1. Stuck or burnt cake

Say your cake doesn’t come out of its pan. It’s done baking, you take it out, let it cool, turn it upside down and pat the bottom—you try everything, and it refuses to fall out gracefully. Or maybe it does come out of its pan, but you find that it’s completely burnt on the bottom. Both of these problems resulted because you didn’t grease your pan.

2. Sinking cake

When you take your cake out of the oven (or maybe even while it’s still baking), you might become frustrated if the center dips lower than the rest. No cake looks sadder than a sinking cake, but it’s actually a result of a number of factors. Check that your baking powder isn’t too old, because otherwise it won’t give your cake the rise it needs. Letting your batter sit outside for hours (that is, if the recipe doesn’t call for it) can also lead to your cake flattening. Overbeating the batter will whip too much air into your mixture that all escapes while baking, leaving the cake appearing deflated and sad.

Temperature sensitivity problems will also lead to sinking. This can come from an inaccurate oven that doesn’t report the right temperature, from opening and closing the oven door too much or from leaving the cake to cool in a drafty place.

3. Cracked cake

You know how sometimes you’re baking cupcakes, and you turn on the oven light to see that they’re pretty much exploding out of those paper cups? It’s probably because you put too much baking powder, or you placed it in at too high of an oven temperature. In these instances, following your recipe directions a little more accurately can make a huge difference.

4. Uncooked center

You baked your cake, took it out and decide it’s time to dig in… only to find that the center isn’t all the way cooked yet. This is a result of not baking long enough. Put it back in the oven.

Ready to test your new skills? Give these cakes a try: