Tutorial

How to Bake Flat Layer Cakes

Have you ever wonder why cakes dome on you? Why do cakes dome in the middle first of all? That is just physics! When the cake is being baked in the oven, heat conducts faster near the periphery of the pan, making the sides of the cake set faster. The center of the cake is still baking and continues to rise and grow. It can only push upward as there is no room for it to grow sideway. The result is a domed cake that is higher in the middle than the sides. If your oven is hot, making the surface set rapidly, the cake may even crack or rise up like a volcano!
大家焗蛋糕時中央會突出像小山丘嗎?蛋糕中央突出只是物理現象,當蛋糕在焗爐內烤烘時,熱力由烤模從外到內傳到麵糊中,因此蛋糕外圍會比中間部份較快受熱而定形。當中央部份在末段開始熟時, 已經無法往兩邊膨脹了,便唯有向上頂而做成中央比邊緣高的蛋糕。如果爐溫過高而令蛋糕頂部一早成形更會做成蛋糕中央裂開甚至像火山爆發的樣子。

For muffin and quick bread it would be nice to have high domes and cracks in the middle. In fact I even do that on purpose for my muffins by setting a higher initial temperature (read about my high dome muffins post here or here). But for layer cakes you will want them to be as flat as possible. Less trimming means minimal wastage. I’m glad my kids love to snack on the scrap cake pieces. In this post I am sharing with you one trick that allows you to bake flat layer cakes. It involves the use of heating core or flower nail. It solves the problem by facilitating the heat distribution of the cake pan. Heat will be transferred through the core into the center part of the cake, which is exactly what a chiffon cake pan is doing. Let me show you how.
頂部高高的鬆餅及中央有裂紋的快速麵包都是漂亮的,做鬆餅時EC甚至會在開始時調高爐溫刻意做出裂紋(可參考這裡這裡)。可是普通蛋糕嘛,還是扁扁平平的較好,疊蛋糕前需切去中央突出的地方,切走的蛋糕統統成為家中小孩的茶點,吃不完容易做成浪費。這次EC會分享可令蛋糕平坦上升的方法,就是使用加熱芯(heating core)或花釘!加熱芯或花釘能改善熱力傳播並將熱力從芯送到蛋糕中央,原理跟戚風或中空模相同,以下便是示範。


How to Bake Flat Cake Layers
如何焗出表面平坦的蛋糕

Prepare your cake pan by placing a parchment paper round on the bottom. Brush the entire heating core or flower nail with oil or butter to prevent sticking then place it flat side down in the pan. For smaller cake like the 8” in the picture below, one core will be sufficient. For larger or oblong cakes, you may need two to three. Just space them evenly in the pan.
將牛油紙剪成圓形後放入蛋糕模中,加熱芯或花釘抹油或牛油防黏後釘子朝上放入模中,EC圖中焗的是八寸蛋糕,一顆釘子己經足夠,較大或長方形蛋糕可使用兩至三顆釘子,距離平均地放入即可。

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My stainless steel heating cores are from Ateco. They look like flower nails and come in a set of 4. Flowers nails would work as well.
EC使用的是Ateco一套四個的不鏽鋼加熱芯,外形跟花釘十分相似,花釘亦有相同功效。

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Your setup is done. Now preheat your oven, prepare your cake and fill the pan with batter. Tap the pan against the countertop to get rid of any air bubbles and to distribute the batter evenly. Make sure the heating core stays in the middle. Now pop the cake into the oven. For larger cakes, I set my oven temperature 25℉/10℃ lower than usual and bake a bit longer so my cake won’t brown too fast or crack on top.
準備工夫己做妥,現在可以預熱焗爐及做蛋糕了,麵糊做好便緩緩地倒入模中,把模往枱上拍幾下去除氣泡及抹平,確認加熱芯仍然留在中央後便可送進焗爐,焗大蛋糕時EC會把爐溫調低25℉/10℃,入爐時間延長一點預防蛋糕太快上色及表面爆裂。

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My cake is done! It has risen evenly in the oven. The top didn’t brown much as I have lowered the temperature.
蛋糕出爐了,受熱十分平均哦!爐溫調低了,因此蛋糕表面沒怎樣上色。

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Let the cake rest for about 10 minutes in pan then unmold. Peel off the parchment paper from bottom of cake and remove the heating core. Continue to cool cake on the cooling rack.
讓蛋糕在模內待十分鐘,只要烤模不燙手便可脫模,反轉蛋糕撕掉牛油紙便可拔出釘子,把蛋糕放回冷卻架放涼便可使用。

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Side view of my cake. Look how flat it is.
從側面觀看,看看蛋糕多平坦!
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