Professional bakers advise engaging all your senses if you want to get optimum results when baking a cake. When it comes to a cake's doneness, it is important to trust your recipe book as well as instruments like the kitchen timer and thermometer.

However, it is also just as crucial that you pay attention to the subtle signs that you'll receive as you make progress. Baking times can vary due to a number of factors so a recipe can only be a guide and not an ultimatum on every step. Some of these factors include:

  • The weather
  • Features that may be peculiar to your oven like having spots hotter than others.
  • The size and material of your pan.
  • The moisture content of your ingredients.

So, learn to rely more heavily on your senses to make the right verdict about your cake's doneness. The golden tip for this is to perform the toothpick test! Here are the pros of the toothpick test:

  • Easy to do
  • Fail-proof
  • Requires just a toothpick!

How to perform the test:

  • Grab a toothpick.
  • When you think your cake is close to being done, pull it out of the oven.
  • Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake.
  • The cake is only done if the toothpick comes out clean. If otherwise, let the cake bake some more and then repeat the test.

Other tips to look keep in mind when trying to determine a cake's doneness include:

  • The top of a fully done cake will feel springy. Press the surface of the cake with a finger. Your cake is done if the indentation disappears as soon as you remove your hand.
  • The cake is evenly browned and pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan.

Happy baking!