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Hi Nancy, Whenever I bake cakes, they always seem to rise higher in the middle than the edges, and usually form a crack along the side. My batter isn't too thin. What am I doing wrong?

Angela - from Santa Rosa , CA

There are a number of reasons this could be happening to your cake. 

First, make sure you don't overbeat the batter - follow recipe or package instructions exactly.  Too much beating incorporates too much air, which causes the cake to rise too quickly, but then collapse because the cake structure hasn't developed yet. 

Then, make sure you fill the cake pan no more than 2/3 full. 

Finally, make sure your oven temperature is the temperature you set on the thermostat.  Over time, thermostats can become inaccurate, causing baking problems.  It looks like the outside of the cake baked much quicker than the center.

If you've checked all these things, and are still having problems, try using Bake-Even strips around the baking pan.  These strips are first soaked in water, then wrapped around the pan.  They keep the sides of the pan cooler longer, allowing the center of the cake to bake at the same rate as the center.

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