I Can't Get Level Cakes

Decorating By Nysbeststylist Updated 28 Jun 2009 , 3:42pm by WeddingCakeEnchantress

Nysbeststylist Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 6:01am
post #1 of 26

I'm planning on making a 3 tiered cake. During my last experiance with this I was unable to get even tiers mainly because my cake were not baking level. I purchased a cake leveler, and this helped a tiny bit, but still left my cakes looking like a hamburger bun. Once I stacker my "hamburger buns" my cake didn't have those nice sharp edges and good height like other people's cakes. I know that baking slow and low will help but what is the consensus on the bake even strips, or has anyone got some better suggestions.

25 replies
zdebssweetsj Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 6:12am
post #2 of 26

If you have a level try leveling your oven first or you will continue to have to unnecessarly trim off the tops. I use and love the baking strips helps eleminate the hump in the middle. Good luck.

saffronica Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 6:12am
post #3 of 26

Bake even strips will help, but I get the same results just by lowering the oven temperature (usually to 325), and I think it's easier. You may also want to consider a different recipe. I find that cake mixes prepared according to package directions dome a lot more than doctored cake mixes. Good luck!

aliciag829 Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 6:13am
post #4 of 26

Try the bake even strips. I recommend them if you're not happy with the cake leveler.

Valgal820 Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 10:48am
post #5 of 26

Use the bake even strips.....they are so helpful! Also, if there is a small bump you can use a hard board and press the cake into the pan immediately out of the oven.

Texas_Rose Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 10:56am
post #6 of 26

Most cakes come out of the oven looking like a hamburger bun. That's what the leveler is for, to cut off the domed part. So when you're done leveling it, you should have a flat section of cake. If the flat section isn't tall enough, try using more batter in the pans.

If it's baking with one side taller than the other, your oven may not be leveled. There are feet that unscrew to level the oven, underneath it...with an electric stove you pull out the drawer and you can access the feet to unscrew them...no clue how to do it with a gas stove.

I've noticed that baking at 325 with a flower nail in the middle of the pan (any size pan not just big ones) helps my cakes to bake with less of a dome. Lately my family has been disappointed because there's not as much cake getting chopped off for them to snack on when I level the cakes.

Barb00 Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 11:01am
post #7 of 26

I have been just a home baker for years, but two hints I just learned have helped me un-dome - 1) turn the temperature down and 2) use the bake even strips for pans 8" and larger. I had no idea low and slow was better for cakes! I love this site. icon_biggrin.gif

indydebi Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 12:17pm
post #8 of 26

Baking strips will significantly reduce the doming but will not 100% eliminate it. If you're having a problem getting them level with the leveler, here's another idea that I learned from CC. I've tried it and it works great.

Remove the cake from the pan. Place 2-4 cardboards in the pan, then put the cake back in the pan. THe cardboards will cause the cake to be taller than the pan. Use a long knife and trim the top of the cake off, using the edge of the pan as a guide.

The most perfectly flat cake you'll ever see!

Elise87 Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 12:27pm
post #9 of 26

i read on here on some post ages ago that you can wet strips of paper towel and then wrap them in foil and wrap that around the outside of the cake tin and that will make the cake cook with a flatter top, does it really work, has anyone tried it?

ttehan4 Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 12:37pm
post #10 of 26

When my cakes come out of the oven. I take a clean dish towel and while the cake is still piping hot smash down the cake. Give it a little squish all over the top and you will have perfectly level, moist cake everytime.

I saw a cake instructor do a tuturial online and she did this. I was a critic at first, but I tried it and I do it everytime. It forces some of the air out of the cake to and if you freeze them they are very moist and level. And no your cake is not flat, just level.

Ill try to find the link.

ttehan4 Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 12:45pm
post #11 of 26

Heres the link. I love her videos. This is part two, but when you pull it up you will see link for video one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QbLeNMz6MA&feature=channel

poohsmomma Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 12:51pm
post #12 of 26

I always add a little more batter to the pan than is necessary. I want the edges of the cake to be level or higher than the sides of the pan, and the center will be slightly domed. When I take the cake out of the oven, I use a really long serrated knife to cut off the domed part, using the pan edge as a guide. This gives me a perfectly flat top. I immediately turn it over on a cooling rack covered in wax paper and cover it with wax paper while it cools. My cakes are always tall and flat....and my DH gets plenty of "cake scraps" to put in a big bowl with ice cream....both of our waistlines are suffering!

Elise87 Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 12:56pm
post #13 of 26

cake scraps plus hot custard poured on them is yum too!

poohsmomma Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 1:07pm
post #14 of 26

Hot custard...yum. I've tried warm pudding, but not custard...
I'll have to try that.

by_mommamee Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 5:33pm
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elise87

i read on here on some post ages ago that you can wet strips of paper towel and then wrap them in foil and wrap that around the outside of the cake tin and that will make the cake cook with a flatter top, does it really work, has anyone tried it?





i use a wet towel and wrap that around the cake pan and then bake it. it gives me an almost flat top which really helps cause i'm not really good at levelling icon_smile.gif

SJ169 Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 5:39pm
post #16 of 26

I must say I tried the bake even strips last night for the first time and the cake was so level and flat there was no dome at all!

