Do You "always" Level A Cake?

Decorating By dpaulson512 Updated 7 Aug 2009 , 6:37pm by Rylan

dpaulson512 Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 1:17pm
post #1 of 34

I just finished the Wilton Course 1 last week, and I don't recall much about how or when to level a cake. Now, I've got a situation. I was making my mother-in-law a cake for her b-day, and crumb coated my two layers, and ice them, and then upon starting the top border noticed that my cake is not level! One side dips down a little bit, and I guess the only thing for me to do at this point is trash it and start again.

I just want to know how do you do the basics when it comes to getting the cake ready for icing and layering

Thank you so much!

Dawn icon_cry.gif

33 replies
AnnaJo Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 1:36pm
post #2 of 34

I too I'm new to this fun n carzy cake deco world, I have just 4 months doing it. icon_rolleyes.gif
I have cut the tops of my cakes off with the leveler, the last cake I made I just cut the top of it off before I took it out of the cake pan. Both worked well for me but I liked cutting it off before I took it out of the cake pan better. You just have to play with it and found what works bestest for you. But 'yes' you do, or should level your cakes maybe not so much with a topsy turvy cake.

adamsgama Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 1:40pm
post #3 of 34

No Dawn, do not scrap it. This is a great opportunity to learn from this

Carefully scrape all icing off the cake and throw out icing. Seperate the 2 layers. Put each layer on a cake circle and level (cut) off the hump. If you have the Wilton cake leveler this is the time to use it, if not use a serated knife.
Then restack your cakes. Remember to make your dam of icing. Start with new icing, crumb coat, then put on your cover coat with thin icing.

If you still are not happy, then make a new cake

Sue

txnonnie Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 2:13pm
post #4 of 34

I agree with adamsgama, that is what I was going to suggest.

jclvs2 Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 2:28pm
post #5 of 34

I'm also fairly new and was refered to the following link creativedesignscake.com it was very helpful. She shows you from start to finish how to make,prepare for frosting, leveling all of it. It was very helpful to me. I'm sure it will be for you. Keep practicing!! You'll get it!

phoufer Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 2:49pm
post #6 of 34

I now use a trick posted by Leahs (love her!) if my cake is not completely level after using leveler etc. after I filling it, wrap in plastic wrap and put a ceramic tile on top ( large enough to cover cake), let sit several hours (overnight if you can) the cake will settle, take plastic off, trim, crumb coat etc. Works like a charm!

txnonnie Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 3:23pm
post #7 of 34

phoufer I use the same trick fro Leahs. I love it.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 3:32pm
post #8 of 34

Those are great ideas.

Another idea --I mean if the cake is already iced--is to make the decor level the cake--pipe the border a little thicker (aka higher) on the low side and little thinner (aka lower) on the high side. But the same basic width--if you get what I mean.

It's an eyeball thing.

Like then if you were doing a rose spray -- plop your roses on the high side and write the inscription on the lower side because the eye expects the rose to be closer and the writing farther away.

Uneven thoughts for you.

indydebi Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 3:33pm
post #9 of 34

another leveling tip that I learned here on CC: remove cakes from the pan. Place 2 or 3 cardboard circles in the pan. Replace cake in the pan. The cardboards will cause the cake to be elevated higher than the edge of the pan. Use the edge of hte pan as a guide and level the cake. Works great!!

txnonnie Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 4:36pm
post #10 of 34

indydebi -- I picked up this tip as well. Oh my what a difference it makes in the leveling of the cake. Total difference.

annettev Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 4:52pm
post #11 of 34

I rarely cut a cake to level it. Immediately after it comes out of the oven I put waxed paper on top and then lay a heavy board on top. I let it cool this way, remove the board and then put it in the freezer. My cakes are always level and have a wonderful consistency that my customers seem to love.

indydebi Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 5:04pm
post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by annettev

I rarely cut a cake to level it. Immediately after it comes out of the oven I put waxed paper on top and then lay a heavy board on top. I let it cool this way, remove the board and then put it in the freezer. My cakes are always level and have a wonderful consistency that my customers seem to love.




Also along this idea ....

