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Old 08-10-2013, 06:20 PM   #1
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Smile Burnt outside - raw inside - what am I doing wrong?

So I was wondering whether anyone can help a desperate person attempt to cook! Every single time I cook any kind of cake, cupcake or muffin I follow recipe books by the letter but they always come out of the oven burnt/overlooked on the outside and either raw or undercooked on the inside.

I thought it was the oven as it was happening with every single recipe from any book and with any cake. So we now own a brand new expensive oven and the same thing is still very much happening!

I just don't understand, so I'm wondering whether there is anything obvious that I'm not doing.

Does anyone have any thoughts/tips at all?

Thank you!

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Old 08-10-2013, 06:26 PM   #2
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Even brand new ovens can be inaccurate, and need to be calibrated. Buy a good oven thermometer, and check the temperature. Place the thermometer in the oven, set it to a moderate temperature, (350 F/176C), and wait about 30 minutes before checking.

Also, if you're using dark, nonstick pans, they conduct more heat than shiny pans, so the oven temperature always needs to be 25 degrees lower than the recipe indicates. Otherwise, baked goods often will be darker/overbaked on the outside, and underbaked on the inside.
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salengland View Post
So I was wondering whether anyone can help a desperate person attempt to cook! Every single time I cook any kind of cake, cupcake or muffin I follow recipe books by the letter but they always come out of the oven burnt/overlooked on the outside and either raw or undercooked on the inside.

I thought it was the oven as it was happening with every single recipe from any book and with any cake. So we now own a brand new expensive oven and the same thing is still very much happening!

I just don't understand, so I'm wondering whether there is anything obvious that I'm not doing.

Does anyone have any thoughts/tips at all?

Thank you!
I have never had that happen. Are you making sure you preheat the oven to the correct temperature before putting the cake in? Also, I always bake my cakes with the rack in the middle of the oven. I set the timer for 5 minutes less than the recipe says and start checking the cake when the timer goes off. I watch it very closely from then on to be sure it doesn't burn. I check the center of the cake by inserting a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, then the inside of the cake is done. If it is still moist, it needs to stay in for another minute or two.
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Old 08-10-2013, 07:00 PM   #4
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If you are following the recipe exactly, then the recipe shouldn't be a problem.

Also, I second the preheating. If you aren't letting the oven properly preheat, that can cause issues. With many ovens the broiler element will be used to speed the process. So if the stuff is being put in before the oven is properly preheated, it will be exposed to the heating elements at the top and bottom constantly on until the oven is heated completely, causing premature browning.

I've used a variety of ovens and I can always seem to make them work for me.
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Old 08-10-2013, 08:04 PM   #5
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If you are following the recipe exactly, then the recipe shouldn't be a problem.

Also, I second the preheating. If you aren't letting the oven properly preheat, that can cause issues. With many ovens the broiler element will be used to speed the process. So if the stuff is being put in before the oven is properly preheated, it will be exposed to the heating elements at the top and bottom constantly on until the oven is heated completely, causing premature browning.

I've used a variety of ovens and I can always seem to make them work for me.

I bake a lot and I had a cheap oven years ago that baked wonderfully! One of the burners broke on the stovetop and it wasn't worth fixing so I got a new gas range. It was never as good. Now I've gone with stainless steel and bought a very pricy range. It's the worst. I miss my old, cheap gas range.
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Old 08-10-2013, 08:16 PM   #6
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It seems likely the oven temperature is off. Do as suggested and buy an oven thermometer to check the temp.

With that done, try a recipe from a different source. Buy a cake mix and try that. Make the temp adjustment for dark and glass pans.

You have to test for each of the variables individually to ascertain the root of the problem.

All of the above assumes you are following the recipes exactly in all aspects.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:17 PM   #7
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After you've made sure the tempature of your oven is accurate --

Don't open the oven door! That causes the temperature to fluctuate.

Cooking times are a guideline only. Your nose should be your guide, along with touch and visuals (e.g. springs back when lightly pressed? golden brown? pulled away slightly from the side of the pan? a tad jiggly in the middle with the edges more solid? a tester poked into the center comes out clean?)

Baking is an exact science so measure perfectly! Mix no more than called for. Use the recommended equipment.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPa View Post
I bake a lot and I had a cheap oven years ago that baked wonderfully! One of the burners broke on the stovetop and it wasn't worth fixing so I got a new gas range. It was never as good. Now I've gone with stainless steel and bought a very pricy range. It's the worst. I miss my old, cheap gas range.
The last place that we lived was an apartment, and it had a cheap GE electric stove and the oven baked really nicely, I was surprised.

When we bought our house I immediately replaced the stove (quite beat up) with a Samsung electric convection range and it's awesome, and fairly reasonably priced.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:39 PM   #9
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Do you have a 'preheat' setting on your stove for the oven? Are you forgetting to set it back to 'bake' when the proper temperature is reached

Do you have your top shelf too high in the oven? Hot air will rise and make the top of the oven hotter than the rest of the oven.

Are you using dark pans? They require a lower temperature by 25 degrees.
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:40 PM   #10
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The same thing happened to me when the thermostat went out of my oven. While it's odd that two might have gone out on you, I would check the temp with another thermometer. Check several levels of the oven.

P.S. One more thought. If the temp. of the recipe is for shiny metal baking utensils and you are using glass or they are dark, you will need to lower the temperature.
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