I have been primarily using the heating core in my larger cakes, but I hate it. I have seen some mention of using flower nails....can someone describe this to me?
Grease the flower nail and place upside down (nail pointing up) in the center of your pan. I usually use 1 in a 10 in, 1 - 2 in a 12, etc. and 2 min in sheet cake pans. I even use one in my smaller 3" pans. Pour the batter around the nail and bake. If you forget to put the nail in first ( ) then just put it in after the batter is in, no worries! Once you remove the cake from the oven, flip over to cool and remove the nail ... only a little hole is left, much easier than using the baking core!!
You just place it in the pan with the part you make a rose on in the bottom of the pan and the handle part sticking up. I spray my pan with pam and then put the flower nail in and spray it, then just pour your batter in. If the nail move I just slide it back to the middle. It works great!. After you flip your cake you can just pull it out and it only leave a tiny little hole.
I've done the same thing -- spray your cake pan and then place the flower nail in upside down and spray it too. I've made up to 12" cakes without a core or nail though, and they came out fine. The nail is definitely easier if you want the extra reassurance though!
Here's a visual tutorial for using the flower nail for baking: http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-612603.html
I definately agree to use the flower nails. I've used the heating core before and just didn't like it. For biger pans, use more flower nails. I have yet to have a problem using this method as opposed to the heating core.
Hope that this helps!
i have to say i do love my heatingcore - i use it on 10 inch cakes and up and its a godsend. i do use flower nails as described above in 8 inch cakes though.