Q&A with dailydelicious

Baking Troubleshooting Guide: Possible causes and solutions

Cakes Problem
Coarse texture
· Excess raising agent 
· Too little liquid
· Butter and sugar not thoroughly blended

Cake sticks to pan
· Insufficient greasing
· Cake removed from pan too quickly
· Cake cooled in pan too long

Cake is dry
· Excess flour or baking powder
· Too little shortening, butter, or sugar
· Oven too hot or cake baked too long

Cake is heavy/dense
· Too little baking powder
· Too many eggs
· Overmixing of batter
· Under beating of eggs (for sponge cake)

Cake sinks in the middle
· Use of small pans
· Too much liquid
· Opening oven or moving pans during baking
· Oven temperature too low or cake not baked long enough
· Oven temperature too high 

Cookies Problem

Cookies are tough and hard
· Too much flour
· Overmixing

Cookies bake unevenly
· Misshapen dough balls
· Hot spot in the oven, turn the cookie tray half way through baking

Cookies too brown on the bottom
· Dark-color cookie sheets

Cookies spread too much
· Unnecessary greasing of cookie sheet
· Dough placed on warm cookie sheets
· Oven temperature too low
· Overbeating of butter and sugar

Burned cookies
· Baked too long
· Left on baking sheet too long

Yeast Bread Problem 

 Loaf did not rise enough before baking
· Expired yeast
· Liquid too hot
· Not enough sugar
· Environment too cool or drafty
· Dough not kneaded enough

Loaf did not rise enough during baking
· Oven temperature too low
· Dough raised too much before baking

Crust did not brown
· Oven temperature too low
· Not enough sugar
· Not enough salt

Bread is dense on bottom
· Oven temperature too high

Bread collapsed in oven
· Dough raised too much before baking

Quick Bread and muffin

Bread is dense
· Not baked long enough
· Not enough liquid

Bread is tough
· Too much liquid
· Batter overmixed
· Too much flour

Muffins have tunnels
· Batter overmixed
· Not enough liquid
· Too much flour
· Muffins overbaked

Pie Problem

Pastry is crumbly and hard to roll
· Not enough water
· Rolled out with too much flour

Pastry is tough
· Too much water
· Dough overworked
· Fat not thoroughly worked into dough
· Too little shortening

Crust shrinks
· Crust was stretched
· Too little resting time
· Too much shortening

Bottom crust is soggy
· Used a shiny metal pan instead of dull metal or glass
· Cracks in the dough before filling was added
· Oven temperature too low

Crust sticks to rolling pin
· Too little flour on rolling pin and work surface

Edges of crust burn
· Cover edges with aluminium foil

Meringue sweats/beads
· Overcooked meringue

Meringue slides off filling
· Meringue was spread over cool filling
· Spread meringue thoroughly over filling to edges to seal

Meringue is soggy
· Environment is too humid

Miscellaneous Problem

Egg whites will not whip
· Dirty/greasy bowl
· Egg yolks in the mixture
· Eggs too cold

Overbeaten egg whites
· Add 1 unbeaten white and whip again until stiff peaks form. Remove ¼ cup of whipped egg white.

Overbeaten whipped cream
· Start over (and turn the overbeaten one into butter ^^, by beating it more until fully separate into butter and buttermilk)

Chocolate seized during melting
· Liquid got into chocolate

Baking powder and baking soda

Q: What is the different between baking powder and baking soda ?

Both of then use as raising agent for bake good, but the different is the chemical and reaction.They make baked goods rise by producing millions of tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. The gas bubbles are released within the wet batter, after which the heat of the oven expands them until the heat firms up the batter and traps them in place. 

Baking soda or bicarbonate of soda is a single chemical: pure sodium bicarbonate. Baking soda releases carbon dioxide gas as soon as it comes in contact with any acidic liquid, such as buttermilk, sour cream, (the general rule is 2g or 1/2tsp of baking soda per 240ml of buttermilk, sour cream, or 1 tsp/5ml of lemon juice or vinegar, or 1 1/4tsp/5g of cream of tartar). Baking soda keeps almost indefinitely, although it can pick up acidic odors and flavors, keep it in an air-tight container and you can use it as long as you want.

