Does This Butter Hack Really Make Picture-Perfect Loaf Cakes?

We've seen videos of people piping butter onto quick breads and loaf cakes, but what does it really do anyway?

Two pound cakes sitting side by side, one with a nice, even crack straight down the middle and the other looking slightly more off balance and asymetrical .

Nea Arentzen

Have you ever wondered how food bloggers and social media home-bakers get that perfect crack down the middle of their loaf cakes? Because I have. And I'm here to tell you that it's not as difficult as it might seem, and if I can do it, so can you.

I mean, how great would it be to open your oven door and pull out a perfectly golden-brown loaf with a straight and slightly puffed crack down the center every. single. time. Talk about satisfaction. Even if you're not a great baker, you sure look like one now.

Because social media has a hack for–let's face it–pretty much everything, from how to make the fudgiest brownies ever to the piece of kitchen equipment everyone has that will help you frost a cake like a pro, I can't say I was surprised to see yet another baking hack circling around the internet while scrolling Instagram. And not just any hack–a foolproof tip for achieving the so-called perfect crack that we all strive for when baking our banana breads, pumpkin breads, pound cakes, and more. So what did I do, you might ask? I immediately ran to my kitchen, grabbed my loaf pans, raided the cabinets for ingredients, and got to work.

What Is the “Line of Butter” Hack For Perfect Loaf Cake Cracks?

Now, for the hack. The trick is to pipe a line of softened butter down the middle of the loaf cake batter before baking. Some people use piping bags, and others simply use regular zip-top bags. I–because ease is always top of mind–used a zip-top bag and just snipped off the tip (about ¼-inch wide). Since the butter melts into the cake anyway, it didn't have to be perfect.

In order to see if the butter really made a difference or not, I baked two slightly different loaf cakes using the same recipe; one with a line of butter piped down the middle and one without (the control). Could I have baked just one and come to my conclusion that way? Sure. But how would I have known if the hack truly worked if I didn't compare the two? Plus, this way I got two cakes. I didn't need much convincing.

Does the “Line of Butter” Hack Work?

Once the timer finally went off after 45 long minutes, I ran to the kitchen, opened the oven door, and pulled out a loaf cake with one of the more perfect cracks I have ever seen (or at least, made). And, to my excitement–because it meant the butter hack actually worked–the other cake sported a far-less perfect crack (not as long, defined, or straight–see photo). The one thing I will say is that I wish the crack from the butter had been a little more exaggerated. Although it's certainly straight and defined, it could have been longer and a little wider.

I used a simple pound cake recipe (because hello, yum!) for this experiment, but you could use any loaf cake recipe you'd like (banana bread, lemon poppyseed, pumpkin bread, etc.). And, if you don't have access to a piping bag (here’s how to DIY one out of parchment paper) or have somehow run out of butter, I did also see people achieving a nice crack in their loaf cakes by dragging a knife down the center of the batter from top to bottom. However, as I did not include this method in my "experiment," I can neither confirm nor deny that it actually works.

Should You Try the “Line of Butter” Hack?

I was more than pleased with the results and will make sure to always have softened butter and a zip-top bag on deck whenever I bake going forward. If you want to look like a pro baker too and impress your friends and family (who wouldn't?), I say definitely give this a try!

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