The oven temperature is critical when baking a cake, too hot and the top of the cake will begin to cook before the center of the cake, forcing the cake mixture to rise up through the crust causing it to look like a volcano. If this happens when you first make a cake, make a note to turn the oven down 5 or 10 degrees next time. All ovens do vary in temperature so an oven thermometer can be useful if you think your oven is too hot.
The majority of cakes are baked in a regular oven at 180c (350F/Gas Mk 4), on the centre shelf of the oven. Muffins and cupcakes generally take 15-20 minutes to bake, 20cm/8-inch Victoria sandwich cakes will take around 25 minutes and other cake layers will usually take between 25 and 45 minutes, depending on the size of the tin and the depth and liquidity of the batter. Loaf-type cakes tend to take longer – often 50 minutes to 1 hour. Rich fruit cakes will take 1 1/2 hours or more, depending on size.
Some cupcakes and muffins are cooked at higher temperatures – 190c (375F/Gas Mk 5) or 200c (400F/Gas Mk 6) – this tends to make them slightly more peaked. They can take the higher temperature as they are small and cook through quickly, reducing the risk of the outside burning before the inside is cooked. However the baking time will be sorter so you need to start checking the cakes after about 13 minutes cooking time.
Baking Temperatures and Times
ITEM TEMP (F/C) MINUTES
|Biscuits||425 – 450 F / 218 – 232 C||10 – 15|
|Cream Puffs||375 F / 190 C||60|
|Popovers||375 F / 190 C||60|
|Quick Loaf Breads||350 – 375 F / 177 – 190 C||60 – 75|
|Yeast Bread||400 F / 205 C||30 – 40|
|Cupcake||350 – 375 F / 177 – 190 C||15 – 25|
|Layer Cake||350 – 375 F / 177 – 190 C||20 – 35|
|Loaf Cake||350 F / 177 C||45 – 60|
|Angel Food & Sponge||350 F / 177 C||50 – 60|
|Cookies||350 – 400 F / 177 – 205 C||8 – 15|