Why is my Cake Crumbly? (and exactly how to fix it)

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After investing your time and energy in baking a delicious cake and then seeing it crumble apart, the frustration is real.

But the first step to fixing this, is figuring out ‘why is my cake crumbly’, before you work out exactly how to fix it.

If your cake is falling apart as soon as you take it out of the oven, or when you start slicing it, there can be a number of different reasons.

We’ve even seen it happen where a cake falls in the middle, which is a whole other problem in itself!

Or if you’re trying to serve a cake that is too hot you could run into a mess – so it’s best that you follow these hacks to cool your cake fast.

The fault can be in the ingredients (maybe you didn’t use the correct egg substitutes for your cake batter), the measurements you’ve used or the temperature of the oven.

Here we’ll look at the various reasons why a cake can fall apart, and top tips for a crumbly cake fix. 

1. You used the wrong type of flour 

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As we know, baking is a science and using the right ingredients is key to getting the desired result.

If you’ve decided to experiment with a different flour than what is stated in your recipe, you may find that the flour doesn’t bind well with other ingredients, causing your cake to crumble. 

Whilst you can use various types of flour for cake, such as all purpose flour, pastry flour and oat flour, there are certain types of flour that are less suitable.

Some types of flour that shouldn’t be used for cakes include bread flour and self-raising flour as they may already contain leavening agents that could end up affecting the texture of your cake. 

If you’re a keen baker and looking for a simple flour that’ll give you consistently great results each time, cake flour is the obvious choice.

It’s lower in protein than all purpose flour and has a soft texture which gives cakes the perfect consistency. 

You also need to keep an eye out for the expiration date of your flour to ensure you are using high quality ingredients.

2. You used too much flour

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Even if you’ve used a suitable type of flour to bake your cake, if you use too much of it, you may be left wondering ‘why is my cake falling apart?’

Flour is one of the most important dry ingredients in baking a cake, so it’s important to get the measurement right.

By having too little flour, your cake is likely to be runny and may not sufficiently rise.

But if you’ve used too much flour, you’ll soon understand why your cake is falling apart. 

To fix this, make sure you’ve checked the quantity listed in the recipe and measured your flour accurately so that it doesn’t dry out your batter.

A weighing scale can be useful to add to your baking toolkit to help you always get the exact measurements you need.

3. You used too little fat

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If your cakes are often dry, or you’ve accidentally added too much flour (which will likely make your cake dry and crumbly), you may need to add some extra fat to your batter. 

To help cakes bind together, fat is a key element and can come in various forms, such as butter, oil or yogurt.

The type of fat you should use and how much will depend on your recipe, so be sure to follow it closely and add the right amount.

If your cakes still crumble even after following the recipe diligently, you might need to use some trial and error in adding a little extra fat until the consistency of your batter looks smooth and pours into the pan easily.

4. You overmixed your batter 

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There’s a fine art to mixing batter, it’s one of the most common cake baking problems people run face.

If you undermix, you’ll end up with lumps in your batter that will lead to a lumpy, unappetising cake.

If you overmix, you’ll cause too much gluten to develop in your cake, resulting in a tough and dense final dessert that may not rise adequately. 

The solution to this is to be watchful of your batter and only mix until the ingredients have combined.

The length of time will depend on your ingredients and the type of cake you’re making, but can be anywhere from two to six minutes. 

5. You overbaked your cake

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Overbaking is one of the most common culprits which can lead to a cake falling apart.

Overbaking will dry out your ingredients and leave you with a cake that doesn’t have enough moisture to remain bound together when you’re cutting it. 

The fix to an overbaked cake is to set your oven timer for the length of time specified in the recipe and check how your cake is baking approximately ten minutes before then.

Use a clean fork to check whether your cake is nearly baked, as some ovens will bake faster. 

Once your fork comes out clean, turn the oven off and take your cake out to cool on the counter so it’s not exposed to heat for longer than necessary.

6. Your oven was the wrong temperature

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Why is my cake so crumbly even after following the recipe exactly, you may ask.

You might have set your oven at the temperature stated in your recipe, and for the exact amount of time and yet still find your cake has crumbled.

This is because not all ovens bake evenly. 

If your cakes often tend to crumble, consider investing in an oven thermometer to help ensure you’re baking your cake at the desired heat level.

Once your thermometer has shown you the actual temperature, adjust the dials as necessary so your cake doesn’t overbake.

7. Used the wrong knife

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If you’re often left wondering ‘why does my cake crumble when I cut it?’,the issue might lie in your cutting knife. 

A butter knife is likely too dull resulting in an uneven, crumbly cake.

Instead, use a thin and sharp cake knife that can delicately slice your cake without causing it to fall apart. 

One of our cake baking essentials is a serrated knife because they’re typically budget friendly and razor sharp.

If you don’t have a cake knife, a bread knife can also do the trick.

Finally, if your cake has crumbled beyond repair, don’t let all your hard work go to waste.

Simply scoop up the batter and press it into a ball using your hands.

Then decorate with some icing and you’ve got delicious cake pops ready to go.

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