Baking powder is complete leavening systems. They contain both baking soda (alkaline) combined with one or more acid salts, such as monocalcium phosphate monohydrate, dicalcium phosphate dihydrate, sodium aluminum sulfate, or sodium aluminum phosphate, and some starch to prevent the directly contact of baking soda and acid while keeping and makes measuring easir. All the baking powder that we use now is “double-acting baking powder", which releases only a portion of its gas when it gets wet and releases the rest only after reaching a high temperature in the oven. You can test your baking powder by adding some of it to water. If it doesn’t fizz vigorously it’s lost its potency and will do a poor job of leavening. Throw it away and buy a new can.

Buttermilk owes its success as a baking ingredient to its acidity. Slightly acidic batter from buttermilk helps keep baked goods moist and tender by breaking down long, tough strands of gluten; it also prevents cherries and walnuts from acquiring a blue tinge in muffins. The tartness of buttermilk adds a pleasing, subtle tang to cakes and pastries. And the acid is responsible for buttermilk’s thick consistency, which adds a soft, rich, creamy quality to whatever you’re baking.
buttermilk contributes to the leavening of many baked goods. In conjunction with baking soda, buttermilk produces carbon dioxide gas.
An easy way to make a quick buttermilk substitute is to add 1 Tbs. white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup whole milk and let it stand for 10 minutes.


I use Silver Gelatin Sheets (Gelita brand), I prefer to use sheet gelatin, it has no odor and the gel sets finer.

Each grade is associated with various “bloom strengths,” (measure of the stiffness and strength of the gelatin) or their ability to set a gel. This means that gram for gram, platinum will set a stronger gel than gold, silver a stronger gel than bronze, etc.
The bloom strength for each grade is:
Bronze: 125-135
Silver: 160
Gold: 190-220
Platinum: 235-265

When using gelatin, you need to dissolve in cold water (or blooming the gealtin), to make it softer and it will be able to melt into the hot mixture. And don't boil it or the gelatin will lose its efficacy.
*Note that certain tropical fruits, such as pineapple, kiwifruit, and ginger, have an enzyme (bromelin) that can prevent gelatin for setting. Heating the fruit completely through before using will destroy the enzyme.

How to line a round cake pan properly: 

Cut a disc of non-stick baking paper to fit the base of the pan.

Cut a strip of non-stick baking paper, long enough to go all the way around the side of the pan. Fold over one-forth to one-third horizontally.

Use scissors to make cuts, to meet the folded edge. Place, cut-side down and overlapping, in the prepared pan.

Place the disc of the paper over the base. This helps keep the paper in place on the side.

How to neatly Line a Loaf Pan:

To start you will need a piece of parchment that measures the length and width of the pan.
Lay the parchment paper on a flat surface placing the pan in the center. 

Cut from the edge of the paper up to the base. 

Do this on all four corners. 

Fit the paper into the bottom of the pan lifting up the wide ends and unfolding into the shape of the pans.
Tuck the two outer cuts behind the center flap of the paper at the head of the pan on both sides.


Q: The different between each types of meringue and the uses of them.

The 3 basic types of meringue are French, Swiss and Italian, the ingredients are essentially the same, but the methods of preparation and the results are different. 

French Meringue:
It's made by whipping egg whites with sugar. It's best for bake as it as, piping into various shapes for cookies and dessert shells, or used as a cake base. It should be baked immediately after forming. If you worry about the salmonella, you should make French meringue with pasteurised egg white when it will be eaten raw. 

