What Causes Domed Cakes (+ How To Avoid Them)

The cake is an American dessert that originated in the 19th century. It is usually baked in a pan and served warm with icing. The cake itself is made from flour, sugar, eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla.

The cake is often associated with birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and other special occasions. However, there are many different types of cakes. Some people prefer cupcakes while others enjoy layer cakes.

There are also many different types of frostings and icings used to decorate cakes. Some popular ones include chocolate, vanilla, cream cheese, buttercream, and fondant. Cakes are delicious and fun to eat. They are also very versatile and can be eaten at almost any time of day. If you’ve ever had domed cakes then you know exactly how frustrating they can be. They’re hard to get out of the pan and often end up being too big to serve.

But what causes domed cakes? And how can you prevent them? In this post, we’ll talk about the different types of domed cakes, how to prevent them and how to fix them if they happen to occur.

What causes domed cakes?

Cake doming occurs when the batter rises above the sides of the baking dish during cooking. This happens because the heat inside the oven creates steam which expands as it heats up.

Trouble Shooting Cakes! Prevent a domed, cracked, or sunken cake with these  tips! | Gygi Blog

As the air pressure builds up within the container, it pushes against the walls of the pan causing the batter to rise. When the cake cools down, the weight of the batter pulls on the bottom of the pan making the top dome-shaped. Domed cakes are so prevalent that they aren’t even questioned anymore. Unless you’re into baking and pastry, you probably aren’t aware that cakes may be flat immediately out of the oven!

True, there will be some doming and the sides of the cake will come away from the tin slightly. It won’t, however, be a large, spherical dome that makes stacking a cake difficult. Keep in mind that cakes deflate somewhat as they cool, so the final form may differ from what you see in the oven.

How to prevent a domed cake?

Preventing domes isn’t easy but here’s what you should do:

1. Use nonstick cake pans for all your baking needs. Nonstick pans don’t have grooves or ridges around their bottoms like regular tins. These groves allow moisture to escape easily and help keep the cake from rising excessively. You shouldn’t use metal pans either since these tend to conduct heat unevenly and cause doming.

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2. Don’t overbake your cakes. Most recipes call for 15 minutes per inch of thickness. For example, a 9×13 cake would take 45 minutes total bake time. Baking longer than necessary results in dry cakes.

3. Make sure your oven temperature matches the recipe instructions. A good rule of thumb is to set your oven thermostat one degree below the suggested setting. So if the recipe says 350°F, turn the dial to 345°F.

4. Bake only half of the amount called for in most recipes. The reason behind this tip is simple – less batter means more room for expansion. Less batter equals fewer bubbles and therefore less chance of a domed cake.

5. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding leads to an increase in the surface area where water vapor can condense. Condensation forms tiny pockets of trapped gas under the surface of the cake.

Water bath

If you want to avoid having a domed cake altogether, try using a water bath instead of a conventional oven. Water baths work by creating a humid environment with hot water circulating through the chamber. As the water circulates, it absorbs excess heat from the oven and keeps the interior moist.

The downside to using a water bath is that it takes much longer to cook compared to a traditional oven. But the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. If you really need speed, consider investing in a convection oven. Convection fans circulate heated air throughout the oven cavity allowing food to cook faster.

The best way to ensure a perfectly baked cake is to follow the directions exactly. And remember, no matter how well prepared you think you are, sometimes things just go wrong. In those cases, it helps to know what causes domed cakes and ways to fix them.

Cake strips

A common misconception about domed cakes is that they happen because the batter rises too high inside the pan. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Cake strips occur when the batter doesn’t spread evenly across the entire pan.

When the batter hits the center of the pan, it spreads outward quickly until it reaches the edges. Once at the edge, the batter slows down and begins to pool together. Because there’s nowhere else for the liquid to flow, the batter builds up on top of itself forming a dome shape.

