The Key To Fixing Domed Cakes (That's Not Lowering The Oven Temperature)

Domed cakes are unsightly and can be messy to fix after the fact. It might feel like you need a precision leveler to get a level — not lopsided — cake. If the cake isn't level and you're trying to layer, you might be setting yourself up a cake that looks like a "Nailed It!" fail.

If it's too late, don't fret: Your domed cake is fixable, as one TikTok baker demonstrated. After your cake layers are cool, wrap each in plastic wrap with the dome on the bottom. Give each cake a gentle push in the middle, alternating pushing and spinning. Make sure you use even pressure and a flat hand. Check for evenness as you go, and voilà, you have even layers. It's a baking hack you'll wish you knew sooner.

The hack is ideal if you don't want to lose any cake by cutting off the dome. You can also lightly compress a cake fresh out of the oven with a clean tea towel and your hand, using gentle, even pressure. A word of caution though, this has a tendency to create a dense, heavy cake, which is not something you want in a Victoria sponge cake, for example. If you're okay with that, give it a whirl. 

Even cake layers are achievable, despite domes

Cakes form a dome for several reasons. The main reason, besides temperature and leavening agents, is that the outer edge of a cake cooks and sets before the middle does. This is why the edges of a cake are darker and firmer than the middle. As the middle cooks, it continues to rise, giving your cake a dome. Another reason might be that your oven needs to be calibrated — you might be cooking your cakes at a higher temperature than you thought. 

The TikTok hack generated some interest from fellow bakers. Some asked whether the cakes stick to the plastic wrap or if the cakes get soggy. Others contributed their own hacks for flat tops, including cooling the cakes upside down on a cooling rack or smacking and spinning the cake tin before heading into the oven.

If you're trying to cut down on single-use plastic or don't want to risk dense cake, consider investing in some cake strips. After soaking the strips in water, they're wrapped around the cake tin. The wet strips regulate the temperature of the tin so the edges cook slower. You can replicate the effect with tea towels soaked in water. And, if all else fails, embrace the dome as a quirk and enjoy the cake anyway.