Fixing Mistakes | Paul Hollywood (2023)

Fixing Mistakes

We all suffer from a soggy bottom or a droopy sponge occasionally, so here I will explain how these common mistakes happen so you can prevent them happening in the future.

Uneven-shaped cakes

If your cake ends up an uneven shape, this could be because there is either too much liquid in the mixture or too much baking powder – or simply that the oven was not hot enough.

Cracked cakes

If your cake has cracks in it, this could be because there was not enough liquid in your mixture, or too much baking powder was added.

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Tight cakes

If your cake has a very close texture, then you may have added too much fat or your hands were too warm when rubbing in the flour.

Disastrous fruit cakes

If you find that the fruit in your cake sinks to the bottom, then this could be because either the fruit or the mixture was too wet, or because the oven was not hot enough.

Hard pastry

If your shortcrust pastry is too hard, it could be caused by a number of things. Either you have added too much water or not enough fat, or the fat was not rubbed in sufficiently or was over-handled. Or the pastry was over-baked.

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Shrinking pastry

Shrinking pastry is a common mistake. This normally occurs when the pastry has been over-handled or has not been left to rest for long enough.

Soggy bottoms

And finally, the most frustrating pastry problem of all – the soggy bottom. This normally happens when the oven is not hot enough or the pastry is not baked for long enough. However, it can also be because too much water was added to the dough.

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Top Tips

Here are some of my top tips to ensure your bakes are perfect every time.

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All you need to know about the basic ingredients for making bread and cakes.

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Fixing Mistakes

We all suffer from a soggy bottom or a droopy sponge occasionally - I'll explain how to stop them happening.

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Your Questions

Paul simply loves giving advice to help you perform better in the kitchen.


Can you fix a soggy bottom? ›

If your bottom crust is underdone, cover the top with foil so it doesn't burn, and throw your pie back in the oven at 425ºF to 450ºF for about 12 minutes. Make sure to put it on the bottom rack so that the underside gets the most heat.

Why has Christmas cake cracked on top? ›

The oven temperature is too high. If the top crust forms and sets before the cake has finished rising, the middle will try to push through the crust as it continues to bake, causing it to crack and possibly dome. Check your oven with an oven thermometer and reduce the temperature accordingly if it is running hot.

What causes soggy bottom? ›

The gluten in the flour gives pastry its texture, while fat offers flavour. If the fat melts before a strong gluten structure has formed, the pastry will end up soggy. Overly moist fillings can also contribute to a soggy bottom as the liquid will drop to the bottom of the pie and ooze into the pastry.

Why is cake lopsided? ›

When a cake comes out uneven, the batter might not have been mixed properly. Make sure dry ingredients are sifted or whisked well to evenly distribute ingredients. Mix the batter thoroughly on low speed to ensure all ingredients are fully mixed. Uneven heating may be due to the oven itself.

How do I stop the bottom of my pie being soggy? ›

How to Prevent a Soggy Bottom Pie Crust
  1. Blind Bake the Crust.
  2. Choose the Right Rack in the Oven.
  3. Brush the Bottom with Corn Syrup or Egg White.
  4. Put the Pie on a Hot Cookie Sheet.
  5. Make a Thicker Crust.
  6. Add a Layer.
  7. Consider a Metal Pie Pan.
Jul 28, 2023

How do you get rid of a soggy bottom pie? ›

Prick the base with a fork to help steam escape, cover with foil or parchment, and weigh it down with ceramic baking beans, uncooked rice or white sugar. Then bake at 220°C (425°F) for 15 minutes.

Why do you put newspaper around a Christmas cake? ›

Hello, The brown paper is tied around the outside of the tin to protect the edges from getting overcooked during the long slow cooking. The instruction is under the equipment section. In this picture you can see how the side of the cake tin should look.

Should I bake the bottom pie crust first? ›

But the one surefire way to make absolutely certain your pie's crust will be golden brown, crisp, and delicious — just as appealing as its filling — is to prebake it. That's right: bake the bottom crust first, before adding the filling.

Should I egg wash the bottom pie crust? ›

One of my very favorite kitchen tricks is to brush a bottom pie crust with an egg white wash before filling. This keeps the filling from seeping into the crust and creating a soggy bottom. I like to avoid soggy bottoms at all costs. Egg white and water is also perfect for sealing edges, like when making a pie.

Should you blind bake the bottom crust of a fruit pie? ›

You do not need to pre-bake a pie crust for an apple pie or any baked fruit pie really, but we do freeze the dough to help it stay put. Pre-baking the pie crust is only required when making a custard pie OR when making a fresh fruit pie. you should probably get: Pie weights are super helpful to have for pre-baking.

Why is upside down cake upside down? ›

A Short History of Pineapple Upside Down Cake

When they wanted a sweet treat, they would line the bottom of the pans with fruit, and pour batter on top. When the cake was ready, the pan was flipped over, revealing the gorgeous pattern of caramelized fruit on the top.

Can you eat a cake that has sunk in the middle? ›

If your cake was cooked to the proper temperature, chances are it is still edible even if it sunk in the center. Check that it's baked through the middle, then try a small piece of your cake. It might not taste good if the ingredient measurements were off. Notice the texture to make sure it's not too dense or spongy.

What are the remedies for soggy or undercooked bottom pie crusts? ›

Blind Bake

The most common way to ward off a soggy pie crust is by a process called blind baking. Blind baking means you pre-bake the crust (sometimes covered with parchment or foil and weighed down with pie weights to prevent the crust from bubbling up) so that it sets and crisps up before you add any wet filling.

How do you crisp the bottom of a quiche? ›

The simple solution is to blind-bake the crust before adding the custard. Follow This Tip: Blind-bake the pie crust before pouring in the custard to ensure a crisp, flaky crust.


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