To solve this problem, make sure your batter covers the bottom of the pan completely before adding any ingredients. Also, add enough flour so that the mixture has somebody. Too little flour will result in thin layers which won’t hold their shape after cooling.

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Low and slow

Another common mistake people make when making cakes is cooking them too fast. When you put something into a hot oven, its molecules begin moving very rapidly. At first, everything moves slowly but as soon as the oven gets hotter, the movement speeds up dramatically.

This rapid motion creates friction between particles causing them to stick together. Eventually, the force becomes strong enough to overcome gravity and the whole thing starts falling apart. This process happens over time and results in a domed cake. So if you don’t have all day to bake, keep these tips in mind:

1. Don’t rush baking. It’s better to take your time than risk ruining your dessert.

2. Use a water bath or convection oven whenever possible. These appliances allow you to control temperature without burning anything.

3. Make sure your cake pans aren’t crowded. Crowding increases the chances of unevenly distributed moisture.

4. Bake only one layer at a time. You can always remove the finished product once cooled.

5. Always use an accurate thermometer to measure temperatures accurately.

6. Never open the door while the oven is heating unless absolutely necessary. The sudden change in temperature could cause the cake to fall.

7. Keep an eye out for signs of overheating like dark spots appearing on the surface of the cake. Darkening indicates that sugar crystals have melted and caramelized.

8. Remember that even though the recipe says "bake" for 30 minutes, some recipes may require more or less depending on the size of your pan. For example, a 9-inch round cake should probably be cooked for 20–25 minutes whereas a 10-inch square cake might need 35–40 minutes.

9. Be patient! Even with proper technique, mistakes still happen. Sometimes, a cake simply needs extra time to cool properly.

Always use a wide, shallow tin

The last tip we’ll cover today involves using a wider, shallower pan. If you’re not familiar with what a deep dish pan looks like, here are two examples below. Notice how the second image shows a much deeper pan compared to the first.

Deep dishes create a thicker crust around the outside of the cake. They also help prevent the sides of the cake from browning excessively. However, they do come with drawbacks. Deep dishes tend to cook faster resulting in a denser texture.

How to fix a domed cake?

If you’ve already baked your cake and it seems to be dome-shaped, there are several ways to correct the issue. Here are three options:

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How to Stop a Cake from Doming - Mom's Baking Co.

Option 1 – Remove the top layer immediately

When removing the top layer of a cake, try cutting off just the outermost part of the cake. Then place the rest back onto the plate. Once removed, cut away the excess crumb until you reach the center of the cake.

Option 2 – Flip the cake upside down

Flipping the cake will give you access to the bottom side where most of the air bubbles reside. Simply flip the entire cake so that the flat side faces upwards. Now gently tap the edge of the cake against the countertop to release any trapped air pockets.

Option 3 – Refrigerate the cake

Once the cake has been assembled, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This method works best if you want to serve the cake within 24 hours. Otherwise, the cake will continue to rise as it sits in the fridge.

Now that you know all about domes cakes, let us know which option worked best for you by leaving a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

Why did my cake rise unevenly?

Cake batter rises because of yeast. When mixed together, these ingredients react chemically creating carbon dioxide gas. As this gas expands inside the bowl, it pushes up against the walls of the container causing them to expand too. In turn, this causes the dough to rise.

However, when making a sponge cake, the rinsing process isn’t quite as straightforward. Instead, the eggs play a key role in helping the mixture rise. The proteins found in egg yolks bind themselves to other proteins in the flour, forming gluten strands. These protein bonds cause the structure of the cake to become stronger and stiffen over time.

This is why many people refer to sponges as being ‘leavened’ rather than risen. It’s important to note that while learners such as baking powder can make a difference, they aren’t always necessary.


As mentioned earlier, learning how to bake a perfect sponge cake takes practice. But once mastered, it’s one of the easiest recipes out there. So don’t worry if you mess up at first; keep practicing and soon enough you’ll get better at it.

I hope this post helped you with your domed cake.

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