I have tried one or two different cake recipes but each time the bottom of the cake and the sides end up burnt and the centre is still uncooked or partially cooked. Any ideas on what I am doing wrong or is it the oven. This has happened with both pound cake and sponge cake recipes.
Cake burnt outside but raw in centre
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I generally bake a sponge cake at 150c (fan oven - middle shelf) lower but longer has worked well for me. I agree with remment3333 - that is, to buy an oven thermometer.
Ensure that cake pans are not too big - that they are touching sides of oven.
You might also consider a maintenance check on your oven - a faulty thermostat can cause uneven baking.
Hope ths helps!