I use the baking strips that you soak in water and put around the pans .. If I need to cut a cake, I use the Wilton cake leveler ... I set the cake on a cake board on my countertop and then I take the Wilton saw thing and level it .. comes out really well .. Hope this helps !
I have a tiny problem with that because of my counter top..it has a dip in it and if I don't position the cake off that dip...then I do get a dip in that direction!
Have you checked the tool/knife that you use to level the cakes with? The blade is in slots that may be off one level on each side as with the wire cutter may be off also...just a suggestion.
Use a leveler you get from home depot to make sure the surface is level first. If its not your cake saw wont make it level.
It does help...I wondered what the strips were for...what do they do?
See, that's the weird part...I put the individual rounds on a cake board and level them with the Wilton leveler...isn't that odd?? When are you supposed to level...right out of the oven or after it's cooled? Thank you!
jscakes...I thought maybe it was off too...so...okay you can laugh if you have to...I acutally measured the last one and it was perfectly level. I put icing in the center (making sure to keep it even) and put the second layer on top....a little while later...it began to look a little whimsical...which was not the plan!
i use to always level but i read on here to kind of smash it flat right out of the over. now thats what i do and it works great every time.
I used to level and level!!
Now as soon as the cake comes from the oven I cover with wax paper and then a folder thick towel. I then gently press down and the cake to push the excess hot air out of the cake- I never have to cut and level again! I use this method on lots of large wedding and other cakes!
It you must cut and level, purchase the cutting level such as sold at wilton, wal-mart in the cake/wilton section.
Purchase an inexpensive building level and make sure your working cabinet it level! The cover your leveled cake with wax paper, place the level on top to check to make sure it is straight!
i recently baked a 12x18 sheet cake and leveled it right out of the oven. when it came out, i put a piece of wax paper over it, then put a masonite board on top of that, then a book on top of that. it leveled it perfectly and i didn't have to trim anything. it was the first time i'd ever tried that, but it worked great!
I'd never heard the whole smashing concept again...richardskathy do you use paper towels or a kitchen towel...and is that a folded towel? I really don't think it's a surface level problem.
I've tried the "smashing" trick and I don't like it. Wonder if I've smashed it the wrong way...seems only one way to smash a cake!!! LOL!
What I usually do is fill my pans with a little extra batter and then level it with the Wilton large leveler before I take it out of the pan. I used to have a lot of problems...but after a lot of practice I feel like I am getting better.
Um....I hate to admit it....but now I'm confused w/all the different options LOL! Guess I'm easy to confuse LOL!
lol you should try them all and just stick to what you like the best. thats what i always do.
I think I need a magic wand or fairygodmother or something LOL
Try - fail - adjust
Try - fail - adjust
I have a new motto!
Lately I've been doing the smashing thing too. I usually put a smoothe (non-textured) kitchen towel over the cakes immediately after they get out of the oven. Then place a flat cookie sheet (I have to say flat because a lot of mine are pretty banged up) on top of the towel. Then I weight it down with something like our tea kettle, a stack of glass bowls, whatever is handy and fairly heavy. I leave that on there for 10 min. Then then I take all the stuff off the top and turn the cake out onto a cooling rack as usual. It seems to work really well. I also use this method to flatten out my cup cakes for when I'm doing a cupcake cake.
Thanx montana--- I think I have a lot of experimenting to do!
I do the same thing as Traci - I just fill the pans a little more than normal, and then cut the excess off before I take them out of the pan. My boyfriend usually likes to eat the scraps. So it all works out. I have never heard of the smashing thing. I will have to test that one out. Good luck. I just takes practice.
I used to cut my cake sto level, but they never came out perfect, until i tried the smashing thing! Now they are perfect and no extra crumbs! I do the same thing as montanakate!
My corners were sometimes not always very straight and I figured that the dam inside my layers was not far enough around the corners. I then started pipping my dams closer to the edge and it holds the cake perfectly in place and leveled...
I find that the blade on the Wilton leveler shifts if I don't hold it down with my thumbs. It doesn't shift levels, it just moves up and down because it is pliable. Try this - push down on the edges of the blade down with your thumbs when you are cutting the cake. That does the trick for me!
I also use the "smash" method (never really thought about it as that!). Immediately out of the oven, I put my large cooling rack on it and then put a cast iron frying pan on top of the cooling rack. I only have to leave it for about 2 minutes--perfectly level cake! It's the bomb and I've never gone back to "sawing" my cakes level.
Also--one thing that I learned on CC that was REALLY helpful was baking only at 325 and using a flower nail in the centers of my larger cakes. My 1/2 shee I barely have a crown on now that I use the flower nail.
I've never heard of the smash trick. I am going to have to try it. I still have trouble layering my cakes, to the point that I add more frosting in the bottom to even it out some...kind of like a filling.
I use the bake-even strips and then place a large cutting board on my cake as soon as it comes out of the oven to level it too. The only thing I ever have to do is trim a bit off the side corners because for me, the cutting board/smash method gives the cake a little lip.
Good luck experimenting!
I just let mine cool for about 20 min., put them on the cooling rack, let them finish cooling, wrap them, freeze them and then cut them while they're frozen. I don't have to worry about levelness. I've never had a problem with it with this method.
I've also filled my cake pans higher than should be (about 3/4 full) and cut off the excess after it's cooled for 20 min. I like that one too (mainly because you're not only garaunteed an even top, but a higher cake). Great for torting.
"Also--one thing that I learned on CC that was REALLY helpful was baking only at 325 and using a flower nail in the centers of my larger cakes. My 1/2 shee I barely have a crown on now that I use the flower nail."
Hi Lisa, you've mention about the flower nail on your cake. How do you use it?
"Hi Lisa, you've mention about the flower nail on your cake. How do you use it?
I just spray it all over with Baker's Secret (cake release) and then put it in the center of the pan--flat side down. Pour in my batter and bake. It acts as a heating core without destroying as much of the cake as a regular core does. Basically all that is showing on the actual cake is a little hole where the nail was.
Using the flower nail was the best thing I've learned on CC. It's easy to do. You grease and flower it just as you do your pans. Before you pour your batter in the pan, place the nail in the center of your pan then pour your batter (carefully so the nail doesn't move.) When you are ready to take the cake out of the pan, gently flip the cake out (the nail will be on top now.) Then flip the cake back over onto your cooling rack. The nail usually falls right out.
I use my dinning table to level. Of course the fondation is not perfectly level in my dinning room. So I put a Level (the kind you get at home depot) on the table and put a towel under the leg of the table untill that little bubble is perfect. When you put your cake on the table to level it comes out perfect. You can set that level right on your cake after you cut to make sure it is level.
Okay...I am a rookie so I've got to ask...I think I know part of my problem...I don't think I'm using enough batter...my cakes don't rise to the top of the pan (I use a 2" deep round) So I don't think laying something on top would do anything. Jscakes---I'm with you...I tried smashing last night and it looked like a crooked pan cake!!