I must first apologize for my very long leave of absence from posting here. We are expecting the 6th member of our family in April and as with each of my pregnancies, this one has taken its' toll on me. My posts from here on out will be very inconsistent and sporadic, but I'll hope you'll check in from time to time to see what's new. That said, I'm about to share with you the trick to never having to slice the top of a cake to level it.
In all my years of baking (I started making birthday cakes for my family at 12 years old) I have never come across this trick on any website or baking blog. Thanks to Pinterest I recently heard about "baking strips". These strips are supposed to help cakes bake evenly without having the dreaded dome in the middle. In talking to a good friend about these strips she said something that has changed my world forever: "You know you can just use strips of old cloth, soak them in water and wrap them around the cake pan?" "What?!" No, I didn't know! Are you kidding me! Why this trick isn't spread from one end of the blogosphere to the other is beyond me because it is simply brilliant. So how does it work?
Prepare your cake as you normally do. Before placing the pan in the oven to bake, take a strip of old cloth (I cut up an old flour sack cloth I used to cover my bread while letting it rise) and soak it. Wring enough of the water out so it isn't dripping, but still pretty saturated. Wrap the cloth around the outside of the pan and tie it once to keep it in place. Put the cake in the oven to bake as usual. When done, remove cake from the oven, remove the cloth and let the cake cool 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely.
I must warn you. This new-found knowledge may upset many members of your family who look forward to eating the cake tops of all your scrumptious cakes (I have a sister who is not thrilled by this), but it means a lot less work and headache for you. Just think, no more long serrated knives being used in vain attempts to get perfectly even cakes!
Wanna know how I decorated the beautiful cake at the top of this entry? Check it out. Oh, and the inside of my cake looks exactly like the one in the tutorial, only purple.