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.