How To Make A Flat Cake In 10 Important Steps

In the specific case of how to make a flat cake, there are certain basic tips to get a perfect cake. Don’t worry, they are all very simple recommendations to comply with and some you may already know.

In the baking world, if you want to obtain optimal results when preparing any recipe, you deserve the following essential things:

  • Good use of techniques,
  • Quality ingredients,
  • Precision,
  • Care and, especially, attention to detail.
how to make a flat cake

So, if you can’t get the perfect recipes to prepare a cake, we invite you to download our free cake recipes here, it will surely assist you. Without further ado, we invite you to put these tricks into practice to know how to bake a flat cake.

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Avoid Buying Poor Quality or Inappropriate Ingredients

Acquiring fresh ingredients in good condition is a basic requirement in any recipe, and especially if you want to learn how to get a flat cake, that is, as flat as possible. In this sense, also take into account that if you substitute an ingredient improperly, you can affect the preparation and, therefore, you may have the cake sunk in the middle or, on the contrary, with the lower edges. Thinking about this, we share the following tips:

  • Prefers size M eggs. Generally, neither very small (S) nor very large (L) eggs are used in standard recipes. Each type M egg is equivalent to 50 g of this product.
  • Do not use expired or improperly stored flour. Never keep this food in the refrigerator or a humid place, as it deteriorates before its time. If you use flour like this, the cake will be caked and tasteless (it will taste musty). Also, do not use this expired ingredient because it loses its essential qualities.
  • Use low gluten flour. The best ones for this type of recipe have between 4-8% gluten (preferably always below 8%). These types of flours include: all-purpose flour and self-rising flour (also known as cake flour or pastry flour).
  • Use baking powder, not baker’s yeast. Although baking powder is also known as yeast, make no mistake, the two ingredients are very different things. The baking powder incorporates air into the mixture, while the yeast ferments. Both serve to give fluffiness, but in different types of dough and are activated differently. Of course, it is also important to say that in some countries baking powder is marketed under the name of “chemical yeast”, but in these cases it is always specified that it is special for confectionery to differentiate it from baker’s yeast.
  • Don’t use expired baking powder. Once the time of this product has passed, it loses its qualities. That is, the cake will rise little or nothing.
  • Avoid very heavy fats or low-quality butter. Bad butter contains too much liquid, which unbalances the proportions of the preparation. On the other hand, very heavy fats can sink the cake, so it will not be flat.

Use The Exact Amount Of Ingredients.

Baking recipes are very similar to chemical formulas, since accuracy counts, and a lot! One ingredient too much or too little changes everything: texture, flavor, size, color, etc. If you want to make the cake flat and it does not turn out as you want, it could be due to a lack, excess or too little quantity of some product.

Remember, it is best to weigh ingredients  and if you do not have a special scale for this, use measuring cups and spoons (never use conventional utensils, as they are very inaccurate, but if you do use them, always try to use the same ones). Also take into account when making substitutions that you must know the corresponding equivalences very well.

Once all this has been clarified, you can see below what happens to the cake if the measurements are inaccurate:

  • Excess fat. Although the ideal would be not to use it, as this way you achieve a fluffier texture in the cake, there are recipes that include it. In those cases, if you go overboard with the fat, the dough will weigh heavier than normal and, consequently, the cake will have a hard time rising or it will sink. Solution: add a little more yeast or use a lighter fat, such as sunflower oil (it also helps to reduce the amount of it).
  • Too much or too little yeast: Too much yeast causes the mixture to rise more than it should, for which the mold overflows and the content is wasted (altering the final result). If you use little yeast, the cake does not rise, unless the whites have been beaten very well and then you have beaten the flour a little. On the other hand, if you use little yeast and a lot of flour, the cake will not grow and will become caked.
  • Excess flour: Too much flour (especially if it has little yeast) can cause the cake not to rise and become caked. It could also cook faster and consequently a thick layer would form on the surface or burn.
  • Excess dry ingredients: If there is no fat or liquid in the dough, the cake will be very dry and compact.
  • Little sugar: A cake that is low in sugar does not acquire its appetizing golden color and does not grow enough. In this sense, it is important to note that there are many ways to add sugar if you want to make a cake without sugar, for example with natural fruit.

