Shelf Position

Hot Air Rises

Recipes rarely tell you which shelf position in your oven to use yet shelf position is as important as temperature when it comes to baking cakes. The following is from my home science notebook circa 1972 …

There are 5 shelf positions or runners provided in an oven, select the best according to the type of food you are being prepared.

As a general rule:

Above Centre: Foods which need to cook very fairly quickly and need a hot oven should be cooked on these shevles such as scones, pies, small cakes, biscuits and buns.

Centre Shelf:  Sponges, meringues, pavlovas.

Below Center: casseroles, joints, vegetables, custards, light and heavy fruit cake, but loaves, large meat and fruit pies.

Hilarious list of foods. Just what a 1950’s Australian housewife would be cooking.  In 1970’s,  I don’t think my mother even cooked a sponge, meringue or pavlova (more shame her!). But we certainly cooked scones and … small cakes a.k.a patty cakes a.k.a, you guessed it, cup cakes!

Regaless the facts remain the same. And the fact of interest to us here is that while a  cake would normally go on the middle shelf according to this cup cakes should go above center.

Another useful thing to know about shelf positions is that you never palce anything touching the oven wall.  Keep it at least an inch away.  Second, if you have more than one item on more than one shelf do not place them directly over each other. Stagger them so air can flow betwen them.

Posted by Annushka's Mum in
  1. […] middle because they might have cooked too slowly.  Instead of increasing the heat we decided to use the shelf just above center to see if that […]