I learned on CC to do a push-down on the cakes. I dont' let sit with a heavy board, like annettev does, but just wanted to add that the push-down does seem to make a difference in the consistency of the cake, as annettev says. I still trim mine a bit (dont' like that brown "skin" between my layers of white wedding cake) and I notice the texture is beautiful! Like we've pushed all the air holes out of it! When I first read the tip, I was skeptical that it would really do anything, but gave it a try and am hooked!

Shirlcantuck Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 5:22pm
post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

another leveling tip that I learned here on CC: remove cakes from the pan. Place 2 or 3 cardboard circles in the pan. Replace cake in the pan. The cardboards will cause the cake to be elevated higher than the edge of the pan. Use the edge of hte pan as a guide and level the cake. Works great!!




IndyDebi,

What an excellent idea. You always give such good advice.

Thanks!

Shirlcantuck Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 5:25pm
post #14 of 34

indydebi,

when you trim your edges, do you do all sides?
on round cakes too?

indydebi Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 5:29pm
post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirlcantuck

indydebi,

when you trim your edges, do you do all sides?
on round cakes too?




Just the top of the cake. An exception would be if I have to use one of my old wilton pans that have a flair to it, so while partially frozen, I'll trim that flair off.

But when I watch food channel and see the cake (Ace of Cakes) where the sides are trimmed out, gosh, those look so pretty, don't they?

Win Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 5:49pm
post #16 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by adamsgama

No Dawn, do not scrap it. This is a great opportunity to learn from this

Carefully scrape all icing off the cake and throw out icing. Seperate the 2 layers. Put each layer on a cake circle and level (cut) off the hump. If you have the Wilton cake leveler this is the time to use it, if not use a serated knife.
Then restack your cakes. Remember to make your dam of icing. Start with new icing, crumb coat, then put on your cover coat with thin icing.

If you still are not happy, then make a new cake

Sue




You don't even have to go to those extremes! I took Wilton courses around twenty years ago and my instructor taught us to always bake one or two cupcakes along with the cake. If, upon icing, you find the cake is not level, you slice the cupcake into "shims" and insert them at the bottom of the cake on the low side. Works like a charm every time without adding work and extra ingredients.

HTH!

Rosie2 Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 5:53pm
post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by jclvs2

I'm also fairly new and was refered to the following link creativedesignscake.com it was very helpful. She shows you from start to finish how to make,prepare for frosting, leveling all of it. It was very helpful to me. I'm sure it will be for you. Keep practicing!! You'll get it!


Wow, Jclvs2 I visited creativedesignscake.com and I totally love it!! thank you, thank you, thank you, you're tha' best!!! icon_smile.gif

Musings9 Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 5:56pm
post #18 of 34

You don't even have to go to those extremes! I took Wilton courses around twenty years ago and my instructor taught us to always bake one or two cupcakes along with the cake. If, upon icing, you find the cake is not level, you slice the cupcake into "shims" and insert them at the bottom of the cake on the low side. Works like a charm every time without adding work and extra ingredients.

HTH![/quote]

What an awesome suggestion, can't wait to try it. I'll also try the "push-down" method. I swear I learn something new everyday on CC!

indydebi Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 5:59pm
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Win

You don't even have to go to those extremes! I took Wilton courses around twenty years ago and my instructor taught us to always bake one or two cupcakes along with the cake. If, upon icing, you find the cake is not level, you slice the cupcake into "shims" and insert them at the bottom of the cake on the low side. Works like a charm every time without adding work and extra ingredients.

HTH!




omg, that is freakin genius! I usually have some small cakes in the freezer (bride samples) which I could use, too.

tatorchip Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 6:03pm
post #20 of 34

wow I agree creativedesignscake is awsome

jenna15 Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 6:07pm
post #21 of 34

I have found that pushing down when it immediately comes out of the oven really helps with the leveling and there is no cake waste!......of course my husband was not happy when he couldn't find the cake scraps and I told him what I did!!! I really hope you did not scratch this cake.......any mistake can be fixed! I have found cake to be very forgiving! throw on some cake pieces, slop on the icing, cover it with fondant......you name it can be done.

jclvs2 Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 6:53pm
post #22 of 34