Beat The Preparation Properly

This is the starting point of all good cake, so if you want to make the cake flat, mix it correctly. In this regard, the most important thing will be balance: beat enough when necessary and beat little when necessary.

For this reason, it will help you a lot to guide you from the following aspects:

  • Incorporate enough air into the batter. The more air you incorporate, the fluffier the cake will be (infallible). Eggs and butter are the ingredients that help us incorporate air into the dough, apart from the yeast. In the case of sponge cakes, beat the egg whites alone or with little sugar until they are stiff. In the case of pancakes, butter and sugar are used for the same function during cremation. If you want to facilitate this process you will need a deep bowl, as that depth helps to trap the air in the preparation. Likewise, prefer balloon rods, regardless of whether they are manual or electric. As for the technique, start beating at low speed and then gradually increase it.
  • Avoid over beating the dough once the flour has been added. Gluten develops as you beat it. When preparing cake keep in mind that the less gluten develops, the fluffier it will remain, since when the proteins multiply (disproportionately compared to the rest of the ingredients), the cake remains caked and dry. For this reason, once this ingredient is incorporated, you just have to beat just long enough to eliminate lumps and integrate it well, not a second more! The best way to incorporate the flour is to use enveloping movements aided by a silicone spatula or manual balloon whisk.
  • Integrate the ingredients well. The idea is to beat until there are no lumps and the dough is completely homogeneous. For this reason, you should add the dry ingredients little by little, sifting them and distributing them evenly in the preparation. Thus, among other things, the baking powder will be well distributed and the cake will grow even during baking.

Incorporate The Leavening Agents At The Right Time

The second ingredients in charge of giving the cake height, proportion and fluffiness are the leavening agents (baking powder or chemical yeast, bicarbonate, etc.). Although, if you beat the eggs very well and do not beat the flour too much, you can obtain the same result without using them.

Either way, using yeast never hurts, but you should know the right time to integrate it and then we will indicate it to you:

  • If you use baking soda, add it last. Remember that this leavening agent is activated as soon as it makes contact with the mixture thanks to the egg and the acidic ingredients it may contain. Do not forget to distribute it evenly in the preparation and dissolve it very well.
  • If you are using baking powder, add it along with the dry ingredients. Although there are baking powders with double activation (on contact with the mixture and then on contact with heat), they are generally activated only during baking (single action powders).

Avoid Sudden Temperature Changes

To make the cake even and flat, it is essential to avoid drastic changes in temperature during the different stages of work: in preparation, baking and the time after baking. In this sense, the following points are decisive in the final result:

  • Use room temperature ingredients. Incorporating very cold products in the preparation can cause two things: that they do not integrate well into the mixture or that the yeast does not activate during baking. This recommendation is especially important for eggs, so you should remove them 30 minutes before preparing the cake.
  • Pre-heat the oven. This allows you to cook in just the right amount of time and obtain an even cooking. If you don’t do this, the cake will not fluff or be raw inside. The correct thing is to heat the oven at least 10-15 minutes in advance so that it is sufficiently hot.
  • Avoid opening the oven ahead of time. Baking powder begins its chemical process the moment it comes into contact with heat, therefore this reaction should not be interrupted. So, do not open the oven for ¾ of the stipulated cooking time, that is, for the first 30-35 minutes or so. Otherwise, the cake may sink.
  • Do not raise or lower the temperature during baking. Unless the recipe requires it, do not change the temperature arbitrarily, otherwise, you will also affect the action of chemical yeast (baking powder).
  • Avoid exposing the cake to drafts as soon as it comes out of the oven. A sudden change can cause you to sink or lose height. Cool it away from windows, doors, or places with strong drafts.

