Cakes FAQ's

FAQ: How to stop your cake baking too quickly on the outside

Frequently Asked Questions: How to stop your cake baking too quickly on the outside

How to stop your madiera cake baking too fast Just look at this beautiful 10″ Madeira cake. If you follow me on my Facebook page you’ll have seen this cake already. I made it back in November and had a little play with baking a cake that didn’t finish baking on the outside before it was ready on the inside. And the trick is so simple! 

It’s great news! 

Well, not news as much as newspaper. I simply took three sheets of newspaper*, overlapped each sheet and folded them over three times. I then wrapped the long length of newspaper around the tin and tied it with natural string (natural string is very important as some string is coated in plastic and that isn’t a good taste for cake!) I tied it securely and then baked the cake as normal for the same amount of time. The result was amazing. A really light outer edge. Not over baked. Just super scrummy!

*UPDATE: 09:01:14

Since originally writing this post I was asked whether newspaper ink is toxic. I didn’t think it was but wanted to double check so I spoke with a printing press engineer who said that he thought it would be okay but to be on the safe side you should only use ‘food standard quality’ paper around your baking tins. So, newspaper isn’t such a great choice after all. Instead we should use greaseproof or baking paper folded a few times and then wrapped around your baking tin.  Sorry for the confusion. 

Give it a try and let me know how you get on. I guarantee it will improve the bake on any big cake.


More Madiera you may like.

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My Mum’s Madeira Cake Recipe Is The Best In The World

6-12″ Madiera Cake ingredients

Try This Lemon And Lime Madeira Cake Recipe. You’ll love the ZING

The Ultimate Chocolate Madeira Cake Recipe To Make Different Size Round Tins from 6 to 14

How to adapt a cake recipe for different size tins and a 10 Madeira cake recipe.

Chocolate Madeira Cake Recipe

How To Bake A Large 14 Square Madeira Cake

FAQ: How do I work out the ingredients for an odd shaped cake tin

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EmmaMT from

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  1. is not the ink it the paper toxic ?

    1. EmmaMT from says:


      Thanks so much for your question. I must admit that I didn’t know newspaper ink could be toxic, so I investigated. I spoke to a printing press engineer who told me that as the ink used on newspapers isn’t tested to be of a ‘food standard quality’ so it can’t be definitely considered to be non-toxic. He thought that it wouldn’t be of any harm (as he has to literally handle the ink and if it was a danger to him he would have to wear gloves when touching it as a matter of health and safety) but to be on the safe side I will amend my previous post and say that you should use food standard papers like greaseproof or baking paper.

      Thanks for taking the time to ask the question. It’s always good to double check these things. As I am sure you know I would never knowingly want to lead anyone in the wrong direction.


      1. thank you , thank you so much , i was thinking about brown paper ! like a brown paper shopping bag !?

      2. EmmaMT from says:

        To be honest after speaking to the engineer I would only use food standard paper. I didn’t realise how much goes into paper and there’s no easy way of checking. When I tried to google search for an answer I just came up with results about eating newspaper! Brown paper sounds more ‘healthy’ and non toxic but I’m just not 100% sure anymore.


      3. thank you again Emma

      4. As its going on the outside of the tin, I wouldn’t have thought it matters too much, many cooks recommend but my mum has always told me to use brown paper that you get in rolls for parcel wrapping from the stationers. Its nice and thick whereas you need loads more baking paper for the same thinkness.

        Really love your tips, as an amateur baker just been handed the baton from my mum (or should that be rolling pin!) I am making her 80th birthday cake and your website has been a great help, I’ll be using your madeira recipe for the 10″ square layer.

      5. EmmaMT from says:

        Brown paper is a great idea AND you can get it on nice big rolls for a lot less than baking paper. I need to stock up I think!

        Good luck with your mum’s cake. What a lovely cake to be doing.


  2. Can I use maderia cake for a 3 tier
    wedding cake with jam and butter cream and finally iced with fondant icing

    1. EmmaMT from says:

      Absolutely. I’ve done that. It always goes down well.

  3. Lesley Pilkington says:

    Lesley Pilkington
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Hi Emma
    I stumbled over your website a little while ago by chance & I’m so pleased I did. I’ve used your Madeira cake recipe many times which have turned out beautifully, my friends & family have loved them. I’ve always made round cakes but have been asked to make a square one this time. Could you advise me on the quantities I need to use for a 10″, 8″ & a 6″. I want to make them individually & then slicem in half, many thanks

    1. EmmaMT from says:


      Thanks so much for your very kinds words.

      When making a square cake you just need to add one inch onto a round cake recipe so a 6″ square cake will need a 7″ round cake, (8″ square will use a 9″ and a 10″ square cake will use an 11/12″ round cake) It’s all about filling in those missing corners!

      I hope that helps

      Have fun baking


  4. Hi Emma, I need a bit of advice. Today I baked a chocolate sponge cake, cooked to perfection, against the side of the cake were too crispy. What have I done wrong, or could I do to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Also because my oven isn’t wide enough, I have to cook the cake on two levels and swap them over halfway through. Help!!!

    1. EmmaMT from says:


      Thanks for your question. Usually a cake will bake quicker on the outside before the inside is finished so I wrap my cakes with paper to slow this process down. It works a treat. Especially for Madeira cakes which are in the oven for a long time.

      I also grease my cake tins with sunflower oil rather than butter as butter tends to create a harder, crust than oil.

      How to wrap your cake tin post

      Hope that helps


    2. EmmaMT from says:


      I keep the sides of my cakes soft by greasing the cake tin with sunflower oil rather than butter and by wrapping the cake tin with baking paper before it goes into the oven.

      Have a look at this post for more details.

      I hope that helps


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