Whether you're preparing for a birthday, dinner party, or other special event, baking cakes is a great way to provide a lot of people with dessert without too much effort. Celebratory cakes have existed since the Roman Empire, but became accessible after the Industrial Revolution, according to Food & Wine.
While mixing together some flour, sugar, and eggs or preparing the ingredients from a box mix of cake is simple enough for eating, if you want an aesthetically pleasing cake, there are a few more steps involved. If you're making a tiered cake, for example, you'll want it to be uniform in color, density, shape, and, most importantly, level. A sure fire way to ruin a tiered or multi layer cake is to start out with rounded or uneven cake tops. While cake levelers and other baker's tools are designed to help solve this problem, they can be costly and inaccessible for the average home baker. Luckily, there's a simple, cost efficient trick to leveling cakes without any additional tools. Industrial Hot Air Oven
The simplest method to level a cake is to use a cake leveler, which is a wavy wire connected to a handle that allows you to simply wiggle off the top round layer, resulting in even cakes for stacking and decorating (via Baking Bites). While this is easy enough, it's even better to have evenly baked cakes without the rounded top to begin with.
An incredibly easy, low effort way to achieve this uses something you likely already have in your kitchen — a small towel or dishcloth. Per Baking Kneads, simply grab a clean dish cloth and dampen it slightly. The second you remove your cake from the oven, cover the top with the damp cloth, and then a flat object. Don't use something too heavy or large, but something light and flat. Gently put pressure down on the object to encourage the dome to flatten out. The heat and moisture will work together to help even it out. That being said, this method is best for cakes with small rounded tops, not large domes.
If the cloth method won't work because your cakes are coming out too domed, consider methods before and during baking to prevent them from rising in the first place. According to Rose Bakes, one of the main reasons cakes rise and dome in the middle is because the oven is too hot. This results in the batter rapidly rising, and ends in a large dome of cake at the top. Instead, bake for a lot longer at a much lower temperature — as low as 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Air Circulating Oven Another option is to buy or make cake strips. Cake strips work by cooling off the outer edge of your pan with an insulated, usually damp, ring of cloth. With the outer edge cooled down, the cake will bake more evenly throughout as opposed to doming in the middle (via Wyldflour). You can buy these in the baking aisle, baking stores, or online, or you can make your own. Simply cut a length of aluminum foil the length of your cake pan and a few inches wide, add a damp paper towel slightly smaller than the foil, and fold it up into a concise strip. Fold and twist the ends together around your cake pan, and bake as usual for a flat cake, using the cloth method to get rid of any residual dome.