I thought I’d pass along a rave review for a new product that my mom gave me a few weeks ago:
One of the tastiest parts about baking at home is eating the leftovers created from leveling a cake. Warm, moist – and who’s gonna notice a couple of spoonfuls of frosting missing from the stand mixer bowl?
When you’re baking for profit, that leftover cake that you look forward to is suddenly a waste – and there’s just too much to justify nibbling on for a snack. Cake truffles are an excellent way to put to use left-over cake created from leveling but how about not having to waste so much to begin with?
Baking a cake in my oven at home is very different than the days of baking in the commercial convection ovens in my parents’ bakery. I’ve always blamed my oven for cooking the edges of the cake too quickly and causing the center to rise into the shape of the Astrodome. I knew wasn’t the pans or the distribution of the batter – it had to be the oven. The only thing I could do was score a nifty little cake-leveler from Mom and deal with it – then she gave me a tool to prevent the problem rather than just treat it: Wilton Bake Even Strips.
Mom saw the Bake Even Strips in a local craft store and picked up a couple of the packages since they were on sale. You wet the strips, wrap them around your cake pan, and then bake your cake. The wet strips are supposed to prevent “Astrodome Syndrome” by protecting the edges of the cake from the heat longer, resulting in an evenly-baked and, therefore, more level cake. I was skeptical, certain that the only thing that would solve my problem was a fancy new oven. I gave the baking strips a whirl when I made Dulce de Choco-leche Cake for Mother’s Day and boy, was I surprised! The cakes were level – smooth, flat, even. Darn-near perfect.
I didn’t have my camera handy at the time (shame on me!) but I whipped up another two-layer cake for the freezer and baked one pan “naked” and the other with the Bake Even strip (I have the small strips which fit 8-9 inch cake pans). I answered the phone while spooning out the batter and couldn’t remember which pan got the last scoop. I was too lazy to pull the scale out of the cabinet 4 feet away so I guessed – and guess wrong. The cake on the left actually has 1/2 cup more batter than the Astrodome cake. Ooops – totally not the point, though 🙂
If you have a decent oven you probably won’t even think twice about this gadget. But if you’re oven is like mine and refuses to play nice when it comes to baking cakes (and your husband won’t let you drop $3000+ on a Blodgett), they’re a cheap ($8) and nifty way to alleviate some frustration.