TikTok Says Thermometers Are Best To See If Your Cake Is Done - Not Toothpicks

For anyone who loves making and eating cookies, brownies, bread, or cakes, it's an exciting moment when those baked goodies come out of the oven. The delicately-browned surfaces looks gorgeous as the kitchen fills with the a swoon-worthy aroma. Unfortunately, the outside of the baked treat doesn't tell the whole story: The biggest challenge is knowing if it's properly baked through on the inside, and that's especially critical for cakes. Underbaking means the structure will collapse or be raw; over-baking creates a dry and unappealing texture.

The old standby for determining doneness has been to stick a toothpick into just-baked cake, and if it comes out clean with no clinging crumbs, then the cake is baked through. On TikTok "Next Level Chef" contestant Roice Bethel says what a clean toothpick actually indicates is that the cake is overbaked. Although there is a trick to save over-baked cakes, so much moisture has been lost that the cake will likely be disappointingly dry and crumbly. 

Save the toothpicks for spearing cubes of cheese at cocktail parties — Bethel says the really foolproof way to check your cake is to use a digital thermometer, and pulling your cake from the oven when it hits this temperature.  

Keeping some moisture in the cake creates the best texture

Chef Roice Bethel demonstrates in his TikTok video that a cake baked until a skewer (used in place of a toothpick) comes out clean has an internal temperature of 212°F or higher. At that temperature, water turns to steam and rapidly exits the cake, leaving behind a texture that's very firm and dry. Nobody wants a hard, dry cake! 


This is why you should never use a toothpick to check if your cake is done. That method works but it’ll always result in an overcooked cake that is dry and crumbly rather than moist and tender. #cakehack #bakinghacks #baking #bakingtiktok #foodie #learnontiktok

♬ Snowman – Sia

Bethel says a better choice is to let a digital thermometer be your cake tester, and the temperature you're looking for is about 205°F — even though there may be crumbs clinging to the thermometer, the cake is ready to come out. It's a small temperature difference, but a crucial one, because it means the cake is no longer raw but still has moisture trapped inside. Pulled from the oven at this temperature, the chef's cooled cake is visibly springy and tender.

In the past, the tools available to home bakers to determine cake doneness were limited, hence the reliance on something cheap and easily available like toothpicks and wood skewers. Luckily, instant read thermometers are easy to find these days and can be low-cost. That's a reasonable and worthwhile investment to get perfectly moist cakes every time