How to Bake Flat Cake Layers
It always amazes me where the magic ends and baking begins. Peeking through the glass to see muffins doubling in size and the aroma of cocoa still makes me as giddy as always. Baking is actually magical !!
It is pity that almost all cakes dome up, almost every time and levelling it down is required. Such a domed cake gives an uneven distribution of frosting and is aesthetically less pleasing. Further, cutting the dome means wasted cake, though you can still eat the scrap, but STILL!!
Having a cake come out perfectly flat and stack-able is much better alternative and here are some tricks to get flat cake layers, which will work for you every-time.
1. Lower the Oven Temperature
Setting oven temperature to 180 °C is what most cake recipes will call for. However, lowering it to 160 °C will slow down the rise in leavening agent, so you can get a beautiful flat top instead of the dreaded dome.
Please note that a longer bake time would be required at lower temperature. A good practice will be to do a Toothpick Test after the original bake time and then every 5 minutes until it is thoroughly baked.
2. Reuse an Old Dish Towel
Instead of buying cake strips, you can try a DIY (Do It Yourself) approach. Horizontally, cut an old dish towel into long strip and with width as much as your cake pan.
Before your put the batter into the pan and the pan to baking, wet the strips to be damp (not dripping) and wrap around the outside of cake pan. Secure the ends with a knot or safety-pin.
3. Use a Knife to Level it
Despite all our efforts, sometimes the cakes can still bake up with a domed top; and stacking multiple uneven layers can be a potential disaster, waiting to happen. So, when everything else fails, carefully slice off the rounded tops using a long serrated knife.