The Top 10 Reasons Your Last Cake Failed 

 Originally Written: January 2, 2018

By  Hanna Trafford

Last Updated on March 2, 2018 by Hanna Trafford

It happens to everyone… You do everything right (or you think you did) and the cake still doesn’t turn out like the picture that was with the recipe! It really doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try that desired delicacy again – and I do hope that these explanations why it can happen will help you!

Top 10 Causes of Cake Failure:

1. Cake Falling:

  • Too much shortening or sugar
  • Too low an oven temperature
  • Insufficient baking
  • Too much batter in the pan
  • Moving cake during baking

2. Undersized Cake:

  • Too large a pan
  • Too hot na oven

3. Moist, Sticky Crust:

  • Too much sugar
  • Insufficient baking

4. Thick, Heavy Crust:

  • Over baking
  • Too hot an oven
  • Not enough shortening or sugar
  • Too much flour

5. Peaks or Cracks on Top:

  • Too hot an oven
  • Over mixing
  • Too much flour

6. Soggy Layer or Streak at Bottom:

  • Insufficient mixing
  • Too much sugar or baking powder

7. Heavy, Compact Texture:

  • Over mixing
  • Too much sugar, shortening or liquid
  • Too low an oven temperature
  • Insufficient baking

8. Dry Cake:

  • Not enough shortening, liquid or sugar
  • Too much flour
  • Overbeating egg whites
  • Over baking

9. Tunnels or Large Holes:

  • Over mixing
  • Uneven distribution

10. Uneven Shape:

  • Uneven heat of oven
  • Cake not level
  • Pan warped

Hope this helps you and please send in your comments and suggestions – your imput is always welcomed!


Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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  • hi..thanks for this suggestions…it help us a lot….me and my cousins learn some causes and failure of cakes………

    my teacher told us to search this topic…….ty….:)

    XD:)) ILYN

  • HELP! have made this zuccini almond cake dozens of times with perfect success. Last night’s was a disaster and I know the ingredients were exactly the same as the one I made two weeks ago for Easter. Cake rose two inches above angel cake pan with a fairly hard crust, as always, but when I tried to remove it from the pan half hour later, the crust broke into pieces AND THERE WAS NOTHING BENEATH IT FOR ABOUT 3 INCHES. No wonder the toothpick came out clean! The outer edge of the cake was cooked but most of the rest was still batter —a wet zucchini filled lump in the middle. ANY IDEA WHAT WENT WRONG???

    • Hi! Thanks for your comment and I hope that I will be able to help out. The immediate thought I have that perhaps the zucchini you used this time were softer than what you used previously. That means that there was more water in them and that would definitely result in the cake falling the way you described.It sure sounds to me that somehow more water got in and the logical source would be the zucchini. Don’t get discouraged -as you said you have made this cake before and it was great-so try again and I would love to know the result!

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