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When I bake cakes, the center is always high and the sides low, causing the layers to crack when removed from the pan. What can I do?

Dianna - from Columbus, OH

There are several things you can do:
• Make sure you are not overbeating your batter. Follow recipe or cake mix instructions precisely, using a kitchen timer.
• Use Bake-Even Strips on the outside of the pan before baking to keep the temperature on the outside of the cakes lower as the center bakes. This will keep the rise on the layer more even.
• Check your oven temperature with an accurate oven thermometer. A very high crown is sometimes caused by an oven that is too hot.
• Finally, most cake layers do rise a little bit more in the center than at the edges as they bake. Once your cake layer has cooled, use a cake leveler or serrated knife to cut the crown off the center of the layer, creating an even, level surface.

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The Public Television cake decorating show providing easy projects for special celebrations. Not intended to replace instructional classes.