I just baked a sponge cake, its sides are fluffy and fine but in the middle it's a bit stiff. When I stick a toothpick in the center it comes out clean and when I cut the cake up, it's not wet. So how should I adjust the baking temperature/time for this case? Thanks!

  • How long did you bake it and at what temperature? Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 10:37

2 Answers 2


The very first thing to do is to put an oven thermometer in your oven and find out if your thermostat is accurate. It will take a little while to do this test, because the oven will first overheat then cool then overheat, etc. After 20-30 minutes, you should get a good reading as the interior heats up and the temperatures fluctuations subside. If your reading on the thermometer is different from the t-stat setting, then you will be able to compensate.If it won't hold a steady temp, you should replace the thermostat Sometimes you can recalibrate a home oven t-stat, but it might cost more than it's worth as long as you allow for the discrepancy.


I would not fumble with temperature, as it is important for proper rising. If your cake is too stiff and dry, bake for a shorter time.

If you are getting a very large difference in doneness between sides and center, you will probably have to try to make a more even gradient, like described in this answer about doming. You should also be baking the proper recipe - you can't just pour a bundt optimized recipe into a flat pan and expect it to bake evenly.

But your description sounds a bit strange to me, because you say your middle gets baked through before the sides, which is the opposite of what usually happens. Are you sure your batter is properly mixed? Or maybe your oven has a large hot spot in the middle?

  • The middle feels stiff as in "a bit wet stiff", not "too dry stiff", but it's not actually wet, somehow. I've read the other answer and I think that it might settle my problem. (The best cake I can make now is Swiss roll, which is thin and made in a large pan. This fits in the theory proposed there)
    – arax
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 4:39
  • This seems to be a combination of overbaking and the wrong recipe then. If you are talking about the recipe from your other question, it is very eggy, which can give a rubbery texture. If underbaked, I can imagine that "wet stiff" is a way to describe it. In choosing a recipe, go by weight. The standard ratio for sponge is 1:1:1:1 fat/flour/sugar/egg (~55 g per egg). If the recipe you choose strays far from that ratio, try another one. If you are doing chocolate cake with cocoa powder, the sum of flour and cocoa powder together should make the "1". Melted chocolate is more complicated.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 18:37

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