how do you level a cake does anyone know
Posted: 21 June 2008 11:06 PM   [ Ignore ]
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confused should you check the level your oven to get perfect level cakes?

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Posted: 22 June 2008 04:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Do you mean the actual oven or the shelves?  I don’t think the oven would work properly if it wasn’t level but the shelves definitely need to be level.  This seems a strange question to me but perhaps someone else will be able to help you who has had this problem. Sorry. red face

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Posted: 22 June 2008 10:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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grin well i have been trouble getting prefectly level cake unsure if its my oven,pans,or baking temp. any suggestions on were to start?

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Posted: 23 June 2008 12:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Pretty hard to advise without a clearer picture of what’s happening. You say that your cakes are uneven. Do you mean one side is higher than the other? If so, you probably do need to adjust your oven rack or oven so things are sitting perfectly level on the rack and not at an angle. Or is the pan warped? Oven heat terribly uneven?

But I’m guessing you mean that your cakes come out with a domed peak in the centre. If so, there are three possible causes: 1) too hot an oven; 2) over mixing; or 3) too much flour. If you’re also seeing tunnels and large holes in the cake, it’s definitely over mixing.

A more detailed description of exactly how your cakes are uneven would help others to help you solve the problem.

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Posted: 23 June 2008 11:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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hmmm i guess what i meant to describe is that after i bake my cake they cool, i go to level them i just cant get them level with a serrated knife. any suggestions?

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Posted: 24 June 2008 12:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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You can get cake levelers that are adjustable.  There are two made by Wilton - the under $10 model stinks, but they have one that costs around $20 that works pretty well as long as you don’t try to force it along to quickly.  If you get really into making cakes you can upgrade to an Agbay ($150-250).

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Posted: 24 June 2008 12:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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cakequeen38 - 24 June 2008 02:22 AM

hmmm i guess what i meant to describe is that after i bake my cake they cool, i go to level them i just cant get them level with a serrated knife. any suggestions?

Are you using insulated baking strips around your cake pans?  There are several brands available.

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Posted: 24 June 2008 12:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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If you’re talking about butter cakes, I get the most perfectly level cakes when I use cake strips and drop a flower nail in the center of the batter.  There are a lot of factors involved—obviously your shelves do need to be level, but that usually isn’t a concern—how much you fill the pans—correct amount of leavening and oven temperature, so you will have to do some analysis and trial and error to fix the problem.  Also, you can use the levelers Patrincia mentioned if you get close but not perfectly level.  From your description, it sounds like they are markedly uneven though.

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Posted: 24 June 2008 12:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Matthew - 24 June 2008 03:25 AM

I get the most perfectly level cakes when I use cake strips and drop a flower nail in the center of the batter.

Ditto!

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Posted: 24 June 2008 02:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Does the base of flower nail leave a divet in the cake? Or do you just use that as side of the layer that will face the middle (the filling)?
I have read about this trick of yours and I am intrigued. I have used the cake strips for years, but this flower nail thing….
Should I do a search have either of you demo’d this on the forum before?

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Posted: 24 June 2008 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Hi - The flower nail leaves just the slightest divet, but it is easily covered with buttercream and no one will ever know.  Not my original idea, but I do use it a lot.

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Posted: 24 June 2008 10:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Rose explains how to use the pan the cake was baked in to level it. If the cake is too low she suggests using cardboard rounds to raise it. Pg 355 - 356 of The Cake Bible (US edition).
The best thing you can do, as Patricia and Matthew suggesed, is to use cake strips. It really does work. You can even make your own.

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Posted: 24 June 2008 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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i rarely cut my cakes unless they have a domed center. instead of baking a thick layer and torting it, i bake three thinner layers. then i have three perfectly flat “bottoms” to work with. i place one on the cardboard flat side down, fill, the next one on top flat side up, fill and the last one on top flat side up. between layers i use a cardboard round to press on the cake and make sure it is as even as possible allowing the filling to fill in the gaps.  i do it this way because whenever i have to torte a layer i never get two layers that are anywhere near the same thickness and that drives me crazy!

i have also reduced the temp in my oven by 25 degrees and this has eliminated my need for bake even strips.

good luck,

jen

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