Cake Leveling???am I The Only One Who Does This?

Decorating By Tonja Updated 14 Aug 2006 , 9:54pm by mkerton

loriemoms Posted 30 Jul 2006 , 12:06am
post #91 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachcakes

Just an FYI. this method doesn't work on scratch cakes. I use this all the time when i use a mix.




Ah, that must explain a lot about some of the hints on here...I have tried a few hints (like wrapping your cakes while they are hot in plastic wrap. My cakes completely fall apart if you even touch them while hot!) and they just don't work for me. My cakes are so moist, mashing them down just turns them into a pile of mush. It looked like it was till raw in the middle or something.

dandelion56602 Posted 30 Jul 2006 , 10:01pm
post #92 of 121

Ok, tell me what I did wrong?

I did this Friday w/ a cake. I ended up w/ a sunken middle. not so much that I couldn't salvage the cake (just went to a cookout) but when I assembled the cake the layers were like this / \\ on the sides. Not pointed at the top. It was still flat but the side were hideously uneven.

Did I not cook the cakes long enough (I use the method of pressing lightly w/ a finger) or did I push down too hard/too long? Can someone tell me what happened? I did end up w/ pretty even edges though so that was a plus.

dodibug Posted 7 Aug 2006 , 12:31pm
post #93 of 121

I don't think you cooked long enough dandelion. I used to get a sunken middle and figured out it could be a couple of things: not cooking long enough, oven temp not right(get an oven thermometer-my oven runs 15 degrees hotter than the dial says!). I found I had to go thru trial and error to see with my recipes what works best for me in baking and timing. Good part is you can eat your mistakes!

Cookie_Brookie Posted 7 Aug 2006 , 3:11pm
post #94 of 121

I used this method for the first time a few days ago and it turned out great!!! My cake was moist and not to dense. I used wax paper to push on them with. I will definatly use this technique in the future.

LittleLinda Posted 8 Aug 2006 , 11:52am
post #95 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by fearlessbaker

i do what Rezzi does only with parchment. Tell me though do you still use the strips? I hate those things!!



Why do you hate the strips? I wouldn't bake a cake without them!

Maire Posted 8 Aug 2006 , 12:27pm
post #96 of 121

I know I hate the strips because they give my cakes a funny taste.

cakesbyjess Posted 8 Aug 2006 , 7:51pm
post #97 of 121

I wonder why the strips give your cake a funny taste? They don't touch the cake at all. I wouldn't ever bake a cake without the strips again. I think they're magical.

labrat Posted 8 Aug 2006 , 8:02pm
post #98 of 121

I don't use the strips anymore cause they burned and the cake picked up that flavour. I bake at 325 and the cake usually doesn't need any levelling.

bkdcakes Posted 8 Aug 2006 , 8:11pm
post #99 of 121

I don't usually have to level my cakes. I don't use the store bought strips, though. I learned from my cake baking mentor to cut towels into strips, double thickness, dampen with water, wrap around sides of pan & bake at suggested temp for cake. They are always very smooth-topped. I now have a collection of sizes for my most used pans. thumbs_up.gif

LittleLinda Posted 8 Aug 2006 , 8:27pm
post #100 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkdcakes

I don't use the store bought strips, though. I learned from my cake baking mentor to cut towels into strips, double thickness, dampen with water, wrap around sides of pan & bake at suggested temp for cake



Me either, I use heavyweight quilted cotton strips. I used to have bake-even, but they got crackly ... and they were hard to wet too!

