Coat your pan thoroughly with cake release (wilton or homemade) Do not use the Spray Pam for Baking. This will not perform well on a cake of this size. Make sure your BES are soaking wet when you wrap them around the cake. Use safety pins to pre-hook multiples together if you have to. Make sure the BES is very, very snug around the cake pan & then use a binder clip to hold it all together. (binder clips are the best thing to keep BES tight on the pan)
I let my cakes cool for about an hour in the pan to reduce the risk of hot cake parts falling apart. Then I let them cool over night before decorating. (I work 6 ways a week, so I can only do cake stuff after hours)
It takes 3 cake mixes....sometimes I marble the cake....example: 2 French vanilla cake mixes and 1 orange cake mix (or chocolate or any other flavor).
I use the easy bake strips all around the pan.
I bake it at 350 degrees but watch it after 30 minutes...checking every few minutes.
I had the same problem with the flower nail as you did so I just don't use it. My cakes have come out fine...evenly baked with no dome at all on them.
Hope this helps.
Did your cake have a dome?
Did it crack as it came out of the pan, or after it was sitting on the rack a while?
I've never had a nail cause a crack.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. My cakes never stick, so using parchment for me would be fixing something that ain't broke. I do gazillions of cakes in shaped novelty pans. It is not possible to use parchment in them, so I've learned how to have cakes that don't stick without parchment. If it works in a Mickey Mouse pan it works in a sheet pan, too.
I use the press-down-on-the-dome method when the cake comes out of the oven if there is a slight dome. The larger the dome the more you have to compress the cake and the bigger the change is to the density of the cake in that spot. I don't like the results with large domes.
Different recipes and different mixes rise differently. I suspect that the same batter may even rise differently in different ovens. If you can get by without bake-even strips or flower nails, more power to you! For those of us who have some problems with unacceptable levels of doming those techniques are very helpful. I guess that we are all oddballs -- doing what we learn through trial-and-error what works for us.
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