Some of the cakes I am cooking shrink and seem to come in at the sides. Not sure why but I want to know how everyone trims them to get them perfectly straight. I am no good trying to cut free hand and have tried Linda McLure's way by placing a square on the top and bottom but that doesn't work for me as I seem to get them slanted and off square cake even though I place a dowel through the middle of the board but it still moves. I have holes across the square board but it still seems to move. Please any suggestions as I am really getting frustrated. Do you bake a 9" cake to get an 8" because it shrinks? Please help
Just as with anything, it all takes practice. I have had the same issues before and it is frustrating. I actually started using a carpenter's square to line up the top and bottom boards, then make sure that I am pressing down firmly (without squishing) on the top board to keep everything from moving. The more you do it, the better you get and the easier it becomes. Don't give up. When I first tried it, I could have used a NASA approved GPS guided laser knife and STILL would have a carved a crooked cake.
I don't know why you're trying to straighten the sides. That's what icing is for.
Also you might want to turn down the oven temp (no higher than 325). And make sure the pans themselves are straight-sided. Magic Line pans are perfectly straight. If your pans nest, they're not straight-sided.
Hi leah_s The cakes are perfect when they come out of the oven but it is when they have cooled the top of the cake shrinks in therefore the bottom part needs to be cut. The top therefore is leaning in. Perhaps I didn't explain it too well, sorry. Otherwise the cake sides are perfectly straight and there is no way I can fill with icing. Thank you both for your tips.
Exactly, Leah_s...icing can cover a multitude of sins!
I just put the cakes on the size cake board they are supposed to be (12" cakes on 12" board...the cakes will be slightly smaller than the board.)
Then, put enough icing on the sides to come all the way slightly past the edge of the board.
Then, take a 6" putty knife and make sure its held perfectly vertical....then go around the cake using the edge of the board as a guide. If you hold the putty knife perfectly straight, the edge of the board tells you how far in to go (as far as pressure) and then you will have nice sides, and you will hide any cake imperfections.
Its getting the top level I still have to work on. haha.
What Kita said.