Melvira Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 5:43pm
post #17 of 26

You know how you let the cake sit in the pan for a few minutes before turning it out onto the cooling rack? During that time I press the cooling rack down on top of the cake in the pan. Same idea as the towel, but no fuzz! Hehehe. (I had that problem once and it made me so mad!)

But like others have mentioned, step #1 is to make sure your stove is level. I just moved into a new shop and the first set of cakes I baked there were lopsided as all get out. Apparently the person I am renting from did not bake things in this oven? Or she liked lopsided. Hehehe.

cyndy40 Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 6:05pm
post #18 of 26

Old towels are less expensive than the bake even strips. Just cut them into strips, wet, tie around your pan and viola! Homemade bake even strips. Something that I learned from Jennifer Dontz is to line your pan with waxed paper. My cakes bake tall, straight, and level every single time! As soon as they come out of the oven, place a piece of wax paper over the top and a paper towel over that and turn out to cool. It is an awesome method.

mbt4955 Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 6:08pm
post #19 of 26

cyndy, do you line the sides and the bottom with wax paper? If you, do you use something on the sides first to get the paper to stick? Thanks.

neelycharmed Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 6:14pm
post #20 of 26

icon_smile.gif

Cathy26 Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 8:50pm
post #21 of 26

i use an oven thermometer and a slightly lower oven temp, wet towels, a heating core in 10 inch cakes and up and the best thing - tenting with foil. literally lay foil over the cake tin and fold down over the sides to create an almost airtight cover - it will loosen and move a little as the cake rises but basically is stops the side drying out so quickly so it gives them more time to rise as the same time as the middle which always cooks slower.

after much trial, error and cake wastage this method of lower temp, towels, core and tent works great every time and holds in moisture.

cyndy40 Posted 27 Jun 2009 , 9:28pm
post #22 of 26

Nope. You just form the wax paper to the pan. Bigger pans need two pieces or more depending on their size. Very very easy. Don't worry about the crinkles in the side of your cakes. You are going to ice and/or cover with fondant anyway. Great method! I thank Jennifer Dontz every time I use it!

mbt4955 Posted 27 Jun 2009 , 11:00pm
post #23 of 26

Thanks, Cyndy. Wax paper is way cheaper than parchment paper. I'll give it a try with the cakes I'm doing tomorrow. thumbs_up.gif

jammjenks Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 12:11am
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by poohsmomma

I always add a little more batter to the pan than is necessary. I want the edges of the cake to be level or higher than the sides of the pan, and the center will be slightly domed. When I take the cake out of the oven, I use a really long serrated knife to cut off the domed part, using the pan edge as a guide. This gives me a perfectly flat top.




This is exactly what I do. It takes a little more batter to do it this way, but it is worth it to have that height on the cakes.

mbt4955 Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 2:44am
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyndy40

Nope. You just form the wax paper to the pan. Bigger pans need two pieces or more depending on their size. Very very easy. Don't worry about the crinkles in the side of your cakes. You are going to ice and/or cover with fondant anyway. Great method! I thank Jennifer Dontz every time I use it!




I just baked two 12" square layers using wax paper, flower nails and bake even strips. They came out of the pans completely level and I am pumped. Thank you SOOOO much Cyndy (and Jen) for this tip!! thumbs_up.gif

Now if I can just get the fondant part down I'll have it made! icon_biggrin.gif

WeddingCakeEnchantress Posted 28 Jun 2009 , 3:42pm
post #26 of 26

I agree with the two people who suggested to press the cake down immediately after it comes out of the oven. In my shop I cooked in a deck pizza oven so I did 10-15 cakes all at the same time per batch. When the cakes come out of the oven (the muds not the fruit as the technique was slightly different), I placed a card board on the top of the cake then I pressed a turn out board on top of the cake, and as each cake came out it was stacked on top of the one under it and so on for 5-8 cakes. They were left until cool then turned out onto those turn out boards to continue working to the next stage. The cardboard stays as part of the pillaring and stacking of tiers technique. You can't remove it as it sticks so make sure you put it in the center properly at this point.
Flattening a cake like this is important when you make cakes for profit because:-
1.There is no wastage of cake therefore no profit waste
2. You should know your batter weights before it goes in the tin so you should get the same result every time
3. Cutting cake wastes time
4. Cutting cake destabilizes the crumb and weakens the base (especially important when cakes are multiply tiered in warmer weather)
5. It looks, cuts and tastes nicer if the cake top is intact
6. You have a perfectly level surface so you need no patching before doing a cover
7. It keeps the moisture in and compacted makes a mud more muddy!
8. If you are slicing into layers it is easier to do on a perfect cake
By the way if your oven shelf is not level grab some pieces of broken kitchen tiles and pop them under the corners of the cake tin in the oven to prop up the corners and keep the batter level. Works for Quiche too but for quiche you put it on a tray in the oven first so you don't spill egg in the oven and top it up with a cup of egg inside the oven.
NB VIP If you use silicone paper cut to size and stuck inside the tin with brushed oil there should be not one bump or ripple in the cake surface at all so you can cover the cake with a thin layer of pettinice without worries. There is a technique to do this qucikly.

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