Avoid This Big Mistake When Baking Cake In An Air Fryer

An air fryer isn't just a super-convenient cooking appliance, it's also extremely versatile. Basically, it can do anything your oven can do, only it does it faster (mostly because of its smaller size). The only caveat is it cannot fit as much food as an oven. Unfortunately, due to the "frying" part of the appliance's name, people are often unaware or hesitant to try other cooking techniques that are regularly performed in an oven, such as baking a cake. But an air fryer is an excellent way to accomplish tasks like baking a cake, as long as you avoid one big mistake.

Air fryers typically have a heating element above the food that is coupled with a fan that circulates the hot air around the food to cook it. By comparison, in an oven, the heat rises up and around the baking pan. In an air fryer, the heat blows down directly on the top of your cake. To keep the batter from crisping (and splattering), it is best to cover the top with aluminum foil. Forgetting to do this can make your cake as crispy as fried chicken. While that might be an appealing characteristic for comfort food, it is not the most appetizing texture for a dessert.

Two other important tips for baking a cake in an air fryer

Besides heat that originates from the top of the appliance instead of the bottom, an air fryer is smaller, so it heats faster. This means a recipe for an oven will not work because it will be too hot and have a cooking time that may be too long. A good rule of thumb — if you do not have a recipe specifically for an air fryer — is to reduce the temperature by 25 degrees, reduce the cooking time by 20%, and check often to make sure you are not overcooking the cake.

Another aspect that you should consider is an air fryer cooks from the outside in (like most cooking methods). The critical difference is the heat is more intense, so even if you cover your cake, you might get a crispy exterior before the insides have finished baking. To adjust for that, consider making smaller cakes. The larger the cake, the longer it will take for the heat to fully work its way in, and the crunchier the outside will become.