Tabby75 Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 4:30pm
post #1 of 22

I recently started using towels around my cake pans and now they are very level. I'm wondering if i still need to cut off the brown tops though. My cakes are the right height now, so I really don't want to shorten them, but I don't want a wedding cake done wrong. Thank you for your help.

21 replies
cattycornercakes Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 6:49pm
post #2 of 22

I never level my cakes. I usually put a clean towel on top of the cake as I take it out of the oven and push it down. I hate using the leveler because I feel like I'm wasting cake. I would only level it if it was extremely lopsided.

Lynne3 Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 7:38pm
post #3 of 22

This is new to me.
How do you use towels around your cakes. Please be as clear as possible. I am so not able to picture this

cattycornercakes Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 7:57pm
post #4 of 22

I was wondering about that as well. I was assuming its something similiar to the wilton baking strips you can buy to put around the sides of a pan.

BakingIrene Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 8:05pm
post #5 of 22

Some people use an old bath towel cut into strips and folded 4X. This is soaked in water and pinned to the outside of the pan before baking.

I bought the magic cake strips and I like them. They are soaked in water before baking, and they work extremely well. They come in a pack of four long pieces for big cake pans as well as the two pack for layer cakes. They last at least a couple of years as long as you don't throw them in the washing machine.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 9:48pm
post #6 of 22

I've never leveled a cake. I consider doming to be perfectly normal, and don't get why anybody gets hung up about it.

I've never assembled a layer cake myself, but when my mother did so, she always stacked the layers bottom-to-bottom, with the domed top of the bottom layer directly on the plate, and the domed top of the top layer facing straight up. (Given the draft angle of the pans, that always gave our layer cakes a bit of an hourglass shape)

sweettreat101 Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 6:59am
post #7 of 22

I use baking strips and I still level my cake tops. I like to decorate with perfectly level layers especially if I will be stacking or using pillars.

scp1127 Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 7:28am
post #8 of 22

Pressing down the top of a warm cake smashes the crumb, the texture of the cake that many of us work hard to achieve.

If you stack a domed so that you end up with a flat bottom on top, the convex portion will push out the filling, causing bulges.

If the cake is level, I only cut it if it is two layers of a four layer cake and they need to be consistent in height.

Some of my cakes dome because that is how they are structured. Some of my three inch tall, six inch cakes, dome. I cut off the dome, again, to have four layers conform.

hieperdepiep Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 8:04am
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

Pressing down the top of a warm cake smashes the crumb, the texture of the cake that many of us work hard to achieve.




You just gave me some new insight. I sometimes have a dome and I always , after 2 minutes of coolling, get the cake out of the pan and put it upside down for further cooling. This gives a little pressure the other way and makes the cake level, bottom is now top.
Would that pressure ruin some of my texture?

escaliba1234 Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 8:27am
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabby75

I recently started using towels around my cake pans and now they are very level. I'm wondering if i still need to cut off the brown tops though. My cakes are the right height now, so I really don't want to shorten them, but I don't want a wedding cake done wrong. Thank you for your help.




Could you please tell us a bit more about using the towels.
I have heard about wrapping old towels in foil to make strips for using around the cake tins.
I do get quite a lot of doming and would like to reduce it, if possible.
I did not realize the cake strips were to prevent doming; I thought they took the place of heating cores.
Keen to learn more about this, please and would welcome any input. icon_smile.gif

scp1127 Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 8:32am
post #11 of 22

Hi hieperdepiep,

Think about it...

We buy the best flour, have all ingredients at room temp, put baking strips and nails in and on our pans so that the cake is absolutely perfect.

All practices of crushing the crumb will adversely affect the cake. Granted, some smashed down cakes may be still the best in the area, but you worked too hard to perfect that crumb. Smashing the little holes down, especially while warm, will collapse the structure.

Even applying weights to the filled cakes will affect the crumb.

My suggestion is to be as protective of that crumb as possible and you will have a better cake. If your cake was already great, it will be outstanding. It is much better to cut the cake, if needed, after it has cooled.

I just wrote on another thread, what a big difference the real heating nails make in the final product vs. flower nails. If we keep taking every step we can to perfect our craft, and add on new ways to make the same cake better, those same recipes will keep evolving into better and better final products.

