Cake layers are supposed to be disks, yes?

Doesn’t everybody do that?

I find that, if you turn the cakes out on a wire rack for cooling, upside down, they “settle” a litle bit as they cool and both end up flat.

There is, of course, a special tool made specifically for this situation. Cake Leveler

And who knew that “torte” could be a verb! “Torting” - ::snicker::

There are plenty of ways to do it. If the top of the cake is okay being domey but I want the middle to be flat, I flip one layer upside-down on a cooling rack before it’s cooled. That way, it flattens out a bit and gets indentations in it. Then I use it right-side up as the bottom layer and use the indentations to hold icing. This works especially well if you’re using a ganache or something not hard to spread. It won’t be perfectly flat, but it’ll be flat enough to not look weird.

If I want the top of my cake flat, then i cool both layers upside-down and put them top-to-top.

If I want my cake to look really perfect or I’m planning some sort of elaborate decoration for it, I do the dental floss thing.

Wifey cuts the cake layers in half, as opposed to just cutting off the top dome part. She puts the dome side of each one facing down. That way, she makes four-layer or six-layer cakes instead of two or three. Twice the frosting in between layers. Twice the fun. Perfectly flat.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the best part of the cake leveler thingie. Once you cut off that moist, delicious, gooey top dome part, somebody has to eat it.

A unitasker. Alton Brown would be very disappointed with you.

In response to the OP, I just use a bread knife. But, I might just try that dental floss trick next time.

I usually leave the layers domed and use frosting to level 'em out. The whole purpose of cake is to transport frosting, anyway.

Leaving a dent in the middle is a good idea. I also like to gently “swirl” the batter in the cake pan so that the batter coats the sides of the tin. This combined with the dent in the center should result in flatter cakes. Although you’ll probably still want to cool upside down or cut off the dome, there’ll just be less to cut off.

When you fill the cake pans with batter, make sure to bang the pans on the table a couple of times before putting them in the oven. This will eliminate air bubbles in the batter and might help to mitigate your dome problem.

Depends on the application. My grandmother ran a bakery for many years. She made a lot of layer cakes and used that every time. Which meant that we always had nice cake scraps to snack on.

Just thought I’d pop in and report that the cake turned out quite nicely. I did bang the batter-filled pans on the counter, but I didn’t try any of the other baking techniques. I thought the domes were somewhat lower, but still a little too much like a balancing rock for me to be comfortable about putting a fire on the top. I wound up slicing a portion of the domes off (about half the radius of the layer), and everything stayed nice and steady.

A question for the flossers:
Do you let the cakes cool before slicing off the top?


Aaaah thank you. I was wondering how many posts I would have to read before I found someone saying this. It’s the easiest way: take cake pans from oven, flip upside down onto wax paper, let cool. The top flattens out and you don’t have to cut off part of the cake, opening you up to the dreaded cake-crumbs-stuck-in-the-frosting. Thanks SurrenderDorothy, I was going to lose it there for a second.

Cooks Illustrated once had a recipe that worked out how to keep a cake from forming a dome. I’ll see if I can dig it up. As I recall, it had something to do with the amount of leavening you add. Mind you, I haven’t tried it, but I’ve had good results with other recipes from their magazine.

Depends who all will be there.

Come on, this is the Straight Dope. Fighting Ignorance and all that, wot?

Remember, people – no matter what the nice gypsy says, charms do not actually work!

Any positive effects you perceive come down to selection bias, or suggestibility, or summat. Irreproducible results.

Dental floss is good, though.

I braid it with my GF’s hair and wrap it around the base of my willy seven times to keep her from straying.