January 03 2023
How to Bake the Best Air Fryer Cake
Air fryers are versatile gadgets. They have several functions, which mean they can be used to prepare and cook a huge variety of different food items - including cakes! Despite what the name might imply, air fryers can be used for baking, so you can also whip up delicious cakes. Tempted to try making an air fryer cake yourself? Continue reading this post for some tips and tricks to ensure you achieve an irresistibly delicious, light, fluffy air fryer cake.
Why consider using an air fryer to bake your cake?
There are a few things that make air fryers a particularly enticing option for cake baking:
- They need less time to preheat
- They’re more energy efficient
- They’re easier to clean
What would an air fryer cake be like? How different would it be to an oven-baked cake?
The general consensus across the internet is that it’s not really much different at all. However, I decided to test this myself, by baking my own cake in an air fryer, to figure out how it works and see what the results would be.
The first, and most important, thing to emphasise is that each brand of air fryer is different. This will determine the size and shape of the cakes you can make, as well as the baking time and heat needed. I used the EMtronics Digital Air Fryer to bake my cakes, so all of the information and advice in this post is based on this brand of air fryer.
Typically, air fryers can bake cakes sized between 6” and 8”. I used an 8” cake tin, which fit perfectly inside the EMtronics air fryer. Actually, there was plenty of room around it, so I think you’d even be able to get away with using a slightly larger cake pan in this air fryer.
I chose to make a brown sugar sponge cake, following a recipe I was familiar with, having used it a couple of times previously. When initially experimenting with air fryer baking, it’s best to stick with a simple, familiar recipe so you can focus on evaluating and tweaking your air fryer baking method. It also gives you the perfect opportunity to compare and contrast cakes baked both ways. I was also prepared to have several attempts in order to get it right, as there’s a bit of adjusting needed to compensate for some of the differences between the appliances.
The batter preparation process wasn’t really any different, except for the fact that I prepared the tin and made the batter before preheating. When oven-baking, preheating is my first step, but, this time, I worked through all other steps first, then pre-heated the air fryer for a few minutes, just before popping the cake in.
The EMtronics Air Fryer features a number of presets, including ‘preheat’ and ‘cake’ presets. I tried the presets first, as I was curious to see how well they worked for a cake. They’re also easy to just set up and go, as an added bonus. The ‘cake’ preset sets the air fryer to cook at 180°c for 25 minutes, but it turns out this wasn’t quite right for my cake. Despite being close to what the recipe recommended for oven cooking, my cake, though nicely browned on top, also suffered a significant crack and an undercooked centre - even after popping it back in (with a foil covering to prevent the already-browned top from burning) for a further 10 minutes. For my second attempt, I entered the temperature and time manually (which was still pretty easy to do), so I could set it to bake for 30 minutes at 160°c. This one turned out much better - it was a lovely, golden-brown colour and, overall, had the consistency and texture of a cake that had been baked in an oven.
Having tried baking an air fryer cake for myself, I can confidently say that there isn’t a significant difference between a cake baked in an oven and a cake baked in an air fryer. The air fryer cake certainly isn’t worse than the oven one. In fact, I found that not only did mine look as good as my previous oven-baked cakes, it was actually lighter, fluffier, and less dry.
I also found that I quite enjoyed the air fryer cake baking experience. The quick preheat, plus the handy timer system - which can be set to cover the exact time you need, and beeps audibly, turning off the system when the set amount of time has elapsed - made for a more efficient process. It was nice being able to set it and forget it, without the hassle of trying to remember to set a timer or forgetting to take the cake out in time. The EMtronics air fryer also has a nice, clear window with a light function, which allowed me to easily check my cake’s progress as it baked.
Air fryer cake baking might not be for everyone - ultimately, personal preference and the type of cake you’re baking will really influence your experience. However, I certainly enjoyed it, and would encourage anyone else who’s interested or curious to give it a try.
To finish, here’s a more concise round-up of the most important things to remember when baking a cake in an air fryer, to ensure you perfect your technique with minimal hassle:
- Each air fryer is different, and this will affect the cakes you’re able to bake and the time required to bake them
- Air fryers can generally bake cakes between 6” and 8” - make sure you have the right sized tin for your appliance
- Start off with a recipe that is simple and familiar, and be prepared to make several attempts
- You will need to preheat your air fryer, like you would an oven, but for less time
- Cakes baked in an air fryer are likely to brown quicker on the outside, so it’s better to bake at a lower temperature and, if yours is browning too quickly, cover the top in tin foil to prevent burning
Are you going to try air fryer cake baking? Maybe you’ve already tried it? If you have any questions about baking with an air fryer share them in the comments. You can find out more about the EMtronics Air Fryer here.