Many cake recipes say something like:

Heat oven to 350F, then bake the cake around 25 to 30 minutes.

What does this mean? After preheating the oven, what temperature do I bake the cake at for those 25-30 minutes? Is it same as the 350F preheating temperature?

I am new to baking. Please help!

  • Good luck with baking! :) Dec 6 '15 at 9:26

There is no default temperature. The recipe is telling you the temperature: 350F. You preheat the oven to 350F so that it's already fully hot when you put the cake in, and then you leave it at 350F to bake the cake.

The whole point of preheating is to have the oven already at the temperature you want to bake at. If you preheated then changed the temperature, then you wouldn't have preheated properly: the oven would be at the wrong temperature.

If a recipe actually wanted you to change the temperature, it would explicitly say so, something along the lines of "preheat the oven to 550F, put the bread in, then reduce the temperature to 500F". That'd cause it to be baked at closer to 550F at first, then closer to 500F later once the oven cools down. But that's not something that comes up much; most things just get baked at a constant temperature.

Bottom line, just do what the recipe actually says to! If it doesn't say to change the temperature, don't.

  • preheat the oven for 10 minutes and put the cake, continue in the same temperature. Am I right?
    – Futuregeek
    Dec 5 '15 at 6:50
  • Preheat for however long your oven takes. Ten minutes seems likely to be enough, but most relatively new ovens will let you know when they're ready. And yes, leave it at 350F to bake. Nothing in the recipe says to change the temperature, and I said that in my answer too, so I'm not sure what's unclear at this point.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 5 '15 at 6:51
  • I got confused with preheating temperature and baking temperature. Thanks for you help.
    – Futuregeek
    Dec 5 '15 at 6:53

Yes, you should bake your cake at 350 degrees (F), this is what your recipe means.

The preheating step is essential to make sure that the oven has already reached the recommended temperature, including the rack, oven walls etc. Once your oven has "signaled" to have reached the temperature, you might even wait another five minutes or so to be really sure.

Unless explicitly stated otherwise1, the temperature given in a recipe is valid for the entire baking time.

1 Bread is the classic exception where you start at high heat and lower the temperature.

  • 1
    +1 for "wait another five minutes or so." In my experience, many ovens heat unevenly (and, as you note, it takes longer for the walls, etc. to get to temp). Even though they signal that they have achieved temperature, it's best to wait a few minutes for the oven to "even out" before putting something in -- especially for a sensitive baked good like a cake.
    – Athanasius
    Dec 5 '15 at 15:43

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