Sometimes, despite our best efforts, an undercooked cake is an unfortunate outcome. While it may be disappointing to see a cake fall short of our expectations, there are ways to salvage it. We’ll discuss how you can transform an underbaked cake into something else or how you can get it back in the oven and achieve a fully baked cake. Talk about making lemonade from lemons!
I always have high expectations when I’m baking a cake. I’m looking for magazine-quality results! But that’s a bit unrealistic. And there have been many times when I’ve been faced with a cake that comes out of the oven looking less than stellar!
One option is to put the undercooked cake back in the oven for a few more minutes to finish baking. There are ways to make that work and other times when it won’t work. Let’s start with the obvious question, how can you tell your cake is not done?
Is My Cake Underbaked?
Look for these signs to tell that your cake needs more time in the oven:
- The middle of the cake is still wet or soggy.
- If you press on the center of the cake and leave a slight indention, it does not spring back.
- The cake butts up against the edge of the pan. A fully baked cake will show separation between the pan and the cake.
- A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake shows lots of crumbs or even wet batter.
These are signs your cake is not finished baking and should be returned to the oven while it’s still hot.
Why is My Cake Undercooked?
Before we talk about trying to salvage an undercooked cake, there are steps you can take to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Some of the most common reasons for an undercooked cake are:
- Not preheating the oven.
- Baking it at the wrong temperature.
- Baking it for too short a period.
- Oven temperature inaccuracies or hotspots can also contribute to undercooked cakes.
- Opening the oven door frequently while the cake is baking can cause the temperature inside the oven to fluctuate, leading to uneven baking.
In addition, pay attention to your oven’s idiosyncrasies and adjust your baking accordingly. By doing so, you can make sure that your next cake is perfectly baked and ready to enjoy.
Baking Undercooked Cakes
Despite every best attempt to do it right, you might still end up with an underbaked cake. Don’t toss it just yet! There are ways you can salvage it!
One option is to put the undercooked cake back in the oven for a few more minutes to finish baking.
Here are some tips for baking Undercooked cakes:
- Place it back in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
- If the cake is still not done, return it to the oven for another 5 minutes.
- If you notice the top beginning to brown, cover the cake with a foil tent to prevent the top from burning.
Another option is to consider microwaving your cake.
Microwave Undercooked Cakes
If the center of the cake is undercooked and you’re using a glass or Pyrex baking dish, one idea is to pop the cake in the microwave for a few minutes.
Do NOT use the microwave if your cake is in a metal pan. Metal pans should not be used in a microwave.
If your cake is in a metal pan and you want to use the microwave, you can try to transfer it to a ceramic or glass pan, but this is quite risky. An underbaked cake can crumble if you try to remove it from the pan.
Another option is to turn the undercooked cake into a different dessert altogether.
For example, you can turn your cake into cake pops, crumble it up and use it as a topping for ice cream, or even make a trifle. This not only saves your cake from the trash but also gives you a chance to flex your creative muscles and come up with a new dessert.
How to Fix Undercooked Cakes
Once your undercooked cake has cooled, it’s too late to rebake it. But it doesn’t mean you have to throw it out, either. Here are some great ways to salvage your soggy cake!
If your cake is undercooked and you tried to bake it, and now it’s too crumbly and dry, you can repurpose it into festive cake pops.
Here’s how to do it:
- Assess its doneness. If the cake still has a gooey center, you need to cook it using the steps above (either baking or microwaving). The cake may be sunken in the middle, but it’s ok. We’re not concerned with how it looks.
- Wrap the warm cake in plastic wrap. Let it sit in the fridge overnight, remove it the next day and let it come to room temperature.
- Crumble the cake into a bowl.
- Assess the crumbles. If you can clump them in your hand and it forms a ball, you can use the cake as is. If it’s too dry, you’ll want to add some frosting to the batter. See below for a list of frosting ideas.
- Roll the cake crumbles into balls.
- Dip the balls in melted chocolate and top with sprinkles.
- Serve them as cake balls or add popsicle sticks to transform them into cake pops.
The best frosting options for cake pops include simple vegan chocolate frosting or creamy vegan vanilla frosting. If you’d like some color and flavor to your cake balls, consider something different like this plant-based raspberry buttercream frosting.
Now that we’ve explored the joys of cake pops, let’s move on to another tasty dessert option—cake crumble crust, anyone?
