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Topic: Bake Even Strips and Flower Nail on larger cakes --Photo tutorial
whoknew? 03/13/2011 10:13 PM
Hi. I've seen a lot of posts recently about using the Bake Even Strips and/or metal flower nail. I just made a 3 layer 12" wide cake and took photos of the steps as I made the cake so I could show you what they look like with an actual cake. (You can see the finished cake at:

The pans are Wilton 12" hexagon. I used a recipe of White Almond Sour Cream (WASC) and it took a full modified box mix for each pan (equivalent of a 9x13" 1/4 sheet cake). Normally I would have overfilled the pans so I could use the pan to level the top with my 12" knife, but I was making a 3 layer cake so I just wanted each layer to be flat on top--they ended up being about 1-3/4" high.

Before I took the photos I applied a liberal amount of "cake release" (homemade "pan goop"), applied pan goop to the metal flower nail, then put it flat side down in the pan, poured in batter and baked. I did not use any parchment paper in the bottom of the pan since my WASC recipe is very reliable.

Step 1 is the pan with the bake even strip on directly out of the oven. Step 2: I IMMEDIATELY remove the bake even strips, place on a cooling rack and let cool for 10-15 minutes using a timer. Step 3: I place the cooling grid over the pan and turn over the cake. Step 4, you can see the flower nail still in the cake. Step 5, you can see the hole left when I removed the flower nail. Step 6, the three layers all cooled and removed from the pans. They came out perfect and flat. (Yippee!)
YOFJAB 03/13/2011 10:40 PM
Thanks "whoknew" for your time and effort. I saw the finished cake and love it. I am sure the Director at school loved and appreciated it.
1- Did you flavor each layer differently or just color them differently?
2- What exactly do you mean that the hexagon pan ( which is equivalent to a 9 x 13 pan) took a full modified box mix for each pan using the WASC recipe. The only WASC recipe i have ( and have not tried yet) is Rebecca's and it starts with two box mixes. So you would suggest cutting that in half correct? Your saying your WASC recipe is ONE box mix with the extra added flour, sugar, sourcream etc, correct? I wanna try using a 9 x 13 or maybe my 8 x 12
YOFJAB 03/13/2011 11:05 PM
oops - one more thing ---even on those pans, did you secure your baking strips only with the little pin that comes with them?
whoknew? 03/13/2011 11:42 PM
yofjab, Thank you. The layers were only colored differently, not flavored differently. The WASC recipe I use is from the Cake Mix Doctor. I attached the Bake Even strips with the single little pin that comes with them. Here's the recipe I use, exactly as printed in the Cake Mix Doctor book:
Basic Sour Cream White Cake
1 package (18.25 oz.) plain white cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use almond extract)
YOFJAB 03/14/2011 1:15 AM
Thanks again --your too kind in addition to talented. Oh I forgot to say Io appreciated the pics because like some others I never used a flower nail.
Sugar Pie 03/14/2011 9:20 AM
Thanks, whoknew?! I'm glad you posted this. I was wanting to post some questions, but will tack them to your thread b/c it's along the same subject.
I have a rather large square wedding cake coming up. I used some homemade baking strips on a large round cake the other day to check them out. I've never really been faithful about using them b/c I don't really have a problem with acheiving the flat tops. I DO have a problem with my square cakes corners, and I'm trying to make an improvement with them. My experience was that the cake top came out super flat, but the sides of the cake seemed a little funky. Also, where I use a pan liner, it stuck to the cake. !!! Not an overall good experience, but I'm going to try it again. I'm going to use the goop instead of lining the pans. My question is: What caused the sides of the cake to not really form a crust? The cake was done in the middle, but the sides were pale. What do I need to do different? Like I said, I used homemade, soaked strips. I got the idea from one of Toba Garrett's books. Any suggestions for me?
Your cake looks wonderful ~ straight from the oven!! The finished project was amazing!!
whoknew? 03/14/2011 8:32 PM
Thanks Sugar Pie. Thanks for the compliments. I cannot believe that YOU are asking me a question. Whoa...I've really hit the big time now!
I haven't tried the homemade kind of strips, but I've talked to several people like yourself who have been making cakes for 20+ years who have used them. They've said they do not burn in the oven. Personally, for the cost, especially with craft store coupons, why not just get the Bake Even strips? They are a wonderful, cost-effective product.

