Monday, March 5, 2012

Bake Even Strips: A Comparison

In the first lesson of Decorating Basics I get to introduce my students to Bake Even Strips. 

The metal pan acts as a heat conductor and that is why the first inch or so around the outside of the cake bakes first.  Once that section is bake, it no longer rises, which explains why the center, the furthest away from the metal cooks last, and generally rises higher.

Bake Even Strips are soaked in cold water then wrapped around the pan.  They keep the metal of the pan cooler for a longer period of time.  This allows the cake to bake move evenly, rather than the outsides baking faster than the center.

For this example I tried to start with about the same amount of batter in the cake pans.  The pan on the left does not have the bake even strip on it, while the pan on the right does.

In case you are wondering, I decided to take this time to try something new for me and make a zebra print inside the cake.  I did not do pictures while doing that part, but if you google it, you will find several how to’s for it.

Here are the cakes after they came out of the oven.  Do you notice any differences between the cake on the left and the cake on the right? 

The cake with out the Bake Even Strips came out of the oven about 10 to 15 minutes before the other two.

The cake on the left was the one that was baked with the Bake Even Strips, the one on the right with out.

What do you notice in these pictures?

The cake on the left does have a lean to the top, but that is mostly due to the fact that everything I bake in my oven does that since I really need to level it.  (I’ll show you have to fix that another post.)

The cake on the right has a large hump.  Even if we trimmed it off to even out the top we would lose quite a bit of height to the cake.

The cake on the left has a light colored crust, while the cake on the right has a darker and tougher crust.  Also notice the ledge on the cake on the right?  It is often hard and crunchy.

In my opinion, using more cake batter as well as using the Bake Even Strips will give you a better looking cake.  It comes out taller and has a lighter, softer crust on it.  I do use the Bake Even Strips with almost every cake I bake.