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Why does my cake get a big bump in the center that makes it look like a volcano after it bakes?

Nayomi - from Napa, CA

Cakes typically have a slightly higher center than outer rim – it's the way the heat conducts through batter and baked cake that causes this mounding. This dome can be cut off (called leveling) before you stack the layers. If you are getting excessive mounding, a number of things could cause this: your oven temperature is too hot (try reducing the temperature by 25°), there is too much dry ingredients to wet ingredients, or the cake pan is placed too high in the oven (it should be in the middle of the oven). To even out the temperature between the outside of the pan and the center of the pan, some people use Bake-Even strips which are soaked in water then pinned around the cake pan.

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