Perfect Baked Cheesecake | The Ultimate Guide!

Perfect Baked Cheesecake | The Ultimate Guide!

How to Make Perfect Baked Cheesecake

Perfect Baked Cheesecake can make any horrible day suddenly seem like the BEST day of your life… It’s powerful stuff!

Unfortunately, there’s an intense and unnecessary hype over how difficult it is to bake a perfect cheesecake. I was absolutely petrified of making baked cheesecake for yeeeeears.

The ingredients are also very expensive, so if the cheesecake flops then you don’t only feel like a failure, but are also broke as well. Too much risk man.

Cooking and baking shows also just LOVE showing us the drama of cheesecake, don’t they?

Drama sells. Do yourself a favour – keep in mind that those contestants are under enormous TIME constraints and pressure to perform. That is an ideal recipe for drama and disaster, which the networks need to make the shows sell.

But I want to encourage you today and put your mind at ease… 

It’s actually very simple and 100% possible to bake a perfect cheesecake. ESPECIALLY at home! There is NO reason to be afraid – truly.

So breathe in deeply, muster up some hope and take courage. Now smile! I promise you that I will help you to master this technical dessert and bake the perfect cheesecake on your next attempt.

Before you run off to turn the oven on, just wait a second.

This post (part 1/4) is all about the technical aspects of baking the perfect cheesecake. You may know by now that I am a HUGE believer in METHOD, because it gives us perfect bakes.

Examples of my utter obsession with method: How to Bake Perfect Cupcakes – FULL TroubleshootingHow to Bake Perfect Cupcakes – Advanced Tips, How to Bake Perfectly Level Cake Layers.

I’m laying a foundation here so that you will know exactly what to do when I share my perfect cheesecake recipes in the next 3 posts.

So get yourself a cup of tea and absorb all these tips and tricks I’m sharing with you today.



My 6 TOP Tips for Perfect Baked Cheesecake:

The Ultimate Guide to PERFECT Baked Cheesecake gives you ALL the help you need to bake perfect cheesecake at home. We discuss all the causes and prevention of cracking, sinking, under-baking, over-baking etc. After reading this post you should have NO fear to make your own perfect baked cheesecake. #cheesecake #bakingtips #bakedcheesecake #cheesecakerecipe

1. Take your Time:

I’ve watched so many seasons of The Great British Bake Off on which the contestants must always bake cheesecake at some point.

My favourite baking show cheesecake episode is however from The Great Australian Bake Off S1-E6. So shocking that they only had 2,5 hours to make it though!

If you rush yourself to make a perfect cheesecake, I can guarantee that a whole lot of things will go wrong!

Cheesecake is like good American BBQ – LOW AND SLOW.

I actually LOVE the fact that cheesecake takes such a long time to bake. My recipe typically bakes for 1 hour, then I turn it and bake it for another 40 minutes.

That gives you two massive brackets of time to do something else while the lazy cheesecake just hangs out in the oven.

It might be a tad irresponsible, but I’ve gone grocery shopping so many times while the cheesecake is baking. Who has time to watch a cheesecake bake? It would probably take less time to watch paint dry.

So to clarify; perfect cheesecake takes a long time to make yes, but 75% of it is PASSIVE time in which you can do something else. Don’t let the long baking time put you off making it.


2. Room Temperature Ingredients:

If your ingredients are not at room temperature, they will struggle to combine into a smooth batter. Perfect cheesecake is made with room temperature ingredients.

Cream cheese can be especially difficult to smooth out when it is cold because of its higher fat content. Butter, for example, is solid fat. Have you ever tried creaming ice-cold butter? Impossible.

Also be sure to use room temperature eggs.

If I am being honest, I always use the cream/sour cream straight from the fridge because I don’t want it to go off while standing at room temperature. But room temperature cream cheese and eggs are essential.


3. The Bain Marie Situation:

Bain Marie means “Marie’s bath”, but in the baking world it just means “water bath”. A water bath is absolutely essential to baking a perfect cheesecake. It ensures a moist cheesecake and helps it to bake gently and evenly.