I wet my strips thoroughly, then using my thumb and fingers, run them down the strip to press out the excess water. The Bake Even strips are completely dry when I remove them from the oven. I think that the Wilton strips provide just the correct amount of "wet/coolness" around the edges of the pans to have the sides bake perfectly along with the center when used correctly. As you can see in the photos, all the edges of my hexagons came out perfectly and everything cooked uniformly.

When you wrap the Bake Even strips around a pan, make sure they don't overlap more than 4-6". I used a strip that was 8" too long once, and the cake didn't cook correctly (the edges sounded like your problem edges). You'll notice in the photo that I let the excess strip sorta "dangle" instead of pinning it flush to the strip on the pan.

YOFJAB 03/14/2011 10:45 PM
Hmmmm interesting fact about not overlapping the baking strips. I have a few sets of them. Do you think I can cut them to fit my basic pan sizes? I wonder if they would effect their usefulness?
whoknew? 03/15/2011 12:42 AM
Yofjab, they come in different sizes for different pans. I wrapped them around my different pans then marked each one with a Sharpie. That way, I just sift thru to find the 8-10", 12"-14", or 16" strips. You can join them for a larger cake.
Sugar Pie 03/15/2011 7:57 AM
The reason I didn't buy them is because I have used the real deal before, but like I said, I wasn't a faithful user. To purchase them I would have to go shopping at least 1 1/2 hours away. I'll print that coupon, and see what happens.....
The homemade ones don't burn in the oven. I didn't overlap them - I made them to fit the pan. Maybe I need to wring them out a little more. I remembered from using the real deal how to soak & wring, but maybe I was a little too over-the-top with the wetness. I didn't want to burn the house down!! I'm going to try it again. When I do, I'll let you know what happens with experiment #2.
...and yes...I'm learning many things from you. You're the lucky one who has access to all of the lessons! Love ya, girlfriend!!
YOFJAB 03/15/2011 7:37 PM
Good idea whoknew? But I looked at the sets I have and the lengths are 30 inches and 36 inches. With these the box says I can cover up to a 10 inch pan --maybe a 12 inch. I have not seen other sizes/lengths. You found one that fits a 16 inch or did you have to join two together?
whoknew? 03/15/2011 8:24 PM
Wilton offers two sets of strips.
whoknew? 05/23/2011 12:05 AM
happyatfiftyfour 05/30/2011 10:27 PM
whoknew?- I'm going to be using a round 14 in 3in depth cake pan,now I don't have any bake stripes would I have to use a heating cord or can I use the flower nails? Thank You.
whoknew? 05/31/2011 12:13 AM
For any cake over 8", I use both the Bake Even Strips by Wilton AND one or more Wilton metal flower nails.
You can make your own "bake even strips" out of an old towel. Here's a link with instructions and photos:

I have never used a "Baking Core". Everything I've read says that the flower nail is the preferred way to go vs. the core. All you have to do is get a Wilton flower nail, grease it, and place the flat top down in the center of the cake pan. For a 14x3" pan, I'd suggest using 2 or 3 flower nails.
happyatfiftyfour 05/31/2011 9:36 AM
whoknew? so I would use flower nail on a round 14 in 3in depth pan? Also I use DH cake mix for all my cakes do u know how many boxes I would need for the 14 in 3in depth, the 10 in and the 6 in all are 3 in depth.Thank you so much for your help.You can also email me the info at

P.S- wow!!!! I love your cakes.You have been Blessed with talent!
MsHope 06/22/2011 10:28 AM
Now that's cool. I have the bake even strips but never use them. (Don't laugh but I put a pan of water under on the shelf under my cakes. Not sure how but it always works for me. lol) I love the hexagon pan. I'm going to search for your finished cake
happyatfiftyfour 07/01/2011 11:41 AM
here is my finished 3Tier cake,bottom is 14 in chocolate,10 in banana.6 in white.Thank you for looking.
Mari_Cake 07/01/2011 3:25 PM
I'm sorry, I'm new to this baking stuff. Why do you use a flower nail in the cake?
whoknew? 07/01/2011 4:09 PM
happyatfiftyfour{seven, hee hee hee} -- Gorgeous Cake! Congratulations and well done.

Mari_Cake: The outer edge of the pan filled with batter will cook faster than the middle because it is getting extra heat from the metal sides of the cake pan. Once the sides "set", the cake in the middle has no where to go but up, so you get a dome in the center. By placing a metal flower nail in the center of cakes 10" or larger, you are allowing the middle of the cake to keep pace with the edges of the cake because both are exposed to metal for more even heating.