Swiss Meringue:
Swiss meringue is a mixture of French and Italian Meringue, it's made by whipping the egg whites with sugar in a bowl over simmering water and heat to 60°C. It can be eaten raw, as the egg whites are pasteurised by being heated to 60°C. It's quicker and easier to produce than Italian meringue, but it is not as stable and should be use fairly soon once it has been prepared. It is typically used in buttercream and filling, but can also be piped into cookies or other shapes, then baked or dried in the same way as French meringue too.

Italian meringue:
Italian meringue is denser than French or Swiss meringue. It's made by whipping egg whites with sugar syrup that heat to 115°C. Because the egg whites are partially cooked, it holds up longer before starting to deflate. It's also used in dessert where the meringue is eaten raw, or with only partial further cooking. Italian meringue is not usually used for baked dry as it harder and not very pleasant to eat. 

Oven: heat element from above or below

Q: Which one is the best for Baking, heat element from above or below or both ?

A: For the question about the element of heat in the oven, I started baking with my little oven (so small, it's a bit bigger than toaster oven :)), then gas oven (the source of the heat come from bottom only), and now I have 3 oven, 1 gas oven, 1 convention oven and 1 convection oven. So I faced a lot of funny problem before.
I found the element of heat is not as important as the right temperature of the oven. the element of heat (above or below)will be crucial when you bake something fragile like macaron.  
Many people suggest that you should use only below heat for baking because the heat from below will heat up the pan and make bake goods raise better, it's true but from my experience, you may need to use the above heat for drying out the top of the cake or muffin too. 
But for other kinds of bakes below heat will give you only a bit problem about the color of the bake good and the top won't as dry as using above or below heat.
So my answer is you can use top and bottom heat to bake almost everything but if the top of your bake goods start to turn brown cover it with aluminium foil to prevent burning. And you can use bottom heat to bake almost everything but your bake goods can come out paler than top and bottom heat :)
Anyway, you don't use upper heat for baking, it is used for broiling, for browning the surface of foods, such as roasts. 

Q:What about baking cookies? Do you use both upper and lower heat or just the lower heat?

A: Mostly I use gas one and it has lower heat only. But when I go to my sister's house I use the oven there I can bake it in both upper and lower heat too. Because the cooking time is quite short I don't have any problem. 

Q: I have problems with baking Chiffon Cake. The bottom is always wet and the top had browned and hardened. If this is the case, is it better for me to use lower heat only?

A: Yes, you should use only lower heat, because it mean your above heat is too hot. 

Q: What causes the bottom of my banana cake to be dense looking but the middle and top parts looks nice and soft after baking?
A: It can come from the heat of your oven, first I really recommend you to invest an oven thermometer, so you can be sure that your cake is baked in the right temperature. Second place a pizza stone or heavy sheet pan in the oven while preheat the oven and when baking place the cake pan directly on the pizza stone or heavy sheet pan, it helps regulate the heat in the oven too. 

Type of wheat flour

All purpose flour (French 55)

All purpose flour is a mixture of approximately equal parts hard and soft wheat flours, the protein in the flour is about 9% to 12% depends on each brand. When the word “plain flour” is in the ingredient list you can use all purpose flour. You can use all purpose flour in many recipe, for substituting all purpose flour for cake flour use 90gram of all purpose flour +10gram of corn starch will equal 100gram of cake flour. For using the all purpose flour in bread recipe, use only ¾ of liquid (add more if needed) and remember that your bread will be crumbly than bread made with bread flour.

Bread flour (French 80)

Bread flour is a hard wheat flour, milled from wheat that is rich in protein. It has about 12 – 16% protein. Because it is very easy to dust into a thin film, bread flour usually used for dusting when rolling out dough. Bread flour as the name suggest used for making bread because the gluten (develop from mixing flour with water) structure is strong.

Cake flour (French 40)

Cake flour is made from soft wheat, the flour is chlorinated to further break down the strength of the gluten, the color is much whiter than bread flour. Cake flour use for bake goods that weaker gluten structure is preferable such as sponge cake or chiffon. Some cookie recipes call for cake flour too, cookie made from cake flour hold their shape better but the texture is crumbly and the color is pale. It has about 7 – 9 % protein.

