It does help. I appreciate all the info and advice from all of you who are so experienced. I listen, and I learn...hopefully.
Originally Posted by Mad Cook
Can't help technically as it sounds as though your oven is electric and I use gas but if the bottom rack worked perfectly for your sour cream cake and the second rack didn't I'd be inclined to go with that experience for that recipe.
Most ovens in my experience are notoriously inaccurate so it might help if you sought out an oven thermometer. I have a little one which sits on or hangs from the oven shelf It cost about £5 from the local kitchen and other odds and ends store and is worth its weight in gold. I notice that "Cooks Illustrated" magazine endorses a similar one over and above more complicated and expensive ones.
As for the "centre" of the oven, given that I have a gas oven with the burner at the back as is common in this country, and where the oven is hotter at the top than the bottom (heat rises!), I put the oven shelf on the runner below the middle one. This puts my cake in the middle of the oven. If I put the shelf on the middle runner it puts the cake in the upper part of the oven cavity and results aren't so good so position in the oven does matter but it's hit and miss until you work out how best to arrange things in your own oven.
The above does not apply to fan ovens and I can't advise on this as I have been fighting with my fan oven for over a year and have abandoned it for anything in the cake line that's delicate and fussy about temp. Fortunately the second oven on my range cooker isn't fan "assisted" (hollow laugh at that last word!)
Don't know if this helps and that it doesn't repeat what everyone else has said.