This particular useful baking tip stems from my personal foundation, experience and exposure on baking cakes ( duh! ). As I was once a beginner ( to be honest I don’t know how to categorize bakers! ), I have my own fair share of failed cakes, some even having failed at the batter. In this post, I will go through ways you can salvage your failed cake depending on which stage it is.

This post will be particularly useful for beginners who are not familiar with the baking of cakes as the mistakes listed are more or less common. 

Personally, I am not sure about you, but I have my own cakes and batters that I have either thrown away, or to eat it myself, ultimately to hide my embarrassment from friends and families. How do you expect me to present something I deem undesirable and trash can worthy to them?! Yes, it might not be as bad as what I perceive it to be, but we are our toughest critics afterall. 

The baseline is that when everyone bakes, we set out to succeed. No one will ever set out to fail baking, unless you’re trying out a new recipe or you’re experimenting. In these cases, it’s different as you do it with a curious intent, not a pessimistic one. However, we often take the success of baking granted.

This post will also, as such, tackles how you can attempt to convert your failure to at least a marginal success. There’s not much magic here, but beggars can’t be choosers right? ( sorry if I offend any beggars here! ).

I shall now proceed to split it into three sections namely: Cake Batter Stage, Oven Baking Stage and Final Product. They will have sub sections within.

For chrome users, I suggest you to use control + F to find the specific sections if you do not desire to scroll through the entire list.

For mobile users, you have to however scroll through the list. Rest assure though, for I have bold the three subheadings for easier reference and I will try to be as concise as possible!
Disclaimer: These are just based on my personal opinions, experience, research on what to do with failed cakes at these particular stages. It might not work out 100% of the time but personally, I feel it is better to attempt something than to throw it out totally. 

A: Cake Batter Stage
1.1 Lumpy Batter
1.2 Too many air bubbles ( in non chiffon, spongy cakes etc, basically when the cake is supposed to be dense )

B: Oven Baking Stage
2.1 Cracking at the center ( Volcano looking )2.2 Uneven Browning

C: Final Product
3.1 Cake is Raw
3.2 Cake is Overbaked
3.3 Cracked Center ( From 2.1 )
3.4 Cake stick too much to the sides of the pan
3.5 Cake sank

D: Other Suggestions on what to do with Failed Cake
A: Cake Batter Stage

1.1 Lumpy Batter

This problem usually surfaces only in Cake batters that utilize butter, whether melted or softened at room temperature.

What happen is that with the addition of cold ingredients, especially cold liquids, such as cold milk and eggs, it will result in the re-solidifying of the butter within the cake batter. As such, these lumps will hence be observed. This is especially so when the freezing point or solidifying point of butter is of a low temperature.

To solve this, apart from using room temperature ingredients in the future, you can simply leave the batter at room temperature until it disintegrates into the batter again.

Either that or you can pass the mixture through a sift, obtaining the solids, then cooking it.

You can also heat up the whole mixture directly but if you do not stir frequently, it might result in the eggs being cooked instead ( since the liquid is in direct contact with the heated pot, while the butter is floating ).

1.2 Too many Air Bubbles

If you’re making a butter or oil cake that does not involve a lot of whipping to incorporate air, such as the making of stiff peaks with egg whites, having too many air bubbles will be undesirable. It will result in a cake baked with a lot of unsightly holes throughout the cake, which is not what we want.

You can observe that the cake is over saturated with air when there are air bubbles popping out and through the cake batter. Even if it don’t, it will be a good practice to do the following:

Tap the cake batter in the prepared pan against the counter several times. This is to force the excess air to leave the batter, and produce less of those unsightly holes in the final product of the cake.

B: Oven Baking Stage

2.1 Cracking at the center ( Volcano looking )

Your baking pan prepared for the cake batter might be too small, and as such, the cake has no other space to expand but to go upwards.

To fix this, refer to 3.4

2.2 Uneven Browning

It is often common for our cakes to be browned unequally, as especially when browning is crucial to the aesthetics of the cake, and to ensure even cooking. Not many of us are blessed with an oven that has uniform temperature throughout the oven, and more often than not, we face the problem of unequal browning!

The solution to solve this problem is really simple and straight forward. Simply rotate the pan from time to time to ensure that they are exposed to the different heat regions of the oven equally. For me, I rotate my cake pan once more times (total twice). I rotate the cake pan 180 degrees at about 80% of the baking completion mark so that it will not sink from the loss of hot air. You would have to do it fast!

C: Final Product