[Updated 20/11/2023] Following a recipe is essential, especially when it comes to baking temperatures. The temperatures suggested in a recipe are often tried and tested to ensure the perfect consistency. However, if you have amended a recipe, created your own, or your cake didn't turn out as expected, this guide will help you understand the dos and don'ts of cake baking temperatures. We highly recommend using our famous Hero Sponge recipe - it's the same one we use in our bakery.
Fan-Assisted vs. Non-Fan-Assisted Ovens
Check if the temperature in the recipe is for a fan-assisted or non-fan-assisted oven. Fan-assisted ovens cook faster, so you may need to reduce the temperature by around 10% and monitor the baking process closely to ensure the perfect result.
Accurate Temperature Measurement
Don't rely solely on your oven's temperature dial, as it may not accurately reflect the actual temperature inside. Invest in an oven thermometer to ensure a precise temperature reading, helping your cakes turn out perfect every time.
Understanding the Importance of Temperature
The baking temperature can significantly impact the texture and appearance of your cake. For a crunchy crust and a golden hue, opt for higher temperatures. For a soft, fluffy sponge, use lower temperatures. This knowledge can help you adjust recipes according to your preferences.
Considering Cake Size
Different cake sizes require varying baking temperatures and cooking times. For example, a large, dense cake will need different baking time and temperature compared to the same mixture used for miniature cupcakes.
Choosing the Right Tin
Baking temperature and time also depend on the size and shape of the tin. Keep this in mind when determining the appropriate temperature for your cake. Thicker tins, for instance, may require a slightly higher temperature.
Accounting for Fat Content
The fat content in cake recipes affects cooking time. Cakes with lower fat typically need more time at a lower temperature. Consider your desired end result: for a moist cake, keep the temperature lower, while for bakes where you want to remove moisture, opt for higher temperatures to encourage evaporation.
Be Mindful of Sugar Content
Cakes high in sugar are more prone to burning, so carefully consider the baking temperature. Sugar caramelizes at high temperatures, which is also a factor for cakes high in starch.
Consider Raising Agents
Some raising agents only activate at specific temperatures. If your cakes don't reach that temperature, they won't rise, resulting in a flat cake.
Be Cautious with High-Egg Recipes
Since eggs are rich in protein, using many eggs in a recipe requires avoiding overly high temperatures to prevent a rubbery texture.
Test Cake Doneness
Use a metal skewer to check if your cake is cooked at the right temperature and duration. Insert the skewer into the cake's centre and remove it. If it comes out clean, your cake is done. If it has uncooked batter on it, continue baking and reconsider the baking temperature for future attempts.
Cake Baking Temperature Guide
Use this guide as a starting point for various cake types and their baking temperatures:
Time to cook (minutes)
Birthday Cake (round, layered)
Low fat sponge
45 - 60
Remember, these are general guidelines, and specific recipes may require adjustments. Always follow the recipe's recommendations and use your judgement to achieve the perfect cake.