Michael here, with some answers to the "baking strips, heating cores, & flower nails" questions on our blog after watching the video clip in the "Sneak Peek Chapter."
Latonya asks... I have had problems getting the baking strips to stay up around the pan after wetting them. They always want to slide down no matter how tight I try to pin them. Any suggestions?
A) You could try wrapping the baking strips around the pan before wetting them. Once the pan is wrapped, immerse it in water to completely soak the strip (you may need to hang on to the strip to keep it from slipping off). The strip will swell slightly with water and make for a tighter fit.
Remember to dry your pan well before greasing and flouring!
Deb asks... If I try the core idea, how high do you need to fill it and will it create a sinkage in the middle of the cake? Can you use this with a rectangular cake as well?
A) You would fill the heating core with enough batter to match the level of the cake batter.
When your cake is done and you remove the heating core, you will have a hole in your cake which you'll 'plug' with the piece of cake from inside the heating core.
As for rectangular cakes, the magic number is 10 inches. If your smallest diameter is more than ten inches, regardless of the shape of the cake, a heating core will help to evenly distribute the heat. A standard 9" X 13" sheet cake does not need a heating core.
Pamela asks... Couldn't make out the remark about using water with them.
A) The 'water' instructions refer to the fact that baking strips need to be wet to work. One side of the strips is an aluminum material, the other is an absorbent band which needs to be completely wet to cool the sides of the pan while the cake bakes.
Just Ducky asks... I never baked without the strips. BUT is there a way to use them or a trick for doing something else whith specialty pans. I use the open book shape and t-shirt pan quite a bit.
A) Baking strips really don't work very well with odd-shaped pans. It would be difficult to fit them properly to the odd-angled sides of specialty pans and keep them from slipping off. (But, you could always try!)
Susan asks... I was wondering if you are going to have any glutin free cake recipes in your new book. I have celiac disease and on a glutin free diet and I'm finding it hard to find recipes that taste good. My father has Celiac Disease as well and I would love to surprise him with a cake he can eat on my parents 50th wedding anniversary at the end of March.
A) Yes! The new books contain recipes for several allergy-sensitive and restricted diets. There will be recipes for dairy-free, gluten-free, and diabetic-friendly cakes, fillings and icings. We want everyone to be able to have their cake and eat it too!
(P.S. Susan, I emailed a recipe for a gluten-free version of the Butter Cake in Sam's ebook for your parents' 50th, did you get it?)
Gizzema asks... ...not too sure how the wet towel idea would work though? would it not burn?
A) Real live baking strips, aluminum material on one side and an absorbant band on the other, are the ideal choice, of course, but in a pinch, a wet clean thick cotton towel (emphasis on the 'wet'), will work just as well. It won't be in the oven long enough to totally dry out or even think about burning.
Anonymous said... The middle of my cakes get done but the outsides still seem to get a little crispy. Will the flower nail or heating core still help me even if the middle of my cakes are getting done?
A) The heating core or flower nail will help to evenly bake your cake if the diameter of your pan is 10 inches or more. Smaller cakes don't need help to heat their middles. As for crisp or burnt edges, you could try the following tips as outlined in one of Samantha's recent articles.
Sam writes ...
Why do cakes sometimes burn around the outside edges?
If your oven is too hot, or heats unevenly, edges can get burned. Also, make sure you prepare the cake pan by polishing it liberally with solid vegetable shortening.
Never use butter, margarine or a liquid based vegetable oil as those can cause the edges of your cake to crisp and burn.
Oils and butters can also cause your cake to stick to the pan.
I know folks that put a small pan of water (1/4 cup) on the bottom rack below the cake rack while baking. (Some people like it, some don't. I've done it and it worked for me!)
Cakes with crisp or burnt edges are key candidates for baking strips! Try them, you'll like the results!