I remember reading that some people level their cakes by pressing down on them. Do you put some kind of weight on them? When I press down on mine they bounce back.
i'm curious about this, too.. i read it somewhere, but never could find any info when i tried to search for it.
I have tried two ways. I have used the same size pan to place on top of the newly cooked cake straight out of the oven. I put a weight in it to help it smoosh the cake. That works great if you have the right size and the pan fits into the other, but I have also had problems with the top getting moist from the heat and then the top comes off when I remove the weighted pan. Now, not alot comes off but just enough for it to be annoying especially if you don't crumb coat. I have always used wax or parchment in between the cooked cake and the smooshy pan, btw.
Having said that the way I have been doing it is by using a clean cloth right after I take it out I use my whole hand to push on the top of the cake. I have also used my fondant smoother to keep going over the cake many times while adding pressure, which a clean cloth in between. You have to be careful not to squish it too much with your fingertips. My instructor in Wilton 1 said she uses a damp cloth but I never had to do that. Also, sometimes because you squish it, it seems a bit harder to release, so make sure you go around the edges with a butter knife or spatula to make sure the sides didn't stick.
I was was doing this for a while until I got feedbacks from some customers that my cakes have suddenly gone too dense/hard. I was since stopped and just level with a knife and enjoy the cut off bits with a cuppa tea!
I do use this method on sheet cakes. However, I would discourage you from using this method if
you are stacking cakes. Using a cake leveler will give you better results.
I do this and it has worked well for me.
This method only works with mix cakes. Scratch cakes will bounce back.
I prefer to level b/c I found that the cakes were becoming too "wet". The tops that were pushed down became too dense when hot and kept the heat in or something. It almost looked underdone.
IF you do this, it must be done as soon as the cake comes out of the oven. Anything can be used - a cooling rack; cookie sheet; another pan, your hand - whatever.
I stopped doing it because my cakes developed splits at the edges - usually about 1-2" long. Plus I felt the consistency of the cake where it had been compressed was different then the rest of the cake.
If the 'hump' is very slight, maybe it's o.k.
Better to bake your cakes at a lower temp so they bake w/o a hump
A cake leveler is a great investment. Wilton's big leveler is HORRIBLE! (Unless they have improved it in the past yr.) - don't waste your money.
You don't have to go for the Argby (sp?) - there are others on the market that will work.
If you have a long knife that will fit from one side to the pan to the other, put the cake back into the pan after it has cooled and run the knife along the edges of the pan. Much better way than compressing it IMHO.
I use a clean, dry kitchen towel to press down the tops with my hands immediately after the cakes come out of the oven. Be careful because the steam can come through the towel and it's piping hot! Never had a problem.