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Slamming the Oven Door on Cakes and Baked Goods

By Cook's Illustrated Published September 2012

Can slamming the oven door on a cake in mid-bake cause it to fall?

Cakes rise as tiny air bubbles in the batter expand in the heat of the oven. To find out if slamming the door shut would interrupt the process enough to spell disaster, we mixed batters for muffins, yellow cake, angel food cake, and cheese soufflé and loaded them into hot ovens. Just before each item reached its maximum height, we opened the oven door all the way and gave it a hard slam.

The sturdy muffins emerged unharmed, as did the yellow cake. Even the notoriously fragile angel food cake and the soufflé survived the vigorous slamming. Why? A properly developed foam—whether powered by baking soda, baking powder, or beaten egg whites—is pretty resilient. While very rough handling (dropping a half-baked cake, for example) can make it collapse, there’s no need to worry about slamming doors.