The Importance of Being Flat

A flat cake is a good cake.  A cake that doesn't fall apart on you.  A cake that doesn't make you cry.  A cake that is easier to decorate.  A cake in which all of the dowels that you make can be cut to the exact same size.

That being said, here are some pointers that I've picked up along the way to ensure flatness:
  • Bake the cake at a lower temperature [like 325 F].  But make sure that you actually cook the cake longer, so that it's actually done.  And doesn't fall apart on you and make you cry.
  • Make sure your oven is flat.  Ha, I wish.
  • Don't grease the sides of the pan.  I don't know why this works, but it does.  Just run a knife around the side(s) of the pan before you pop it out.
  • I grease and flour the bottoms of my pans.  Some people use Wilton Cake-Release.  Some people make their own.  There are various "recipes" that involve flour, shortening, and vegetable oil.
  • Some people also use bake-even strips, which I've heard are very useful, although I've never used them myself.  I went to Michael's today-- why didn't I buy some?!
  • Use a Wilton flower nail (all greased up, please!) in the center of your cake to prevent humps.
  • Before you put the cake pan in the oven, tap in against the counter (don't get little cake splatters everywhere though!) to get rid of the bubbles.
  • Don't overbeat the batter.  You don't need to get rid of every tiny little lump in the batter.  As the great chef Alton Brown once (or twice) said "Walk away.  Just walk away."
  • Get a nice pan.  One that's got nice 90" angles between the side and the bottom of the pan.  (This Wilton pan is much better than this Wilton pan that I owe.)
So, I wish you the best of luck with your flat cakes!  And I wish myself the best luck as well.  Because I don't have nice pans and a flat oven. :-(  But I'll work with what I have and I'll do my best.  For now, that's all I can ask for.  (But I've got a long shopping list, too...)

 (So I've never actually read The Importance of Being Ernest, but I thought that this would make a good blog post title, and plus, the book is on my reading list for my English IV class so I'll eventually read it.)