Turning Disaster into Triumph

Everybody has a cooking disaster every now and then and one of mine happened recently. When this happens the main thing is not to despair. Unless you have dropped it on the floor and the dog has nibbled it, something can usually be done to rectify the situation. You may not be able to use it as intended, but it is usually possible to prevent the total waste of all the ingredients and associated cots.

If the cake is burnt, wait until it is cold and then trim off the burnt bits before ‘feeding’ (see item 9 in basic rules) in the normal way and wrapping up and storing the cake. (The wild birds in your garden will love the burnt bits soaked in water).

If it hs risen to a point, then ‘feed’, wrap and place upside down to store for a few weeks. This has the effect of flattening it out somewhat. If it is still too high in the middle when you come to decorate, simply trim off the uneven bit and enjoy the sample (that is if your family let you get a look in).

Should the cake be not properly cooked in the middle or the air has got in and it has sunk in the middle (see my poor cake below) a bit more work is required, but with a bit of imagination, no will know you had a disaster.

This cake has not only sunk, but appears to be quite hollow in the middle (I was bulk baking and took the wrong cake out of the oven and it was not properly cooked in the middle). When I realised I popped it back in the oven to make sure it was cooked, but the damage was done.

Over the coming weeks I will show you how this cake can be turned into a beautifully decorated ‘Holly Wreath’ ring cake.

Firstly I have ‘fed’ it as normal and wrapped it up to mature for a couple of weeks.

Click here to see how this was achieved. Holly Wreath Christmas Cake.


  1. @ Debbie. Even if it does separate, I would not worry. I would just push it back together, with a little jam if necessary. It is better to have a delicious well matured cake with an invisible flaw than a drier less tasty perfect one. Some wedding cakes are made up of smaller ones joined together so if the crack is noticed when the cake is cut they will just think that is the reason.

  2. Hi sheila thanks so much but it is quite a substantial crack right through to the middle of the cake? but I guess it will hold together after marzipan and icing? ( I hope?) Am worried it will seperate? Your advise is much appreciated

  3. @Debbie I do not think you have to worry about starting again. I assume the cake will be on a cake board and covered with marzipan and icing so can assure you than no one but you will know that it has a crack in it. Just keep it on a flat surface now and when you next want to turn it over, put a cake board or chopping board on top of it and with the cake sandwiched between the two flat surfaces, flip it over. You may want to ask for some help as it will be heavy.

  4. Hi Sheila, I followed your rich fruit cake recipe to make a 7inch round and a 12 in square at the beginning of april and they turned out perfectly I was so chuffed. they are wedding cakes for end of july-however I have just tried to turn the large one over in order to feed it flat side up and it has cracked right down the middle?? Although it has not completely broken in half. I am going to be cutting it anyway into more of a rectangle-is it still possible to marzipan it or should I start again? It is a cake that will be standing on its own? I am devastated!! HELP!? Debbie

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