Cake Crumble Crust
Now that we’ve discussed the many ways to repurpose an underbaked cake, let’s explore a different kind of dessert option—using it as a pie crust.
Here’s how to do it:
- Make sure the cake is done and there are no raw bits of batter. Follow the steps above to rebake or cook it in the microwave.
- Once the cake is done, crumble it and stir in 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil.
- Press the crumbles into the bottom of a pie pan (or springform pan if you’re making cheesecake).
- Bake the crust in a preheated 350°F/175°C oven for 7 to 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool.
- Add your pie filling or cheesecake filling, such as this plant-based cheesecake batter.
- Bake the pie or cheesecake as directed.
This cake crumble crust adds a delicious, unique twist to a classic dessert.
But before we get carried away with all this talk of cakes, pies, and cheesecakes, let’s not forget the Halloween season. If you’re looking for a fun and creative way to use your undercooked cake, consider making a crumbly graveyard scene!
Crumbles for Halloween Pudding Cups
If you’re feeling extra creative and want to take your undercooked cake to the next level, consider using it for Halloween.
How? Crumble the cake and use it to make “dirt” for Halloween Pudding Cups. This works great if your cake is chocolate.
Here’s how to do it:
- Assess the cake. If there are gooey parts to it, follow the steps above to bake it or cook it in the microwave until it’s completely done.
- Add the cake to a food processor or blender and pulse in short bursts to create crumbs.
- Sprinkle the cake crumbs over pudding cups to create faux dirt, perfect for a spooky graveyard scene.
Of course, it may not be Halloween. That’s where my next option comes in handy: Cake-In-A-Mug for a quick fix.
If you’re short on time but still want to indulge in some cakey goodness, try making a Cake-In-A-Mug for a fast treat.
Simply mix together some of your undercooked cake with chocolate chips in a microwave-safe mug. Then zap it in the microwave for a minute or two. Drizzle with chocolate syrup, and you’ll have a warm, gooey dessert in no time!
While the cake-in-a-mug won’t have the same texture as a fully baked cake, it’s a great option when you’re craving something sweet and don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.
Plus, you can customize your mug cake with different mix-ins like nuts or sprinkles for an extra special treat.
Looking for something different? This next option is perfect for your next bowl of ice cream!
Cake Crumb Topping
If you’re looking for a way to take your leftover cake to the next level, try using it as a topping for your favorite frozen treat.
Here’s how to do it:
- If your cake still has gooey batter bits, cook it using the baking or microwave steps above.
- Crumble the cake into small pieces using your hands or use a food processor or blender for finer bits.
- Sprinkle cake crumbles over a bowl of vegan chocolate ice cream or some banana nice cream. You can even sprinkle it over a colorful purple smoothie bowl.
The crumbs add a deliciously sweet texture that will elevate your dessert game.
Using cake crumbs is a great way to reduce waste and stretch your ingredients, and it adds a unique touch to your desserts.
So next time you find yourself with a little bit of leftover cake or an undercooked one, don’t throw it away—turn it into a delicious topping instead.
Can you eat slightly undercooked cake?
It is not recommended to eat raw flour, so eating a slightly undercooked cake is not a good idea. Make sure your cake is thoroughly baked before eating it.
Can you rebake an undercooked cake?
If the cake is still hot or warm, you can return it to the oven to bake it until it’s done. Once an underbaked cake has cooled, you cannot salvage it as a proper cake. However, you can bake it and then use it for other purposes, such as cake crumbles to sprinkle over ice cream or smoothies.
Is my cake moist or undercoooked?
A moist cake, such as one made with mashed bananas, makes it tricky to determine if it’s done or not. If the cake pulls away from the edge of the pan slightly, or if you press your finger gently into the cake and it springs back, your cake is done. You can also insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out mostly clean, this is another sign your cake is done.
More Cake Recipes
If you love baking cakes, here are some yummy cake favorites to try:
An undercooked cake is not a lost cause. In fact, it’s an opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and make something new and delicious.
From cake pops to cake-in-a-mug, there are endless ways to transform a baking mishap into a tasty treat.
So, the next time your cake comes out underdone, don’t give up. Instead, think outside the cake box and explore the possibilities. As the saying goes, “Waste not, want not.”
With a bit of ingenuity, you may create something even better than your original plan. Happy baking!