Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things don’t turn out the way we’d hoped. In baking, like everything else, if you find yourself failing over and over, it can start to make you doubt yourself. But relax! Failures in the kitchen do not mean that you suck at baking!

Probably.

According to Bon Appetit, there are several reasons baking can go bad that have nothing to do with the baker!

Maybe Your Pans Suck

If your cakes are overdone on the edges and underdone in the middle, the likely culprit is a dark baking pan.

That’s because dark pans absorb and distribute heat more quickly than lighter ones, so batter sets and browns more quickly, leading to uneven baking and potential burning.

Lower your baking temp by 25 degrees. Or better yet, upgrade to lighter pans.

Maybe Your Oven Sucks

Most ovens have hot spots. It’s an unfortunate and annoying truth. Try baking a batch of cookies without rotating them during cooking, and you’ll quickly see where your oven is uneven. Then get it the habit of rotating your food accordingly.

You can also go to a home improvement store and purchase unglazed ceramic tiles—which are very inexpensive—and place them on the floor of your oven to better diffuse and distribute heat.

A pizza or baking stone will have the same effect, but is a little more expensive to replace if something drips and causes the stone to crack.

Maybe Your Baking Powder and/or Baking Soda Is Expired

Leavening agents don’t expire, per se, but they do lose effectiveness. Baking powder is especially sensitive to its environment, and quickly begins to lose the power to poof.

If the only box of baking soda you have around is the one that’s been absorbing odors in your fridge for the last few years, it’s probably a good idea to get a new box just for baking.

 

Can you think of other baking issues that aren’t a question of skill? Drop them in the comments! And stay tuned for Baking Fails That ARE Your Fault… probably.