Finally, A Perfectly Moist Cake!

February 23rd, 2011 by Alexandra Nelson

If you are like me, one of two problems generally occurs when you bake a cake, especially a larger one (greater than 10 inches). I bake the cake until the center is perfectly baked. This process usually entails continuously adding 2-3 minutes at a time to the timer and using enough toothpicks to build a small log cabin. Finally, the center is done but the edges are dried out. Everyone helps themselves to a piece of the deliciously moist center and I’m left with crusty, dried edges that will more than likely be thrown in the trash.

The other problem is the opposite. I bake the cake per the recipe instructions, take it out, let it cool and frost it. But when everyone digs in, I’m horrified to discover the center still isn’t done! The edges are moist, but this time I’m left with an inedible center. Both of these problems leave me completely embarrassed. Do either of these scenarios sound familiar?

Decorator Preferred® Bakeware Heating Core I just discovered a solution to these problems, the Heating Core. I’m an intern at Wilton, but had never heard of the heating core and was recently given one to try. Take a look at my experiences:

First, I sprayed the inside and outside of the heating core as well as my cake pan with Bake Easy!™ Non-Stick Spray (or you could use Cake Release). Next, I placed the heating core in the center of the pan and filled it 3/4 of the way full with my cake batter. I then placed the remaining batter in the cake pan and baked my cake according to the recipe instructions.

Cake Batter and Heating Core

For the first time, when the timer dinged my cake was done! When I touched the cake it sprung back and there was no batter left on my toothpick. However, it did look a tad strange. There was a beautiful cake with a metal circle and cake popping out of the middle like a muffin.

Baked Cake and Heating Core

I continued to follow the instructions and allowed the cake to cool for 10 minutes. After that time I removed the heating core from the center of the cake and continued to let it cool. I was pleased that it came out of the cake with ease, not sticking at all! (Be careful taking it out, it will still be quite warm.) I also removed the cake from the cake pan to a cooling grid, allowing it to cool. Once the cake core was completely cooled, I removed the cake-like plug from the center, again with ease. I took the cylinder of cake and plugged it back in my hole-y cake.

Baked Cake and Heating Core

Everything went smoothly and the plug matched the rest of the cake. You may have cake protruding from the top. If that’s the case, a simple swipe of your serrated knife will solve the problem. My cake was now ready to be frosted. Now, no one would ever know that there was once a hole missing from the center of my cake. Better yet, for the first time ever, my cake was moist from the edges to the middle!

This product is easy to use, stores well, and adds minimal steps to the baking process. Plus, it will save me from the embarrassment of overdone/underdone cakes. Really the only extra step was to grease the Heating Core. Even better yet, a poor college student like myself can afford one of these. It is definitely a product that should be added to your baking collection; I’ve added it to mine!

Alexandra Nelson Alex is a dietetic intern from Loyola University. She is passionate about eating and cooking healthy, but also loves to bake delicious treats for occasional splurges. Although her decorating abilities are currently limited, she plans on further developing those skills once she is done with her internship. Besides cooking and baking, Alex’s hobbies include scrapbooking and doing outdoor activities, including playing tennis and hiking in Colorado.

39 Replies

  1. Noreen says:

    I have never heard of this before.

  2. AmyKB says:

    Do you prefer this to the bake-even strips? Essentially, they do opposite things to achieve the same result, so I’m curious.

  3. Gretchen says:

    Hi! I’m the test kitchen director at Wilton, and yes, you are correct that Bake-Even Strips help achieve the same great baked good. They also reduce the amount of crowning on the cake layer. But, my personal experience is that the larger cake layers take longer to bake with Bake-Even Strips. The heating core speeds up the baking time a bit. Both are great solutions to the problem, though! Happy Baking and Decorating!

    • melanie says:

      Can you use both, the bake even strips and the heating core, when baking a cake?

      • Barb says:

        I Love to use 2 layers of the bake even strips (stacked) with the 8×3 pan Plus the heating core. I can put 2 of these in my standard size oven at once & get perfect results every time. It takes 1 hour. Many of my students purchase this grouping because they see how fab. mine turned out.

  4. Gretchen says:

    You would use one or the other, not both the heating core and Bake-Even Strips at the same time.

  5. Susan says:

    Would this core be a good idea for a wedding cake. The 2 huge square one.

    Thanks

  6. Gretchen says:

    Any layer larger than 10 inches (no matter what the shape!) bakes better with a heating core.

  7. Barbara Reed says:

    I’m a Wilton Instructor, and I prefer to use the bake-even strips and a metal flower nail, in place of the heating core – espeically with stacked cakes. This way, you’ve only got a small hole that doesn’t need patching contrasted with the plug that you have with the heating core. It does take a little longer to bake with the bake even strips, but it’s well worth the wait! Just my .02.

    • Rachael says:

      Do you put the flower nail circle side down with the tip pointing up? THANKS!

    • Gretchen says:

      Hi, all! Wilton and the test kitchen do not recommend using a Flower Nail in place of a heating core. The baked cake from the plug fills the hole made by the core perfectly – no one will ever know there was a hole there!

  8. maggie says:

    hi guys,i have used both but i prefer the heating core to the bake even strips.i prefer to use rolled up newpaper soaked in water especially for fruit cakes. gives a much better result!

    • Gretchen says:

      Hi, Maggie. Newspapers should NEVER be used in an oven – way too great a risk of fire, even when they’re soaked really well. Ovens are kind of finicky – each works a little differently, some hotter than others.

  9. Jean Hanna says:

    If you use the heating core to bake a large cake, is the cake in the heating core itself moist after baking?

