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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cake Baking Tip

When I was in high school I had the privilege of learning a few neat cake baking tips from a cake maker. Since I was making a cake for our son's 4th birthday this week, I thought I would share one of them with you.

This tip was originally shared so cakes would end up nice and level for making layer cakes or for when you want to turn a cake over on a board (making the bottom the top), and you don't want your cake to be wobbly. I also use it when I want to keep my cake in the pan, unless I want it to be somewhat mounded. It just makes for a nice level cake.

What you will need are some strips of cotton. The thicker the better. I just used an old white undershirt that I cut into strips and folded to get more thickness. Someday I hope to make time to buy a bit of cotton fabric, fold it nice and thick, and sew it so it won't unfold . . . but for now strip of shirt will work.

You will want to get these strips nice and wet. Then you just wrap them around the outside of your pan, nice and tight, and safety pin them in place. (I like to place my cake pan on a cookie sheet while baking to keep the strips from sliding off - which is very frustrating if they do this when you are trying to put the cake in the oven.)

The science behind this tip is that the wet strips will keep the outside of the pan cool so that the edge of the cake doesn't bake faster than the middle - this is what causes the mounding of cakes when they are baked. (I bet this trick would work too if you like your brownies to be gooey and don't like the chewier edge pieces.)

Here is a picture of my cake after it came out of the oven. I will admit, mine isn't perfectly flat, but I blame that on inadequate strips of fabric. If I took the time to sew some that were nice and thick with the same thickness all around, I'm sure it would make even more of a difference. Even so, what I have works wonders.

Here is a picture of the cake all decorated. It is nice to not have to turn a cake upside down to get a flat surface to decorate!


Tim said...

What a cute cake! Great work Becca! :)

Dana Derks said...

Thats a good tip!!! I will try that. I always get bumpy cakes.

Amy said...

I love to bake. I'll try this tip. By the way, was this cake a chocolate and yellow cake swirled together?



The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

It is just one white cake mix. All you have to do save some batter back (I save a couple of cups in the bottom of the bowl) and add cocoa powder to it. When you get your desired chocolateness, you drop spoon fulls of the chocolate around the top of the cake. Then you cut it into the vanilla. Just make sure you don't cut it in too much or you will not end up swirling it, but blending it.

I think I learned that off of the back of a box once. :)

Christy said...

That cake is so cute! I want that one for my next birthday.

Anonymous said...

Great tip:) My grandma always used old terry towels around her pans when I was growing up. It definatly helps keep them level. You did a great job on the decorating:) Happy Birthday to your son.

~*~ Jennifer ~*~ said...

I have had the privileged of tasting one of her cakes. YUM!!! They are delicious and moist!

So Becca -- what brand of BOXED CAKE do you use?

Tori just went through that cake decorating demonstration... I listened... we were inspired. =) I like moist cakes... what is your suggestion?

I'm going to try the strips next time!! THANKS for the tip.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

You just had to ask!!! Now I have to fess up.

The boxed cake mix I buy is whatever is cheapest. Usually Fastco from Fareway. I do change the proportions a bit though. It is my little made up secret that only Ethan knows about . . . until now. I will share since you asked - but the secret has to stay on my blog!

Okay. So when you open up your box and pour it into the bowl, there are all of these little chunks of mix that are stuck together in balls. I gently stir the mix, use a spoon, and get all of these packed balls of cake mix out. Sometimes there are more, sometimes less. I have probably taken out over 1/2 of a cup of these of few times.

What do I do with them . . . well . . . I eat them. They are REALLY good! I have been worried a few times that I have eaten too much and that it will really mess up the cake proportions, but those are the times that I get them most compliments on my cake and how moist it is. So I keep eating.

When all of the little cake mix balls are successfully out of the bowl, I proceed to add the ingredients and follow the instructions just like they are printed on the back of the box.

I also do this with brownies if I buy a box mix.

Shhhhh . . . don't tell too many people! This is a gourmet secret!

Tristin said...

Awesome tip- I will remember that!

Anonymous said...

Why is the tractor green when you know praire gold is better

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Anonymous (Uncle Loren?) - Ethan and I just can't seem to get our hands on a Prairie Gold. For some reason we always pick something else up right before one goes on sale. :)

Salma said...

Hi!!! Wonderful tip.... I really hope this tip will work on my cake.....
God bless you and your lovely family. Salma.

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