Ask Nancy

Do You Have a Question?

I'll be answering ten questions each month... and if your question is chosen, I'll post a personalized response!

Submit Your Question

My cake always gets burned on the bottom and the tops take long to cook. My cake then shrinks after taking it out of the oven. This always happens since I’m using an electric mini oven. What temperature should I set the oven?

Sadiyya - from Johannesburg, South Africa

It sounds like you may have a variety of problems. First, make sure the oven is the correct temperature that you set. Following the temperature your recipe or mix calls for, set the oven thermostat and allow the oven to preheat about 10 minutes. Then, place an oven thermometer in the center (top to bottom and side to side) and close the oven door. After 15 minutes, check the temperature on the thermometer. If the thermometer reads too low, you’ll need to raise the thermostat; if it’s too hot, lower the thermostat.

When baking in your mini oven, make sure the pan you are using isn’t too large. You need to make sure there is at least 2 inches of space between the edge of the pan and the oven sides. This allows the heat to circulate properly through the oven.

It also sounds like the pan might be too close to the heating element of the oven, causing the bottom to burn. The baking pan should sit on a rack in the middle or the top third of the oven.

Return to all questions

The Public Television cake decorating show providing easy projects for special celebrations. Not intended to replace instructional classes.