Bake At The Right Temperature

A basic rule of thumb for any pastry lover is: know your oven as yourself. This is important because not all ovens are the same and not all heat in the same way. In this sense, you must vary the temperature of the recipe depending on your oven and to do this you have two options: try or buy a special thermometer. Thus, you will avoid overcooking or under cooking your cakes. That said, here’s what happens if you cook at a very high or very low temperature to find out how to make a cake flat:

What if the temperature is too high

  • Cracks are formed. The yeast rises very quickly, without giving time to form the crumb.
  • The crust is hard because it forms a crust. Just the previous step before burning.

Solution: use a slightly lower temperature, but without overdoing it, even if this means leaving the cake for a longer time to obtain good results.

What If The Temperature Is Too Low

  • The central zone sinks. Yeast does not activate or takes time to activate, therefore, the cake does not cook well and the crumb does not develop. Probably, it will not only be sunk in the middle, but with remnants of raw dough, especially in the center.
  • The cake is dried out. If the temperature is too low, the cooking time is greatly extended and moisture is lost.
  • You get a dense and compact crumb. Yeast is not activated properly, consequently the dough does not rise or develop as it should.
  • It remains whitish and does not brown. The first 20 minutes are key for the cake to acquire an appetizing golden color. If the temperature is very low, this surely will not happen. Also, a very pale color may indicate that there were raw or undercooked parts left.

If you use the right temperature, it is important that you do not bake several things at the same time. Nothing should go wrong using the required temperature, however, baking several preparations together prevents even heat distribution. As a result, the cake will cook unevenly and take longer to cook.

Meet Precise Baking Time

Although we already know that if we want a perfect cake we cannot cook it too much or too little, if you do not know the intensity of your oven well, it may be overlooked that times vary because of this detail. Consequently, you will most likely get the following results:

  • If you overcook a cake, it breaks apart, cracks occur, the crust dries out and it can burn.
  • If you cook for a short time a cake sinks in the middle, does not grow or / and remains raw.

Adjust the suggested recipe time to the capacity of your oven.

Use A Suitable Mold

Believe it or not, if you don’t use a mold of the right size, you can lose all the work done. Why? Because the dough can overflow the mold during the baking process, thus changing the proportions and obtaining an uneven cake as a final result.

In this sense, you must leave two fingers without filling in the mold. If you do not have a mold with the necessary measures, you can line the sides of it with baking paper, leaving the paper extended a few centimeters upwards. Either way, always check the recipe specs to find out which mold you need.

In addition, the mold must be in optimal condition, otherwise you will not get the desired result either. For this reason, we recommend that you wash it with a soft sponge and store it carefully, because if it deteriorates, it loses its qualities. Find out how to clean baking pans in 5 minutes

Finally, it is important to talk about the materials of the mold. In general, it is preferable to opt for those made of stainless steel, glass or silicone, although also depending on the oven they may not all work for you. For example, if your oven tends to get very hot, in addition to adjusting the temperature, you may need to use only glass molds because stainless steel ones tend to get hotter, which can cause the cake to remain raw inside or not cook properly. Also, leave the cake in the mold for 10 minutes before unmolding it. Then, place it on a wire rack until it cools.

Cut The Top Of The Cake

During the learning process to bake a cake evenly, it is very possible that you prepare a cake with a higher or cracked center, that is, a cake that do not meet your expectations to make a good decorated cake. For these cases, there is an infallible and very simple trick: cut that upper part that you do not like to leave it flat. That easy! The extracted part can be used to make tiramisu in glasses or cake pops, for example. Check out what to do with leftover cake.

To cut the top of the cake, we recommend leaving it in the fridge for at least an hour, in this way the crumb will be a little more compact and you will make sure not to break it when cutting it. Then use a bread knife, which is usually quite long and you can make a straight cut.

Flip The Cake

Don’t want to spend time cutting off the top or have a hard time getting it completely straight? Don’t worry, there is an even simpler trick: turn the cake. Normally, the bottom part is usually completely flat and with well marked edges, so it is perfect for decorating and making a nice birthday cake. So, turn it over to get a flat and even cake, cover it with the cream you like the most and decorate it. Again, before decorating the cake we advise you to leave it in the fridge for one to two hours to prevent it from crumbling.

This is how to make a flat cake. I hope you like it. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and download our free cake recipes PDF Guide

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