Now you may love baking cakes, and even though they taste fantastic, you might think they don’t look as great as they taste. With this article on how to level and layer your cake easily, you can make your cakes more presentable than ever!
We hope you have noticed our write-ups of late. Articles that touch upon techniques and other baking and culinary insights also signal a new phase for us—to be more involved in the community as ever and provide solutions. As we get to explore what’s frequently discussed within the home-bakers community, we often see many requests to explain how we can level cakes properly and even have them layered nicely. So, this one’s for you today; the tips and tricks on how to level and layer your cake easily.
How to level a cake & how to cut the layers.
Baking strips or cake strips are thick fabric strips that are soaked and then used to wrap around your cake pans to create more level cakes. Some people tend to use them when they are baking large cakes, ones with a diameter of 10 inches and above. While you can also use the baking strips for smaller-sized cakes, we find them more necessary for larger cakes. When you are baking large cakes, its sides tend to bake first before the heat reaches to its centre. Because it takes a longer time for the cake centre to cook, the cake gets dry on its edges due to overbaking while you are waiting the cake centre to be baked properly. The wet baking strip helps us to overcome this problem.
To use the baking strips properly, first soak them in water and have the excess water pressed out. Then wrap the strips around your filled cake pan’s exterior. The cake can go into the oven right after and you would just have to bake as usual for a nicely levelled cake. Because the cake pan gets hot in the oven, the damp baking strip helps to keep the outside edge of the pan cooler. This means that the whole cake gets to bake at a more even temperature. This even temperature helps to bake the cake and get it to rise at the same rate, resulting in a cake that is more level once it is out of the oven.
So, it can be said that not only do these baking strips help your cakes to bake evenly, but they also help the cake to stay level after baking. In knowing this, baking strips are something you can consider for a levelled cake. You can find baking strips at pretty much any cake decorating shops or baking ingredients shop. Of course, with any given product that you buy, be sure to follow the tool instructions that come along with the packaging, so you do not make any mistakes while using them
We can argue that a serrated knife should belong in anyone’s kitchen. Such a useful tool, and known as bread knives, serrated knives are distinguished by their blade that has a saw-like appearance. The serrated knife is designed in such a way that its “teeth” easily slices through food with thick or resistant outer surfaces.
These serrated blades are of great use when you need to cut cakes (or even a loaf of bread) where you drag its edge across the surface. Normally, to cut through the outer crust, you will have to compress the soft inner part of the cake to force a cut. However, using a serrated knife, its serrated edges can grip the crust to make the initial cut. The unevenness of the blade catches and incises food by moving transversely over what you are cutting. That’s what makes it a commonly used tool to level in levelling and layering cakes.
When your cake comes out of the oven, you can use a long-serrated knife to cut off the domed top of the cake. Sounds like a piece of cake, but if you are not careful, you might cut your cake in a slanted angle. So even if your cake is levelled, it is and looks slanted. This mistake tends to happen because when you are focused on cutting off your cake top, you are not paying enough attention to the height on the cake at which you are cutting. That is how you end up with a cake that is levelled too much on one side and too little on the other.
If you would love to try this method but are nervous about it, you don’t have to worry about it as you can always fall back on some additional help like toothpicks or wooden skewers. They can help serve as a guide for you when cutting the cake with a serrated knife. Let us explain more in the next part.
In using toothpicks to guide your knife in levelling a cake, you first need to measure the height at which you want to cut the cake off.
You can mark the lines first by poking in gently with your knife. Then poke in the toothpicks in a horizontal manner at an interval of about 3 or 4 inches apart (however, if you are a beginner, an interval of 1 to 2 inches is recommended)—have your knife placed right above one of the toothpicks and you are ready to level your cake.
Turn your cake around as you start cutting through it horizontally. Keep in mind that each time you move the knife along the sides of the cake, the knife remains closely above the toothpicks you have placed as a guide. Continue to move the knife around the cake on top of the toothpicks until you completely level the cake.
Since wooden skewers are longer than toothpicks, this option is more suitable for those who feel that they need more guidance than what the short toothpicks can offer. Similarly, just like how you have used the toothpicks, you can substitute that using long thin wooden skewers.
Because wooden skewers are generally longer, you do not have to worry about them coming out of the other end when you poke them through the cake horizontally. And because the ends come out, always ensure and see that the wooden skewers come out as the exact same level you want to cut through your cake. Insert a good number of wooden skewers through the cake before you start layering it. In doing so, you are making sure that you can avoid overcutting any part of the cake.
This method would work for small cakes but prove to be challenging or impossible for cakes with large diameters, because you might not be able to find wooden skewers that are ultra-long. Small cakes, however, you can use the wooden skewers as much you need.
The cake leveler is one of the most preferred methods for bakers to layer and level cakes. Not only does it help to level your cake accurately, but you can get consistent layers if you want to layer your cakes.
Like the tool’s name suggests, the cake leveler is a unique tool that is specifically designed for cake levelling and layering. You use a cake leveler to slice off just the dome of a cake, giving you a nice, flat surface to begin stacking and decorating.
This tool is designed with a handle and thin wires. You use the handle to guide the movement of leveler just like you would holding a serrated knife. The wires of the cake leveler are responsible for cutting the cake. Conveniently, the wires can be adjusted to your preferred height, and you get to level your cake neatly. So, if you plan to have cakes that are even and have perfect layers, the cake leveler is one tool you can consider investing in as it is easy to use and serves its purpose well proving to be useful for both beginner and professional cake decorators.
To use the cake leveler, you must first measure the height you want to layer or level your cake. Then move the wire to the position that you have already measured on both sides of the cake leveler. Start levelling or layering by moving the cake leveler back and forth as how you would if you were to saw the cake. You will get an even cake that looks beautiful at the end of it.
We hope you have found these tips and tricks useful for you. So, the next time you need to level and layer your cake, you know what to do and how to do it. Want to know how to make the perfect whipped cream for your cake? Explore on it here. But of course…
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