Pastry flour

Pastry flour is the soft wheat flour, the color is closer to bread flour it’s close to all-purpose flour in gluten strength.

Self-rising flour

Self-rising flour is premixed flour, soft wheat flour with baking powder and salt. If you want to make it by yourself, the ratio is 125g of cake flour (1cup) with 3g (1tsp) of baking powder and 1g of salt.

Whole wheat flour

Whole wheat flour or graham flour is milled from the entire wheat kernel, include the germ and the bran. It’s very nutritious. Because of the fat from wheat germ, it doesn’t keep long (turn rancid easily). The best way to keep it is in a freezer. Because of the heaviness of the flour, whole wheat flour usually mixed with other kind of flour when using. 

Note: If the nutritional information displays 12 grams of protein per 100 grams of flour, the protein content is 12%. If the package is not display percentage of the protein, you can use this formula to calculate the % by yourself from nutritional information.

(x) grams of protein per (y) grams of flour
(x) x 100 = (z)
(z) / (y) = % of protein content in the flour

For example
3 g protein per 30 g flour
3 × 100 = 300
300 / 30 = 10
This flour has a protein content of 10%.

Scone and biscuits

Q: The different between biscuits and scones.
The different between them is not much, usually the scone is sweeter, some of them use egg as the ingredient or adding dried fruit. The basic ingredients are the same, flour, baking powder and some fat.


  1. What about baking cookies? Do you use both upper and lower heat or just the lower heat?

  2. Mostly I use gas one and it has lower heat only. But when I go to my sister's house I use the oven there I can bake it in both upper and lower heat too. Because the cooking time is quite short I don't have any problem with that may be because both of the oven are big too.

  3. I have problems with baking Chiffon Cake. Thebottom is always wet and the top had browned and hardened. If this is the case, is it better for me to use lower heat only?

  4. What causes the bottom of my banana cake to be dense looking but the middle and top parts looks nice and soft after baking?


  5. Dear baker,
    I have 2 questions:
    1. What causes shrinkage in the upper part of sponge cake?

    2. My macaroon always chewy in the inside while, the outer side is so easily brown. So in other word, i can't produce a nice looking macaroon, it always has that browning color at on the edges of the cookie. Do you have any advice for this?

  6. 1. Shrinkage in the upper part of sponge cake: Remove the baking paper after baking, the sponge cake always shrink a bit, remove the paper will make them the same size (upper and lower).
    2. Reduce the baking time or temperature, or bake only in the center of the pan (no upper heat).

  7. Hey !

    I love your cake alot ..awesome

    can i asked u
    Is 4 g sheet gelatin are same 4g gelatin powder,

    Thank You.

  8. Yes, the gelatin powder and gelatin sheet are the same, but the preparation is different. You need to bloom the gelatin powder in amount of water that listed in the ingredient list, while galatin sheet you will soak it in iced cold water (as much as it cover the sheet) for 5-10 minutes.
    Some chefs love using gelatin powder because they can be sure about the amount of the water.

  9. I live in a very hot climate. Each time I bake cupcakes, they come out perfect, but after some time the top turns sticky. Is there any way I can prevent sticky tops on cupcakes?

  10. The problem comes from sugar because sugar attracts moisture (and there are a lot of moisture in hot climate).
    It's not easy to prevent it, one suggestion is not to cover the cake or keeping it in cold room (air conditioning room) can help, but cake will become dry too.
    The better suggestion is if it causes the problem when you frost just trim some of them out, if not just let it go ^^.

  11. I love your photos as well as the way you set up your food photos. Which lens and camera do you often use ? Do you often use extra source of light or just natural light ?
    Really love to read your blog. Mouth-watering with every post.
    Nice to meet you ^^

  12. Hi, Anonymous
    Thank you for your compliment.
    I use Canon EOS 550D, with 100mm Macro lens ^^.
    Mostly I use natural light.

