Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My cake looks pregnant and might be a cannibal

Dear Tricia
My cakes always rise higher in the middle than on the sides. Its like they have a pregnant cake belly...or they were being cannibals in my oven and eating other parts of the cake. How do I keep that from happening?

It’s true: cakes do have a tendency to resemble something out of a maternity magazine, but they mean no harm, I promise. There’s a very simple solution, and you have a couple of options: There are cake pan strips that you can buy at cake decorating stores or craft stores that are meant to wrap around the cake pan to level out the top of your cake. However, I’d suggest saving yourself 20 bucks and make them yourselves. All you need is an old towel that you don’t use anymore, like that one you used to clean up your roommate’s hair dye catastrophe, or maybe the one you dry off your dog with. He can probably use a new towel anyway.
Cut the towel into 2- 3” strips (however tall your cake pan is), and wet them in cold water.
Wrap the wet towel strips snugly around your cake pan and pin or paper clip the ends together.
Bake as directed.
When your cake is done, you should notice a much less domed top, but you will never get a fully flat top. Unfortunately, there are laws of science that just cannot be challenged. However, if you want a straight top to frost and decorate, just flip the cake over and use the bottom as your canvas.

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