ok tell me the trick that some of you do where you dump the cake as soon as it's out of the oven so the excess smooshes together instead of leveling it???
want to try it on an extra cake tonight...
I don't know if it's right to do or not, I learned it from Youtube! But, within one minute of taking my cakes out of the oven I lay a kitchen towel on the top and press down to flatten my cakes. Be careful; the steam escaping can BURN! I guess it has to be done within just a minute or two or the cake will just spring back up. It seems to work great for me, and the cakes are more tight and dense. I don't know exactly how much pressure you're supposed to use so I just pull back the towel and look for uneven areas, and press a little more.
I so the same thing as Calyssa, immediately when I remove it from the oven I smooth the high or uneven spots down with a thick dish towel. I have also found that some recipes smoosh better than others and some recipes don't need it as much.
Or . . . use the bottom of a cookie sheet. Lay the cookie sheet on top of the pan and push the sheet so that it meets the edges of the cake pan. That way you know everything's level. Just pushing with your hand doesn't necesarily create level.
As leahs said, use something flat that covers the whole top of the cake. It can be your cooling rack or a cookie sheet or tray....you get the idea
Ditto leahs and kakeladi
I do the same thing... when I take the cakes out of the oven I lay parchment on the top, then a cookie sheet and put a weight on top, like my kettle full of water...not perfectly level, but less wasted cake...