But the traditional method of bain marie baking is so superlatively tedious

Wrapping 2 layers of foil around the cake tin AND then placing it in a glass dish AND pouring boiling water around it AND burning yourself when trying to turn the cheesecake halfway through baking it AND then it leaks.

I mean, there are posts just on managing the leaking. TOO TEDIOUS and hazardous. No thanks. Remember, I am a lazy person who loves to make perfect bakes, so I had to find a simpler way.

Ashlee Marie is the fantastic human who presented an alternative. You seriously get the exact same effect if you just place a separate pan of hot water in the oven with the cheesecake. SO much easier and more practical – thank you Ashlee Marie!

  • I like to use the biggest roasting tray I have.
  • Place it in the lower half of your oven before you bake the cheesecake so that it gets nice and hot during the preheating.
  • Boil at least 2 liters of water in a kettle.
  • Place your cheesecake in the middle of your oven.
  • Pull the empty roasting tray out slightly and fill it up with the just-boiled water. This will create a nice cloud of steam to fill the oven right from the start without burning your arms.

Now that you have this super easy cheat bain marie method for baking perfect cheesecake, don’t let it frighten you off either!


4. How to Avoid the Dreaded Sinking:

Low and Slow applies not only to the baking of the cheesecake, but also the MIXING. Especially if you will be making mini cheesecakes.

Mini cheesecakes will completely expose your mixing method. Tip number 3 is ALL about the mixing.

How to bake flawless baked cheesecake at home! Learn all the tricks and causes behind shrinking, sinking, cracked baked cheesecake. You'll never have to deal with these problems again. Click through to start mastering baked cheesecake today :) #cheesecake #cheesecaketips #bakingtips #perfectcheesecake

The KEY thing during the mixing phase is not to whip in ANY air. If you do not have a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, make it by hand – seriously. Do not bring a hand mixer anywhere near your cheesecake batter!

  • Add the soft, room temperature cream cheese to the mixing bowl. Beat it on medium low speed till smooth.
  • Add in the sugar. Beat it on medium low speed for 30 seconds. Let it stand for 5 minutes so that the sugar can melt. Beat it on medium low speed again for 30 seconds till smooth. Don’t rush it and beat it on high speed. Ever. At any point.
  • Scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl thoroughly and mix again on medium low speed.

And now the eggs.

  • I like to crack the eggs in a separate bowl and lightly mix them together so that the yolks break and are easier to incorporate into the cream cheese.
  • Add the egg in in 4 sessions. Don’t watch it the whole time, you will be SO tempted to increase the speed. It is a great opportunity to spend some time on pinterest or learn a language on the Duo Lingo App (I’ve become 7% more fluent in French, just from cheesecake mixing time! Haha!).
  • Before mixing in the last egg, scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl thoroughly and mix again on lowest speed.

I like to stir in the cream/sour cream by hand because the mixer takes forever to incorporate the liquid.

If you follow the low and slow mixing method, I guarantee that your cheesecake will come out perfect and not sink a bit!


5. How to Tell when a Cheesecake is Done:

A perfect cheesecake has to be just set. Not under baked and saggy, or over-baked and slightly coarse. So HOW do you know when it’s done?

First of all, bake your cheesecake on the regular bake setting of your oven (solid stripe top and solid stripe bottom). Do NOT use a thermo-fan or convection oven.

Now the testing. Some swear by the jiggle or “wibble-wobble” test. Honestly it is a bit vague to me. I can never really tell if it’s done by how much it wobbles. Monique ended up under baking her cheesecake, and so have I, with the jiggle test.

The easiest way for me to tell is looking at the surface. The edges should have puffed up a bit and be dull, but the center circle (about 8cm in diameter) should still be shiny.

The jiggle test is a handy second option for me. The cheesecake should have a stiff jiggle and move as one unit. If the centre still keeps moving after the outer edges have stopped, then it’s NOT done yet. Wait another 10 minutes and check again.

As soon as the outer rim of the cheesecake breaks loose from the side of the tin (or pastry), you’ve gone a bit too far. If the cheesecake browns on top, you have definitely taken it WAY too far.

It will still be tasty, but it will be a tiny bit grainy, drier and not as creamy.

There are also some fancy thermometer tests you can use if you like.


