I am wodering if people cut off the "crusty" sides and top of their white cake layers before icing? It bugs me! But I'm scared if I start carving the crust off I'm going to end up with a crooked cake.
No I don't. If they are baking properly, they shouldn't be hard and crusty. Mine come out a golden color, nice and "soft". the only thing I cut off is the domed top.
So what would I be doing that is not proper? My chocolate cakes come out just fine. It's just the white ones. It's been different recipes too.
Sounds like the oven is too hot....
If all else fails...wrap it when still slightly warm and freeze it...then a few days later thaw it in the saran wrap. Sometimes the moisture from the cake will soften the edges as long as its not super crunchy.
agree with the above. Sounds like your oven is too hot. And the sides should be golden and just firm, but not crusty and overbaked. I bake at 310 electric convection, so about 325 regular oven. For larger layers (15" and bigger) I switch to gas @ 300.
I also use baking strips which helps prevent the sides from baking faster than the center of the cake. Here's the thread that explains the science behind how and why they work: