So you want to make a cheesecake. That wonderful luxurious creamy and tangy dessert. You want it to look good as well. After all, you want to impress your guests. But then the unthinkable happens and the number one question is “Why does my cheesecake crack?” Let’s find out, shall we?
There are many reasons why your cheesecake cracks and the 4 main reasons are: You are overbeating the batter and introducing too much air, You are overbaking the cheesecake, baking it at the wrong temperature or you are not baking the cheesecake in a water bath. All these issues will cause cracking in your cheesecake.
Getting cupcakes to bake perfectly can be incredibly tough. One of the most common issues many bakers face is cracked tops.
The most common cause for cracked cupcakes is a too high oven temperature, which will make the cupcakes rise too quickly and hence crack on top. Adding too much baking powder will make them rise even faster.
Read on if you want to know why your cupcakes crack and how you can prevent them from doing so!
When it comes to polymer clay, it seems that many people assume that it’s fragile and will easily crack. Nothing can be further from the truth. It’s a durable vinyl plastic when properly cured. It should never break under normal use. (If your finished items break when flexed, you need to address your baking process.) However, cracks and small fissures that happen during or shortly after baking are a whole ‘nother ball game with a very different cause. While sometimes the cause is obvious, other times the cause is more cryptic and can leave the artist shaking their head (and their confidence). Here are some major causes of cracking in polymer clay pieces.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one of these links and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Pound cake is a tasty treat that lots of people love having with their families. It’s a delicious cake, but it’s actually quite a bit different than many standard types of cakes that you might be used to making.
If you’re just getting used to baking pound cakes, then you’ll likely learn that they’re significantly denser than most cakes. This cake has been named “pound cake” because many famous recipes call for you to use one pound of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar.
This is the reason why the cake is so thick, and some people love how filling it can be. If you’re not used to baking the cake yourself, then you might be worried about seeing it crack on top.
Normally, having your cake crack on top would be a very bad thing, but pound cakes might be a bit different. Read on to learn why this happens.
While it would be amazing if every batch of macarons turned out perfect, my experience has taught me that’s not how things usually go. One of the first issues I ran into was cracked macarons.
It was so disheartening to put all that energy into the macaron batter, just to pull out the tray and have all my little shells have giant cracks in them.
While I touch on this briefly in my macaron troubleshooting guide, I wanted to go into a little more depth on this topic.
There are a few different things that can cause cracked macarons and I’m going to walk through each of them in this post as well as how to avoid cracked shells in the future.
Why Did My Macaron Shells Crack?
Cracked macaron shells are most commonly caused by:
- Too hot of an oven
- Under-mixed batter
- Not enough rest time
Let’s talk about each of these in a bit more depth!
The Oven Was Too Hot
In my experience, this is the most common culprit of cracked shells for people who are just starting to make macarons.
So much of making the perfect shell comes down to finding the right temperature and bake time in your oven.
While you might think all ovens are the same, they’re far from it. Ovens can vary a ton when it comes to temperature and hot spots.
That’s why it’s super important to use an oven thermometer. In fact, I always have two thermometers in my oven! One in the front and one in the back.
Some macaron recipes recommend baking at 325 F / 163 C, but my shells crack at that temperature in my oven.
For me, 315 F / 157 C is the sweet spot. At that temperature my macarons bake up with nice, even feet and smooth tops.
However, it’s all about finding what works best for you and your oven. I wish there was an end-all be-all answer on the perfect oven temperature, but it can be slightly different for everyone.
The best way to avoid this in the future is to do a few tests.
Test small batches of shells at different temperatures and see which ones turn out best. I like to do this in 5-degree increments.
You can also bake a full sheet and see if you have any hot spots. I have a hot spot on the back right corner of my oven.
I usually avoid piping shells on that corner of the pan because of this. Otherwise, the corner shells always crack.
The Batter was Under-Mixed / Too Much Air was Trapped in the Batter
Another cause of cracked shells is having too much air trapped in the batter.
This can be caused by over-whipped meringue or under-mixed batter. The two go hand in hand when you think about it.
When there is too much air in the batter, it breaks through the skin of the shell as the macarons bake and causes cracked, hollow shells.
If you think your meringue was over-mixed, try to mix the meringue for slightly less time or at a lower speed to create a more stable meringue with smaller air bubbles.
I like to mix on a medium-high speed (6 on a kitchen aid) for a majority of the time I’m whipping up my meringue.
Or if you think that your batter was under-mixed, try to fold it a few more times or spread the batter along with side of the bowl once the dry ingredients have been fully incorporated.
This will help press out any large air bubbles and create a uniform batter.
The Shells Didn’t Rest Enough
The final culprit of cracked shells that I’ve run into is not letting the shells rest for long enough.
This is the same type of thing as oven temp. There is no magic amount of time that macaron shells need to rest. Even in the same kitchen the rest time can vary based on humidity.
When I lived in NYC, it usually took about 30 minutes for my macarons to form thick, matte skin. However, when I moved to Seattle, I found that on rainy days it can take up to an hour!
Over time I’ve learned to focus on visual and physical cues rather than a set amount of time.
When macaron shells are ready to be baked, they should look completely matte.
They also should be dry to the touch. You should be able to gently run your finger over the top of the shell without feeling any resistance.
A thick skin helps make a strong, sturdy shell. So don’t skimp on the rest time!
If you live somewhere SUPER humid, I recommend using a fan on a low speed or a dehumidifier.
