I am very, very new to cake decorating. I'm taking the Wilton classes and our instructor told me to try the bake even strips and reduce the oven temperature for our cakes and bake longer.
I have tried the bake even strips about six times and every cake I have done has messed up. I end up baking it super long, the top gets pretty brown and the center is still gooey (sp?). I am so ready to go back to bakign without these strips, but the instructor tells me to keep trying. I would love to not waste another cake. Does anyone have any tips for me? I have checked my oven temperature (I'm baking it at 325). I am wondering if my strips are not wet enough or too wet (how do I know?). Maybe I am not baking long enough? Maybe I need to increase the oven temperature back to 350? Thanks in advance for any suggestions. I am ready to throw these strips in the trash, but my instructor swears that once I figure it out it will make my cakes cook more evenly and therefore better overall.
Have you checked your oven temp. with an oven thermometer. Mine is about 25 degrees off, so I have to adjust accordingly. Also, what size pans are you baking in and how deep?
My instructor swears by them too, but I've never liked those things. They never really kept my cake from getting the dome on it and were a PITA to mess with. I find that if I use and inverted flower nail in the center of my cakes, they bake evenly and don't get much of a dome on them. I do that for 10" cakes and smaller, then I use the heating core for anything larger than 10". I do bake at 325 so I don't recommend going back to a higher temp.
Have you checked your oven temp to see if it is accurate? You will need to buy an oven thermometer to check, cause what you may think is 325, may be 300 or vise versa.
I have used the bake even strips, and what I do is soak them in water for a bit, then run my fingers up & down the strips to get the majority of the water out. It should be damp but not dripping wet.
What size cake pan are you using? And are you following the correct amount of batter for said pan? Over filling will cause the cake not to cook thru properly and hence you will have a gooey center with the edges being cooked.
hth & don't give up & Welcome to CC!!
I've never had any problems with them. The instructions are right on the package and thats what I do. Soak the strips in a bowl of water while I make the batter, take strip out of water and squeeze my fingers down it to get out excess-I'm not rwringing it out, just getting off the excess, Wrap it around the pan, secure with pin and bake as usual, same temp as recipe calls for. I usually bake for same amount of time as recipe states, dont think it takes any longer than usual, I always check on it towards the end as I would any cake. The only time I've had a cake top get too brown was when I did WASC and the directions said to cook lower and longer. So now I dont do that and no problems. Never had a dome or had to level since using. Maybe you are overfilling if you still get a dome.
Check your oven temperature, sometimes it takes longer to preheat even if it says thats its ready.
Good luck =]
I don't use them at all. On big cakes I use and inverted flower nail
Sometimes what works for everyone else, does not work best for you. If you never had problems before, try using the strips, then baking as you normally do (same temp & time as without the strips) & see what you get. When I started using the strips, I never changed anything that I normally did & never had a problem. The only difference was that I did not get a dome - and that's what we want!
Also - as mentioned, using the flower nails is great advice for making sure the middle of your cakes get cooked thoroughly. I use them all the time.
H And are you following the correct amount of batter for said pan?
I have always just eyeballed to see if I was filling 1/2 to 2/3 of the pan. I think I may need to try to get a more accurate measurement since I am not really good at eyeballing to begin with... Thanks for the suggestion. I typically use the 2 inch high pans in various standard sizes (round, oval, character, etc.).
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. You all were fast! I keep an oven thermometer in the oven (learned that the hard way years ago) so my oven temp is correct. I do have to wait double the time it says though to get it preheated to the right temperature.
I've never tried inverting a flower nail in the center. Does it mess up the bottom (uhh..top?) of your cake or do you just cover the indention (if you get one) with extra icing? If this sounds like a stupid question, it's because I am really new at all of this.
Yep, just pull the nail out once you flip the cake over & then go over it with frosting. After it's frosted you can't even tell it was there.
ok girls...........i'm a penny pincher and i use wet strips of newspaper for my bake even strips!! my husband is into bar-b-que competitions and he gets these bbq newspapers from everywhere. instead of tossing them, i cut them into strips, wet them, and tie them on my pans with cooking twine..................i know, i know, but hey it works and i haven't had to buy any strips!!! While i'm here, let me ask another question. do any of you have the problem of sticky tops on your WASC cakes? is it the egg whites that cause it or am i doing something wrong? someone enlighten me!