6. How to Avoid the Dreaded Cracking:

A cracked cheesecake can happen as a result of your mixing, but more often than not it is because of your baking and/or cooling. A baked cheesecake is like my husband in winter… If you suddenly pull the duvet off him in the freezing morning hours, he WILL crack.

Cheesecake has a sensitive soul. Respect that and all will be well. For this reason, it needs to be cooled very gently and gradually.

  • When baking, let the cheesecake bake in peace for at least one hour before opening the door and turning it or checking it.
  • As soon as my cheesecake is perfectly baked, I turn the oven off and leave the door closed for 5 minutes.
  • Then I leave the oven door ajar. Let the cheesecake hang out in the (switched off) oven for another 90 minutes to be safe.
  • Remove it from the oven and let it rest on the kitchen counter for 1 hour.
  • You may now place it in the fridge overnight for the cheesecake to fully set and get a perfect texture.

Cool your cheesecake gradually if you want it to be perfect and crack free. There is no way around this. And besides, it is once again PASSIVE time. You can do other things while it cools!


7. BONUS TIP – Time Saver:

I NEVER remember to take the cream cheese out of the fridge in time. The quickest way to bring it up to room temperature is by defrosting it in the microwave! Yes, I know it’s not “frozen”, but the defrost setting warms up the cream cheese VERY gently and slowly. Yet again – low and slow.

  • Don’t use the quick defrost setting though, which is too intense. Auto defrost for meat is perfect.
  • I let it run for 2 minutes at a time. The cream cheese usually needs 2 sessions of minutes each to reach room temperature.
  • If you can press your finger in to the cream cheese with ease, then it’s ready. Obviously feel the temperature of the cream cheese as well. If you can’t really feel it, it means it should be around body temperature which is perfect.

If your eggs are cold too, simply place them in a bowl of lukewarm water for 10 minutes. Tada!

This is the Part Where I Motivate You:

Put your hands on your heart and repeat after me:




cheesecake | baked cheesecake | cheesecake tips


Okay, consider yourself motivated and fearless! These tips for perfect cheesecake will help you to get a perfect bake on your favourite cheesecake recipes.


In the next 3 posts I’ve shared my own Home Bakery’s recipes for perfect baked cheesecake that I make all the time…

  1. First there’s my Cheesecake Pastry Recipe (includes chocolate variation) and Walk-Through.
  2. Then my Chocolate Swirl Baked Cheesecake recipe,
  3. and lastly my Vanilla Baked Cheesecake recipe!

Here are some links to other baked cheesecake posts that I found useful in my years as a professional home baker. Thank you to these authors and bloggers for your research! Ashlee Marie, Prepared Pantry, The Kitchn, All Recipes, The Spruce, Simply Recipes

Now go make that cheesecake!

Chat soon,

Aurelia 🙂

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)

How to Freeze Custard (Creme Patissiere) and Restore It

How to Freeze Custard (Creme Patissiere) and Restore It

How to Freeze Custard and Restore It

Freeze custard and restore it in just 5 minutes – it’s so quick and simple! Normally, freezing custard/creme patissiere is an absolute NO-NO in the baking and pastry world. All info online clearly states that you cannot freeze custard/creme patissiere because it splits into oblivion. And it does.

But I’m here to tell you that you can FULLY restore thawed/defrosted watery custard! YAY! 😀


I’ve been developing a recipe for a super exciting brownie (which I will share in the future) which requires creme patissiere. Not knowing how much custard  I would need, I made the whole recipe and ended up with about 2,5 cups of it. After using only half a cup for my experimental brownies, I still had 2 cups left!

Of course I wouldn’t let the rest just sit in the fridge and go to waste. Without googling at all (which is quite unlike me) or thinking twice, I just popped the custard in the freezer.


Current Info on Freezing Custard

According to the whole web (,,,, just to name 5) homemade custard should never be frozen as is and used again later. Apparently the best method to at least avoid waste is to make “frozen custard” aka ice cream! This requires a bit of effort though.

Once in the freezer, you need to whisk the custard every 30 minutes for 3 hours. This aerates the custard and keeps it smooth during the freezing process. The result is beautifully smooth frozen custard.

