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Making Cakes Rise Evenly

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Have you ever spent an afternoon measuring, mixing, and baking a cake only to have it end up looking like an igloo? Doming is OK for cupcakes, but it causes all kinds of problems for cake. Doming happens because the outside edge of the cake cooks faster then the inside. This gives the middle more time to grow during the baking process and become taller then the edges. 

A cake that's domed on top can cause the following problems:
  1. The center of the cake can crack.
  2. The edges can over bake and become too brown.
  3. The edges can turn hard.
  4. The edges can also become dry.
Luckily there is a solution to this problem... baking strips. Cake baking strips insulate the pan so your cake bakes more evenly. You can buy several different brands, the most common is probably Wilton's Bake-Even Cake Strips. Have you tried them? They work well... the only problem is that they are expensive! Luckily you don't have to shell out $$ to buy them. You can make a simple substitute at home. It works just as well, plus it's cheap! All you need is an old towel.  :D

Cut an old towel into 2" strips.




Wet the towel in water. (DO NOT forget this step!!!!) It doesn't need to be dripping wet, but it needs to be quite wet. Wrap the towel around the outside edge of the pan. I just tie my strip and tuck in the edges, but you could also use pins or clips to hold the edges together. If you're baking a large cake, tie a couple of towel strips together and make it longer.



These two cakes were baked together at the same time. The cake on the left was baked in a pan alone. The cake on the right was baked using the homemade baking strips. Notice the differences... the cake on the left is domed in the center, it's edge is too dark and has a harder texture.

If using strips, you may need to add a few extra minutes to the total baking time. Give cake baking strips a try, I'm sure you'll be thrilled with the results!

38 comments:

  1. Judy, what a great post! I never even knew there were baking strips. Joni

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  2. You've opened my baking borders...
    I'm looking forward to try, thank you so much!

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  3. Oooh, you’re such an inspiration. I love this blog!
    How to Use Silicone Bakeware. Silicone bakeware is high-tech and easy to store and clean, which makes it an appealing option to many bakers.

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  4. lolll - Oh Judy - your baking strips are the same as mine - pre loved Tea Toweels.
    They might look a tad funny but they have never let me down - nor my cakes. *wink*

    Glad you thought to share with the rest of the world - unlike me.... *gulp* *blush*


    Maxine

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  5. Great post! The results are just like Wilton's Bake Even Strips!

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  6. Drat, I bought some and I bet YOURS work much better.
    Susie

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  7. Always love cost saving tips that work. Thanks I was looking at the Wilton strips and thought they were pricey.. Off to cut up a towel and try it

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  8. Hi, my cakes always burn on the bottom in my oven, could I sit the tin on a wet towel, would this have the same effect as the towel around the edges?

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  9. Hi Frank,

    I wouldn't do it. I worry about having a horizontal wet towel directly above the heating element. It will dry out too quickly!

    Instead of that... I'd try... 1) turning the heat down on your oven 25 degrees, 2) raising the oven rack up one notch, 3) you could also place your cake pan on top of a cookie sheet or pizza stone to help provide better insulation. I sometimes put my cupcake pan on top of a pizza stone to prevent over browning on the bottom of the cupcakes.... it works very well.

    Good Luck!
    ~Judy

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  10. I have used the cake strips before and have no dome problems. But I still get edges that are too browned and harder.

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  11. Anonymous-

    Try turning your oven temperature down and baking your cake at 325 degrees.

    ~Judy

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  12. Great idea...I can't wait to try it the next time I bake a cake. Thanks Judy!

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  13. Can they be used on silicon molds?

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  14. Thank you so much for posting this tip. My cakes always dome too much. I tried this today w/ an old tea towel and it worked perfectly!

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  15. I m impressed enough to try it i m sure its gonna work your ideas are perfectly applicable.
    send gifts to pakistan

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  16. Will I get the same results if I use this trick with a glass/pyrex pan?

