When I bake a cake ,the cake always rises in the middle! What can I do to prevent that from happening?
My cakes always rise in the center too; I'm not sure that there's any way to avoid it. As soon as I pull the cake out of the oven, I cover it with parchment paper and gently press down on the the cake while it is still in the pan. My cakes are fairly solid, dense cakes to begin with. I'm not sure how well this would work with a lighter consistency cake. Sometimes this is enough to essentially level it, but every cake recipe rises differently and oven temperature also affects how much your cake rises. If pressing on the cake isn't enough, you'll probably have to level it with a cake leveler or knife. I usually prefer a serrated bread knife for this, unless I'm doing a really large cake.
There are a number of things that can help this.
I grease-only-no-flour my pans. The batter will actually grab onto the flour and restrict the easy rise up the side of the pan. A greased-only pan allows the batter to slide up the pan quickly, simple and easy, resulting in the sides of the cake rising higher than a floured pan (just my opinion ... and over 25 years of baking).
Use the baking strips. Here's the thread where I explain the science behind how and why they work. http://forum.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=3467363#3467363
Some CC'ers also use an upside down flower nail and/or baking core. I have never used either of these .... I'll leave the directions and opinions on these two tools to those who have actually worked with them.
The push-down method described above really does work as well as everyone says it does. The only reason I don't use it is because I don't want the top layer of 'brown cake skin" in the middle of my white wedding cakes. The grease-only and baking strips will help the sides of your cake rise evenly, too, to give you a more evenly baked cake (see the science of baking strips thread).
I don't think that any method will give you a perfectly flat cake ... but these tools and tips will help you avoid corners that are 1" tall and an center that is 4" tall!
I've had great success in lowering the temperature from 350 degrees to 325 degrees
my cakes have been rising but was told to try the strips on one cake they worked perfectly and the other it still rose(maybe not as bad) the only differnce was one pan had less batter in it and that was the one that was perfect and required no leveling!
I also use the baking strips and highly recommend them. They really work great. I also bake my cakes at the lower temperature of 325 too. The cakes seem to come out more moist too.