BUT, they all say you cannot freeze custard, thaw/defrost the custard and then use it again as custard due to the severe separation that cannot be rectified.

Unfortunately I only read all this info after my custard had been in the freezer for 3 weeks already! I left it on the counter to defrost for a few hours. It was a watery MESSSSS. I really did not expect this, but since I hate wasting, I was not going to throw it away.

Although it may not always seem so, I suffer from selective, slightly-above-moderate laziness. I go to extreme and labour intensive measures to achieve a “yum-high” in my cooking and baking, but for some things I just cannot be bothered.

I’m definitely not going to make creme patissiere 3 times a week. I’m also definitely not going to divide a single egg yolk in 3 so that I can make 100 ml of creme pat! There had to be a way to freeze custard and restore it.

My dad has this incredible line I’ve been quoting for years: “If you want to be lazy, you have to be clever.” So I put on my thinking cap…


The Science of Freezing Custard

I did a post a while back on how to fix and prevent chocolate ganache that has split. Both ganache and custard split when frozen. The ingredients are still 100% tasty, but the texture has transmuted completely. In one case it is the fat that separates and in the other case it is water.

Although ganache and custard are completely different, I firmly believed that their restoration processes would be very similar.

I decided to apply the same process I use on thawed ganache. Step one was to heat it on the lowest possible heat in a saucepan while stirring occasionally with a balloon whisk. It became looser, but was still very much grainy with a watery residue.

At that point I realized that custard is typically cooked at a much higher (boiling in fact) temperature. I upped the heat one setting higher. It started looking much better.

Another trick that works to re-emulsify split ganache, is adding warm milk. I heated 1 tablespoon of milk in the microwave and proceeded to whisk it into the warm custard.

After whisking a bit more vigorously (still with a balloon whisk) for about 10-15 seconds it smoothed out TO PERFECTION!!! SO rad! 😀

I got so excited! There was still a big concern that it just looked smooth, but upon tasting it I would end up writing that “the restored custard is 95% smooth!”. Not the case. At all. It is seriously 100% smooth! It tastes, looks and feels freshly made. Can’t believe it!


Method Recap

How to Freeze Custard

>> Put your left over creme patissiere / custard in a freezable cotainer.

>> Place in freezer.

Have some coffee, you’ve worked hard.

How to Thaw/Defrost Custard

>> Remove custard from the freezer and leave out on the counter to defrost for 3-4 hours.

Have some coffee, you’ve worked hard.

I wouldn’t recommend defrosting in a microwave for longer than 2 minutes. You may do that to get it going, but longer than that will start overcooking some parts of the custard. You can also place the sealed container in some warm water to speed up the process if you are in a hurry.

How to RESTORE Thawed/Defrosted Custard

>> Place the split custard in a heavy based saucepan (all of it, including the separated water).

>> Turn on the stove to the lowest possible setting. Stir the custard with a balloon whisk every 30 seconds so that it heats evenly and doesn’t catch on the bottom.

>> When the custard is warm to the touch, turn up the heat a bit more. Stir occasionally for about 2 minutes while it keeps heating up.

>> Heat 1 Tbsp Milk (I used 4,5% fat whole milk) in the microwave for 20 seconds. Use 1 Tbsp Milk for every 200 g of thawed custard.

>> Add the warm milk to the saucepan. Keep whisking the custard on the stove for another minute till it smooths out and comes together again. Take it off the heat before it starts to simmer/boil. Taste a tiny bit to make sure it is fully smooth.

Now you should have coffee AND a pastry covered in your amazing freshly made (thawed) custard 😉

Please let me know if you give this hack a go. Save yourself a mountain of effort and waste! Freeze custard and restore it because now you CAN!

Freeze custard and restore it in just 5 minutes - it's so quick and simple! Normally, freezing custard/crème patissiere is an absolute NO-NO in the baking and pastry world. All info online clearly states that you cannot freeze custard/creme patissiere because it splits into oblivion. And it does. But I'm here to tell you that you can FULLY restore thawed/defrosted watery custard! YAY! #bakingtips #homebaking #baking #cremepat


Thanks for reading!

Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)

How to Make Beautiful Swirls in Your Brownies

How to Make Beautiful Swirls in Your Brownies

How to Make Beautiful Swirls in Your Brownies

Swirl brownies are so striking and beautiful! Defined, voluptuous swirls take any dessert to the next level.

Problem is, the swirl part can VERY easily become a murky MESS.

I’ve been making Cheesecake Swirl Brownies and Red Velvet Brownies for a few years now. In the process I’ve discovered some wonderful tips and tricks to give you perfect, defined swirls in brownies every time!

Since so many folks have been asking me to share my technique, I’ve also made a little video (below) so that you can see exactly what I do 🙂


Essential Basics of Swirl Brownies:

1. Consistency of Cheesecake Batter:

This is the most important point, truly.

The cheesecake batter you make an actual cheesecake with can be quite runny. Cheesecake batter used for swirl brownies is an entirely different batter altogether. Cheesecake batter for swirl brownies HAS to be thicker, but should still drop off a spoon in 2 seconds. If you follow your recipe to the T and it turns out runny, make it thicker.

You can do this in 2 different ways:

a] Make sure your ingredients are ice cold (not room temp) and beat the batter for 30 seconds – 1 minute. This usually works to thicken up the cheesecake batter.

b] Only try this after you’ve applied option 1 above. Beat some cold cream cheese in a separate bowl to remove any lumps (about 30 seconds). Beat the smooth cream cheese into your cheesecake mixture. This will definitely thicken it up.

If your cheesecake batter gets too thick, you can thin it out by stirring in 1 tablespoon of water at a time.

Another important note – always use NON-aerated cream cheese!
I also prefer using only egg white in the batter as it gives you a whiter cheesecake swirl.


2. Consistency of Brownie Batter:

What you are aiming for is to get the brownie batter and cheesecake batter more or less at the same consistency. This is absolutely crucial when making swirl brownies.

Brownie batter can often be quite warm and runny. You will need to firm it up a tad before attempting to swirl in the cheesecake mixture.

It’s super easy to do – just pop it in the fridge for 5 minutes. It should still move down slowly if you tilt the brownie tin, but you don’t want it to be completely chilled and stationary either.

If you accidentally chilled the batter too much, pop it in the oven for 1 minute at 350ºF/180ºC. This will soften the brownie batter again.

3. The Swirling:

For practical purposes I’m just typing out everything I mention in the video.

  1. Place blobs of your cheesecake mixture over your brownie batter. Be sure to place blobs in the corners as corners can often look skimpy.
  2. Flatten out each blob with the back of a metal spoon. Spread the cheesecake onto the sides of the tin – super important! During baking the cheesecake naturally moves a bit to the middle of the tin. Spreading the cheesecake onto the sides of the tin anchors your entire pattern.
  3. Use a chopstick – NOT a butter knife – to swirl the mixture.
  4. Drag the chopstick, in SMALL circular movements, through the cheesecake and into the “blank” brownie spaces.
  5. Once a swirl has been made, leave it be. Going over it again will make it cloudy and messy.
  6. Always keep a little bit of cheesecake batter aside to fill in gaps. Swirl these extra dollops again in separated, once off, swirl motions.

Here is a video I made earlier this week so that you can see the technique for yourself 🙂 A big thanks to my husband for holding the camera!

Have you had any Swirl Brownies Issues? Please comment below because I would love to help!

Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂


Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)

DIY Cupcake Liners – Quick and easy!

DIY Cupcake Liners – Quick and easy!

DIY Cupcake Liners

DIY cupcake liners are so simple to make!

I love using them for muffins as well because they give the muffin a fuller and more homemade appearance. It’s also WAY cheaper to make your own cupcake liners.

Marie-Anne Duarte asked me how I make my perfect DIY cupcake liners a few weeks ago, so this one is for you!

I can’t tell you how many times I have baked cupcakes and/or muffins and then, as you get to scooping out the last bit of batter, you realize you are 2 liners short!

This hack takes about 2 minutes from start to finish. In no time at all you will have your very own perfect DIY cupcake liners 🙂


Which Paper Works for Cupcake Liners?

Wax Paper does NOT work for this. It is too thin and a nightmare to get off the actual baked product. You end up peeling it away in shards.