Let Me Know What You Think
If you have any questions about cracked macarons or issues I didn’t cover above, please leave a comment below. Hopefully we’ll be able to figure it out together!
Other Posts You Might Like
Smooth Frosting Tutorial
How to Make Cake Layers in Advance
One of the most familiar cake-baking problems, for amateurs and professionals alike, is cakes’ tendency to puff and crack in the middle. At its mildest, this flaw — known as “doming” or “crowning” — is a minor inconvenience. The rounded surface can simply be trimmed off, if necessary, to level the cake for decorating. If your cake domes badly enough to crack, on the other hand, it can be a sign of more significant problems in your recipe or technique. Here are a few things to double check to avoid this issue.
Extreme doming and cracking are often the result of baking the cake at too high a temperature. The outlying areas cook and firm up too quickly, leaving the cake’s crust without enough flexibility to cope with the cake’s rise. As a result, the middle bursts through the set crust and causes cracks. The thermostats in home ranges are seldom completely accurate, so that’s a good starting point for your troubleshooting. Purchase an inexpensive oven thermometer, and use it to check your oven for accuracy. Your oven might run 10 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit above its set temperature, and a variance of up to 50 F is far from uncommon. Reduce your oven temperature accordingly.
Your cake pans can cause similar difficulties, depending on their material and color. Heavy, dark pans tend to absorb more heat from the oven and transmit it to your cake batter with a verve that might be laudable in other circumstances. Unfortunately, the effect — once again — is a domed and cracked cake. Switching to light-colored pans, or reducing the oven temperature by 10 to 25 F, can help. Pan placement is important as well, since a cake baked on the oven’s top rack is more prone to cracking than one baked in the middle.
The Insulation Effect
It’s also possible to minimize crack-producing, uneven baking by providing your cake batter with a protective layer of insulation. Most department stores and kitchenware stores sell insulated fabric strips designed to wrap around your cake pans. These inhibit the transfer of heat from your oven to the batter, helping the cake bake evenly from its edges to its center. The strips prevent the outlying areas from firming too rapidly, yielding a mostly level surface with no cracks. Silicone cake pans also insulate the batter, and they can be especially useful with recipes that taste wonderful but are stubbornly prone to doming.
Moisture, Fat and Leavening
If your oven temperature is correct and you’re already using light-colored pans, you might need to look in your mixing bowl for a solution to your problems. Sometimes, your batter is simply too stiff. Adding a modest quantity of water or milk — as little as a tablespoon — can sometimes have the desired effect, moistening the batter and keeping it soft for an extra few minutes. Alternatively, increasing the butter or oil by a tablespoon or two can also help prevent cracking, by softening the crust and lubricating the gluten that gives your cake its texture. A cake with too much baking powder or soda can also crack even when baked correctly, so reducing your leavening slightly is another option.
If your cake still cracks after addressing these other variables, the culprit is likely to be gluten development. The gluten-forming proteins in your flour help give the cake its structure, but too much gluten can make it dry, leathery or crack-prone. All-purpose flour can vary in its gluten content, so try fine, low-gluten cake flour instead. Pastry flour is a good alternative, in a pinch, or make a substitute by removing 4 tablespoons of flour from each cup and replacing it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. To minimize gluten production during mixing, beat or stir your batter just as much as the recipe suggests, and no more.
Fred Decker is a trained chef, former restaurateur and prolific freelance writer, with a special interest in all things related to food and nutrition. His work has appeared online on major sites including Livestrong.com, WorkingMother.com and the websites of the Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle; and offline in Canada’s Foodservice & Hospitality magazine and his local daily newspaper. He was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
One of the things that go wrong consistently is a cake with a cracked top. There are many reasons that can cause this. So if you are wondering why did my cake crack? We have some answers and get ready to put it in the oven!
Why Is A Cracked Cake An Issue
A cracked cake may seem like a small problem but can be very annoying especially if you want to make a layered cake.
Sure you can cut away the top and frost it but it is much better if you have an even cake.
A crack in a cake can happen when you bake a loaf cake or a round layered cake.
Some are not too concerned with a crack in the cake me included, especially with a pound loaf cake as this cake is very dense and usually cracks a little.
Why Do Cakes Crack When Baking?
There are several reasons why cakes crack when baking but the most common cause is the temperature.
When you bake a cake whether a loaf cake or a cake layer the outside cake batter closest to the cake pan bakes quicker than the center.
The center of the cake is insulated by the batter surrounding it.
So the outside of the cake bakes first and is done faster while the inside of the cake is still cooking and rising.
There is no way out for the inner cake batter so it pushes the cake upwards causing it to crack when baking.
Reasons Why Cakes Crack
So why did my cake crack? The main reason why cakes crack is caused by the oven temperature being too high and baking the outside of the cake too fast.
But there are more reasons why a cake can crack while baking.
- Cake position in the oven – when you bake your cake on the top or lower level of the oven it can impact the result and cause your cake to crack
- Open and close the oven door – not all ovens have a light that works so understandably you are curious how your cake is doing. When you open the oven door cold air flows into the oven causing the temperature to fluctuate. The oven has to heat up to the requested temperature. This can lead to uneven baking results and cracks in your cake. Besides cracking it can also cause a cake to sink in the middle
- Raising agent – when your flour contains too much leavening agent this can impact the end result and cause your cake to rise too fast while baking
- Cake pan size – the size of the cake pan you use can also cause a cake to crack a small cake pan with too much batter will push the cake up and cause it to crack
- Incorrect cake recipe – the cause of a crack in a cake can be an imbalance or error in the ingredients
- Overmixed cake batter – when you mix the cake batter longer than needed it can have an effect on the result. When you overmix, you add a lot of air to the batter resulting in the cake rising tall while baking. Then the cake deflates when it cools and a crack in the cake
How To Prevent Cake From Cracking
There are several ways you can prevent a cake from cracking:
Reduce oven temperature
When your cake keeps on cracking reduce the by 25℉ and extend the cooking time by 10 minutes. Use an oven thermometer to check the temperature shown.
