How Do I Make A Flat Cake?

Decorating By kelsiedelizzle Updated 31 May 2008 , 5:30am by indydebi

kelsiedelizzle Posted 26 May 2008 , 1:38pm
post #1 of 18

My cakes always end up domed... and it's ever worse because my entire kitchen, including the oven, is on a slight slant.

So, how does it work? I use a leveler to make the cake, well, more level, but because it domes so much, I feel like I'm cutting off half the cake!

TIA!

17 replies
indydebi Posted 26 May 2008 , 2:16pm
post #2 of 18

Do you use baking strips? I won't do a cake without them, no matter what size. Here's a link that explains the science of baking strips and why they work ... and why your cakes dome without them. http://forum.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=3467363#3467363

I also discovered 20+ years ago that grease-only-no-flour caused my cakes to rise higher and bake better. In my home oven, I bake cakes at 325 (all sizes) ..... shop convection oven, I bake at 275.

The baking strips wont' guarantee ZERO doming ... but they reduce it considerably.

emzbubble Posted 26 May 2008 , 6:22pm
post #3 of 18

I agree, Wilton baking strips are great, if you haven't got any you can also used wet newspaper tyed round with string and works just as well.

Also check your oven temp as i only just realised my oven was out and i had the heat on too much.

Em icon_biggrin.gif

lucy_01 Posted 26 May 2008 , 9:49pm
post #4 of 18

I live in a high altitude state, and my cakes always came out domed or sunk in the middle, untill I bought an oven thermometer and the baking strips. I also bake my cake at 325 instead of 350 and just add on about 5 min baking time. My cakes have come out of the oven flat every time. Good luck!

Texas_Rose Posted 26 May 2008 , 10:29pm
post #5 of 18

If your oven is electric, it's not too hard to level them. You pull out the drawer at the bottom and then there are little legs on screws in each of the corners. Just unscrew whichever one needs it in order to be level. If the whole house is at a slant, it won't really affect your cakes as much as you might think...the last place I lived leaned pretty badly, to the point that none of our doors closed right, the drawers popped open on the dressers, the water was an inch higher on one side of my fish tanks than the other, etc...and I still managed to bake decent cakes. We've moved to more level ground now icon_razz.gif and I haven't noticed any difference in my cakes.

One thing that helps me with baking a flatter cake is to put a flower nail upside down in the middle of the cake. Spray it with nonstick spray first, and after you turn the cake out of the pan, the nail is easy to take out (but very hot, be careful).

Also, mix extender recipes (lots of them on this site) bake a denser cake with less of a dome. WASC is the most popular and it really tastes good. You can make a half recipe so you don't end up with tons of cake.

loriemoms Posted 27 May 2008 , 2:13pm
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Do you use baking strips? I won't do a cake without them, no matter what size. Here's a link that explains the science of baking strips and why they work ... and why your cakes dome without them. http://forum.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=3467363#3467363

I also discovered 20+ years ago that grease-only-no-flour caused my cakes to rise higher and bake better. In my home oven, I bake cakes at 325 (all sizes) ..... shop convection oven, I bake at 275.

The baking strips wont' guarantee ZERO doming ... but they reduce it considerably.




Ok, I gotta ask...I am also one of those old fashion gals, and use the grease/flour and even line the bottom of my pans with parchment. I would LOVE to give up the mess of the flour! Are you saying you can just grease your pans and they come out fine? No flour??

(Btw, I agree, baking strips are the way to go and lower your oven temp...)

nicolepa Posted 27 May 2008 , 2:27pm
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by loriemoms



Ok, I gotta ask...I am also one of those old fashion gals, and use the grease/flour and even line the bottom of my pans with parchment. I would LOVE to give up the mess of the flour! Are you saying you can just grease your pans and they come out fine? No flour??

(Btw, I agree, baking strips are the way to go and lower your oven temp...)




I use a mix of equal parts flour, oil, crisco. I mix it up and keep it in a small container. When I want to grease I use a paper towel to spread it around. I got this from a cake decorator almost 20 years ago and it has never failed me.

indydebi Posted 27 May 2008 , 5:57pm
post #8 of 18

I discovered this by accident 30 years ago (my oldest daughter was a baby). I poured the batter in the pans before I realized I'd forgotten to flour it. I said "heck with it!", baked it anyway, and I've never looked back.

They rise higher, they don't have that flour-film on the bottom (that contributes to cake crumbs) and the sides of the cake are beautiful since the flour isn't there to enhance the browning of the batter. (You ever make gravy? You put fat in the skillet and add flour ... the flour starts to "fry" and turns brown .... same thing happens in a cake pan that has fat and flour in a hot environment!)

My first choice for pan coating is CK Brand Pan Grease. If I'm out of that, I use Wilton Cake Release. If out out that, I use plain 'ole crisco.

