On Saturday we made a tray of mac and cheese for the block party. I mixed the ingredients, and threw it in the oven for 20 minutes. When I took it out, the top had started to burn, and I almost had ruined it. I figured it was just that I had left it in there too long and it wasn't as deep as it could have been. And it was still quite a hit, burned top and all. I saw at least one neighbor eating the crunchy top by itself.
Then Sunday we bought cake mix for cupcakes, which the kids were going to frost with colored frosting. I make the mix, painstakingly pour the batter into cupcake pans, and bake it. After 17 minutes, well they look strange. The tops are all misshapen, and several were burnt. I figured again, I had somehow left the food in too long, and also that our oven was drastically uneven in cooking. But it looked like most of the cupcakes would be salvageable and the kids would frost them and all would be well. As they cool however, it seems the bottoms are going to be soggy.
It was then I happened to look at the oven and notice it was set to "broil" instead of "bake". That would do it.
I quickly whipped up a bunch of vanilla cupcakes from scratch and baked them on "bake". They came out fine, once I actually baked them.
I realized the problem was on our old oven, to turn it on you had to select either "bake" or "broil" and then set the temperature. Our current one you just turn the temp dial, and there's another knob to select "bake" or "broil" so it's whatever you set it to last. I don't use the oven enough to remember to set it back or something. Lesson learned.