A lot of ovens are not calibrated properly. With a thermometer, you can see during baking if you need to adjust the temperature.
Then check if the cake is done.
Reduce Raising Agent In Cake
Another reason why cake cracks can be caused by using too much baking powder. If you use too much baking powder the cake batter can rise too quickly while baking causing it to crack.
Reduce the amount of leavening agent in the recipe or use self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour and leavening agent.
If this still doesn’t yield the correct result combine 3/4 of self-rising flour with 1/4 all-purpose flour
Bake The Cake In The Middle of the oven
Always bake your cake in the middle of the oven and use convention settings instead of fan settings.
That way the cake is wrapped in the same type of warmth.
When you put the cake higher in the oven it may be warmer and result in the cake rising faster and cracking on top.
No Peeking In The Oven
Resist the urge to peek inside the oven. If you want to look, check the window and turn on the oven light.
Else wait for the baking time to complete before checking if the cake is done.
Size Cake Pan
if your cake towers high above the cake pan it is too small for the amount of batter.
When you bake a cake, the batter should fill up between ½-⅔ of the height of the cake pan. If the cake batter takes up more than that you should use a bigger cake pan.
When you prepare cake batter it should be pourable but not too thin or too thick. Both can cause issues while baking.
If your cake recipe fails repeatably try a different recipe.
Follow Cake Recipe Instructions
You can also use cake flour with contains less gluten, or do not mix longer than stated in the recipe.
You can buy cake strips made with fabric, or make them with paper towels and aluminum foil.
The idea is to wet a cake strip or paper towel and squeeze out the excel water and wrap it around the cake pan.
If you are using paper towels wrap them in foil and then wrap the foil around the cake pan. The water will slowly evaporate while cooking and help keep the temperature of the cake pan down.
That way it takes longer for the outside of the cake to cook and prevent a crack in your cake.
There’s little that’s more frustrating than trying to bake and finding that your dough keeps cracking. You put all your time and energy into creating dough, and then it bursts when you’re letting it prove or you’re baking it. This can be enormously disheartening.
There are a few things that can cause your dough to crack, including using too much flour or too little water, or not developing the gluten properly. If you don’t knead the bread enough, the gluten will not form long, flexible chains, and the dough is more likely to split. Less common issues involve poor shaping or not proving it enough.
In this article, we’ll check out all the common reasons that bread dough may crack when it’s proving or baking. This should help you to ensure your dough holds together and does not split, so you get a perfect loaf every time.
What Causes Dough To Crack?
A few different things can cause bread dough to crack, so it’s important to explore each of them until you have figured out where the issue lies. Sometimes, you’ll need to change more than one thing to fix your dough and make sure it doesn’t split during the baking process. Here are some of the commonest causes of cracking:
- You have too much flour in the recipe
- You don’t have enough water
- You haven’t kneaded the bread enough
- You have shaped the bread badly
- You don’t cover the dough while it’s proving
- You are baking the bread too soon
Below, we will check out all of these problems and explore how you can fix them so your loaf comes out perfectly every single time.
You Have Too Much Flour In The Recipe
If you have added too much flour to your recipe, your dough will feel dry and somewhat heavy. You may be able to feel the difference if you roll it back and forth in your hands. Bits of flour may cling to your skin, and it will be dry and somewhat leathery.
Having a very dry surface will stop it from holding together well. The more flour is in your bread, the drier it will be. That’s why it is always important to check whether you are using more flour than your recipe calls for.
Remember that heavily flouring your kneading surface will increase the amount of flour in the dough. Although you do need to put flour on the surface, if you put too much on, the dough will become drier, and you risk making it crack.
How Do You Fix This?
The first thing to do is double-check the recipe and see whether you have made a mistake. If this is a consistent problem, there may be an error in the recipe. You should reduce the amount of flour accordingly next time, and see if this helps.
For your current loaf, you will need to try to add more moisture. This can be quite challenging, but it is possible. One of the best methods involves putting a bowl of warm water on the side and dipping your hands in it before kneading the bread.
Keep wetting your hands and kneading, and the moisture will gradually be worked into the dough. If you try to add water by pouring it on, it will probably slide straight off, so use this technique to encourage it to bond with the flour.
See Also: Simple Fixes for Sticky Cookie Dough
You Don’t Have Enough Water
If there isn’t enough water in your dough, the gluten won’t be able to develop properly, and this prevents the dough from forming the long bonds that hold it together. You must therefore make sure your dough is slightly tacky (although not sticking to your hands) by the time you have finished kneading it.
As mentioned, adding water to dough can be challenging, so use the method described above. Kneading the dough with wet hands will encourage the gluten to develop and ensure that there is enough moisture in the dough for it to do so.
If you find that method isn’t working for you, try rolling the dough out flat and spraying it or flicking it with water. Fold the dough over the water and knead it until the moisture has been absorbed.
You don’t want to add so much water that you make your dough sticky, so you will have to be careful about your approach. However, using these methods, you should be able to work more water into your dough.