  13. Hi there! I tried to make the biscuit d'amandes from your gateau moka recipe but it seems like it's pretty thick/not liquidy enough. I measured everything using a scale so I'm not sure where I went wrong.

  14. Hi, first you may need to check your scale, ^^", as I use this recipe many times before without any problem.

  15. Hi Dailydelicious,

    I am going to try out your version of the Valencia Cake by Aoki Sadaharu.

    Can you maybe teach me on how to make the sugar coated dried oranges?

    Many thanks!


  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. Can i please ask for recipes that has gelatin sheet, which type of sheet do you use? Gold, titan or which? And how are they different? Many thanks

  18. Hi, Nga

    I use Silver Gelatin Sheets (Gelita brand).
    Each grade is associated with various “bloom strengths,” or their ability to set a gel. This means that gram for gram, platinum will set a stronger gel than gold, silver a stronger gel than bronze, etc.

    1. I want to make your Oreo cupcake recipe and it has grams for some of the ingredients. How do the grams equal to cups?

  19. Hi there,
    I would like to try out your easy French bread recipe. Is it ok for me to leave the dough out to rise for a few hours? Planning to mix the dough and leave it for maybe 8 hours before putting it to bake.

  20. Hi, Anonymous
    Will weight them for you when I have time ^^.

    For easy French bread recipe: Try refrigerate the dough after first rise, then remove from the fridge to let it rise until almost double in size before baking.

  21. how abt baking madelines? i turn on both upper and lower heat and my madelines turn out to be very brown or even dark sometimes. my oven is a small electric over.

  22. Hi, Thiri
    You may need to place heavy baking pan (the one that can keep the heat stable), on the rack before placing the madeleine pan, it will make the heat more manageable. If the top of the madeleine turn brown quickly, cover with the foil and bake until done ^^.

  23. How about baking macarons? Top bottom heat or top or bottom? thankss : )

  24. Hi, Emily Lam
    I use only bottom heat when baking macarons ^^.

  25. Plz o have a question how about genoise or spong cake do we use both the bottom and top heat at the same time

  26. Hi, Salma
    I use both heat (top and bottom) when baking sponge and genoise ^^.

  27. If i want to bake some cookies, should i use only bottom heat? ^^

  28. Depend on what kind of cookie that you want to bake, for macaron or meringue using only bottom is better, because you don't want them to get color. But for other kinds they are ok to use bottom heat or both of them.

  29. I made some cream puffs last time but they turn out deflated everytime i take them out from the oven. and it's not really cooked in the centre. what should i do? top, bottom or both heat?
    thanks .-.

  30. Hi, Christine
    Choux pastry, needed to be cook throughly and dry in the oven, you can prevent them to deflate by lower the temperature and bake until the moisture is out. Start by preheat the oven to 200-250 C then lower the heat to 180-200C (depend on the size of the pastry), when they become golden brown, lower the heat to 150C and bake for 5-15 minutes more. You can use both or only bottom heat ^^.

  31. Hhii, i want to know that at which temperature we should bake the cake when we are only using bottom rodes??
    Thank you in advance.

  32. Hi, You can use the same temperature as the top and bottom as long as the inside temperature is correct.

  33. I have a question for the raspberry ganache ? Can I use fresh raspberries & regular sugar ?

  34. Hi,
    Puree the raspberry and sieve it, and you get raspberry puree, that you can use in ganache.

  35. Dear,
    May I know why my chiffon cupcakes surface look pretty n tall. But once touched it wet and sticky. Taste good. Why? Sob!

  36. The top heat will help, as it will dry the top of the cake, but it can come from the moisture in the air too if it happens after keeping in room temperature.

  37. When are you going to write a cookbook???? Count me the first client to buy it. I love ,love your site and the way you cook. Thank you for all these lovely recipe

    1. It's my pleasure, ^^.
      And thank you for your compliment.

  38. Thanks for this post. Great information!



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