Welcome to the forums; I see that was your second post!

cakesbyjess Posted 8 Aug 2006 , 8:28pm
post #101 of 121

labrat, did you get the strips soaking wet (and then wring them out) before you put them on the pan? They shouldn't have burned. I've never had that happen. I'm sorry you had a bad experience with them.

moralna Posted 8 Aug 2006 , 8:46pm
post #102 of 121

I used the Wilton strips on a square 14" cake and it came out perfectly. They are great. I also use the press down method on my cakes and cupcakes and it works great - especially on the cupcakes - it makes them even in height and sometimes I also put a light cookie sheet on top of the dish towel for cupcakes (did it last nighticon_smile.gif and they came out great!

labrat Posted 8 Aug 2006 , 10:27pm
post #103 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbyjess

labrat, did you get the strips soaking wet (and then wring them out) before you put them on the pan? They shouldn't have burned. I've never had that happen. I'm sorry you had a bad experience with them.




Yes, I used them properly. I had used the strips successfully a number of times, following the instructions to the letter. They burst into flames in the oven. Michael's refunded my money because I still had the receipt.

bkdcakes Posted 8 Aug 2006 , 11:22pm
post #104 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheVienneaus

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkdcakes

I don't use the store bought strips, though. I learned from my cake baking mentor to cut towels into strips, double thickness, dampen with water, wrap around sides of pan & bake at suggested temp for cake


Me either, I use heavyweight quilted cotton strips. I used to have bake-even, but they got crackly ... and they were hard to wet too!

Welcome to the forums; I see that was your second post!




Thanks TheVienneaus! I have been reading & looking for a while, just now getting brave enough to enter contests & comments. I love this site!

subaru Posted 8 Aug 2006 , 11:34pm
post #105 of 121

I hate the strips! Too much trouble!
I also use the cover and press method, although my family does miss the scraps.

LittleLinda Posted 9 Aug 2006 , 11:15am
post #106 of 121

I have shared this tip before regarding baking strips. I attach them to the pan with binder clips.

oneposhbabychef Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 5:11am
post #107 of 121

HI Everybody,

I'm new to cake decorating, like really new. My first cake was the teddy bear cake and I made that last week so that is how new I am.

Few questions:

Leveling cake - When you level a cake, what does it need to be level with? The top of the cake pan? I use a serrated knife but I'm not sure how much I'm supposed to cut off...I've just been cutting off the peak but that probably is not enough.

Leveling cake #2 - I baked a 6" cake and an 8" cake tonight and it seemed like it took forever to bake! I had my timer on 25 minutes and the cake wasn't no where near done. When I took the cake out it, I tried to push the top down on one of them (I was reading this board right before it was time to level it) and it wouldn't go down without cracking? Is the cake overdone? I don't know why I would need to use the rose nail method on a cake that small. I baked on 350 degrees and I have a gas oven. Please offer any suggestions.

Leveling cake #3 - When you level the cake and take the top off, do you icing the cake with the cut off part on the top or bottom? And, how do you keep the cake moist? I've found that using these Wilton pans have made my cakes dry....when I use stoneware they are so moist. I like moist cake. I've been using Duncan Hines mix for practice because a box is only .89 at Target. What would you recommend me using for cake batter, and for cheap while i'm learning.

Thanks for all your help.

dodibug Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 12:42pm
post #108 of 121

Hi tamifaye and welcome to CC! Let me see if I can answer a couple of things for you!

1- When I level a cake I look at the cake out of the pan. For me there is usually a distinct area that just looks like it needs to go. I don't use the push down method but love my 2.99 wilton small leveler. I found it will tear up the cake if you try to level when the cake is warm-must be completly cool!

2-I would get an oven thermometer. Most oven temps are off and you have no way of knowing it without a thermometer. The crusty top is one reason I don't like the push down method. That top tastes different than the rest of the cake and I find my fillings don't work as well with that top still in place. My 8in cakes take up to 45 min sometimes depending on the recipe I use ( I always use doctored cake mixes-lots of threads on here about that!) You just have to get your oven temp right and learn how long your recipes take to cook. Also measure your batter (charts in wilton yearbook,on wilton site and this site)

3-When putting a cake together, this is the order I put them together: bottom layer,bottom down then filling/icing then flip the next layer over so the tops are now together and the bottom is up. That way you get a nice smooth top to ice! I also like to torte my layers but that is another lesson for another day!icon_smile.gif

4-Try experimenting with different cake mixes to see which one you like best/that turns out the texture and taste you like. Wal-mart sells a couple of varieties for .88/.89. Maybe once your oven temp is right that might help with less dry cake.