Some of it you can’t even get off at all. Save yourself the hassle and just don’t even attempt to do this with wax paper.

Top quality baking/parchment paper, like GLAD, does not work either. It is TOO non-stick. It is brilliant for lining brownie and cake pans, but not for making DIY cupcake liners. The paper comes right off the cupcake.

What we need is a paper that sticks to the baked product just enough so that it only peels off when you actually peel it off.

In grocery stores and baking stores you will find medium quality baking/parchment paper that is typically brown or white in colour. Brands like Unsgaard and Sylko.

In baking stores, their baking paper is often not even from a particular brand. They buy it in bulk in giant rolls and make their own smaller rolls from it to sell to their clients.

This baking/parchment paper is often non-stick on just one side or not even really non-stick at all. THIS is the paper you need.

Want to add a rustic look to your cupcakes or muffins? Or maybe you've just run out of cupcake liners! Either way, these homemade DIY cupcake liners/cases are exactly what you need. They're quick & easy to make - and super cheap too! Click through to get the full step-by-step tutorial... #cupcakeliners #cupcakecases #cupcakes #homebaking #bakingtips


2 Sides of the Parchment Paper

As I said, some baking/parchment paper has one non-stick side. Make sure that this non-stick side does NOT touch the muffin or cupcake. Otherwise it will slip right off. Make sure the dull side ends up on the inside of your DIY cupcake liners.


1. Cutting Your DIY Cupcake Liners

If you buy your baking/parchment paper in a roll, it makes life super easy. These rolls are generally about 45 cm in width.

  • Place the roll horizontally before you on a counter top. With your ruler placed vertically, measure 13 cm and mark it with a pencil.
  • Fold the paper over. Make sure the sides line up 100%. Look out for your mark.
  • Press down with your one hand, on the mark, and hold it there.
  • Let your other hand slide and press along the paper to create an even fold all the way to the other side. Slide over the fold with your nail again to secure it. You have now folded one long strip that will be turned into 4 DIY cupcake liners.
  • You can fold over the paper again multiple times like an accordion if you need to make lots of liners.
  • Cut the paper along the folds so that you end up with long strips of 13 cm x 45 cm.
  • Place 2 strips precisely on top of each other. Fold them over in half. Press down and secure the fold with your nail. Cut along the closed end so that you have 4 strips of 13 cm x 22,5 cm.

  • Place 4 strips precisely on top of each other. Fold them over in half. Press down and secure the fold with your nail. Cut along the closed end so that you have 8 liners of 13 cm x 11,25 cm.


2. Folding Your Cupcake Cases

You’ll need a muffin/cupcake tin and a cup, measuring cup or ANYTHING that fits snugly into the holes of your tin. For me it is a large bottle of Cerebos Salt. Whatever you are going to use, let’s call it a “squeezer”.

  • Place a single piece of paper over a hole – as centralized as possible. Remember at this point to have the one non-stick side facing DOWN (if you are using a paper with one non-stick side). The non-stick side should not be in contact with the cupcake/muffin.
  • Press down with your squeezer over the paper, into the hole.
  • Roll around the squeezer to force the paper into the bottom of the hole.

  • The “ears” of your DIY cupcake liners will be a bit uneven and random. Use your thumb and index finger to grab each one and flatten it out. Especially the base of each ear. Do this with all 4 ears. You can twist you squeezer to access all the ears. You don’t need to turn the pan every time.
  • Press each ear tightly up against your squeezer.

  • Firmly roll around your squeezer again to really imprint that hole’s shape in the paper.


3. How to Spoon Batter into the Homemade Liners

Now you will notice that the ears of the DIY cupcake liners are facing up. This will give you cupcakes that bake with North, South, East and West points, instead of nice and round. Here’s how you fix that.

  • Spoon your batter into your liners. You need the weight of the batter to keep the liner down.
  • Press down and open up the 4 ears (see image above right).
  • Bake as normal!


Additional Notes

If you used the right paper it will not peel away from the cupcake/muffin by itself. You can lift the baked goods out of the tin by holding onto the ears of the liner – don’t be scared, it won’t pull away.

If you have any questions, please comment below because I would love to help!


