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Dec 02, 2010


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Jessica @ How Sweet

I know you posted this just for me! My cakes are NEVER level. EVER!


Wonderful tips Amanda! I always end up with lopsided cakes using my cake leveler, too. Thanks for sharing this!!


Great tips! Look forward to the final cake:)

megan @ whatmegansmaking

I have never used a cake leveler in my life. Actually I've never tried to level a cake before. Could it be because I'm scared to decorate cakes?


Thanks for sharing! I have the Wilton strips and they work pretty well!


Ok...I can get level cakes...I use tattered old towel strips too, btw. I have those Wilton cake strips but I hate them (with a passion) because I can never.get.them.to.stay. Ever. And for the record, I battle to keep my towel strips tight and from slipping off the bottom as well. I should probably jusy buy safety pins.

Here's the problem I always have when I bake a cake. It comes out of the cake pan nice and clean (usually), but later, when I go to frost it, chunks come off. I suppose I could freeze my cakes...but then again, there's like, a gazillion and fifteen thousand turkeys (and their respective cooked parts) in there and there will soon be a gazillion and fifteen thousand batches of cookie dough.

In other words...I don't generally have space for a cake. Especially the taller cakes like the Jesus birthday rainbow cake we've been talking about (btw, I've got the design down on paper...am going to attempt it for the actual birthday cake, not ahead of time...will let you know how it goes...but I'm going with cake ball filling...lol).

So...I guess my question is...what do you do to keep your cakes from falling apart. Cause I almost always have chunks of cake that I've had to plaster into place. And if it's a chunk on the side...then I have a mess...lol. Most of the raw cakes I've seen good bakers (including yours) put out, prior to frosting, it seems as though there's a slight crust on the top and sides that prevents chunks from pulling off. What am I missing?

Is because I'm using blasted box cakes, usually?


I heard this a long time ago, but have always been to afraid to try it. :) And I'm to cheap to buy the Wilton things. LOL. Now that I know YOU have success I'll have to give it a whirl. Thanks for sharing! (p.s. comment area looks good this time! :) )

Amanda Rettke

Great question Crystal!!

I always, and I mean ALWAYS,refrigeratemy cake prior to adding the crumb coat. I have even frozen them, but just make sure they thaw a bit before adding that crumb coat. If you dont have room, it must be time to by an addition fridge. ;) (kidding) With the tall layer cakes that can be tricky!! Andyou make suchgorgeoustall cakes... maybe a tall cooler or something for a quick fix??


Great tip ... I always wondered how those cake stips were supposed to work. Might have to make my own special "amamda version" since those look much more my style. I think I need to go bake a cake.

Diane {createdbydiane.blogspot.com}

Great tips! Your cakes always looks so pretty :) You have the magic touch.


I gotta ask...what are the towel strips for?

Amanda Rettke

Igottaask...what are the towel strips for?

It works to insulate the sides of a metal cake pan, slowing down baking at the sides of the cake, therefor creating an evenly baked cake. :)

Hope you will try sometime and report back your results!


Where do you get one of those cake-level thingies? Because man, that would make my life so much easier! I've basically given up on making layer cakes because I find them so impossible to cut nicely.

I love your cakes and cookies! They are gorgeous!


My friend who makes wedding cakes taught me to fill the batter 3/4 full and it should bake over the pan just slightly, then you use the pan as a guide to cut with a serrated knife.

Eli Shrinks

It literally never even occurred to me that cakes are supposed to be level, so accustomed am I to domed cakes.


Love tips like this!


I would call a tall, domed, airy cake a good thing - but come to think of it, it wouldn't be nearly as moist. Thanks for these tips!


Wow, I had no idea towel strips could do that. I'll have to try!

the urban baker

okay, in all my years of baking, I have never heard of this technique. you are a genius to share. I am book marking this and am pulling out some old towels. xx

Michelle Andrews

Thank you so much. I get so frustrated with my cakes coming out with a dome top, and although I have and use the gadget that you showed for leveling them I still end up getting crooked half of the time. I will definitely use this technique the next time I bake a cake!


thank you so so much for this! I am going to try out your chocolate cake this weekend, and lets pray that the technique works for me!

Nancy @SensitivePantry

I love these kinds of tips...so very smart. Thanks for sharing.


Awesome, I just prefer to slice off the dome. It works beautifully as a snack for me!!


Great tips! I'm pretty sure 100% of the time I have very lopsided cakes...now I can't wait to try my next one.
I'm making your sugar cookies today. I've used your frosting recipe (LOVE) but not the cookie recipe...can't wait! I got some tips from Londa. :)

marla {family fresh cooking}

I have tried the serrated knife & had somewhat good results, but your method sounds way better. That device is cool too. I have never heard of those pan strips or seen the towels-great ideas! The shorter baking times are a great tip too! On my way to perfect cakes-RIGHT??!! xo

Cookbook Queen

I am in love with this post.

No kidding.

I had no idea you could use towel strips instead of those Wilton Bake Even things!! How cool!!

I also use that cake leveler, and it is a lifesaver. On tv, they always show everyone using a knife and I don't get how everyone is able to cut it so level. I cannot do that.

Maybe my equilibrium is off or something.

Wait--what IS an equilibrium?

