I've made honey cake pretty often, and it almost always splits open in the middle. Why does that happen and how can I prevent it?

Edit: attaching a picture of the cakes I just made

enter image description here

Basic recipe (not so exact):

6   eggs
1   glass oil
2   glasses sugar
    Pinch of salt
4   teaspoons baking powder
1   cup coffee (glass of water + some instant coffee)
4   cups flour
4   Tablespoons brandy
    Pour in cinnamon - teaspoon+
1   pound honey

Mix first 3 ingredients. Add rest of ingredients besides honey and mix. Put in honey last – pour slowly as it mixes Bake for 1 hour at 350. Cover towards the end
  • What size and shape are we talking here? – ElendilTheTall Sep 10 '14 at 9:24
  • small rectangular pan. not sure of the exact dimensions. but it's happened in different sizes that I've made, all loaf pans – clueless Sep 10 '14 at 9:26
  • Ok. This is more or less exactly the same issue as another, very well answered question. I'll VTC and link to to it. Short answer: the oven is a little too hot. – ElendilTheTall Sep 10 '14 at 9:59
  • Could you post the recipe? – GdD Sep 10 '14 at 12:19
  • @ElendilTheTall - Great link. But I don't mind the doming as much as the splitting open. – clueless Sep 13 '14 at 20:36

Effectively what's happening is that the outer crust is forming before the inside has finished rising. This is the exact reason with a yeast bread that you would slice the loaf before baking, so that we can control how the crust breaks. (as it wouldn't break on its own, it's too strong).

In the case of a cake or quick bread, you don't have gluten, so although the crust doesn't have a lot of tensile strength. As such, if you have sufficient internal pressure, the top will split as the inside continues to expand.

The solution is the same as the problem with too much doming -- you have to find a way to get the outside to not set before the inside has finished setting.

... but in this case, I don't know that I'd turn down the temperature. If the cake is going to be stacked and decorated, sure, as it makes a more dense cake that's actually more condusive to stacking.

If it were to be served sliced, like you might with a poundcake for strawberry shortcake, I'd be more likely to turn up the temperature to try to get the characteristic split that you get our of a poundcake or banana bread, as it'll give you a lighter internal crumb.

If you wanted to try to avoid the cracking, as that shape of pan isn't really conducive to cooling strips, I'd place the pan on the bottom 1/3 of the oven, and place a sheet of aluminum foil or a sheet pan on the rack above it to reduce radiant cooking from above.

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