Why Is My Cake Crumbly? Repurposing a Crumbly Cake

Creating the perfect cake is a balance of science and art. The science involves using the correct ratios of ingredients (flour, sugar, fat, and leavening agents) and understanding the importance of temperature while mixing and baking. The artistry lies in carefully blending these ingredients, decorating the cake skillfully, and adding unique flavors and textures that tantalize the taste buds. Always remember practice is key to baking perfection.

A cake can get crumbly due to various reasons. Let’s check out the common ones and see how to avoid a crumbly cake.

Cake Crumbs

Reasons behind a Crumbly Cake [Solutions Included]

Too Much Flour

Explanation: Excessive flour in the mix can lead to a crumbly cake. This is because flour absorbs moisture, and when there’s too much, it can dry out the batter and make the cake crumbly after baking.

Solution: Measure your flour accurately. Sift the flour before measuring and lightly spoon it into the measuring cup. Level it off with the back of a knife. Don’t pack the flour into the cup, as this can overestimate the required amount.

Too Much Flour

Not Enough Fat

Explanation: Fat adds moisture and richness to your cake, keeping it from being dry and crumbly. If you don’t use enough, the texture of your cake may be off.

Solution: Ensure you’re using the correct amount of butter, oil, or other fats per the recipe. Always measure them accurately.

Overmixing the Batter

Explanation: Overmixing the batter can incorporate too much air, which expands and then collapses during baking, resulting in a crumbly texture.

Solution: Mix the ingredients until they are just combined. Once the dry ingredients are added to the wet, stir until you can no longer see streaks of flour.

Overmixing the Batter

Incorrect Oven Temperature

Explanation: If your oven runs hotter than the temperature you set, it could be causing your cake to cook too quickly, drying out the edges and resulting in a crumbly texture.

Solution: Check the accuracy of your oven temperature with an oven thermometer. If your oven runs hot, adjust the temperature or baking time accordingly.

Too Much Leavening Agent

Explanation: Leavening agents, such as baking powder or baking soda, create air pockets in the cake. However, too much can cause the cake to rise rapidly and collapse, making the texture crumbly.

Solution: Measure your leavening agents carefully, and use the correct amount specified in the recipe.

Too Much Leavening Agent

Insufficient Liquid

Explanation: The amount of liquid in your cake mix significantly impacts the cake’s texture. Insufficient liquid means the flour won’t be adequately hydrated, and the cake can crumble.

Solution: Make sure you’re using the correct amount of liquid, milk, water, juice, or even eggs. If your cake is consistently crumbly, add a little more liquid the next time you bake.

Poor Quality Ingredients

Explanation: The quality of ingredients used in baking can significantly affect the final product. For example, using stale or expired baking powder/soda or old, dried-out flour can lead to a crumbly cake.

Solution: Always use fresh, high-quality ingredients. Check the expiration dates on your baking powder/soda and flour before using them, and store them properly to maintain their freshness.

Poor Quality Ingredients

Cake Wasn’t Fully Cooled Before Cutting

Explanation: Cutting a warm cake can make it crumbly because it hasn’t had a chance to fully set. The cake’s interior continues to cook and set as it cools, so it’s essential to give it sufficient cooling time.

Solution: Allow your cake to cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes after baking. Then, transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely before you frost or cut it.

Repurposing a Crumbly Cake

Cake Pops

Transform your crumbly cake into delightful cake pops. Simply mix the cake crumbs with some frosting until it forms a dough-like consistency, then roll into small balls, insert a stick, and dip in melted chocolate.


Create a delicious trifle by layering your crumbled cake with whipped cream, custard, and fruit in a glass dish. It’s a beautiful and delicious dessert that makes excellent use of your crumbly cake.


Similarly to a trifle, you can layer cake crumbs, yogurt (or pudding), and fruit in a glass to create a sweet parfait. It’s an easy and quick way to turn your crumbly cake into a tasty treat.

Cake Crumb Cookies

Add your cake crumbs to the cookie batter for extra sweetness and flavor. They can replace some of the flour in the recipe and add a unique texture to your cookies.

Bread Pudding

Turn your crumbly cake into a rich and decadent bread pudding. Combine the cake crumbs with milk, eggs, and sugar, then bake until it’s set.

Crumb Topping

You can also dry out the cake crumbs in the oven and use them as a sweet, crumbly topping for dishes like yogurt, oatmeal, or fruit salads.

Repurposing a Crumbly Cake

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my cake moist?

Your cake is moist likely because it has a good balance of fat, sugar, and liquid ingredients, all of which contribute to moistness. Also, it might be due to proper baking time and temperature, as overbaking can dry out a cake.

What happens if I add too little flour to a cake?

If you add too little flour to a cake, the structure will be compromised. Flour provides the framework for the cake, so a lack of it can result in a cake that’s too soft, may not rise properly, and could even collapse.

How long does it take to whisk a cake?

The whisking time depends on the stage of the process. When creaming butter and sugar, whisk until it becomes light and fluffy, typically around 3-5 minutes. After adding eggs, whisk just until they’re incorporated. When combining wet and dry ingredients, only whisk until combined to avoid overmixing.

How to fix a greasy cake?

A greasy cake usually results from too much fat or insufficient dry ingredients to absorb the fat. To fix it, try reducing the amount of fat or increasing the flour in your recipe. However, a cake that’s already baked and greasy cannot be fixed.

How to fix a cake that doesn’t rise?

If a cake doesn’t rise, it’s often due to old or insufficient leavening agents or the batter being mixed improperly. For future bakes, ensure your baking powder or soda is fresh and mix the batter just enough to combine the ingredients. A cake that hasn’t risen can’t be fixed after baking but can be repurposed in trifle or cake pops.

How to deal with a cake stuck in the tin?

If a cake is stuck in the tin, let it cool slightly, then loosen the edges with a butter knife. If that doesn’t work, place a slightly damp, warm towel under the pan for a few minutes to moisten the cake and make it easier to remove.

How to avoid a burnt cake?

To avoid a burnt cake, set the correct temperature and time according to the recipe. Using an oven thermometer can help ensure accurate temperature. Also, position your cake in the center of the oven to ensure even baking.

How to avoid a raw cake?

Avoid a raw cake by thoroughly preheating your oven before baking and setting the timer for the minimum baking time. Test for doneness with a toothpick: the cake is made if it comes out clean or with a few crumbs. If not, bake a bit longer and test again.

How to avoid splits in a cake?

Splits in cakes can occur due to a too-hot oven, which causes the outside to bake and set rapidly while the inside continues to rise. Ensure your oven temperature is accurate, and try reducing the temperature slightly if splits persist.

How to avoid a dry cake?

To avoid a dry cake, do not overbake it. Remove it from the oven when a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Also, ensure you’re using the right amount of fats and liquids, as these provide moisture to the cake.

How to avoid a cake sunk in the middle?

A cake sinks in the middle often due to underbaking or too much leavening agent, causing the cake to rise quickly and collapse. Ensure your cake is fully baked before removing it from the oven and that you use the right amount of baking powder or baking soda.

How to avoid a too-dense cake?

A cake can become too dense from overmixing the batter, which develops the flour’s gluten, or too much liquid or fat, which can weigh the cake down. To avoid a dense cake, mix the ingredients until just combined, follow the recipe measurements accurately, and ensure your leavening agents are fresh and measured correctly. The right balance of these elements will help create a light and fluffy cake.


I live in Los Angeles with my better half, Dave, and our child, Corey. Each second with them is the acknowledgment of my fantasies working out as expected — and for that? I am so extremely thankful. Hi! I am Diana Rodriguez, the founder, author, and photographer of ATD.

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