Go ahead and bake your cakes worry-free: Loud noises don’t make cakes go flat
If you’ve been tip-toeing around your kitchen, being extra careful not to make noise while baking a cake, you aren’t alone. Many people are scared to make sudden loud noises when a cake is in the oven for fear the cake will turn out as flat as a pancake. We wanted to know if there was any truth to this belief, so we asked our baking expert for her advice.
Cordon-Bleu-trained pastry chef Andrea Boudewijn said loud noises don’t ruin baking cakes and provided useful information about what really causes a cake that doesn’t rise or goes flat while in the oven.
Should you be quiet while baking a cake?
We asked Boudewijn to weigh in on this common baking belief and whether or not it’s a myth.
“Yes, it’s a myth! Sound itself can’t make a baking cake fall unless it’s loud enough to cause a prolonged vibration near the cake. Slamming the oven door can create an air impact inside the oven which, if slammed hard enough, can cause a problem, but generally a cake’s sturdiness comes from the ingredients inside it and the method by which it was mixed,” she explained.
What is the source of the myth of the effect of loud noises and cake baking?
The myth that loud noises prevent a baking cake from rising or cause it to fall has been around for generations. Shouting, slamming doors and feet stomping are some of the noises that concern many home bakers anxiously awaiting a baking cake.
Those who suspected this was a myth have speculated that it’s possibly an old wives tale or a way to keep kids quiet while parents were busy baking in the kitchen. However, Boudewijn noted a possible source of the myth.
“I was told that it came from souffle-makers in France. A souffle is a very delicate pastry that requires gentle heat and a perfect batter to significantly rise and puff up,” she explained. “If you close an oven door too fast it can drop the souffle in a second, and the problem was probably attributed to the sound of the oven door closing rather than the interior impact of closing it.”
What will cause a cake to go flat while it’s baking?
While loud sounds won’t cause flat cakes, there are reasons for this unfortunate outcome. Ingredients or mixing methods are typically to blame, Boudewijn said. She detailed the specifics of various causes:
- The dry ingredients make up too little of the batter, so it can’t support the weight of the liquid.
- If the wrong chemical leavening is used, the cake almost remains in a liquid state no matter how you bake it.
- If a carbonated liquid is used, like champagne or stout, over-mixing the batter can “fizz up” the liquid in the batter. When it’s put in the oven the fizz dissipates inside the batter and causes the center to cave in.
- Also, if you use the whisk attachment and whip the batter instead of using the paddle to blend it gently, it can incorporate air creating a collapsible batter. To reduce air bubbles in a batter, use the paddle on low for a minute or two before pouring it into the pan, then gently bang the pans once or twice on the countertop to release any large air bubbles.
What can home bakers do to prevent their cakes from going flat?
Boudewijn provided a few tips for excellent results from your favorite cake recipes.
1. Be gentle with your batter. Don’t whip or over-blend it at high speed.
2. Leave the oven door closed! Don’t be tempted to open the oven door during baking. Heat escapes and can cause an uneven bake.
3. Double-check your measurements and that you’ve added everything correctly. If the batter tastes good, the resulting cake tastes good.
Best items for successful cake baking
Now that you know you can relax during the cake baking process and not worry about noises in the kitchen, you can focus on what you need to prepare delicious cakes. Here are Boudewijn’s favorite items that will come in handy whenever you bake a cake.
The Artisan Series stand mixer by KitchenAid is a go-to favorite among home bakers. This model is one of the most popular options by the brand thanks to its stainless steel 5-quart mixing bowl, multiple speed settings, a reliable motor and versatile attachments.
Measuring cups are on Boudewijn’s list of cake-baking essentials. This set is our favorite, thanks to the classic tempered glass construction, useful handles and spouts and clear measurement markings. A 1-cup, 2-cup and 4-cup size are included. Sold by Amazon
Boudewijn said that metal bowls are her preferred choice for mixing cake ingredients. This six-piece set is crafted of stainless steel with wide rims that are easy to hold when mixing ingredients. They are also dishwasher-safe. Sold by Amazon
You’ll need utensils to stir your cake ingredients, and our baking expert swears by silicone spatulas. This four-piece set includes two practical sizes. Each spatula has a grippy handle and is made of flexible silicone that resists high cooking temperatures and won’t scratch bowls or bakeware. Sold by Amazon
This 8-inch pan is likely to be the one you reach for every time you bake a cake. In addition to the practical size, the aluminized stainless steel construction is durable, resists sticking and is simple to clean. Boudewijn recommended keeping two on hand for cake-baking. Sold by Amazon, Sur la table and Macy’s
Both affordable and practical, this set of measuring spoons are color-coded so you can easily find the size you need. It includes ⅛ teaspoon to 1 tablespoon plus a scraper. Sold by Amazon
A kitchen scale will come in handy when measuring ingredients for perfect cakes. This model has a vivid display that’s easy to read and a streamlined design that doesn’t take up a lot of storage space. Sold by Amazon and Home Depot
A 4-quart saucepan is ideal for preparing various recipes for cake-baking. Cuisinart’s hard anodized model is suitable for high cooking temperatures and resists stuck-on food. Sold by Amazon
Compact yet capable, a small food processor is all you need to prepare ingredients for cake mixtures and toppings. Simple controls, a powerful motor and dishwasher-safe parts are key selling points of the Mini Prep model. Sold by Macy’s and Amazon
Long, thin spatulas like this pair are essential for avid cake makers. The blades are made of stainless steel that resists corrosion and holds up well to repeated use. Sold by Amazon
Creating beautifully decorated cakes is easy with a pastry bag. This one isn’t prone to leakage, so you can use it repeatedly to produce outstanding results. Sold by Amazon
When it’s time to serve your cake, a serrated knife is ideal for cutting even slices. The 10-inch blade on this one is made for slicing through all types of cakes with ease. Sold by Amazon
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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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