You Haven’t Kneaded The Bread Enough
Kneading can be a chore, but it’s crucial to making sure your bread doesn’t crack. Kneading encourages the gluten to develop long chains that will hold it together. If you don’t knead the bread sufficiently, the gluten won’t develop, and you’ll get dough that splits and bread that is heavy and unpleasant.
Fortunately, there is a simple fix for this: re-knead the bread. You should usually be kneading it for a minimum of 10 minutes. When you have done this, it’s time for the poke test. Wait for a few minutes, and then press a finger to about 1 inch into the dough.
If it springs back almost immediately, the gluten has developed and it’s ready to bake. If the indent remains, it’s going to require more kneading.
You Have Shaped The Bread Badly
When you finish kneading your bread and shape it ready for baking, you need to create surface tension and make sure that there are no air pockets left in the dough. If you don’t pull a firm “skin” around the bread and get rid of the air in it, the bread will split when it’s baking.
Start by molding the dough carefully to press the air pockets out of it. Any air pockets near the surface will break free when the bread starts to bake, causing cracks in the surface of the loaf. To avoid these, you need to thoroughly mold the bread, and then tension the skin.
There are many videos online that will show you how to do this effectively if you are struggling with it. Essentially, you use the skin tension to make sure the bread holds its shape during the final proving period. Pull it gently around the body of the loaf until it is tight, but be careful not to tear it.
You should position the seam on the bottom of the bread and make sure it is properly sealed. This will ensure that it doesn’t split when the bread starts cooking.
You Don’t Cover The Dough While It’s Proving
You need to leave your dough to rest for a period while the yeast activates and the gluten develops, but many people make the mistake of simply leaving it on the counter without covering it.
If you do this, moisture will evaporate from the outside of the dough, making it dry and encouraging it to crack. You can lose a surprising amount of moisture this way. If your dough doesn’t crack during the proving process, it is likely to crack as soon as it is exposed to the heat of the oven.
You should always prove your bread in a covered container to prevent it from drying out. A container with a lid is often a good idea, but you might need a very large one to allow the bread to expand.
Because of this, some people place the bread in a large bowl with a damp kitchen towel on top to prevent moisture loss. This will also work.
If you have already proved your bread on the counter, try gently massaging some additional water into the outside of the dough.
This can be challenging because you don’t want to make the dough wet and sloppy, but if you do it carefully, it should be possible to make the outside tacky again without making it soggy.
See Also: Does Dough Go Bad?
You Are Baking The Bread Too Soon
The proving period can be a test of patience, but it is crucial for ensuring your dough doesn’t crack. If you don’t prove your bread for long enough, it will split, because the gluten won’t have developed sufficiently.
As you can see, there are quite a few reasons that your dough might be cracking, but it’s generally easy to fix. Run through each of these checks and make sure your dough is sufficiently moist and springy before you put it in the oven to bake.
Below are seven of the most common reasons why muffins crack at the top:
- Using an oven that is too hot.
- Using too much raising agent.
- Overmixing the batter.
- Using muffin tins that are too small.
- Using the wrong recipe.
- Overbaking the muffins.
- Using too much sugar or egg whites.
This article will take a detailed look at each of the above reasons. By the end of the article, you should find it easy to make crack-free muffins!
Using an Oven That Is Too Hot
If you’re baking muffins and your oven’s temperature is too high, the outer parts of the muffins bake faster than the inner parts.
By the time the inner part of the muffin is expanding, the outer part has already solidified into a crust. And as the inner part expands, it pushes against the crust, which is already hardened, leading to the formation of cracks.
If your muffins are cracking at the top and you suspect it’s because of extreme temperatures, the solution is to lower the temperature setting.
A balanced temperature results in an even baking process and reduces the probability of cracks appearing at the top of the muffin.
However, you shouldn’t set the temperature too low. If you do, the muffin might not rise at all.
So how do you get the temperature just right?
Tips To Achieve Optimal Oven Temperature So Your Muffins Don’t Crack
One of the secrets to baking perfect muffins is mastering the art of optimal temperature. If the temperature is too high, your muffins will burn or have cracks at the top. If it’s too low, the muffins won’t rise.
- Use the recipe-recommended temperature.
- Don’t forget to preheat the oven properly.
- Understand your oven.
- Invest in an oven thermometer.
- Avoid opening the oven during the baking process.
Below is a brief explanation of each tip:
Use the Recipe-Recommended Temperature
Differences in oven temperature can cause significant changes in the qualities of a muffin.
For example, a cake baked at around 300° F (149° C) will have a soft, smooth crumb, while that baked at 400° F (204° C) will have a rough texture when eaten. The cake baked at a higher temperature will also have a darker crust.
Even differences as low as 25° F can cause significant variations in the end results.
Don’t Forget To Preheat the Oven Properly
Preheating your oven before baking shouldn’t be discretionary. It provides an initial blast of heat that helps achieve even baking.
Seeing as one of the causes of cracks at the top of muffins is uneven baking, you should make it a habit to preheat your oven.
Give your oven about 20 minutes to preheat properly.
Additionally, it would help to let the oven settle into the required temperature by giving it about 10 minutes before you start using it.
During this time, the oven temperature is likely to be fluctuating. The indicated temperature will only be an average of the actual fluctuating temperatures. After 10 minutes, the fluctuations will have reduced, and the indicated temperature will be much closer to the actual one.
Understand Your Oven
Some ovens come with improperly calibrated thermostats. The result is that you’ll never bake at the required temperature, even though you always think you are.
