I haven't baked anything for over a decade. But the other day I decided to have a go at doing a Victoria sponge. As a result, I now have lots of questions. But I'll try to keep things focused.
All the recipies I've found are slightly different, but they all say essentially the same thing: Measure identical quantities of butter, sugar, flour and eggs. Cream the butter and sugar together. Sift the flour, beat the eggs. Alternate between adding egg and adding flour until everything has been added.
The recipe suggests cooking for 20 minutes at 180°C. A similar recipe for fairy cakes suggests cooking for 8 to 10 minutes at 180°C. (Presumably fairy cakes, being smaller, cook through more quickly.)
So far, so good. The only trouble is... the cooking times seem to be miles off.
I tried cooking a large sponge. After 20 minutes, I pulled the tray out of the oven to take a look. The surface was dry, but given the way the whole cake was rippling, it was clearly just a thin skin over a fully liquid centre. The cake was actually cooked after a about 1 hour and 20 minutes. In other words, it took about 4 times longer to cook than the recipe says.
Similarly, when I made fairy cakes, they cook roughly an hour to cook.
Obviously cooking times are a guideline. All sorts of variables affect how long a given item will actually take to cook. But is it usual for something to require 4x as long as the recipe says? What might cause that?
(In case it matters, this is a gas oven. It's not fan-assisted or anything. And I'm placing the tray near but not at the top.)