Dozens of kitchen gadgets come in handy when baking a delicious cake, cupcakes, or muffins. Yet, one of the most useful tools for bakers is not only cordless but usually boasts a price tag of less than $3. So, what is this magical instrument? It's a toothpick.
These pointy slivers of wood can be used to easily level a cake. However, more often than not, bakers will use them to test the doneness of baked goods through a method called "the toothpick test," which involves inserting one of the skinny sticks in the middle of a treat. If it comes out clean, the baked good is ready to be taken out of the oven, but if the toothpick comes out with a layer of batter on it, it needs to continue cooking.
This technique is certainly useful, though it isn't exactly foolproof. Some say you shouldn't use a toothpick to test a cake's doneness, especially if you're making, say, chocolate lava cakes, which are meant to have a runny middle. Still, there is a way to tell whether the dessert is underbaked using a toothpick. You just have to switch up your strategy a bit and insert your toothpick about half an inch from the outer edge of the cake and see if it comes out clean. Then, you can do a second poke in the middle to make sure it's still runny and hasn't overcooked.
Other Signs That Your Chocolate Lava Cake Is Done
In the 2014 movie "Chef," chef Carl Caper, portrayed by Jon Favreau, argues that chocolate lava cake isn't just "undercooked chocolate cake." The "molten" aspect of the dessert comes from a disc of frozen chocolate ganache that melts in the center of the treat as the cake bakes around it. He's not wrong. As it turns out, there are a couple of methods of making the mi-cut cake. One technique, which some argue is the easiest of the two, is to use frozen chocolate ganache to achieve the oozing center. The second is to cook your lava cake until it has the perfect balance of cooked and uncooked batter so you get a moist outer layer of cake with a runny center.
The toothpick test is a good way to determine that the cake has attained this duo of consistencies, but if you don't happen to have a toothpick handy, there are other ways to check. One alternative method is giving the ramekin the dessert is baking in a small shake. When doing this, you want to observe that the center of the decadent treat has some slight jiggle to it while the outer edge is nice and firm. You can also check for these qualities by lightly pressing your finger on the top of the cake. Another sign the lava cake is done is if the edges start to rise.
Read the original article on Mashed.