I would like some help please. I usually bake for fun and have 8" and 9" round cake pans to use for standard 8" or 9" cake recipes. Since I usually bake for smaller groups (about 6 adults) I thought about halving 8/9" cake recipes. If I were to go that route, what size cake pans should I get? Are 6" too big or should I try 5"?
Another question that I've been wanting to ask: I use Magic Line cake pans and also have those Wilton baking strips. I also use an oven thermometer but my biggest problem is cake shrinkage (after baking). I usually bake them at once, same rack, and don't bother switching them halfway. I usually find one cake layer nicely baked, the other has shrunk so when I layer them, one side is straight while the other side would be slanted/uneven. It makes me crazy not knowing how to remedy this. Do you have any ideas what could be happening? The cake batter is equally distributed between cake pans (I weigh them) and I usually bake from scratch.
A 6"x4" cake yields 12 party size servings [http://www.wilton.com/cakes/making-cakes/baking-party-cake-2-inch-pans.cfm]. Once you get smaller than that, you don't really have much of a decorating surface and it's a pain to decorate, anyway.
Sounds like you have a hot spot(s) in your oven, so by not rotating the cakes, some get over-cooked while others are fine.
AI often bake two 8 or 9 inch layers and ice and decorate each layer. Usually I make one for a dinner and freeze the other for another time. That way you still have a larger top surface to decorate. When I do this I will sometimes torte them so they have a bigger awe factor. It is handy to have one in the freezer for a short notice treat to bring.
AI think on Americas test kitchen they spread out slices of bread on a cookie sheet to find hot spots.
I tested ovens for an appliance company and we used canned biscuits in all our "browning" tests.