How to Bake BIG Cakes – Baking Tips for Big Cakes
The questions we get asked so often are ….
How do I bake a large cake, so that the inside is cooked and the outside isn’t overcooked ?
How do I prevent my cake doming and cracking?
How do I get a high cake?
So, you’ve decided to try some new recipes and not sure what to do?
We suggest always baking exactly to the recipe FIRST. All recipes will state the tin size – stick to it for this exercise. – you need to know how the recipe performs before you start multiplying it.
Take note of where the batter comes up to in the tin – put a mark on the outside of the tin and measure it – write it down (making notes is one of the most important steps in recipe development). Once the cake is cooked, take a note of how much it rose, did it dome?
How do you work out how many batches of your recipe you need? Refer back to your notes from your original recipe – take out that tin you used and fill it up with water to the mark you made (or measure it as in your notes) Pour that water into a measuring jug and note the measurement Take the larger tin size you require and fill it up with water to the same level as your smaller tin – if the original recipe did not rise as much as you thought, now is the time to increase the amount of water. Carefully transfer the water into a measuring jug – if it is too much for one jug – keep count of the number of times you fill the jug
Now divide this amount by the original recipe amount – this will give you the number of batches you need to make Sounds more complicated than it is. Example – original recipe makes 3 cups of batter in an 8inch pan – 10inch pan takes 6 cups to fill – therefore 2 batches of recipe required (hypothetical measurements only !!) Much easier to do whole batches than try and do ‘halves’ – if you have excess batter make a few cupcakes
Large cakes take longer to cook so it will be necessary to lower your oven temperature – will be different for everybody but I would suggest by 20% to start with Longer cooking times can mean the outer edges of the cake can overcook by the time the centre cooks – how can we prevent this. You can purchase Wilton Small Bake Even Strips, Set of 2 or you can make them yourself :) The benefit of home-made over the Wilton bake even strips is that the home made can be made to cover the entire height of your tin where the Wilton ones are only approx 1inch high
HOW TO MAKE BAKING STRIPS
Measure around your cake tin – cut a piece of aluminum foil long enough to go around the sides with approx 1inch (2.5cm) overlap. Cut a piece of paper towel the same length as the aluminum foil – fold in half length-wise Place the paper towel on top of the aluminum foil – starting from the vertical halfway point . Pour enough water onto the paper towel to completely dampen it – don’t over-do it – you can use your hand to spread it – a little goes a long way. Fold the bottom half of the aluminum foil up to meet the top edge – encasing the paper towel Fold in the side edges – followed by the top edge.
Wrap around your cake tin and secure with a small metal bull-dog clip or paper clip (no plastic coatings)
You can get multiple uses out of your baking strips. I just unfold the side and top edges – open up and re-moisten the paper towel and do up again. Sometimes you may need to replace the paper towel. Only re-make the baking strips when the alfoil gets damaged
LINING YOUR TINS
Lining your tins serves a couple of purposes
1. It makes the cake come away cleanly from the tin
2. It acts as an extension to your cake tin, allowing the cake to rise evenly above the cake tin without fear of it overflowing or developing a ‘muffin-top’
3. It helps the batter rise evenly up the side of the pan
In the past bakers greased and floured their tins, then progressed to brown paper and bake paper …… bakers in 2014 have the benefit of using what has, up until 5 years ago, been the domain of commercial bakers – silicone baking sheets – made from a food grade fibreglass type of material designed especially for the baking industry
And the best part….it is washable, so you only need to measure and cut ONCE! I store all mine in a display folder – with the tin size, shape written on each sleeve insert – easy to find – edge stripping can be used on both round and square tins – spray tins lightly with oil to hold lining in place – no need to nick edges and fold underneath – simply butt the edge to the base. If edge strips overlap you may need to secure with a little additional spray oil .
It can be difficult to source in smaller quantities but if you are in Australia LCDO readers can secure theirs by contacting Maureen at Silver Stars Cake Decorating Supplies, (02)4577 3488
Mention this article for your special price. Maureen sells it by the metre and it is approx 11inches wide (28cms)
What is ‘tenting? And why is it done?
Tenting is the practice of covering the entire top of the cake with foil at the beginning of the cooking process – I lay a sheet of foil across the top of the lining edge stripping and scrunch a few sections to prevent it getting blown off with the oven fan – similar to the old Aussie handkerchief hat :)
It helps the cake to rise evenly – causing steam to form underneath and protecting the surface to keep it from overcooking during long cooking periods.
It is easily lifted and replaced to check on the cake – and also easily removed should you wish to do so in the last stages of cooking
You can see from this picture that the cake rises up fairly level to a height of nearly 5inches. – there was not much wastage as I only had to trim about 1/2inch off the get centre level with sides
Some people use heating cores, or icing nails as an alternative – to assist with getting the centre to cook evenly – I have tried a lot of different methods and I have found the baking strips and tenting to be the most effective.
Note that the cooking time when doing this will be increased considerably as it takes longer for the heat to do its ‘thing’ – do not be alarmed and cook until done, when tested with a wooden satay stick.
When the cake is cooked, cool in tin Simply remove your lining papers and wash them in the sink with warm soapy water – a few minutes in the sink soaking will mean any residue simply wipes off – rinse and dry thoroughly (easiest to pop into the oven to dry) and replace in your folder when cool – ready to be used the next time.
Pam’s Handy Tip – make sure you tell all your helpers that the lining paper is to be retained !!! I had a very helpful husband that tossed all mine out once!! :(