I think I have watched Alton Brown for too long and must be overprotective of those tiny little pockets.

hieperdepiep Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 9:59am
post #12 of 22

Thanks for your answers. I care for my little pockets as well icon_biggrin.gif

You got me curious about the real heating nails. Haven't seen them here in the Netherlands..

robinmarie Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 11:47am
post #13 of 22

Where do you get real heating nails?

BakingIrene Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 2:56pm
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Quote:


Could you please tell us a bit more about using the towels.
I have heard about wrapping old towels in foil to make strips for using around the cake tins.
I do get quite a lot of doming and would like to reduce it, if possible.
I did not realize the cake strips were to prevent doming; I thought they took the place of heating cores.
Keen to learn more about this, please and would welcome any input. icon_smile.gif




The towels and cake strips do the same thing. You soak them in water just before baking. They slow down the baking at the edges so that the middle has a chance to heat up. The end result is that layer cakes no more than 2" deep bake without a hump. This works even for big pans like 11x15".

If you have a deeper cake you need a heating core, to make sure the cake batter is completely baked all the way through. You may or may not get a hump depending on the shape of your pan.

The issue with some flower nails is that the stem is soldered to the head--NOT FOOD SAFE.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 3:51pm
post #15 of 22

Well, there *are* food-safe silver solders (they're what CopperGifts.com uses for the seams in their cookie cutters). And I wouldn't trust a lead-based soft solder anywhere near food preparation equipment, unless it was sealed up where it had no chance of contact with the food.

And of course, a plastic flower-nail would be of no use at all here.

Then again, since I don't think any member of my family within recent memory has stacked a cake beyond two layers (flat-bottom-to-flat-bottom, as I'd said earlier), we've had no reason to consider doming to be a problem.

BakingIrene Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 4:06pm
post #16 of 22

Cookie cutters are not normally intended for prolonged use on hot/acidic foods that can leach the solder.

Most industrial hard (high-temperature) silver solder contains cadmium. More of a problem, you can't tell what is in the solder by looking at it.

I buy some welded icing tips from Korea that have been nickel-plated because I can have my local lab check their surface. But there have been too many lead and cadmium castings shipped to North America as cereal-box toys.

If I still had a TIG welder in the house, I would go into business making and selling certified stainless steel cake-baking nails. I believe that is the kind of initiative it would take for people to be very sure of the food safety aspect.

cattycornercakes Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 4:22pm
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

Pressing down the top of a warm cake smashes the crumb, the texture of the cake that many of us work hard to achieve.




I like the texture of my "smashed" cakes icon_biggrin.gif

jawalk Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 4:45pm
post #18 of 22

I like the texture of my Smashed cakes too. You don't have to chase the cake crumb all over the plate. If you bake at 325 degrees your cakes bake longer but do not rise as high in the middle. As for the cake strips around the pan, I use the nail in the middle of large pans and that works just fine.
Just my two cents.

cattycornercakes Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 4:48pm
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jawalk

I like the texture of my Smashed cakes too. You don't have to chase the cake crumb all over the plate. If you bake at 325 degrees your cakes bake longer but do not rise as high in the middle. As for the cake strips around the pan, I use the nail in the middle of large pans and that works just fine.
Just my two cents.




Agreed! I do the same...bake longer at lower temps. I tried the cake strips when I first started baking and it just seemed like too much hassle for the outcome...plus half the time I'd forget to put them on! I use a nail in the middle if its a large cake.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 5:15pm
post #20 of 22

Re: CopperGifts, when asked, they explicitly described the solder they use as being very specifically a food-safe solder (and yes, cadmium is definitely NOT "Good Eats," and neither is antimony).

Of course, having neither a flower nail of any type or size, nor the appropriate tips, nor the time to learn the craft of rose construction (I've read through, but not attempted, the tutorial in the circa 1970 Betty Crocker Cookbook) in time for my Mother's Day cake, I opted for a line drawing of a rose, copied from an online coloring book.

Tabby75 Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 6:40pm
post #21 of 22

thank you. I do cut old towels into strips, wet them under the sink, and then saftey pin them around the edges of my cake pans. it works wonders!

imagenthatnj Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 7:07pm
post #22 of 22

Heating cores. I like these a lot, but I only use them on a big cake.

http://www.pastrychef.com/HEATING-CORES_p_1992.html

I never get a dome, but then again, I use the Williams Sonoma Goldtouch pans. I gave my strips away. I would probably have to use them, though, if I'm using other pans.

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