I went to Michael's to purchase Bake Even strips for a cake I'm getting ready to bake right now. They were completely out! I had to get the kids home so I couldn't check out any other stores.
Is there any technique I can use in place of them? I was thinking tin foil, but I wasn't sure it would be the same. I really want to try and get my yellow cake recipe to be more moist and am hoping the strips would help.
Any ideas? TIA
Cut a towel into strips, soak in water and pin together with safety pins. Foil won't be the same.
Thank you for your help! I'm going to try this now!!!
And try baking at 325 for longer than the 350 minutes call for.
I do this every time with my bake even strips and the cake is moist and level always!
I have never heard about the towel trick to replace bake even strips. Does it really work? How thick of a towel...bath towel or kitchen towel? Interested to try this, as I don't own the strips either.
I have used them for years and my cakes always come out moist and even. I used an old towel that was ready for the rag bag, cut it into strips double the size need for the pan, folded it together, and quick stitched it together with long stitches on my sewing machine. I use large safety pins to pin it together. Be sure to wet it and wring it out before pinning together around the pan. You can make them any size your pan is ( 2 inches to 4 inches) and as long or short as you need. I have 2 sets for all my pan sizes. They really work!
I learned from an article on here that you can use a flower nail. Put the flower nail in the middle of the pan with the batter in it. Hope this helps.
Well I just made them and put the pans in the oven. I am also trying the 325 degrees tip also as I've read that on a number of posts.
Well heck! I just pulled them out of the oven and they both SANK! I've never had that problem before. Now I have to wonder if lowering the temp to 325 is what did it. Thank goodness this is a tester cake!
I tried pressing down on it with a towel so I don't have to cute so much off when I level it. Next I will try the strips with the regular 350 temp.
If you lower the temp and use a strip (I also use an old bath towel cut into strips), you will need to increase the baking time. So maybe it sunk cause it wasn't baked through.
I use the flower nail method.
I use the towel strips, except I usually cut mine out of old sweat shirts or sweat material....dampen, wrap and just tuck the long ends under or you can pin them.....bake at 350, test by lightly lightly touching the center, if it the least bit wiggles....keep baking till done. The sinking is because it isn't baked through and you have moved the pan or touched the cake to hard. It seams that once the center goes down...it's hard to recover.
I think it definitely wasn't cooked enough, despite the fact that my skewer was clean when I tested it. And I probably did damage by opening up the oven door too many times to check. I wasn't sure how much longer past the normal time to bake it. Then I threw that cake in the garbage and baked another one at 350. It still took longer to bake even at the normal temp. I don't get that one. I use an oven thermometer so I know it's not off.
Ack! I frosted the thing to just so I can practice some scroll work on it. I'll taste it later and see if it tastes better than it looks.
Will attempt this all again this weekend. Thanks for your input all
I used thick bath towel strips for years before I finally got the bake even strips. I always use the flower nails too and have never had an issue.
Just wondering, when you tested with the skewer, did you test in several places? What size pans were you using?
OMG, I just noticed you are in Jax! Do you know about the Sugar Arts Guild? We meet monthly and our next meeting is next week. If you are interested, PM me and I will give you more info.
Maria, if you use the same recipe, same pan, same oven, same temp as always you will need to bake longer with the strips. Because the damp strips function to insulate the outside of the pan from the heat which slows down the baking of the outside of the batter, allowing the inside and outside to bake and rise at the same time, thus the flat cake (when I use the strips, 325 degree oven and flower nail I never have to level). When I first started with the strips I didn't wring enough water out and the outside was still doughy and the middle was baked through, it insulated that well.
... you will need to bake longer with the strips. Because the damp strips function to insulate the outside of the pan from the heat which slows down the baking...
Ah...well that makes perfect sense!! The 2nd cake actually was pretty good. It did fall in the middle (and I think all that opening of the oven & testing is probably what did it), but it was definitely more moist than the normal. 2 people who have tasted the same recipe previously agreed that this cake was better.
Soooo...I think I will buy the strips and try it again this weekend. I will add 5 minutes to the max baking time and not open the oven until then. Hopefully this will prevent the cake from falling!
Thanks sooo much for the help
If you try again at the lower temp. with the bake strips, I don't think 5 minutes past the max bake time is enough. The cake is baking slower. I wouldn't open the oven door until about 15 min, past the max. bake time. Check for doness using toothpicks and by touch in different spots on the cake. I bake at 325 without bake strips and It takes about anywhere from 10-30 minutes extra depending on size of the cake.
I have used paper towels. Use the length of paper towel needed for the diameter. Fold in half lengthwise, then again and again until the heighth of the pan. Saturate with water and pin end to end to cake pan. It works well! (Good for a quick 6, 8, or 9 in pan and then just throw away).
I am having problems understanding where you put the strips... does anyone have a picture of the cake before it goes in the oven??
I don't have a pic but the strip goes around the side of the pan and then is pinned or clipped together to hold it in place. It only really works on pans with straight sides. If they have slanted sides the strips don't stay in place and just fall down.
Well...I baked 2 cakes using the actual baking strips with crappy results. My cakes never sank until I used the strips and then they both sank. I lowered the temp to 325 and extended the baking time by about 20 minutes on both of them because I thought that would help...but didn't.
I think my oven is just not right (even though I do use an oven thermometer). BUT, I tried a new recipe tonight (Sylvia Weinstock's original), I baked it at 350 without the bake strips and all I can say is that it is the best yellow cake I have ever made!! LOVE IT
Oh well...I will try the bake strips again another time!
Sorry your cakes fell again, but glad you found a recipe you really like. Did your cake test done with a pick? How does the temp on the oven thermometer compare to the temp you have the oven set at?
I always lower to 325 and set timer for 1 hour. they come out perfect. And with no strips.
Sorry but I have a couple of stupid questions...
How wet should they be? Do you wring as much water out as possible so they are just damp?
Is it just one thickness of towel or is it better to have it folded for a double thickness?
I also bake all my cakes at 325, using the damp towel strips, and a inverted flower nail. I set my timer for 1 hour, then open the oven and check to see if they are done. If the center still wiggles in the slightest, I just close the door and wait a few more minutes before inserting a toothpick. I have never had any problems with my cakes sinking, and I never have to level them!
Regarding the wetness, at first I just ran my fingers down the strips over the sink to just pull enough that they didn't drip. I found out that was too wet because the outside of the cake would still be raw and the inside was done. So then I would take the strips off the last 10 or so minutes and that was a pain to try to guess when to remove them. Then I started just wringing them out and that worked fine. So I just give them a good squeeze, I guess like if I was wringing a cloth to wipe a table. Not sure if the single layer works as well, the double works fine and you get a lot out of one old towel so no reason to mess with trying just one layer, most people I have read about use a double layer.