How to keep your cakes from doming in the middle.
I bake a lot of cakes this time of year. There are parties, potlucks, and family gatherings to attend, and almost all require the presence of a cake or three.
So I bake. And bake. And bake.
However, over the past few years I've noticed a trend with my once lovely cakes - they began to dome in the middle, and the outsides were getting crunchy before the middles were done baking. I blamed it on an aging, persnickety oven with varying hotspots, and I set out to find a solution. The first thing I tried was to reduce the baking temperature a bit. This helped some, but it still wasn't enough.
One of the sites I ran across suggested a) buying heavier new cake pans or b) buying cake baking strips to put around your current pans. Although I love a new kitchen gadget as much as the next person, my cake pans are fine, thankyouverymuch, and those strips are in the $20 range, which is far more than I paid for my current pans in the first place.
So my redneck farm girl ingenuity kicked in and I thought to myself, "Self, you can just go make your own."
So I did.
Granted, it's not permanent, and it will need to be changed regularly, but I made it with stuff I already had on hand, which is like free(ish), and free(ish) beats $20 in my book any day plus I've used it several times already and it works like a dream.
Here's what I did:
I used an old pair of jeans from my craft stash that were well beyond repair and cut a strip to the rough width of my cake pan and that was long enough to wrap all the way around the outside of the pan. Next, I soaked it in water and wrapped it in aluminum foil, then I wrapped it around the outside of the cake pan.
The first time I used it, I was kind of worried that it might, oh, maybe, catch on fire in the oven, but it didn't. However, it DID work, and my cake came out of the oven with a nearly perfectly level top for the first time in years.
After the cake was done baking, I removed the strip and carefully folded it up to use again next time.
Redneck ingenuity wins, once again.