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How To Tell When Cake Is Done

Hello, fellow cake lovers! Today, we’re going to talk about something that has baffled many a home baker over the years: how to tell when a cake is done.

If you’ve ever been unsure whether your cake is ready or if you should leave it in the oven for a bit more time, this guide is for you.

I’ll be sharing some of my favorite tips and tricks that I’ve learned during my 30 years of experience in the kitchen, so let’s get started!

4 Simple Ways to tell when cake is done


To tell when a cake is done, perform the toothpick test by inserting a toothpick into the cake’s center; if it comes out clean or with a few crumbs, it’s ready.

Using a toothpick to check cake doneness.

The moment of truth has arrived – your cake has been in the oven for the recommended time, your kitchen smells heavenly, and you’re ready to see if your creation is a success.

Before you dive in, it’s essential to make sure your cake is cooked through. Here are four tried-and-true methods that have been used time and time again to ensure cakes are baked to perfection.

Toothpick Test

The toothpick test is a classic method for checking cake doneness, and it’s one that I’ve relied on for years.

It’s pretty simple as all you need is a toothpick, skewer, or even a thin knife.

Insert your chosen tester into the center of the cake, and then pull it out. If it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs clinging to it, congratulations – your cake is done!

If it comes out with wet batter on it, the cake needs more time. Keep checking every few minutes until you get the desired result.

Remember, every oven is different, so don’t be discouraged if your cake takes a little longer than the recipe suggests. You can use this same method for knowing how to tell if brownies are done as well.

Touch Test

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Touch the cake? Are you serious?” Yes, I am! This method might seem a little unorthodox, but it’s a great way to check cake doneness without creating any unsightly holes.

Just make sure your hands are clean, and lightly press the center of the cake with your fingertip. If the cake springs back, it’s done.

If it leaves an indentation or feels mushy, give it some more time in the oven. I’ve found this method particularly useful for cakes that have a moist, dense texture, as they can be a little trickier to test with a toothpick.

Visual Cues

Sometimes, all you need to do is use your eyes to determine if a cake is ready to come out of the oven.

A well-baked cake should have a slightly domed top and an even, golden-brown color. Additionally, the cake’s edges should start to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Keep in mind, though, that visual cues can be deceiving, especially for cakes with a lot of added mix-ins, like fruit or nuts.

In those cases, it’s best to combine this method with one of the other tests to be sure your cake is done.

Just as important as making sure that you bake your cakes all the way through it is important to store them properly. Check out my guide on how to store baked goods to learn how to do it properly and how long you should expect them to last.

Internal temperature

One often overlooked yet incredibly useful method for determining cake doneness is checking the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer.

The ideal internal temperature for most cakes is around 210°F (99°C). To use this technique, insert the thermometer into the center of the cake without touching the bottom of the pan, and wait for the reading to stabilize.

If the temperature is close to or at the magic number, your cake is done! This method provides an accurate indication of whether your cake is fully baked, but it’s still a good idea to use it in conjunction with other tests, like the toothpick or touch test, for the best results.

What goes better with cake than ice cream? Check out my post on how to tell if ice cream has gone bad to ensure that your ice cream doesn’t spoil the treat!

Frequently asked questions for how to tell when cake is done

Opening the oven door too soon can cause a drop in temperature, potentially leading to a fallen cake. Wait until the minimum baking time has passed before opening the oven door to check your cake’s doneness with a toothpick or thermometer.

If your cake is baking unevenly, you can try covering the edges with aluminum foil to prevent over-baking while the center continues to cook. Also, make sure to rotate your cake halfway through the baking time to ensure even cooking.

Allow your cake to cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes before attempting to remove it. This will give the cake time to set and make it easier to remove without falling apart or sticking to the pan.


There you have it – three easy, foolproof methods for how to tell when cake is done baking. I hope these tips help put your mind at ease the next time you’re baking a cake and remember that practice makes perfect!

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