I have struggled with getting a level tort on my cakes since beginning cake decorating in Feb 2010. I have used the small Wilton leveler with success on 6"and 8" cakes. I have even used it on a few 10" cakes with less success, but still better than me "eyeballing" the cut. If I try to cut with a knife, I ALWAYS end up with one side way higher than the other side. I NEVER got a straight, horizontal cut. The reviews on the Large Wilton Leveler are horrible, so that was not an option for larger cakes. The Agbay is fabulous, but is $230 with shipping.
cami5271 posted a thread, "LOVING Wilton's New Cake Marker Tool!" and I immediately saw that I could combine this tool AND the "lock your arm" knife-tort technique on the Sweetwise Inc. video (first 4 minutes of the video): "How to Level Tort and Fill a Cake":
I purchased the Cake Marker, and used my 12" Winco serrated bread knife, an IKEA wooden lazy susan turntable, and 14x20 Wilton cookie sheet (my cake lifter for the large torted layers) --total cost for all 4 tools: $35
This weekend I made my largest cake project to date. 14", 12", 10", 8". I took photos using the cake marker to create a level "score" around the circumference of each cake. Then used my knife in the "lock arm" position to tort each cake following the "guide" of the cake marker line, then used the cookie sheet to lift the torted layer. Made a super-stiff buttercream dam and put in a full 1/4" of filling, then slid the piece off the cookie sheet back onto the cake.
Here are photos of a very moist, 10" lemon poppyseed cake with LOTS of crumbs. (I was taking the pics with my left hand so didn't dare try it on the bigger cakes!) Look at the beautiful result.
trybaking06--You cannot believe how enormously relieved and pleased I was to have 2 huge cakes (14", 12") that I was able to tort with 1" of cake, 1/4" filling, 1" cake, 1/4" filling for a super-yummy 4 layers of cake and 3 layers of filling. I wish I could have taken pics of the cut cakes, but I was cutting and serving about 160 people, so picture taking was kinda out of the question! The chocolate with chocolate buttercream looked perfect when sliced. The fact that it worked just as well with soft, moist, crumbly cakes that fall apart when you look at them was the clincher!
Well, thank you very much, Chasey! Here's the lemon poppyseed recipe. I got it online, but my computer isn't cooperating right now, so can't give the credit to the original site. It is a doctored Duncan Hines mix and I got multiple rave reviews.
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake:
1 box Duncan Hines Lemon Cake Mix
4 oz. box lemon instant pudding
1-1/3 cups water
4 large eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
gmoakes01 is right, I moved to the USA 11 years ago for a job - got married to an American and stayed. While I enjoy the warmer climate, my heart is still in Quebec City. It is a cold place in the winter, but the people are warm
And yes, I do have a french canadian accent when I speak, I think it shows when I type too lol! ;-)
What an incredible tip. In approaching my first real attempt at torting and filling, I found that I had already spent too much money on decorating goodies, and decided not to buy a leveler (for some reason, though, the cake marker found its way into my order). I had watched a video on keeping the arm locked and using a turntable, and thought I could get by with it, though I had never been very good at even leveling a cake.
Then, by chance, I happened upon this forum, and found this thread. This idea seemed fantastic. So when the cakes (which would have been almost perfectly level, except that it turns out my oven is not, since the granite counter was installed) came out, I was able to level and torte them just about as perfectly as I could have imagined--and due to the uneven oven situation, the layers were thin. With this method, it was no problem.
Christina, I also have the marker, but have not used it yet...it scared me...(LOL!) and I couldn't figure it out. So, do you use the tip to "score" the cake around the outside, or just poke holes in it and try to follow the holes? I'm confused on how to actually use it to "mark" the cake. Thanks for your help Christina!
I know this sounds really simple and I confess I haven't tried it b/c I rarely tort a cake, but couldn't you cut a piece of heavy paper the height you want to cut and place it around the cake to use as a guide?