Banana Cake Cure

Every time I bake a banana cake from scratch, it falls in the center when it cools. The recipe I have calls for two 8-inch round baking pans, but I prefer to bake the cake in a 13-inch x 9-inch x 2-inch pan. Could that cause the cake to fall? —K.F., Vanderbilt, Michigan

Actually, there are a number of things that could cause your banana cake to fall. But baking it in the larger pan instead of two smaller ones is most likely not the problem. Be sure to check your oven temperature for accuracy by using an oven thermometer. An oven that is too cold (isn't heating to the proper temperature called for in the recipe) can cause cakes to fall. And don't open the oven door during the first 15 minutes of baking. After this, open the oven door gently to avoid sudden movement or temperature changes that could cause the cake to fall. Cakes that are under-baked can also fall. A cake should be baked until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean…and is firm to the touch when lightly pressed. It is also possible that the recipe you are using has an imbalance of ingredients. Too much liquid, leavening or sugar, as well as too little flour, can all cause cakes to fall.