If you learn that your oven has this problem, consider buying an oven thermometer and using it every time you bake to achieve the required temperature.
Also, some ovens cook faster at the back than at the front. After using an oven for some time and for different foods, you will be able to tell whether it has this quirk. If it does, you can try turning the tray halfway through your baking session to see whether it helps.
The choice of rack you use can also affect the temperature that your muffins are exposed to. So, if your muffins are coming out cracked when you put them on one rack, you can move them to another shelf and note the results.
The middle rack usually has the best results.
Additionally, keep in mind that an oven may have different temperatures at the right, central, and left sections.
Invest in an Oven Thermometer
The indicated temperature of an oven isn’t always accurate. This problem can be worse with some ovens than it is with others. And it can be a significant obstacle in your quest for the perfect, crack-free muffin.
With a temperature indicator that you can’t trust, how will you even preheat your oven to the required temperature?
Rather than leave the outcome of your baking to the mercy of the oven temperature gods, you can take matters into your hands by purchasing an oven thermometer.
This way, when the indicator tells you that your oven is preheated, you can double-check. You’ll find that, often, the indicator is misleading, and you’ll have to wait for some extra minutes before the oven is truly ready for use.
As far as the best oven thermometers go, I recommend the ThermoPro TP-16 Oven Thermometer from Amazon.com. It’s accurate, reliable, and affordable. The best part is that it comes with a five-year guarantee and unlimited probe replacement.
Avoid Opening the Oven While the Baking Process Is Ongoing
Most baked goods smell heavenly, and it can be tempting to open the oven door and let the aroma waft into the room.
Try to resist that temptation because as the aroma wafts out, air flows into and out of the oven, messing up the oven’s temperature. Depending on how often and for how long you do it, it may impact how the muffins turn out.
To be on the safe side, keep the oven door closed during the baking process.
Using Too Much Raising Agent
Raising agents are added to baked products like muffins to help them expand. A raising agent will achieve this by causing the production of air bubbles during the baking process.
When you use too much raising agent, the muffin will expand more than it’s supposed to. It will continue expanding even after the crust has formed, resulting in cracks at the top.
It’s best to avoid tinkering with the recipe to ensure you use just the right amount of
You might look at a recipe and think it uses too much or too little raising agent. As long as you got the recipe from a reputable source, the instructions will rarely be mistaken.
Before most chefs release recipes, they will have tested them several times. So, the amount of raising agent given will be the required amount, usually just right to offset other ingredients in the recipe.
In short, trust your recipe. And if your recipe proves untrustworthy, get another one from a trusted source.
If you’re creating an original recipe, using a small amount of raising agent or a combination of plain and self-raising flours will help solve the cracking problem.
Overmixing the Batter
Overmixing the batter might seem harmless, but it can lead to muffins with cracks on the top.
When you mix the batter more than you are supposed to, it introduces air bubbles, which contribute not only to a cracked surface but also to holes in the muffin. Overmixing also makes the gluten stronger, which results in chewy muffins that aren’t fun to eat.
Overdoing the mixing part is clearly a bad idea. But how do you know that you’ve mixed enough?
Another tip is to ensure that all ingredients are at room temperature before mixing the batter.
Cold ingredients require more effort to integrate into mixtures. Using them increases the risk of overmixing. With cold ingredients, you’re also more likely to have lumpy batter, which will result in dense, less-tasty muffins.
Mixing in one direction, as opposed to mixing in alternating directions, can also help get the perfect batter.
Using Muffin Tins That Are Too Small
The size of the tin you use to bake your muffins is essential, and you should try to use the perfect size.
The ideal size of a tin will allow you to add the batter up to three-quarters of its height. The top quarter of the tin should be empty to provide enough space for the muffin to expand.
If you don’t leave enough space at the top, probably because the tin is too small, the muffin is likely to dome and crack
Additionally, the right-sized tin will allow the contents to be heated uniformly, which results in even expansion and reduces the probability of a crack forming at the top.
Using the Wrong Recipe
The wrong recipe can mess you up because no matter how well you do everything, your outcome will always disappoint you.
A wrong recipe will lead to a host of problems with your muffins, and a cracked top is one. If the recipe uses too much flour, the batter will be thick, resulting in cracks.
Another example is if the recipe has too many dense ingredients and the raising agent used doesn’t account for them. This is also likely to result in cracking.
A wrong recipe can be incredibly frustrating.
Again, you should get your recipes from authoritative and trustworthy sources to avoid cracked muffins.
Overbaking the Muffins
Overbaking a cake can increase the probability of cracks forming at the top. When you overbake a cake, the sugar in the cake caramelizes.
Caramelization is the process that sugars undergo when they are exposed to heat. This process causes the sugars to turn brown. It’s partially responsible for the change in flavor when you bake a cake.
is good and results in tasty flavors.
However, when you overbake a cake, excess caramelization occurs, making the cake dry and crusty, effectively leading to the formation of cracks at the top.
To avoid overbaking a cake, stick to the schedule given in the recipe.
Sometimes, since ovens are different, your muffins may not be ready when the recipe says they should be.
Still, there are other ways you can use to check that your muffins are ready
- Check whether the muffins have pulled back from the pan. If they have, they are probably ready.
- Check whether the muffin springs back when touched. If it doesn’t, it needs more time.
- Insert a toothpick into the center of the muffin. If it comes out clean, the muffin is ready.