But I used crisco-only for years before I found CK and Wilton brand stuff.

Next time you have to bake a couple of 8" cakes, treat one pan with grease/flour and the other with grease only and compare them.

waywordz Posted 28 May 2008 , 6:38am
post #9 of 18

Thank you for the tip indydebi! I was given the equal oil, crisco & flour recipe in class (I spread a thin layer using a brush and dislike the occasional stray fibers/hairs) and even though the flour taste isn't as bad as the old regular way I grew up with I still don't like it. I can't wait to give this a try!

indydebi Posted 28 May 2008 , 11:48am
post #10 of 18

I coat my pans using a piece of wax paper, or a small ziplok bag (use it like a glove). No stray 'hairs' and no spending money on special equipment.

alisoncooks Posted 28 May 2008 , 12:30pm
post #11 of 18

Crisco (I think, or Pam) makes a baking spray that has flour in it. It's a mess to spray (I do it on my deck icon_smile.gif) but I've had really good results with it. I'm too lazy to make my own crisco/flour combo...

as far as doming, I haven't really had that problem. I give my cakes the ole' press when they're still hot from the oven and that helps a lot. The any leveling doesn't have to take off that much.

nicolepa Posted 28 May 2008 , 3:25pm
post #12 of 18

Couple of other things I do. After I grease the pans I pop them in the freezer while I mix the cake up. After filling the pans I give them a good spin or two so that the batter is a bit lower in the middle than the edges.

Ladivacrj Posted 28 May 2008 , 3:26pm
post #13 of 18

A tip that was givin to me by an instructor, was to only grease and flour (she used pan release) the bottom of the pan and leave the sides clean.

The batter climbs the sides of the pan when baking, instead of sliding. It works great and if you have to, you can loosen the sides with a spatula and the bottom comes right out.

indydebi Posted 28 May 2008 , 5:45pm
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladivacrj

A tip that was givin to me by an instructor, was to only grease and flour (she used pan release) the bottom of the pan and leave the sides clean.

The batter climbs the sides of the pan when baking, instead of sliding. It works great and if you have to, you can loosen the sides with a spatula and the bottom comes right out.




But the science behind that theory is illogical.

The heat source when baking is at the bottom of the oven. Ergo the heat is PUSHING the batter up the side of the pan. When the pan is greased, then the batter can more easily slide UP the side of the pan ... which is why my cakes tend to rise higher than the pan.

In high school home ec, they tried to say "How would you like to try to climb the side of a mountain?" Illogical. Gravity is pulling my lard-butt DOWN the side of the mountain while I struggle to overcome gravity. BUT ... if my "heat source", otherwise known as my fellow mountain climber, was shoving their foot at my butt to give me a big PUSH UP the side of the mountain, I'd sure go further if the mountain was crisco slick!!

When people give these examples, they forget the heat source is at the bottom of the oven, pushing the batter UP the pan ... they tend to think in terms of regular gravity and that the batter is being pulled up the sides of the pan, fighting gravity.... and that's not really the case.

kelsiedelizzle Posted 29 May 2008 , 7:53pm
post #15 of 18

I love cake science icon_smile.gif

I'm going to try these different tips when I bake today. Unfortunately I have no baking strips (yet!!!) but I will lower the oven temp, not use flour, and hopefully the cake will be less domed. Of course I'll still press it down once its out of the oven if it needs it and if worse comes to worse I can cut off the dome.
Hopefully, the cake will turn out beautifully flat and ready to decorate! icon_biggrin.gif

Thanks to everyone who put in their 2 cents, I appreciate ya! icon_smile.gif

kelsiedelizzle Posted 31 May 2008 , 1:04am
post #16 of 18

Okay, so I used the nail, the lower temp, parchment paper, and the cake was pretty much flat.

I turned the cake around in the over 1/2 way through baking to even out the unevenness of the oven... but there is still a slight rise to one side of the cake icon_sad.gif Oh, well, you can't win everything. The cake was flatter than normal though.

Oh, and one last question: Do you normally make 1 or 2 layers when you make a rectangular cake? Because I'm afraid of torting and I normal just make 1 layer because that's what the cake mix makes. Just wondering!

joy5678 Posted 31 May 2008 , 4:26am
post #17 of 18

I was wondering about the sheet cakes too. Do most of you make your sheets 1 or 2 layers? The Wilton serving chart goes by 2 layers which says a 9x13 party size will feed 45. A one layer serves 24, 2x2 pcs. ?? Do you give customers their choice of single/double layers & charge per serving?
Or do you just offer a standard 1 or 2 layer cake? Most folks in my area just expect a 1 layer.

indydebi Posted 31 May 2008 , 5:30am
post #18 of 18

On my price sheet, I list both with number of servings each (example, 11x15 ... single layer serves 35; double layer serves 70). Most in our area just expect a single layer non-torted cake.

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