Baking Cake in Convection Oven: Tips and Tricks
Some people are not familiar with different types of ovens and how they can be used differently.
If you don’t know what kind of oven you are baking with, there is a chance that you might not get the results you are looking for because of the differences in how they function.
While convection ovens are often praised as a great new way to cook meats and other foods faster, many people claim that baking a cake in a convection oven is not a good idea.
That, however, is not true!
Baking cake in convection oven is possible, but it will only be truly successful if you are aware of the differences in oven types.
With the right knowledge and tips, you can easily bake delicious food in any type of oven, and that includes convection ovens.
Let’s cover what you should know about cakes, baking, and convection ovens.
How Do Convection Ovens Differ From Traditional Ovens?
Before you learn some specific baking facts, it’s important that you gain some understanding of how convection ovens differ from convection ovens, which are more commonly known and used.
Convection ovens have one major feature that conventional ovens do not—a fan.
The fan inside a convection oven keeps the air circulating while the food cooks, which means that the heat is more evenly distributed throughout the oven.
The bonus of having circulating air is that every part of the food will cook more evenly, and there are fewer hot spots to worry about.
Additionally, convection ovens tend to stay at a constant temperature more easily than conventional ovens, and they also use less electricity.
Is It Better to Bake Cakes in a Convection Oven?
Now that you know what a convection oven is, let’s talk about if it is better to cook a cake in a convection oven. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as whether it is better or worse.
Convection ovens have both pros and cons when it comes to baking cakes, and whether or not you should use convection features for baking your cakes will depend on what you want to accomplish.
- Cakes can turn out fluffier
- Cakes can rise more
- Cakes can cook more evenly
- Better crumb texture
- May not need to rotate pan
- Delicate batters may fall flat
- Speed of fan can cause tilted tops on cupcakes and delicate cakes
- Need to adjust recipe temperatures and cook time
- Layer cakes may not cook evenly
As you can see, there are pros and cons, but the cons are very specific to types of cakes that are incredibly delicate to bake, such as an angel food cake.
With more delicate cakes, the best thing that you can do if you own a convection oven is to turn down the fan speed if possible.
Lower fan speed will continue to circulate hot air, but it won’t be so powerful that the cakes are heavily affected by the air movement.
This will prevent the batter from moving around in the pan, so cupcakes and muffins won’t get those ugly little hats!
Baking Cake in Convection Oven
The biggest complaint that unknowing home bakers have after using a convection oven for the first time is that their cookies, cakes, or other items didn’t rise enough or got too crusty.
Why does this happen when using a convection oven?
Remember that convection ovens constantly circulate the air, and all of the air is kept at the exact same temperature.
This circulation causes a crust to be formed faster on the outside of baked items because the moisture is being pulled out more rapidly.
While forming a crust can be a good thing for items like meat and vegetables, it’s not always wanted when baking, and it’s especially problematic when the crust forms too quickly.
If crust forms too quickly on a cookie, for example, it may never rise properly.
Solving the Fast Cust Dilemma
Thankfully, this dilemma of having bad baking results when cooking in a convection oven is usually less of a problem if the baker makes a few small adjustments.
The first thing is to be aware of the fact that you are using convection and, as such, knowing what it does and how it functions.
Second, you’ll want to make sure that you adjust the recipe if it was not written for convection baking. This means that you need to lower the temperature by 25°F and reduce the baking time.
By making simple adjustments to the recipe and ensuring that you monitor your baked goods, it is very possible to avoid the crust dilemma.
How Do You Convert Time From a Regular Oven to a Convection Oven?
While it can be annoying to need to adjust the temperature when baking in a convection oven, it’s not very difficult to do so.
To bake a standard recipe in a convection oven, lower the temperature by 25°F. If you are baking a very large cake, you will want to lower it an additional 5°F to 10°F.
The temperature needs to be adjusted because convection ovens are more efficient than conventional ovens and, thus, stay hotter.
In addition to adjusting the temperature, it’s also a good idea to check on your baked goods frequently to ensure that you don’t overbake them; try to do this without opening the door.
Using your convection oven for baking often will help you to become more familiar with the adjustments that need to be made for a successful bake.
Some recipes will cook faster in a convection oven, while others will take the same amount of time or even longer if the cake is big enough.
The only way to be sure is to monitor your cake and baked goods for doneness as they are baking.
Do You Preheat a Convection Oven?
You should always preheat a convection oven before you put the items inside unless the recipe says otherwise.
Like any other oven, convection ovens do not heat up immediately and will need a little bit of time to reach their temperature.
Generally, they do heat up faster than conventional ovens.
Most recipes that come out of America and Europe are written for the oven to be preheated before the pans are put in, but there are some recipes that do not follow this standard.
Many recipes out of South America, for example, want cakes and cookies to be placed in the oven before it is preheated.
The key is to follow whatever the recipe suggests.
If the recipe does not say to preheat the oven, it is still safe to assume that you should preheat the oven unless otherwise directed.
How Much Faster Is Convection Baking Than Regular Baking?
Baking cake in convection oven can often be done in about two-thirds of the time of a conventional oven, but the exact amount of time that is saved is going to differ from baked goods to baked goods.
Small cakes, for example, are likely to be done faster than they would be in a conventional oven.
Baking very large cakes in a convection oven, however, may take even longer than the temperature suggests.
There isn’t a set amount of time that you will save with a convection oven, so you shouldn’t turn to convection ovens only to try and save time.
There are other foods, such as roasts and vegetables, that can be cooked faster in a convection oven. However, saving time while baking is not a huge factor to expect.
What Should and Should Not Be Baked in a Convection Oven?
As mentioned, convection ovens have their pros and cons.
Some items will bake better in a convection oven than others, but there really aren’t strict limitations on what you can prepare in a convection oven.
Generally speaking, convection ovens are great for:
- Small pastries
- Artisan bread
- Some cakes
On the flip side, convection ovens should only be used if you can lower the fan speed for the following:
- Quick-bake bread
- Delicate cakes
- Sandwich bread
If you have an oven that can do both convection and non-convection baking, test out the oven for yourself!
It might take some time to determine which items you like to bake with convection and which you do not, but the whole process will give you a better understanding of how convection affects your baking.
The key thing to think about when determining if you want to use convection or not is how wet the batter is.
Very wet batters can be baked successfully in a convection oven, but you run the risk of the batter being moved around by the fans if you aren’t careful.
Now that you know more about baking a cake in a convection oven and other useful tips for using a convection oven, you can successfully bake better batches of everything you love to make.
Convection ovens are not inherently better or worse for your baked goods, so long as you know how to use them.
If you have a chance, experiment with your convection oven to find out what works, what doesn’t, and what you can’t wait to make more of!
In the end, the only thing that you’ll have to worry about is how many sweets that you have been eating throughout the taste testing.