baked cake with a flat even top

How do you avoid the “mountainous bulge” in the middle of a cake when baking? How do you achieve a cake with a flat evenly baked top?

If a homemade cake has a peaked center, the following problems may have occurred:

  • The batter was over-mixed.
  • The oven temperature was too hot.
  • The cake wasn’t baked on the center rack of the oven.

When the oven temperature is too hot, the outside of the cake will bake and form a crust too quickly. As the mixture in the center of the cake continues to cook and rise, it bursts up through the top of the cake.

Kitchen Witch,
How do you know when you are beginning to “over-mix” the batter? Should ALL cake recipes be mixed just enough to incorporate the ingredients, and no further? Or, do some recipes benefit from continued mixing?

It is very easy to overmix many doughs and batters in baking. Start scraping down the sides of the bowl as soon as possible - that could also help - less beating time. Beat until well incorporated but yet don’t overbeat - I know it diesn’t make a ton of sense. But with a cake batter - beating for 2 to 3 minutes could do it for you (all depending on the type of cake, the ingredients, the amount of ingredients, etc. - follow your recipes directions. Give it a try and let us know if it worked out better for you.

You want a nice rise to your cake - you don’t want it flat - but you don’t want the top that looks like a volcano is going to start.

I hope this helps.

KW

Above advice is all true, but sometimes it ends up with a mountainous middle anyway and if you are frosting “fancy” then you definitely want a flat-top cake. I discovered something from cake decorating class - bake-even strips (I got mine brand-new on ebay for cheap).

Bake even strips are special cloth, and you get them wet and pin them around the outside of the pan, and they keep the outside edges from baking too fast so the cake bakes evenly and perfectly, rising up nicely but wonderfully flat all across the top. I swear by them now!