Tapping a Cake Tin
Q: Do you need to tap a cake tin on the bench before baking a cake?
A: Believe it or not, all cakes will benefit from at least a gentle tap on the benchtop a few times before putting into the oven – even sponges! This tapping will remove any large air pockets that may cause a ‘holey’, uneven texture in your finished cake and will ensure a more even, finer crumb texture. This is typical of cakes with light, airy batters which have lots of air (for thin batters like these you will actually see the air bubbles rise to the surface when you do this) that has been incorporated through whisking, such as a sponge cake but it is also a good technique to use with cakes with thicker batters like a buttercake.
This technique is also used to ‘settle’ the batter into the tin and make sure there are no gaps between it and the tin at the base or around the sides. This is common with thick, heavy batters, such as rich fruit cake ones, or batters that hold their shape, and therefore may not fill the corners of a tin well without being encouraged to do so.
Generally, the heavier the cake batter, the more forcefully you can tap or drop the cake tin. With more delicate-style cake batters, like sponge cakes and buttercakes, I only tap very gently on a bench 2-3 times (you will see the larger air pockets rising immediately to the surface) but a rich fruit cake can be (and often needs to be) dropped 3-4 times from a height of 30-60cm (1-2ft) onto the floor to settle it.