Leveling Cakes

Decorating By flakeycakey Updated 2 Mar 2010 , 9:02am by MustXcape

flakeycakey Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 2:49am
post #1 of 16

Hey! I see a lot of people discussing leveling strips on here. I tried those once but I was wondering if it's worth the time and effort to actually bake the cake level or if it's better to just add some extra batter and level the cake after baking? Won't the cake be more level if you cut it after it's baked?

15 replies
denetteb Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 4:11am
post #2 of 16

I think people do it both ways depending on their preference. Personally I love my homemade strips and a flower nail. No dome, no trimming and worrying if I am cutting it straight, no waste, no crumby cut edge, etc. To me it is no trouble to wet and wring out a couple of strips on and clip them around the pan. Easy peasy. As far as trimming being more level, I guess that would depend on how level your oven is. I spent a bit of time with a shop level adjusting my oven to get it level so my cakes bake level. Or level enough for my hobby needs anyway. I also think in addition to the strips making my cake bake level, it also makes it bake more evenly so the edges don't overbake while the middle is getting baked through. So no hard edges.

indydebi Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 6:26am
post #3 of 16

The bake even strips do not guarantee a level cake. What they do is help insure the cake bakes more evenly, so you don't end up with the sides are crunchy and overbaked while waiting for the middle to bake. If the sides are done baking first, and the middle is still raw batter, then the baking cake has no where to go but up .... thus creating the dome.

The bake even strips help keep the pan at a cooler temp, so the outer edge of the cakes don't bake faster than the middle. It slows the baking of the outer edge so the whole cakes bakes at the same rate. You may still have some doming .... but not near as much as without them.

mamawrobin Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 12:03pm
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by flakeycakey

Hey! I see a lot of people discussing leveling strips on here. I tried those once but I was wondering if it's worth the time and effort to actually bake the cake level or if it's better to just add some extra batter and level the cake after baking? Won't the cake be more level if you cut it after it's baked?




This is usually how I do mine.

Christy0722 Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 12:36pm
post #5 of 16

I put my baking strips in water before I start mixing the cake batter. That way I know they are nice and wet. I've made the mistake of rushing it before and burned 2 of them. Ever since I started using them consitently I have found I use a lot less batter because I don't have to level off so much. This in turn saves me a few $$. The only ones upset about it is my family...they like to have the leftovers.

newbaker55 Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 12:45pm
post #6 of 16

I will NEVER fail to use the strips again! Used only flower nails once and 2 layers of a VIC (Very Important Cake) came out with hard, curled edges. By the time I trimmed off the hard stuff, 2 ten inch layers became 2 eight inch layers! I've had the BEST results with the two-fold method...flower nails (several if the layer is large) and the strips.

leah_s Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 12:46pm
post #7 of 16

The best way to level a cake is with an Agbay. Best Cake tool $ I ever spent.

flakeycakey Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 9:26pm
post #8 of 16

All very good information! Thanks for responding. I've looked at the Abgay and it looks great but it sure is expensive. Maybe one day I will be able to get one.

lamcf120 Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 2:00am
post #9 of 16

I too use Abgay and it's the best tool I've ever used!

jillangeles Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 6:11am
post #10 of 16

Just looked at the Agbay and I want it! But I am just a newbie...so I will make sure that I am sticking with this cake decorating thing (that I am really enjoying) before I splurge! icon_biggrin.gif

newbaker55 Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 1:48pm
post #11 of 16

When my budget's better, I'd like an Agbay, too. In the meanwhile, I have a Wilton large cake leveler. It's adjustable, so it can be used to slice off domes and tort layers. Had to have something besides a knife, since I am 'straight-line-cutting' challenged! icon_redface.gif

Peridot Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 8:16pm
post #12 of 16

I use the wet strips, the flower nails and then I use my Agbay!
Love, love my Agbay - expensive - but best money I have spent. Has saved me tons of time, frustration, anger and cake smashed in the garbage!!!

anotherslice Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 8:32pm
post #13 of 16

I love the Agbay, I'm very glad I got one. It's so much easier to level and torte a cake!

DetailsByDawn Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 8:51pm
post #14 of 16

I use baking strips to help bake the cake more evenly and keep the dome to a minimum. After baking, I always use a leveller. The strips help to minimize the amount of cake you're cutting off the top and reduce waste. Doesn't make sense to me to cut off a dome of cake, below the lowest edge, when you have the option to raise the edges and lower the dome. Did that make any sense?

chefjulie Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 8:51pm
post #15 of 16

I use Magic Line pans and an Agbay. The Agbay isnt as glamorous as other tools (cricut, airbrush, EI printer) but it certainly the MOST USEFUL tool (after your mixer... maybe) you'll ever buy!! It gets used on every single cake and it is fool-proof!!

MustXcape Posted 2 Mar 2010 , 9:02am
post #16 of 16

I typically have good results leveling a round cake using a cake decorating turntable and a long serrated knife. Simply spin the table while eyeballing the the knife for correct height and make sure it is parallel to the table top, then push through the cake. At worst, if the blade is not long enough to cover the diameter of the cake, the cut could end up slightly domed (concave or convex). Even if slightly off, you could put a registration mark along the side of the cake to make sure the layers have the same alignment after filling - and remember icing covers all defects.
The top cut for final appearance is the easiest.

Another method I use which does an OK job is to wrap a piece of thin gauge plated wire around the cake at the height you what and then pull on the ends like purse strings. The resulting cut will be quick and uniform.

These methods can work with a square cake, but are obviously problematic with a rectangular one.

Recently I thought I could achieve perfection with the Wilton Large Cake Leveler. After splurging on this thing I found it to be a piece of junk after trying it out. The feet are not wide enough to keep it from tipping, the blade is dull (it has no sharpened edge), and the height adjustment extends to only 2-7/8", insufficient to level any cake top over 3 inches if a single level top cut is desired. All in all, a poor design and shoddy construction. I wish I thought it through and took a serious look at it before I bought it (or at least saw this posting).

Gee... I wish I could afford a Agbay.

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