too-large pan. Luckily, there are some simple fixes.
Hey! I’m Michelle, a self-taught baker who has enjoyed baking various treats over the past ten-plus years. I know how frustrating it can be to end up with a cake that’s completely wet in the middle, so I’m here to end moist nightmares for good.
Say goodbye to wet middles!
- Why is My Cake Wet in the Middle?
- How to Avoid a Cake That’s Wet in the Middle
- How to Fix Cake Not Cooked in the Middle
- Who’s Ready to Bake Some Beautiful Cakes?
Why is My Cake Wet in the Middle?
The reason why your cake is wet in the middle is that the edges and top baked faster, and the center didn’t have time to bake properly.
But why did this happen?
There are actually five main reasons why your cake ended up wet in the middle.
1. Incorrect Temperature
If your recipe calls for 350F, but you accidentally put your oven to 300F, you will end up with a wet center. This is simply because you didn’t have the required heat to cook the center of your cake.
Another issue is that your oven needs to be calibrated. So, even if your range shows 350F, it may actually be a different temperature. That’s why checking your oven’s temperature regularly using an oven thermometer is crucial.
2. Insufficient Bake Time
I get it; you want to get your hands on that moist, scrumptious cake ASAP. But that doesn’t mean you can take your cake out of the oven before it’s cooked. Even five measly minutes can make all the difference between a wet center and a beautifully baked core.
That said, one reason your cake is wet in the middle is that it didn’t bake as long as needed. This can be caused by many factors, such as impatience (I’m not judging you – I’ve been there!) or not adjusting the bake time for a larger pan or lower temperature.
3. Too-Large Pan
Cake pans are typically nine inches or smaller, depending on the recipe. If you only have larger pans (over ten inches), you will need to make some serious adjustments.
This is because a larger pan can hold more batter. If you don’t adjust the bake time and temperature, you will end up with a wet center simply because there was so much batter to bake.
4. Over-Filling the Cake Pan
As a general rule of thumb, you should fill a cake pan 2/3 full ( ½ for very shallow cake pans). Overfilling will cause you a heap of trouble, mainly in the baking department.
Cake pans that are overfilled will have difficulty baking all the batter, leading to a wet middle.
5. Too Many Wet Ingredients
Cakes call for certain liquid ingredients, such as oil and milk. If you add too many of these wet ingredients, your cake’s going to take a longer time to bake. This can easily lead to cakes with a wet core.
While this isn’t a common reason for a wet center in your cake, it’s still 100% possible and something to consider the next time you’re mixing your ingredients.
How to Avoid a Cake That’s Wet in the Middle
A cake that’s wet in the middle is destined for the trash can – for obvious reasons. That leaves you cakeless and disappointed and means you’ll have to shell out additional money for more cake ingredients.
Let me save you the trouble. Follow these simple steps to avoid a wet center.
1. Always Bake At the Correct Temperature
Most cakes bake at 350F. However, not all cakes are created equal. The best thing to do is follow the recipe to a tee. Also, double-check that your oven displays the correct temperature with an oven thermometer.
2. Bake For the Correct Amount of Time
The baking time is another critical element listed in any cake recipe. Ensure you don’t get antsy and rush the process. Always bake for the suggested amount of time.
3. Use the Right Sized Pan (Or Make Adjustments)
Does your cake recipe call for a nine-inch cake pan? Then use it. A six-inch pan? Use it.
Basically, you always want to use the pan size suggested in the recipe you’re following.
If you absolutely have to use a larger pan, make sure to make the required adjustments. My recommendation is to reduce the temperature by 25F and tack on an additional ten minutes of baking time.
4. Fill the Pan Correctly
Overfilling is cause for concern, so don’t do it. Generally, you want to fill the pan 2/3rds of the way full – unless you’re dealing with a shallow pan, such as one or two inches high. With shallower pans, stick to ½ way full.
5. Double-Check Your Ingredients
Mixing ingredients isn’t rocket science, but it’s easy to end up with too much of this or that – especially when it comes to wet ingredients.
To avoid a wet center due to incorrect measurements, buy a good set of measuring cups and spoons and use them for every single ingredient. I.E., don’t try to eyeball ingredients! Even the most experienced bakers can get it wrong. Rely on your measuring items!
6. Use a Heating Core
If you’ve tried all these helpful tricks and still end up with a wet center, there’s a product that can help you. It’s called a heating core, and it is explicitly designed to help cakes avoid a wet center, even if something’s gone haywire with the temperature or recipe.
A heating core is placed in the center of the cake. Then, the batter is poured. It works like the edges of a cake pan – it’s made of metal, so it will conduct heat to the center of the cake, which is typically the last place to bake.
With heat being conducted simultaneously to the sides and center of the cake – your cake has no other option than to bake perfectly.
7. Utilize Baking Strips
A heating core is a wonderful option for those struggling with wet centers, but if you don’t want to deal with a little hole in the middle of your cake, the second best option is baking strips.
Baking strips are fabric liners that wrap around the cake pan. They ensure the pan doesn’t heat up too quickly or too high, allowing the cake to bake evenly.
Don’t want to spend money on baking strips? They’re effortless to make from home. All you need is a little bit of foil, a ruler, and some patience. Follow along with this video to make your own baking strips:
Don’t worry – non-DIYers can easily make them, too!
8. Check for Doneness Before Removing it From the Oven
My final tip is to always check that the center of your cake is done before removing it from the oven. The easiest way to do this is by performing the “toothpick test.”
To perform this test, insert a toothpick (or another sharp object, like a knife or fork) into the center of the cake. If the utensil comes out completely clean (or with a few small crumbs), the cake is ready to be taken out of the oven.
If the utensil comes out riddled with batter and moistness, allow the cake to continue baking at five-minute intervals.
How to Fix Cake Not Cooked in the Middle
If your cake isn’t cooked in the middle, is it destined for the receptacle? Not exactly. There’s a way to save your cake if it hasn’t cooled entirely. Here’s how to fix an undercooked cake with a wet center:
- Wrap the top of the cake pan with foil – be careful, as the pan will be warm/hot
- Place the cake back into the oven at 350F
- Allow the cake to cook for five minutes
- Check for doneness
- Continue to bake in five-minute increments until it’s ready in the middle
- Remove, cool, decorate, and enjoy!
I’m pretty sure I’ve exhausted this topic, don’t you think? But here at BakingHow, we always want to learn and teach you everything there is to know about baking. With that said, I’ve added a couple of frequently asked questions!
Can you Rebake a cake that is undercooked?
As long as the cake is still warm and not entirely cooled, you can pop it back into the oven for 5 to 15 minutes. If the cake has cooled entirely, unfortunately, you will not be able to salvage it and will need to start from scratch. Next time around, follow the tips mentioned above for a perfectly baked cake!
Why does my cake seem wet?
Cake should be delightfully moist and fluffy. If your cake is more wet than pleasantly moist, it’s likely an issue with the ingredients. You probably added too much of the wet ingredients and not enough of the dry ones. Ensure you’re following your recipe and use measuring cups and spoons.
How can you tell if a cake is undercooked?
The best way to tell if a cake is undercooked is to perform the toothpick test. However, that’s not the only way to determine a wet center. If your cake begins to collapse in the middle after removing it from the oven, you’ll find yourself with a water park in the center.
Who’s Ready to Bake Some Beautiful Cakes?
Now that you know why your cake is wet in the middle, you can take the proper steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. The best thing to do is follow your recipe in its entirety and use a heating core or baking strips for added protection.
Have you ever baked a cake with a wet center? How did you fix it? We’d love to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to use the comment section below!About Michelle