When a layer cake bakes, the heat from the oven reaches the sides of the pan first and the center of the pan last. This causes the edges of the cake to rise and set before the center, which continues to rise, creating a dome in the center and dryness around the edges. Encircling a pan with cake strips slows down the baking at the sides of the pan so that the batter rises at the same rate as in the center, producing a more level cake that is more evenly moist throughout.
I used to make my own cake strips out of fabric that I moistened and fastened around the pan with a pin. Now, however, I’ve developed Rose’s Heavenly Cake Strips, which are sold on Amazon and by LaPrima Shops. They are made of silicone and fit 9 and 10 inch round pans and 8 inch square pans (for smaller pans, use metal paper clamps or silicone bands to secure the excess length. There’s no need to moisten or fasten them, and they are easy to clean in the dishwasher or with Soft Scrub. Silicone is the ideal substance for a cake strip because it is very slow to conduct heat. It also expands slightly during baking, making the strips easy to remove.
For larger or oddly shaped pans, you can make your own cake strips using a strip of aluminum foil long enough to encircle the pan with a little overlap. Wet some paper towels, fold them to the height of the pan, and lay them along the aluminum foil strip. Fold the foil over to encase the paper towels. Wrap the strip around the pan and secure it with a metal paper clip or clamp, or encircle the strip with a silicone band to hold it in place.
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