Someone brought it to my attention that I made a mistake on a link to a tutorial for leveling and frosting. I am so sorry but the correct website is ... www.creativedesignscakes.com I had left the S off the end Sorry everyone! Now I know why it was not highlighted when I posted it icon_redface.gif

Win Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 10:36pm
post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Win

You don't even have to go to those extremes! I took Wilton courses around twenty years ago and my instructor taught us to always bake one or two cupcakes along with the cake. If, upon icing, you find the cake is not level, you slice the cupcake into "shims" and insert them at the bottom of the cake on the low side. Works like a charm every time without adding work and extra ingredients.

HTH!



omg, that is freakin genius! I usually have some small cakes in the freezer (bride samples) which I could use, too.




TOTALLY OFF TOPIC, but Debi, you are getting really close to the 20,000 mark. I think we should have a party and serve cake when you hit it!

-K8memphis Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 11:00pm
post #24 of 34

That is a great idea the extra cupcake.

Wanna hear how psycho some of the folks I've worked for are?

I 'shim' on the top edge of the cake with leftovers that I've sliced off.
Like especially for corners that often baked lower for our baker.

So my boss insisted that I shim under the cake. In.sis.ted. Who freaking cares?

Weirdy McWeirdykins

doitallmom Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 11:24pm
post #25 of 34

Well, I just love, love love all the 'fixits' in this thread. They remind me of the fondant 'putty' (as in compound putty) that my DH makes to fix cracks and tears in my fondant!

poohsmomma Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 11:52pm
post #26 of 34

Okay, a stupid question....The leveling trick....I don't understand why you have to put two or three sheets of cake board in the pan before you cut the top of the cake level with the pan. Is it because the edges of the cake are not up to the top of the pan's sides???
I just add extra batter to the pans and the cake edges rise to the edge of the pan. Then I just cut using the edge of the pan as a guide.

MissCathcart Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 12:05am
post #27 of 34

My cakes get compliments on how perfectly level they are, and I don't level them. I use homemade baking strips. The cakes bake level on their own. Also, no wasted cake.

indydebi Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 12:14am
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by poohsmomma

Okay, a stupid question....The leveling trick....I don't understand why you have to put two or three sheets of cake board in the pan before you cut the top of the cake level with the pan. Is it because the edges of the cake are not up to the top of the pan's sides???




Good point, and yes, I forgot to add that part. I've done this when the cake didn't rise up past the edge of the pan, for whatever reason. If the cake rises higher than the pan, then just using the pan as-is works great.

Peridot Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 12:36am
post #29 of 34

I was just AMAZED when I watch the tutorials from that website! I am almost to the point where I hate cake decorating because I spend so much time trying to level my cakes on the tops and sides the way Sugarshack shows in her DVD's. I struggle and struggle and they still are not level and straight. I had a cake failure last weekend because I could not get a cake level or straight and I finally gave up after spending hours on it and cut it up into slices and took it to work. My friend never got her birthday cake.

The methods that she shows with using the leveler and the plastic cake circles is fantastic. How quick, simple and perfect can you get. What brand is that leveler?

I of course don't have 11 inch pans so that I end up with my 10 inch cake but then again maybe my 10 inch cake is really a 9 inch cake after baking.

Thanks for the fantastic website/link! Lots of food for thought and now I won't be able to sleep tonight cause I will be thinking about cakes again.

sweet-thing Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 12:42am
post #30 of 34

I learned on CC to do a push-down on the cakes. I dont' let sit with a heavy board, like annettev does, but just wanted to add that the push-down does seem to make a difference in the consistency of the cake, as annettev says. I still trim mine a bit (dont' like that brown "skin" between my layers of white wedding cake) and I notice the texture is beautiful! Like we've pushed all the air holes out of it! When I first read the tip, I was skeptical that it would really do anything, but gave it a try and am hooked![/quote]



So what exactly is a push-down? If you put a heavy board on top while it is cooling, what is it (the cake) sitting on? indy, how do you do it? you said you don't use a heavy board. I hate leveling the cake. I am no good at it so this sounds interesting... icon_biggrin.gif

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