Using Too Much Sugar or Egg Whites
Cracking in muffins can be caused by the use of too much sugar. This would result in excess caramelization, which leads to cracking.
If the ratio of egg whites used is too high, your muffins are also likely to crack at the top. The egg whites expand while the muffin is in the oven and then collapse when it is taken out of the oven.
If a recipe has a high ratio of egg whites and you don’t want the muffin to collapse, you could bake at a lower heat. When you’re done baking, leave the oven door slightly open for a maximum of three hours to stabilize the temperature and prevent the collapse and cracking of the muffin.
Not Using A Water Bath
The water bath insulates the cheesecake against hot temperatures and creates a humid steamy environment thus keeping the cheesecake from drying out and bakes the cheesecake slowly and evenly preventing cracks.
Just make sure to double wrap your springform pan with heavy-duty foil clear to the top of your pan. You don’t want a soggy bottom after all.
Add your cheesecake pan to a deep baking pan that is at least an inch leeway on all sides. You want a snug fit but not too tight that it will make it difficult to remove it. Pour boiling water at least halfway up the side of your springform pan. It is best to do this while it is in the oven. No trying to put a heavy pan with boiling water into the oven. You don’t want to get burned. A kettle works great for this. Makes pouring the boiling water into the pan so much easier.
Can You Still Use Cupcakes That Have Cracked on Top?
As long as the cupcakes are fully baked, then cracked cupcakes are safe to eat. They may be a bit dry on top, but they won’t be inedible.
Also, cupcakes with cracked tops may not be as pretty, but rest assured that they will be as yummy!
One positive thing about a cupcake that is cracked on top is that it is an easy mistake to hide.
All you have to do is to cover the crack with an extra hefty layer of frosting and some added decorations, and no one will ever notice those cracks underneath!
I mean, you’ll add those toppings anyways, right!?
And who really checks the top of the actual cupcake before eating it? That’s right: no one!
So don’t freak out if you end up with those cracked cupcake tops! Compared to other things that can go south in the kitchen, this is nothing more than a minor issue.
Don’t make the same mistake I did when I made my first cheesecake. It still wobbled/jiggled after being in the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes and I thought “well it isn’t done”. I left it in the oven longer and ended up overbaking it. You want that little wobble/jiggle.
Remember Cheesecake is actually a custard. Once it is cooled and refrigerated it will continue to set up.
An overbaked cheesecake will have unpleasing cracks and a dry crumbly texture.
If you don’t mind tiny holes in your cheesecake you can always use an instant-read thermometer. The internal temperature of a cheesecake should be 150-155 degrees. Insert the thermometer into the center of your cheesecake. Not wanting those holes? Check out the video below.
Causes of Cracks in Polymer Clay
Anytime there is pressure on the clay while it is hot, cracks will result. The pressure can result from expanding air, gravity, or even from internal stresses within the clay, itself. Here are some common reasons that you might see cracks in your polymer clay items after baking.
Air Bubbles – Hot air expands, so air trapped within a piece will cause a bulge that often cracks or breaks.
Thick Pieces – If you’re making something that is thicker than ½ inch (13 mm) or so, you’ll likely see cracks on the surface. Instead, bake in layers or with a compressed foil core. This is common with beads or small sculptures.
Hollow Pieces – If you make a hollow item, you MUST leave an air hole. Otherwise the air expands when hot, causing cracks, and contracts when cool, causing a collapse.
Baking Without Support – Hot clay is weak, so large items must be supported so they don’t collapse under their weight and crack apart in the oven.
Stretching – Although polymer clay is a putty, it does have some elastic memory. If you stretched the clay during construction (such as when covering a glass jar), it can sometimes “relax” in the oven and crack as the clay contracts.
Porous Substrate – This is a long-term problem that tends to happen much later, not during the baking process. If the clay is covering something that expands with humidity (such as a wooden picture frame or box), the clay often cracks with time as the seasons fluctuate.
Gremlins – Truth be told, the cause of cracking isn’t always clear. Sometimes it just happens. It could be due to the clay batch, weather conditions, or Mercury being in retrograde. Who knows.
What Are the Best Cupcake Liners?
There are many different types of cupcake liners out there, so the best cupcake liner for you may differ from the best for someone else.
I usually test a few brands and types and then go for the one I am most satisfied with.
Here are some liners I use and can highly recommend. They fit different needs, are all decently priced, and can ve found on Amazon:
Standard cupcake liners
With standard white cupcake liners, make sure to buy greaseproof ones made from high-quality, food-grade paper.
This will prevent any smells from going into the cupcakes and keep them sturdy. Caperci’s standard liners are a great example of a high-quality cupcake liner.
Some standard liners can sometimes get stuck to the cake while baking, which is something you should look out for! (Caperci’s don’t, which is why I recommend them)
Unbleached cupcake liners
You may not know this, but most standard cupcake liners are bleached.
Though they are safe to use, some bakers feel more comfortable using unbleached cupcake liners.
Outside of their unbleached quality, these cupcake liners work the same way as standard cupcake liners.
Silicone cupcake liners
One awesome thing about silicone liners is that they are reusable.
Rather than having to buy single-use liners all the time, just get yourself a packet of silicone liners, and you’re good for a very long time!
The environment will thank you for that choice as well.
They work like regular cupcake liners, but with one caveat; most silicone liners need to be greased before being filled to prevent sticking.
Can Cracks Be Prevented?
So what if you’re really annoyed by these cracks at the top of your pound cake? Perhaps you just think they’re unsightly and you want to do something to prevent the cracks from appearing at the top.
