There is nothing like fresh baked goods! Pulling them from the oven with their domed tops and hunger-inducing aromas does something to most people.
However, doming is good for things like cooking, but when it’s your cake, then you may be disappointed. There are some tips and tricks that can be used to make sure your cake layers come out flat.
To ace your next cake decorating experience better, we will discuss why your cake domes, and some tools and tips you can use to stop it.
Doming – Why Do Cakes Do It?
After you have placed your cake tins in the oven, the sides and bottom begin to heat up. This causes the cake to cook from the outside in and the middle batter of the cake to rise. When this happens, the cake will then come out with a domed top.
This makes it very difficult to decorate, especially if it is a layer cake. So you want to prevent this, and there are not only tools but tips that can help you with that.
Tools You Might Need
Baking is a precision science, and that means having the right tools is just as important as the right ingredients. None of the tools we mention below barring the pans is necessary, but they sure can help:
If you are concerned with level cake layers, then you are probably more than an occasional baker. That means it may be a good investment to buy yourself a set of nice cake tins.
Cheap options won’t give the quality of bake that you may be looking for. You will want pans that have straight sides without any angle whatsoever.
These are strips that you wrap around the outside of the cake pan. They will help maintain a steady temp and help ensure that your cake layers are level. They are not a necessary tool, but they could be a good thing to have.
(If you really are on a tighter budget, you can always dampen a dish towel and wrap it around the pan. This will give you the same effect without spending any money.)
If your cake is going to be bigger than 10”, you may want to invest in a heating core. This piece goes into the center of your pan before the batter and will ensure that when your cake is in the oven, you get an even bake.
When the cake is done and cooled, you can remove the core and take the centerpiece of the cake out. This can be used to fill the hole made in your cake, caused by pulling the core.
You don’t need one; you could just use a knife, but like the baking strips, it may be a nice thing to have just in case your cake does dome a bit.
Tips to Get Flat Cake Layers
There is no guarantee that your cake will not dome, but there are a few tips you can use to help increase the odds.
Bake Lower & Longer
Typically a recipe for a cake will have you heat the oven to 350˚F. One good way to help your cakes stay level is to cook it at a lower temp for a little bit longer. So instead try 325˚F. This will require you to check the cake every couple of minutes after the initial time has elapsed.
Before you start to use your knife or cake leveler, you will want to make sure both layers will be the same height. You can measure or just eyeball it, but this is a crucial step, so take your time.
Then take a large knife or a cake leveler and cut the top of the cake. Keep the crumbs so you can do a crumb layer while icing or give it to the kids to appease them until the cake is ready.
Get All the Air Out
Part of the reasons cakes are domed is because there is excess air in the batter. So before putting it in the oven, drop the pan on the counter a few times. This will get rid of air pockets and help potentially prevent risen cake layers.
Decorating a cake whose layers are not flat is darn near impossible. Hopefully, with the tips and tricks we discussed above, you will be able to avoid this issue.
If you want an in-depth list of tools for baking, check out this article.