I recently bought an 8" dummy to practice on. Whar I have realised is that it looks slightly deeper than the cakes I make. What will I do if I need to prepare a 3 tiered cake with a mixture of dummy's and cake? I am worried that it will look obvious. Not sure wether to invest in a cake leveller. A cake leveller will only shorten and straigten a cake, not make it taller. How can I overcome this problem? I always end up cooking a dome shaped cake anyway so I am forced to cut the top off which is also a reason why it becomes shorter.
You can always add a bit more batter to the cake pans so you'll have taller layers. Also, you can spray a rose nail with nonstick spray and put it in the center of the pan, with the nail part sticking up, before you pour the batter in. It acts as a heating core and helps the cake to bake with less of a dome, so you have less waste.
I can't imagine getting by without a leveler...the small wilton leveler only costs about $3 and it lasts for years.
Here's a simple rule to follow, and a quick fix for you:
First of all, when using either depth pans, always fill only 2/3 full. When taking it out of the oven, press the cooling rack into the cake, making the top flat, and then flip over. After removing the pan, and cooling completely, you can check for levelness by using a small contractors level. (you can pick one up at your local dollar store or home depot) Only check for levelness once you've plated your layer. If it's not quite flat in the right places...that's the joy of cake, you can smoosh it down a bit till it's level in both directions. Then fill and stack the layers. Measure for levelness again before icing it. Same "smoosh" rule applies.
In my opinion, it's much easier to do it this way, and you don't loose any cake. If you're going to carve the cake, it makes it a much easier job too.
Adding more batter to your pan will only make it take longer to bake and will cause the center to crack. This in turn weakness the layer and cause breakage throughout upon cooling or plating. Avoid this by placing a rose nail in the center of your pan before greasing it, and filling with batter around it, keeping it in the center of the pan. This makes a "heating core". It ensures even baking, and less "dome" problems. The main thing that causes doming is too much batter in the pan...just avoid it. The other thing that can cause a cake to "dome" is if your cake batter is too runny. Check your recipe and make sure that it is more "pound cake" consistency than "snack cake". It all makes a difference in the end.
Hope this helps you, and answers your question. Always glad to help!
To eliminate "doming" use the Wilton Bake Even Strips. Soaked in cold water then wrapped around the outside of the pan, your cakes will rise evenly across the top.
The reason is that cakes cook quicker on the edges, by the time the middle catches up the edges are done.
The use of the rose nail eliminated the need for the strips, and give the same results. It's also easier to use.
I still have to level a little bit, even using the rose nail when I bake.
MissCakeCrazy please forgive me if this is totally stating the obvious, but you know that most tall cakes are actually 2 cakes on top of one another with fillings in between?
Here is a link to a youtube tutorial which also helped me. I have been using her methods and been baking beautifully flat cakes ever since.