Our kitchen appliances have come a long way. But that also means they’re much more confusing. Every fancy oven seems to have a thousand different settings that all do different things!
So when an audience member asked Buddy about baking in a confusing convection oven, he felt her pain.
Q: Is it OK to use your oven's convection setting for baking?
A: “I’m going to let you guys in on a little secret: I have the most respect for the home baker,” says “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro. “When I wrote my book, I said that if I made the recipes at the bakery, it’s was cheating, he explained. “So I went home. I got a fancy oven, convection and this and that, and I was lost trying to bake in it.”
(And this is coming from the "Cake Boss" himself!)
Convection settings are more common on ovens now than they were 10 years ago — and they do have their perks. When the convection setting is turned on, the oven’s fan and exhaust systems work together, pulling hot air around your food. This means more even heating and fewer hotspots, which is when areas of the oven run hotter than the rest.
But convection ovens do have one obvious downside for the home baker: they heat more efficiently, which frequently means that the temperature reading is inaccurate, as Buddy found out when he tested his recipes at home.
“I put my cake in and it crowned a lot,” he explains. “And then I put an external thermometer inside and it was really 375 degrees when it should’ve been 350 degrees!” (Crowning is when the middle of the cake bakes upward and splits.)
“Most of our ovens," Rach adds, "even if they’re new, don’t burn true to what the gauge says.”
So Buddy and Rach’s number-one baking tip, whether you have a fancy convection oven or not? Invest in an inexpensive oven thermometer. Your baked goods will thank you!