Is there anything that can actually be done to stop them or do you just have to put up with them? There is something that you can do that should make your pound cake turn out with no cracks, but it involves using a different type of pan.
Typically, you would bake a pound cake in a loaf pan. When you bake them the normal way using these loaf pans, you’re almost surely going to see the cracks form at the top of the cake.
If you choose to bake your pound cake in a tube pan, then you’re going to get completely different results. Tube pans have holes in the center that will help the batter to be evenly distributed.
Essentially, a tube pan ensures that the pound cake bakes evenly, and this is going to keep the cracks from forming at the top. If you really dislike how pound cake looks when it has cracks on top, then using a tube pan is your best bet.
Your pound cake will be prettier and smoother if you choose to approach things in this way. It isn’t necessary to do this since the cracks don’t negatively impact the taste of the cake, but you can get a tube pan if you want to.
Cracks During Second Bakes
Larger items will need support during the baking process if they are baked a second (or third or fourth!) time. Hot polymer clay is fragile, and if gravity is pressing down, cracks can appear as the item collapses under its own weight during the baking cycle. Always support larger pieces with paper towels, cardboard, washcloths, toilet paper, or similar.
Hopefully, this covers most of the main causes. But if you still get cracks, be assured that it happens to everyone and there isn’t always a clear cause. Clay’s like that!
Crackle Is Something Different
Now that you know how to deal with unintended cracks in polymer clay, did you know that you can also create cracks intentionally to make a crackle effect in your polymer clay? This can be a very striking way to make contrasting accents or bands of color. A very subtle crackle can be a great way of adding interest to your jewelry pieces without adding the motifs and style elements that come with using texture stamps and silkscreens. You can go bold and striking or subtle and barely there and crackle can be made in any color. Go grungy and distressed. Go finely textured like china. Such a versatile set of techniques!
Overbeating/Too Much Air
Cheesecake is actually not a cake. It is a custard. Unlike cakes that have leavening agents such as flour and baking powder to help with the rise, you don’t want your cheesecake to rise. Rising is good with cakes. Bad for cheesecakes. The more you beat the batter of your cheesecake, the more air you are producing in the batter causing air bubbles to form that will burst once baked causing your cheesecake to fall and crack.
To avoid overbeating, it is important that your ingredients are at room temperature. You want your batter nice and smooth, with no lumps. If your cream cheese is cold, the harder it is to get those lumps out. Thus overbeating. It is best to get the lumps out at a low speed before adding the rest of your ingredients.
The same is true with eggs. They will incorporate into your batter more easily at room temperature. Add your eggs one at a time, mixing just until they are incorporated.
If you are using a stand mixture use the paddle attachment and start at a low speed. You may gradually increase to a medium speed but never use a high speed. Please don’t be tempted to use a blender or food processor. They will overbeat your batter.
If you are like me and forget to get your ingredients out ahead of time. No worries. Just place your eggs in a cup of warm water for 10 minutes and you can microwave the cream cheese at medium heat for 10-15 seconds to bring it to room temperature. Don’t use high heat.
How to Get an Even Crack
Some people take extra steps to ensure that they get the pound cake to crack evenly on top. You might want the crack to go perfectly down the center of the pound cake, and you can encourage this to happen using butter.
What you have to do is place butter on top of the cake batter before you place it into the oven. Make a line of butter where you want the cake to crack and everything will turn out nicely.
The cake will crack open along the line of butter that you placed on top of the batter. This is a very easy way to have some type of control over how the pound cake cracks.
It’s also notable that you can do this using melted butter or solid butter. With solid butter, you’re just going to have to cut the butter very thin and lay it on top of the cake in a line.
Melted butter is easy to use as well, but not as easy as solid butter. You’ll want to dip a knife in the melted butter and then run that over the top of your cake batter.
What Causes Cupcakes to Crack on Top While Baking?
In baking, even minor things can cause big problems and give you major headaches.
Cracked cupcakes (or muffins, for that matter) are not the end of the world, but if your objective was to bake the perfectly smooth and even cupcake, it’s just not something you’ll want to end up with!
And if you know the causes, it’s much easier to avoid this problem.
So without further ado, here are the most common reasons why your cupcakes will crack while baking:
The oven is too hot
The oven’s temperature is critical for baking perfect cupcakes. If the oven is too hot, the surface of the cupcake will bake much faster than the batter inside.
The crust will form faster than it should and will continue to bake faster than the rest of the cupcake.
This will lead to cracked tops and sometimes a dry surface area.
To prevent the outer layer from cooking too fast, the easiest solution is to lower the temperature of your oven a bit.
Not all ovens are created equal! The fact is that some models will get hotter or heat up slower or faster than other ovens.
If your oven gets hotter than the temperature you set, simply lower the temperature somewhat next time you’re making cupcakes.
A good-quality oven thermometer can really help in this regard!
This tool will help you to get a more accurate reading of your oven’s temperature, so you can rest assured the cupcakes are baking at the correct temperature.
PRO TIP: You can find a reliable and cost-effective oven thermometer on Amazon here!
You used too much baking powder
If there’s too much raising agent in your cupcake mix, naturally, your batter will rise too much and quickly.
Especially in combination with a too-high oven temperature, this can often produce huge cracks.
Additionally, the batter might spill over and cause unevenly shaped cupcakes.
Try to adjust the amount of baking powder in your mix until you find the perfect balance that’ll result in cupcakes with smooth and even tops.
