Ever wondered how to bake your cake evenly every time, without a massive dome in the middle.
Baking cakes are great for all kinds of occasions, but why do they rise in the middle all the time.
Of course, there are levelling tools you can get to cut the top off so your cake is level, and you can decorate it. But what if you can bake your cake evenly, so you don’t have to do that.
If you want to bake your cake evenly and not rise in the middle, the most common method is cake strips. Of course, there are alternative DIY methods, as well as a metal core or floral nail. All of which will be able to give you a lovely, evenly baked cake that will be nice and flat on the top.
What contributes to a cake rising in the middle?
An overly hot oven is a factor you may need to look at when you want to stop your cakes from rising in the middle.
Oven temperatures can vary, depending on if you have a fan-forced or a conventional one. Usually, a cake needs to be baked at 180°C if you use a traditional oven (non-fan-forced) or 160°C if you use a fan-forced.
If you find your cakes are rising too high, you may need to check your oven’s temperature by putting an oven thermometer inside your oven.
An overly hot oven can also contribute to your cakes cracking as well as a high dome on the top.
But did you know that how you mix your cake or having too many air pockets in the mixture can also cause it to rise higher and crack? You can read more about this from my blog post, “What You Need To Know To Bake A Cake Successfully“.
Cake strips and how to use them.
Bought cake strips are made from a thick fabric, and you can purchase them from most baking supply shops. You will find them online from any baking supply online store such as Wilton.com and amazon.
To use these, put water in a container or your kitchen sink. Submerge your cake strips in the water and squeeze them a few times to soak up the water.
Once they are completely wet, lift them out and wring them out. You need to remove all the excess water from the strips. You should have damp cake strips, not dripping wet ones.
Once you have wrung them out, wrap them around the outside of your cake tin and secure them in place with the fabric loops that are on one end of your cake strips.
Pour your cake batter in and then place it in the oven. You may need to bake your cake slightly longer as the wet cake strips will slow down the baking process.
Cake strips can be purchased in packs containing two or more. There are packs with different sizes available if you needed. And depending on what sizes you need, either buy a few packets or wait till the strip has cooked down and repeat the above process to reuse the same cake strip.
Alternatively, you can make a DIY cake strip if you are needing more.
How you make and use DIY cake strips?
There is a great DIY you can do to make your own. It’s very handy if you are looking for a solution straight away and do not have time to wait for delivery or have time to go out and buy some from a store.
Measure out some paper towel and tin foil to cover the entire outside of your cake tin. The paper towel needs to be roughly the same length as your cake tin, and the tin foil needs to be approximately two to threes inches longer than the paper towel.
Fold the paper towel lengthways in thirds or an alternative way to create the same width as the cake tin.
Wet the paper towel and remove any excess water. Just like the baking strips, you need it to be damp, not dripping.
Carefully place the paper towel from the tin foil’s edge and wrap it around the paper towel. And try to centralize it as you will use the excess tin foil to secure your DIY cake strip in place.
Once the paper towel is wrapped, place your cake tin on its side and place it in the centre of the strip.
If the stip is wider than your cake pan, you can fold the bottom up so that the edge is level with the bottom of the cake pan.
Bring the ends of the strip up and around the edge of the cake tin till they meet. Start to fold the ends together until the strips are tight around the cake pan.
The DIY method is convenient if you need more than one cake strip, and you do not want to wait for the fabric to cool down before you can reuse it again.
How to use a flower nail for baking cakes evenly?
You are probably thinking, how can a flower nail help my cake rise more evenly while baking. Or you are wondering what a flower nail even is.
Firstly a flower nail is used by cake decorators to make buttercream flowers for cakes and cupcakes.
But now they have two great uses. Even if you are not making flowers, having one of them will help you if you do not have any cake strips. Or you are unable to make the DIY cake strip method.
To use the flower nail, you need to spay it with non-stick spray after pouring the cake mixture into your tin. Push the flower nail, flat side first, down through the centre of the mix until it touches the bottom of the pan.
You will have the pointy end sticking up.
Alternatively, you can place the flower nail flat side down in the pan first and then add the cake mix. Either way works, then place your cake in the oven and bake as usual.
Once your cake is ready to remove it from the cake pan. Place a board or something else flat over the top of the cake and flip it over so your cake tin is upside down.
Doing this will cause the nail to lift, so once you remove the cake pan, you will be able to pull it out easily.
How to use a metal heating core for baking a cake evenly?
An alternative to using the flower nail is using a heating core. A heating core is designed to help with the baking of larger cakes. The core helps to conduct heat to the centre, which will give you a more evenly baked cake.
Spay both your cake pan and core with no-stick spray or grease with melted butter to use the heating core. Make sure you do the inside of the core as well.
Place the heating core in the centre of your cake pan, and put a bit of the cake mix inside the core. Then pour the mixture into the cake pan. Try to have the mix in the heating core and cake pan at the same height.
Bake your cake as usual, once the cake is baked and cooled enough for you to remove it from the tin. Remove the heating core slowly. Tip upside down and tap to remove the cooked cake from inside.
Place the piece of cake from the core back into the cake centre to fill the hole back up.
Which is the best option to bake your cake evenly?
All these methods work and will give you a nice even top on your cake. Which one is right for you comes down to personal preference. I love the cake strips; they are pretty straightforward to use.
However, the DIY method can be a little bit fiddly to make.
The flower nail is handy if you are baking more than one layer. Either one at a time or two at a time if your oven is big enough. And it only leaves a small hole in the centre of your cake.
The heating core leaves a big hole, and you need to try and put the piece of cake back into the centre to fill it in.
But, you can get creative with this option also. You can choose not to put it back in and fill the centre with buttercream or smarties.