This is just a super quick and easy tutorial on how to have your cakes coming out of the oven level.

You can also level your cakes after they have been baked, a method that almost all bakers use, but this helps you get an even cake layer prior to baking.

The first thing you should so is start with a good recipe! If your recipe has the proper ration of baking powder and/or baking soda, you should have evenly distributed cake coming out of the oven.

Every time I make my favorite chocolate cake, it comes out perfectly. Its like Ina Garten knows how to cook or something.

Now, on to the baking!

Start with a clean pan. This is a six-inch pan I got from Walmart.

Use cold Cake Strips. That is simply strips of towel wrapped snuggly around the edges. Be sure to soak them in cold water first! Just wring out the excess water and wrap around your pan. You can secure with a pin or tie the towel in place.


Those towel strips are just my cheap version of these Cake Strips.

Photo courtesy of Wilton

Mine are old. Tattered. Used. Loved.


Now, get a solid layer of cooking spray in your pan. You can also use the butter and flour method, but that is slightly time-consuming and the new baking sprays work just as well.

You can also use homemade GOOP, which is nothing short of AWESOME.


I try to make sure the sides are fully covered. This helps the cake break away from the sides more easily.

It can also be helpful to measure out your batter. I find that the easiest way to do this is to know how many cups of batter your recipes makes. For instance, my Perfect White Cake makes 4 cups of batter, so I know to add 2 cups to each pan.


Now add your batter. I typically set my timer for five minutes less than the recipe suggests… this way I can monitor the cake closely in the final baking stages. Have a toothpick or small sharp knife on hand to test cake.

If there are cracks insert into the cracks, otherwise just insert into middle of cake. If it comes out clean or with one or two crumbs, you are good to go!

I once heard a famous baker say, “If you toothpick comes out clean your cake is over cooked and will be dry.”


Here is the cake out of the oven. Slightly brown on top. Has pulled away from the sides.

And is totally level.


I also own one of these handy dandy inventions.

Not every recipe is perfectly calibrated, and not every baker oven is perfect either.

You can also use a long, sharp serrated knife to cut off any dome or excess on your cake.

Those are just a few tips that have helped me, and I hope they can help you too.

And with any luck, you will get to see the final product of that rainbow speckled cake very soon!


I recently learned that if your cake comes out domed, while it’s still hot from the oven (and in the pan), press it down your hand after covering it with a clean dishcloth or a paper towel.

Worked like a charm.

Share with your friends!

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. I have used the cake strips for 15 yrs and they never fail to keep the cake level. They work great on a 9 x 13 pan, I use 2 and clip them together with the metal X collar stays off a mans shirt.
    I haven’t tried the recipe yet but I’m going to! Thanks for your recipes and tips.

  2. One of my cakes had a high dome. I qently pushed it down when it came out of the oven. Perfect! No dome. Thanks for the tip!

  3. I’m limited on bakeware. I have a few Pyrex pie dishes and oblong baking dishes, 1 pound metal loaf pan, and a springform 8” round. Is it possible to bake a cake or anything else using your recipes with what I have? Your recipes look awesome! I want to get started before it gets too hot. Thank you!

  4. Thank you so much for these tips! I love to bake and am just learning, now that I am retired! I have used many of your recipes and am never disappointed! Personally, I prefer a cake is that has a moist , but firm crumb. I find that a problem when Use bundt pans as they come out more towards dense. How I can make light moist cake?

    1. They can help the pan to not heat quickly on the sides, which could result in uneven baking. Yes, they are kept on the pans while baking.

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