Tips for Achieving Flat Cake Layers

 
 Photo by  Yasmin Roohi

Photo by Yasmin Roohi

 

Achieving the perfect cake starts from the very beginning, even before baking!  When I first started making cakes, they would come out with a huge cracked dome on top, or the outsides would bake too quickly and start to burn while the middle would still be wet and underbaked.  

After many trials, I found a couple tips that helped me achieve flat, evenly baked cake layers every time!  Read below for what I learned:

  1. Use baking strips.  Baking, or cake strips, are basically pieces of cloth that you dampen with water and place around the outside of your cake pan before baking.  Because the strips are wet, the sides of your pan won't get as hot while baking and your cake will bake all around more evenly.  You can either purchase cake strips, or you can easily make your own: grab a towel that you don't need anymore, and cut into 2" strips.  When you're ready to use them, run them under water, wring them out, wrap around the cake pan, and use a safety pin or needle to secure in place.
  2. Bake at a lower temperature.  Baking low and slow can help ensure that your cake bakes evenly as well.  Most recipes call for 350 degrees F, but you can try doing 325 or even 300. 
  3. Don't overfill your cake pan with batter.  I would usually fill it around half way, not more than 3/4.  Your recipe should also say how high to fill your cake pan.  

You don't need to do all these 3 tips at once, I usually just do steps 2 and 3.  If you are baking a larger cake such as a 12" cake, you can use the baking strips as well.  I would say tip #2 is a great way to start out!

Let me know if you try these out, or if you have any other tips for getting flat cake layers!