Sometimes when I make a cake it rises very unevenly. A hundred-year-old cookbook gave me a clue about what might cause the problem:
A moderate oven will give the best results for nearly all cakes.
If the batter rises in a cone in the center you are using too hot an oven, and a crust has formed before the mixture has had time to rise; or too much flour has been used.
Mrs. DeGraf’s Cook Book (1922)