  10. M Mom says:

    I have used the flower nail, strips and heating core.

    Flower nail… works okay, but eventually you won’t be able to use it or your cakes will taste like metal. Once that started happening, I stopped using them forever.

    Strips… I used for a while when I was in the Wilton courses, but I don’t use them anymore.

    Core…. I use this now. But my cakes STILL is dry and overly brown on the sides when it is all said and done. There is some improvement, but no where near this. Just last night I cooked a 10″ cake and had to add an extra 35 minutes for the cake to cook completely WITH the core.

    • Gretchen says:

      Hi, M Mom. Though you don’t say whether your cake pan is 2 or 3 inches high, or what type of cake you are baking, but a 10 inch cake, baked at 350 degrees should take approximately 35-40 minutes to bake. Have you checked that your oven temperature is accurate? Thermostats go off in ovens, requiring recalibration after a while. On some newer ovens, you can do the recalibration yourself – check our oven manual. Older ovens require a repairman to recalibrate.

  11. M Mom says:

    Question…. when I use the core, I put the core in AFTER I put the batter in (not before and our around it).

    Do you think that makes a big difference in performance? The way I see it, the metal still touches metal and how could that little bit of batter stop heat conduction?

    Would love to get your perspective.

  12. Marta says:

    I purchased the soccer pan I used it and it took a while for the cake to bake in the middle. I’m wondering would I be able to use the Heating Core with this soccer pan? Also this site is wonderful lots of good questions and answer. To All Have A wonderful day!
    Happy Baking,
    Marta

    • Gretchen says:

      Unfortunately the curvature and depth of the soccer pan don’t allow you to use the heating core. If you’re having problems with the outside of the cake getting overdone before the cake is baked through, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees. You may need to bake the cake slightly longer.

  13. Cathy says:

    This blog was great and very timely!! I will be making the grooms cake for my daughter’s wedding in a month, so I will be buying a heating core ASAP!!! I always trust Wilton as I have used their pans and other products for years! I do wish the larger pans had the number of mixes required to fill each pan printed on the bottom of the pan. Thanks!

    • Gretchen says:

      Interesting thought!

      • Mary says:

        Cathy
        I use Duncan Hines cake mixes when making my b-day cakes. On the inside of the box is a guide line for pan size, how much batter to use and baking time. The one i have is from a long time ago so havn’t really look to see if they still print this on the inside of the box. You might look and see, if not let me know and i’ll send you a copy of mine.
        Mary

        • TGilbert says:

          look in the back of the wilton yearbooks — i found a chart with the number of cake mixes and baking time, etc.

          for my large pans, i use the core and bake even strips..

        • Megan says:

          There’s a guide on this site for how many cups of batter you need. That should be helpful in figuring out how many mixes are required.

  14. Nancy Funk says:

    Cathy-have you thought of using an little awl or a nail or maybe a craft knife and scratch/carve the number of boxes of mix needed to fill the pan on the bottom of each pan near the Wilton logo? or the # of cups of batter needed?
    Other than that I keep a little list inside a plastic protection sleeve (the ones for 3 ring binders) that lists the cake pan by size and shape, next to it I write the number of cake mixes it uses-as well as the number of cups of batter because I often bake from scratch.
    HTH

  15. Barbara says:

    Hi,

    I am baking and decorating my niece’s wedding cake in a couple of months. It will be a fruit cake, as I have to do it ahead of time, and it is going to Fiji – we are in New Zealand. I am thinking of doing a 12 in, and a 8 in round stacked. Would I need to use a heating core for these, or would the strips be enough?

    Just hoping the cakes, and the fondant survive the Fiji heat and humidity.

    Thanks for your advice

  16. maureen says:

    I have the same trouble with the inner part of the cake not cooking enoough. I started off by using the 8x3inch pan. It took forever for the middle to cook and my oouter edges were edible but overcooked. I tried again this time using the bakestrip. I only used one. Was I supposed to use 2 becasue of the height of the pan? Again inner part not cooked enough. I thought iwas until I cut into it and it was like pudding. My instructer said she never has this issue. 45 -50 minutes with bake strips and no problem. Any suggestions? Thanks

  17. Anne says:

    If you are thinking of giving the amounts of batter to use for each cake tin, could you put the amounts in both cups and grams please so that baking enthusiasts accross the world can use them!

    My cakes come out light but very crumbly, why is this?

  18. Eddie says:

    But each cup also has four percent of your calcium and four percent of your dietary fiber. Its healing ability would be enhanced by adding a bit of lemon juice, honey and cinnamon.

  19. Where can we buy this cores?

  20. Aida E. Realpe says:

    just I want to know how to make one cake 11x15x2 I need the recipe can you help me sent to me the ingredients, because I want to make one cake for birthday

  21. Allyson says:

    Yesterday, I baked an American Flag cake that I saw on Pinterest from Betty Crocker, I made it- only from scratch, using a basic buttermilk cake recipe I found on food.com. I used 9 inch, round pans and the directions said to cook them for 25-35 minutes. With each layer, it was never enough! I had to keep adding time to get the center to set. By the time it did, the sides were dry :(. I will definitely try this heating core. My local Walmart has tons of Wilton products, is this one if the more common Wilton items that I can likely find at Walmart? Or a specialty item I’ll have to a craft store to find?

  22. Germaine says:

    Hi Allyson
    Walmart my me did not have a heating core I found one at a store that carries nothing but baking items.

  23. Germaine says:

    I have a question: When I am baking a square cake the four corners always end up hard ,I always use the bake even strips and I lower the oven tempature that is recommended.

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