You get the dome because the cake batter next to the metal bakes the fastest, and the batter in the center takes the longest to bake. The trick is to try to get them to bake at the same rate.
To do this, you need to purchase some Bake Even strips. You wet them, wring them out, and wrap them around the sides of the cake pan. This helps keep the sides cooler and slows down the baking of the batter next to the pan. Next, take a metal flower nail and prepare it the same way you prepare the cake pan. Set it in the center of the prepared pan, point side up. Add the batter and bake. The flower nail will conduct heat to the middle of the batter which will help it bake a little faster. Now you have slowed the outer part of the cake and sped up the center and when the cake is baked you should have little, if any, dome. foodguy just posted about a new product that is specifically to be used for this in lieu of the flower nail. Check for his post in the Products Section. You can also use a cake core. That leaves a much larger hole that you fill in with caked baked in the core. I like the little hole better.
Caution: If you use the nail, be careful when you flip the cake onto the cooling rack. Make sure the point is in a hole, not against the wire part of the grid.
"Hard learned newbie advice on level cakes and smooth buttercream"
Bake Even Strips and Flower Nail on larger cakes --Photo tutorial
Welcome! I found that if I overmix the batter, thenI get the bump in the middle. When I use a box cake, and it says to mix for 2 minutes, I time it for 1 1/2 minutes, then scrape the bowl, and pour into pans. When I make a cake from scratch; I forget to time it and end up with a bump. LouE, I'm going to try your method next time. Good luck and have fun!
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