What's wrong with my cake?

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1. Cake flops

Have you ever meticulously followed a recipe, only for your cake to come out of the oven under-cooked, burnt, flat-as-a-pancake, sunken or cracked?

Baking is a scientific process and there is much room for error.

The brilliant amateur bakers on the Great British Bake Off have had their fair share of disasters too. Do you need to work out what went wrong with your cake?

2. My cake tastes like a brick

Beating butter properly at the early stages of a cake recipe ensures that there is enough air in the mixture to allow it to rise evenly with a light and fluffy texture.

In cold weather, or when you're baking in a hurry, it can be difficult to get butter soft enough to cream properly.

Mary Berry, the doyenne of British baking has a simple technique to soften butter in seconds that will ensure you always get the creaming of it right.

Softening cubes of cold butter in lukewarm water for ten minutes means creaming will be easier, whether by hand or with an electric mixer.

3. Flat as a pancake?

Click on the labels to find out why cakes don't rise and how to improve your chances. Remember, even a problem cake can be rescued.

4. Is your cake stale or overbaked?

There’s nothing worse than a mouthful of dry cake when you’re expecting a moist soft crumb. How can you rescue it?

Brush with a sugar syrup

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Sugar syrup or buttercream

Bring moisture back to the cake with a sugar syrup that permeates through the crumb or a buttercream filling.

Make a trifle

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Cake works perfectly as a layer in trifle and the moisture of the other ingredients will seep through and make it even better.

Turn it into cake pops

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Cake pops

Create cake pops by mixing dry cake crumbs with cream cheese and icing sugar. Coat in chocolate and decorate.

5. Sinking fast or cracking up?

Got sunken or cracked cake problems? Click on the labels for our handy hints for the perfect bake.

6. My cake is raw inside

Large fruit cakes or moist carrot cakes can appear done on the outside but may still be underbaked in the middle. A good reliable recipe should give the correct oven temperature and timings, so follow them closely.

Always check if your cake is done on the inside before you take it out of the oven. For large, moist cakes, you can do this by inserting a skewer or strand of uncooked spaghetti to see whether any wet mixture is stuck to it when you pull it out.

It is also worth checking the temperature of your oven by using a separate oven thermometer. If it is too hot it will overcook the outside before the inside is done.

If the baking time is longer than an hour, use foil to cover the cake when it is the desired colour and finish baking until cooked through.