Anyways, thanks so much for the tips!! I'm off to cut up some old towels!! :)


You are TOO CUTE!

I used strips of old towels too, (forced to do it after I found Michael's and AC Moore sold out of pan strips) and I get the same terrific results. However... And, I think this will make you laugh... I learned that it's best NOT to use a towel straight out of the dryer - Because instead of smelling like chocolate cake, my house smelled like burning Downey and Bounce while my cakes baked!

Happy weekend!


I love the Wilton Cake Strips...amazing what a difference they make, isn't it?


Great tips and trust me I need the help:)


You're such a genius! I usually just tip my domey cake upside down and hope for the best...fill in the underneath with a little extra frosting. I have no idea why the Food Network is not tracking my baking cheater-pants down!
Thank you for the awesome tip! Someday, I'm going to master a beautiful cake like all of yours!


these tips are great, although i don't mind skimming the dome off the top when it happens. what can i say--i like eating the scraps. :)


Great tips, I actually use(fight) with the Wilton strips. Can't seem to keep 'em on. Thankfully when they stay they do their job. Definitely going to try that chocolate cake recipe :)


Hi, Amanda, thanks for your comment in my blog. I'm feel very honored because I think yours cakes are really incredible.
Sorry for my English!


Brilliant tip. My cakes are always driving me nuts with their high peaks here and low dips there and although I know the cake strips work, I didn't want to spend the money to buy them. But, your tip looks like it works really well and it uses things that I already have around the house. By the way, I'm holding a giveaway on my blog for Orglamix Organic makeup and you're welcome to come by and enter. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2010/12/orglamix-organic-mineral-makeup-review.html

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets

Great tip with the rags. I just saw the strips at the store and they're 20 bucks! This is much cheaper and just as effective. Also loving that tip at the end from your reader. Very smart, indeed.


I do the same thing with old towels! The more raggedy, the better! Another trick I learned from Rose Levy Berenbaum is to use dampened kitchen paper towels wrapped in aluminium foil, then surround the tin. Works beautifully too! If all else fails, I have that Wilton cake leveler. LOL

Dan Scheitel

Depending on the mixing method of the cake, ie- Mixing the Dry+fat, then adding eggs, then liquid. It's possible to throw a handful or two of ice at the bottom of the oven, because it's creates steam-which aids in creating moisture in the oven so that the top crust doesn't set as fast. Also, if the cake is too near the top of the oven, it will also dome because of the high heat.
I've NEVER used cake strips, and I've always had flat cakes.


i use the wilton strips & i honestly did not see a difference…i still have to level my baked cakes…but, now i am going to try the lunanoir tip. thanks!
happy baking!!

Amanda Rettke

Great tips Dan! Thank you so much!


Level cake: And here I thought that's what the extra frosting was for :-)

I actually bought some of the wraps for the cake pans after seeing a review at King Arthur Flour's site. I really like them, but they work best (stay on) on the straight up and down pans (not the beveled in ones). They do make a level cake, but honestly, I never thought a domed cake was a problem. I always turned the bottom layer upside down (dome down), and the second layer dome up. Frosted out all the errors.

I guess that's why I'm not the expert, but then it's all about flavor :-)


Seriously. You are a level cake baking genius. Okay, I know you didn't invent it but I am giving you credit since I never heard of this before. I've been baking uneven cakes and then calling them bad names when no one listens. Thanks!!

Sarah @ SwizzleBerry

And here I was thinking the oven I've had for the past 10 years was at fault for my pointy cakes! It's the first electric oven I've ever used and every.single.cake comes out pointy, and so do my cupcakes. Doesn't matter what recipe I use.

I'll give your tip a try. I don't have any old towels at the moment, just donated them all, but I'll try the tip above about the kitchen paper and foil. If it works, then I think I'll be cutting up one of my good towels!

bridget {bake at 350}

I'm not sure how I missed this post, but great tips!!! You are the cake QUEEN!

Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles

So, I just learned something that I never realized I needed to know, until now! Thanks - I will give this a try on my next cake. Yay!


Not sure if another commenter has already mentioned this trick, but if you bake your cakes at a lower temperature for longer, you will get a perfectly level cake. I bake all of my cakes at 325 degrees (instead of 350) for about half again as long as the suggested baking time (so 90 minutes when it suggests 60). My cakes come out perfect every time!

Thanks for sharing!


My oven is funky (read: going up and I'm too cheap to replace it) so all of my cakes come out domed. But not this week! I made a baby shower cake and cut up a towel and tried your technique...and they came out PERFECT!!! Thanks for this great idea!


Thanks so much for sharing this useful tip. As having to level off cakes after they are done is so annoying.

Amber Burns

My mother baked wedding cakes for years, and here's her best tip for leveling off cakes: string! You just take a long piece of string and wind it around your index fingers like dental floss. Then use the cake pan as the level surface. Simply slide the string right through the cake (right out of the oven, or you can let it cool slightly first), using the top of the pan to pull down on. Then invery the cake onto a cooling rack, and viola! Perfectly leveled cake.


I have the smaller version of the cake cutting tool from Wilton and have NEVER been able to get it to cut through the cake. Maybe I should buy the larger one.

Lucy @ Lucyeats

Excellent. I look forward to level cakes!

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