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  17. Amazing!! Saved my day!

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  18. I just wanna hug you right now you saved my cakes! :D Just baked a huge birthday cake which is absolutely even!

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  19. Great posting!! Love the photo demonstration!! Thank u!!

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  20. Thanks, really helpful! God bless you!

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  21. I just wanted to say thanks so very much. I used the home made baking strips this weekend and all my cskes were beautiful. Every cake came out picture perfect.

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  22. Oh Goodness! Wrapping the wet towel strips around the cake pans worked perfectly .I also use the middle rack in the oven and my cake came out moist and even.

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  23. Judy I tried your method today and it worked! I am thrilled. Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks so generously. Pauline (from tiny hot island - Singapore)

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  24. Unbelievable, tried it today and it works like a charm!

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  25. Don't the towels dry then possibly catch fire?

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    Replies
    1. They should be very wet when you wrap the towels around your pans.

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  26. Great! many thanks for the trick! But, I have an electric oven, table, my oven which is heated with a kind of rod that heats up ... With this oven I can do this trick? You can answer this in fromsweetland@gmail.com or www.fromsweetland.com? Thank you so much! I subscribe to your blog!

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    Replies
    1. I have the same kind of electric oven as you and I do this all the time! Make sure your towels are very wet then you wrap the towels around the pans. The towels will dry out in the oven, but they don't burn or catch fire. Good Luck!

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  27. You made my day! I'll try this trick next time. Thanks. xx

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  28. I tried this for my dad's bday cake and it worked a charm... thankyou so much for putting it on this blog, made my day when i found it actually worked. i've looked at a few different techniques and this is the best by far :)

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  29. I was just about to buy Wilton's even bake strips, and when I saw your solution I was so excited!! Sure enough, I tried it out and my cake came out PERFECT!! Thanks so much, Judy

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  30. Baked a cake today and came out very uneven, so I read this blog, I wanna try this but I surely am a bit scared that the towel might burn!!! How thick should the towel be, please!

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    Replies
    1. I used an old bath towel that was pretty thin and very worn out. I've never had a problem with it burning. Just make sure the towel is very wet before wrapping it around the pan. Good Luck!
      ~Judy

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    2. Hi so I tried it could'nt wait!! My oh my!! It worked, made my stips sewed it with my machine, then tried it, my husband had to sit with me in the kitchen just in case something happens!!! LOL cakes came out nice and even, amazing, I think I am surely gonna bake more cakes from now on with myself made strips!!!! Thanx so so much!!! Wonderful!!

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  31. Oh wow you really do reply!!! So excited!! Now I can't wait for our september holidays to start here in South Africa, just to try this(still marking exam papers!)- am surely gonna let you know how my cake turns out! Thanx so,so much,once again!!!

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  32. This is a great post, and so much better with the pictures..easier to understand. Thank you for sharing!!

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  33. ~Hallo I am from south Africa . I run a small bakery on the farm and I mainly bake lamingtons on big scale. I now have to go from making the mixture once to 3 times, and in a bigger pan. The problem that I am having at the moment is that the cake domes in the middle and the sides are very thin, I looked at the oven and made it level, I looked at the temperature and it bakes the single batter cakes perfect. Do you think I can place like foil on the whole cake pan and bake it that what to stop it from peaking? I also tried pouring the mixture in from the sides so it runs to the middle still no help. Do you perhaps know what will happen if I place something smack in the center of the cake like a knife or something. I am loosing so much cake because its not baking evenly. I hope you can help. thank you.


    THIS IS MY PROBLEM, I AM USING GAS OVENS AND THE BAKING TINS TAKES 3X THE AMOUNT OF MIXTURE. DO YOU THINK THIS METHOD WILL ALSO WORK FOR ME?

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  34. Thank you for this DIY trick. U saved me a fortune. I'm about to bake some large cake tiers and was going to need new strips. I have lots of old towels.

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