Caketastrophes: Humped & Domed Cakes
Let me forewarn you that, if anything like me, you have a perpetual jukebox running in your head, this post is likely to cause The Humpty Dance and Baby Got Back to play on alternating shuffle and repeat for hours. You’re welcome.
It’s hump day! In our last post from the Caketastrophes series, we talked about sunken cakes. Today, it’s all about the hump and if you ask me, I’d take a hump any day. Hmph. That didn’t come out the way I intended.
When it comes to cake humps, I find that there are two staunch camps of thought:
1. Embrace the hump! Scrap cake is ALWAYS a good thing, albeit not for the waistline.
2. The flatter the cake, the less work for me, and YAY. Also, that whole cake-leveling thing gives me anxiety attacks because it’s never level and chunks of my cake fall off so- the flatter the better.
As a recovering perfectionist and closet-lazy person, the idea of a flat cake captivated me. No cake wastage. Fewer crumbs antagonizing my existence. Seriously, the thing I hate MOST about being a baker/cake decorator is the crumbs and ALWAYS being sticky. I feel like a 5 year-old kid with inexplicable jam-hands – even when there’s been no jam about! And then the crumbs sticking to the jam hands and even though I’ve washed them 12 times, there’s still a wee sticky spot between my pinky and ring finger and Oh. Em. Gee.
So, I researched. What makes cakes hump or dome?
1.The edges of the cake cook faster than the middle. This makes sense since there is a heat-conductive ring of metal around the edges – aka the pan.
Fix: Use a pan insulator which you can either make yourself out of some old tea towels or, if you are going to be using them a lot, buy. I have PME Baking Belts.
Fix: Use a heat cone or metal flower nail to help conduct heat to the center
2.The recipe is conducive to humps. My Salted Caramel Mud Cake always comes out beautifully flat. My vanilla cake comes out mostly flat. My Dark Chocolate Stout Cake always comes out with a humungous volcano hump no matter how I wrap the pan or how many conductive bits and bobs I put into the center.
And you know what I decided? That’s okay! I could muss around with the recipe and work to get it flat…but this is my beloved dark chocolate cake! And, I need the scraps to reward Mr. QBF with for doing mountains of dishes.
It’s like when I was a young-teen. I saw other girl’s “developing” their lady lumps (I truly apologize if that interjected Black Eyed Peas “My Humps” into your brain-song rotation). I was frustrated knowing that while my Gaelic/Germanic roots infused me with a hefty pair of birthing hips, my Korean blood meant at best, presidency of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee. As I grew older, and absurdly wiser, I’ve come to realize that sometimes humps are good, sometimes not so much, and really, you just have to work what you got. And if you’re asking yourself if I really just found a connection between female pubescent development, gender expectations, and caketastrophes – heck yes I did.
Do you want cake humps for scraps or would you prefer a nice flat cake?