The cupcakes aren’t in the right spot
Sometimes the temperature is correct, but the cupcakes are still cracking. This may be because the cupcakes are not placed where they should be in your oven.
It may sound strange, but the heating distribution of an oven is very often not at all even!
Depending on what baked goods you’re making, you should bake them in different parts of the oven.
Placing your cupcakes wrongly could cause them to bake unevenly.
Put them too high, and the tops will most likely crack or even get burnt.
Placing them too low might cause their bottoms to get burnt and their tops to be undercooked.
The best place for your cupcakes is usually in the center of the oven so that each part of the cupcake receives the same amount of heat and can bake evenly.
The wrong baking pan was used
While most cupcake and muffin pans look similar, they can be slight but important differences between them!
The biggest is undoubtedly the size of the cupcake tins. If a recipe asks for a specific cupcake tin size, then always use that size.
If your pan is too big or too small, it could lead to uneven cooking and cracked tops.
Baking recipes are usually scaled for specific baking pan sizes, so try to find a recipe that matches the cupcake tins you have at home.
Alternatively, you can try scaling the recipe to fit your baking pan.
Baked At The Wrong Temperature
Low and slow is the best way to go when baking a cheesecake. Too high of a temperature and you are going to get those ugly cracks. When in doubt just go with the lower temperature and bake longer. The ideal temperature to bake a cheesecake is 325 degrees. You may have to adjust the baking time according to the size pan you use. This will help prevent overbaking and burning the top. And of course those unsightly cracks as well.
It’s Normal for Pound Cakes to Crack on Top
Stop worrying because you didn’t actually do anything wrong when baking your pound cake. Or at least the fact that your pound cake cracked on top isn’t an indication that you made a mistake.
It’s totally normal for these cakes to crack on top like this. In fact, it’s probably more normal for a pound cake to crack on top than it would be for it not to crack.
This occurs simply because of how dense the cake is. With the batter being so dense, the outside of the cake is going to bake faster than the inside.
If you’re worried about the cracks, then you should just know that there isn’t anything wrong with the cracks being on top of the cake like this. They won’t harm your enjoyment of the cake in any way, and you don’t necessarily need to try to prevent the cracks from happening.
What Is the Optimal Temperature for Baking Cupcakes?
Now, if you want cupcakes with a flat top, it’s best to bake them at around 325F.
Flat cupcakes should be baked low and slow to get the best shape. Just don’t undercook them!
If you want to make dome-shaped cupcakes, start baking them at 350F.
If your cupcakes aren’t rising as much as they should or not baking fully, increase the oven temperature to around 375F.
It’s best not to go higher than 375F. Oh, and keep an eye on your cupcakes and the timer, as they can get burnt really fast toward the end there!
Fixing Cracks in Polymer Clay
Thankfully, cracks in polymer clay are fairly easy to fix. Large bubbles with cracks can usually be carved out and the clay repaired by filling with more of the same color clay. If the cracks are tiny, fill them by smearing some matching clay into the cracks and smoothing. Then bake again. (Yes, you can bake polymer cay multiple times!)
Use translucent clay if the area is multicolored and you can’t match the exact color of clay. You can also use liquid clay if the cracks are tiny. Sadly, if the entire item collapsed or broke apart, the item will usually require “reconstructive surgery”, which can be quite the ordeal!
If you can’t fix the cracks invisibly, another strategy is to cover the offending area with something that complements the design, such as a small sculpted flower or a wiggly line of clay.
Email is the best wayto get updates
You will LOVE getting this email, which is packed full of polymer clay goodness. About twice a month.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup of oil
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup boiling water
- Mix the sugar with boiling water to dilute it
- Add the wet ingredients to the sugar
- Sift and mix the remaining dry ingredients together
- Mix the dry and wet ingredients together, but don’t overmix them
- Bake in the oven at 340F/170C for 20 minutes
- You can use any type of sugar for this recipe as you dilute the sugar in the boiling water
- If you want to use raw sugar, demerara sugar or turbinado sugar are good alternatives
- Muscovado sugar is also a great alternative to granulated sugar
Amount Per Serving:
4g 0g 0g 4g
You don’t need to worry about cracks being on top of your pound cake. It’s completely normal for cracks to appear on top of them simply because of how dense those cakes are.
If you thought that you did something wrong or messed up the ingredients, then you should set your mind at ease. The vast majority of people who bake pound cakes have them crack on top like this.
These cracks aren’t going to negatively impact the taste of the cake in any way. The only downside of having the cracks on top will be related to the aesthetic appeal of the cake.
Some people might prefer to have their pound cakes look smooth on top. You can get this to happen if you choose to bake it in a different pan.
Most people bake pound cakes in loaf pans, but baking in a tube pan instead can keep the cake from cracking. Tube pans aren’t expensive, and they’re going to be able to give you the results that you’re looking for.
However, it’s important to remember that this only matters if the cracks bother you. They aren’t actually a bad thing, and most people choose to just accept that pound cakes are going to be cracked on the top because that’s just how those cakes are.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.
I hope you found this article helpful in your adventure of baking cheesecake with no cracks! Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts.
Keep On Baking
Explore the 7 main ways to make crackle effects and learn to use the materials you already have on hand to make crackled sheets for your polymer clay projects.
You can create many, many types of crackle effects with polymer clay. I’ve introduced many of them in the Crackle Compendium, which is a guide to exploring this intriguing process. It’s a deep dive course that will change the way you see the art materials in your studio. Enjoy!