HTH!
icon_smile.gifd

labrat Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 12:49pm
post #109 of 121

One further suggestion: get an oven thermometer and make sure your oven isn't out of wack. It is a valuable tool for anyone who uses an oven for anything!

nickymom Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 1:12pm
post #110 of 121

I never use a leveler. I always use thread....it cuts through the cake like butter and all my cakes always come out level and no tears. I start at the lowest end of the cake and pull across and Volia!

I'd like to try this new method mentioned though just to see for myself if it works.LOL

ChristaPaloma Posted 13 Aug 2006 , 1:28pm
post #111 of 121

I use a serrated knife for levelling (incrementally and I use the slices to make my husband some "cake in a bowl" so he keeps his hands off the real one lol). I use the cake leveller for torting though, but the thread method is also a great idea and great for torting.

kello Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 2:17am
post #112 of 121

O.K. I used the push down method tonight and one of my cakes ended up with a wrinke all the way around the outside edge. Now there is a ridge that will probably stick out when I go to ice it. Any ideas why this happened? Did I push too hard on that one? How can I fix it? They're in the freezer now until Thursday....

Thanks for any help.....

ChristaPaloma Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 11:16am
post #113 of 121

hah Yeah I'd guess you did push too hard... since they are already feezing, if it didn't already poof back out on it's own, the only thing left is to slice off the ridges and be sure to crumb coat that one.

LittleLinda Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 11:26am
post #114 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by kello

Now there is a ridge that will probably stick out when I go to ice it



Don't you turn the cake out upside down to frost it?

jguilbeau Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 11:44am
post #115 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by rezzycakes

I do it all the time!! I use wax paper and a smaller pan to push the tops down, although since I found out about the flower nail trick, I haven't had to do it to the larger cakes. I use my leveler to tort, not to level off tops.




What is the flower nail trick?

kello Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 2:11pm
post #116 of 121

[Don't you turn the cake out upside down to frost it?[/quote]

The wrinkle is all around the outside edge. Not quite big enough to trim. I would have to trim off the whole side, or just crumb coat it quite thick to try to hide it I guess...

JulieB Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 4:03pm
post #117 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaptlps

Have you guys who don't squish yer cakes tried leveling it while it was still in the pan??
You would use a large serrated knife and use the top of the pan as your guide. I like the squishee method myself though.




This is how I level all my cakes.

aobodessa Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 9:27pm
post #118 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaptlps

Have you guys who don't squish yer cakes tried leveling it while it was still in the pan??
You would use a large serrated knife and use the top of the pan as your guide.




This is the method I use and I've been decorating for 34 years. I find it works best for me, is very easy, and so much less frustrating.

mkerton Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 9:34pm
post #119 of 121

Aobodessa, or chaptlps....how soon do you level it in the pan....or do you just leave it in the pan while it cools?

aobodessa Posted 14 Aug 2006 , 9:39pm
post #120 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkerton

Aobodessa....how soon do you level it in the pan....or do you just leave it in the pan while it cools?




I let it sit in the pan and "settle" for about 5-10 minutes. Then I take a serrated knife, hold it steady on the top of the pan edge, and turn the pan so I get a "score all the way around the top. Then you can begin to move in to the center and remove the entire crown.

After the crown is removed (I put it in a bowl; that way little hands don't mess with my baked cakes! They get lots of "caketops" instead), I flip onto plastic wrap, wrap securely, and turn right side up as if it were still in the pan. The "crust" on the sides and bottom help to hold the shape better, while the plastic wrap will help to keep it moist. If it's large, I will freeze the layer so I can handle it easier for stacking.

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