In the last post, about Bake Even Strips, you may have seen something sticking up out of the middle of the cake pan. It was a flower nail.
In large cake pans, different sources will recommend that you use a heating core in the center of the pan. It works similar to the Bake Even Strips, only working from the inside out. With the heating core, which is made out of metal, in the middle of the cake it conducts heat into the center of the cake. By doing this, it will help the middle of the cake bake more evenly with the sides of the cake.
Many cakers will use heating cores in smaller cakes as well, since having the cake bake more evenly will give you a flatter cake top. Some smart person (nope it wasn’t me) figured out that you can use a metal flower nail for this purpose as well, and even better, it doesn’t leave a big hole in the cake.
I do use the flower nail in almost all of my cakes, usually from the 8in cakes and up, especially my 8x3in cake pan (the one I show the first night of Decorating Basics). You can use two flower nails spaced out in larger pans like the 13x9, 11x15 or 12x18.
To use the flower nail in your pan, grease the cake pan, then grease the flower nail (I often just spray the flower nail with some cooking spray) and place it, flat side down in the pan.
Fill the pan half full and bake as you normally would, though you may find you have to adjust the time you bake it a little bit.
After you flip your cake out on a cooling rack you will remove the flower nail. I always use a fork since it will be HOT!
You can see it just leave a small hole in the cake that no one will notice when you ice the cake.
I bake everything at 325*. This, along with the Bake Even Strips and heating core will help your cake come out flatter on top.
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