You Should Never Break This Mary Berry Cake Rule

Considering she's been a celebrity chef since the 1970s, Mary Berry has built up an extensive repertoire of technically challenging cakes (via Ideal Home). From the spanische windtorte to the Charlotte royale, Berry's recipes are known for causing some of the worst baking mishaps as well as the most impressive masterpieces on "The Great British Bake Off," per the show's website. Complex as they are, the former host's golden rule of cake baking is actually quite simple, and it all comes down to where you place your cake pan in the oven. In each of her cake recipes, as well as on the show, Berry specifies, to use the middle or lower rack when baking a cake (via Eat This, Not That). 

While Berry applauds culinary creativity in "The Great British Bake Off," the oven is not exactly the best place to experiment with a recipe, least of all for a cake. Even when preheated to the right temperature, the texture of the cake could be easily ruined if placed too close to the top, especially since ovens often have uneven heating.

The higher, the drier

As much as Mary Berry stresses reading and rereading the written recipe, she only does so in order to ensure that the resulting dessert has the best possible flavor and texture (via Eat This, Not That). For cakes, moist and fluffy is ideal, so once the batter is perfected, it's up to the oven to do the rest. When baked on the top rack, "the crust is formed too soon, the cake continues to rise, therefore the crust cracks," Berry further explained on her personal blog.

Unless you want to cut into a dry, mealy cake, it's important to follow Berry's advice. However, if you do bake your cake on the middle or lower rack and you instead find your cake is far too wet or has sunken in, Berry says it's not the rack that's to blame, but rather the "oven door being opened too soon or under baking." It's better, of course, to underbake a cake at first than to overbake it, so just trust the process. As long as you're not forgetting to turn on the oven altogether, as former GBBO contestant Marie Campbell famously did in the "cinnamon swirls of doom" challenge (via YouTube), Berry assures us that baking a moist cake is fairly easy to achieve.