Thursday, April 9, 2015

How To Bake A Perfect Cake

Here's something you might not know about us - Leigh loves to cook and I love to bake sweets of any kind, but especially cakes! A cake, to me, has a always been an expression of love. I learned this from my Mom. She always shows her love to us by feeding everyone and is never happier than when she is cooking up a storm for the family. I have many fond memories of licking the beaters after watching her whip up something sweet for us! That's probably why I like baking so much - getting to lick the beaters!!

While I'm not a professional baker by any means, I'm not a complete novice. But I have to tell you, I had never heard of this trick before and can say with complete honesty that I will never bake another layer cake without using dampened towel strips!! Mirlandra of Mirlandra's Kitchen posted this wonderful How-To last October and I recently found it on Pinterest and used it on a cake I baked for Easter. The following two photos and recipe are courtesy of Mirlandra's Kitchen.

Here are Mirlandra's Instructions on How To Bake A Perfect Cake

How to Bake a Perfect Cake
  • wax paper or parchment paper
  • 1 old towel
  • two safety pins or paper clips
  1. Line each pan with circles of wax or parchment paper. I like to place the pans on the paper, draw a circle, and then cut it out.
  2. Butter the sides of the pan generously. If the liner is trying to curl up, use a smear of butter to tack it down so that it will stay flat.
  3. Fill the cake pans with batter according to the recipe.
  4. Take an old towel that you don't care about anymore and cut it into strips that fit the height of the cake pans. If your cake pan is 2" tall you need a 2" wide strip of towel. Each strip needs to fit at least once around the pan once plus a few inches. If the towel is very thin and threadbare, cut 2-3 strips for each pan. If the towel is very thick, cut 1-2 strips. I use 2 strips of thin towel for my pans.
  5. Get the towel strips sopping wet in the sink and then squeeze them until they are wet but not dripping everywhere .
  6. Wrap one towel strip around the pan until the ends overlap. Start the second strip on top of the exposed end of the first. Wrap it around the bottom strip. Secure the strips with a safety pin or paperclip.
  7. Bake the cake as directed in the recipe. When the cake is 3-5 minutes from being done, remove the towel strips and put the cake back in the oven. This allows the edge of the cake to finish baking. If you do not do this, the edge will remain so moist that the frosting will fall off.
  8. You can hand wash your towel strips and use them over and over again for many years.
  9. Let your cakes rest according to the directions in the recipe. When it is time to remove the cake to the rack, loosen the sides with a silicone spatula. Use a plate or flat platter to flip the cake over unto its top. Thump the bottom of the pan once or twice and the cake should fall out of the pan. Lining the pan allows the cake to release easily and prevents most broken cakes.
  10. Put the cake (rack and all) in a clean, unscented trash bag to finish cooling. This will help the cake remain moist throughout the cool down process.

We made a delicious Easter M&M Ice Cream Cake with a recipe I found on The Gunny Sack. Tonia from The Gunny Sack, states in the instructions, to let the layers cool and use a large serrated knife to cut off the domes. But let me tell you, with this trick, the layers will turn out perfectly flat and with a beautiful edge. The layers were baked in spring form pans and the towel strips worked perfectly.  

I didn't take pictures of the cake I baked during the process, but did take a quick shot after it was cut (and partially eaten!!)  Never in my life have I baked such beautifully flat layers - if only I could have gotten them even, but hey, they were nice and flat! Next time, I'll work on even!

I can't thank Mirlandra enough for this life changing tip! I've been singing her praises for days now and can't wait to bake another cake! Take a minute to visit her over at Mirlandra's Kitchen and check out some of her amazing recipes. I can't wait to try out her Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Frosting! I think I've gained about 5 lbs while just reading the recipe!!

Have you found a life changing tip on Pinterest or your favorite blog? We would love to hear about it. Leave us a comment and let us know your favorite tip.

Hope the rest of your week is wonderful!

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