Obsessed with Baking PERFECT Cupcakes?

I thought so! Here are 2 blog posts that’ll help you to bake flawless cupcakes every single time:

>> Full Cupcake Troubleshooting – 15 Mistakes and Solutions for Baking PERFECT Cupcakes
>> Advanced Tips for Baking PERFECT Cupcakes Every Time.

Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)

How to Bake Perfectly Flat Cake Layers

How to Bake Perfectly Flat Cake Layers

How to Bake Perfectly Flat Cake Layers

I used to think that perfectly flat cake layers are only within the grasp of PRO bakers. When I started out baking, I loved baking cupcakes a whole lot more than baking layered cakes.

The simple reason behind this is that I wanted to avoid all the waste. You know how it goes… We need to trim off that ugly dome off our cake layers to make them level and then I obviously don’t throw the off-cuts away…

I hate wasting, so I eat all of it…

Shameless Aurelia.


As much as I enjoyed stuffing my face with cake, I couldn’t keep this up. Neither could my jeans!

Beyond the desire for perfectly level cake layers, there was another problem. The cake was moist in the center, but quite dry around the edges.

This had to be fixed. Cupcakes bake a lot quicker than large cake layers, so they aren’t in the oven for very long. Large cakes however, obviously need to spend a lot more time in the oven.

By the time the center is cooked, the outer edge has been cooked for the past 25 minutes and is now overcooked.

Level cake layers can be BAKED that way. NO need to trim or waste with this amazing baking hack! Bake level cake layers easily.

Credit is due:

I did some research and found a great  post on the issue of baking level cake! A Cozy Kitchen wrote this amazing post on baking flat cake layers. It was tremendously helpful!

I’ve refined the technique quite a bit though, because as you know I do not believe all cake recipes can be baked the same way. If you don’t know what I mean, take a look at How to Bake Perfect Cupcakes – Advanced Tips.

Please note: This post has affiliate links. This means that if you purchase some of these products I get a tiny commission – but at NO extra cost to you. I’m super proud to recommend these resources to you because they’ve completely transformed my Home Bakery Business!


Before we get started:

So once again there is a basic technique for baking level cake layers (as with baking Perfect Cupakes), but it needs to be adapted according to your recipe. In my experience cake recipes can be divided into 3 different categories (due to how they respond in the oven). This definitely does not include cakes like Angel Food Cake which is a whole different ballgame.

  1. Butter Based Recipes
  2. Oil Based Recipes
  3. Recipes containing fresh fruit/vegetables

Here is a picture of how I divide my oven. You will need this later.

oven for perfect cupcakes

Greasing the tin:

I always line the bottom of my tin with high quality non-stick parchment/baking paper. It makes removing the cake a total breeze! Simply place the base of your cake tin on the paper, trace a circle and cut it out.

Lining the sides of the tin with parchment paper is just too tedious for me. I love using non-stick spray! Feel free to use butter or oil if you desire.


Basic technique for baking flat cake layers:

Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen uses moist towel strips, fastened around the tin with safety pins. Her hypothesis is that “What’s happening here is that the moisture from towel is helping the cake bake more evenly, resulting in an even rise and a cake with a flat top.”

I think the moisture definitely plays a role, but in my opinion the damp towel keeps the sides of the tin cooler, so that the batter in direct contact with the sides of the tin doesn’t cook so fast. This gives the cake batter around the edge a bigger window of time to rise.

Of course you can also buy Wilton Bake-Even Strips online! They’re like a formal version of this wet-towel-strips-method and save you the drama of cutting up a towel (that your Mother may or may not have given you…)

  1. Measure the height of your tin.
  2. Get a clean, new-ish hand towel. Not a scrap one you used to clean the floor with.
  3. Cut off strips of towel as wide as the height of your tin and long enough to wrap around your tin. It’s totally fine if the towel is going to end up overlapping around the tin. Rather don’t cut off the edges of the towel, this helps keep the strip intact.
  4. Place the towel strips in some water and squeeze them about till they are evenly wet. Wring out the water.
  5. Grease and line your cake tin.
  6. Fasten the wet towel strips around the tin.
  7. Pour in batter, level it out and bake.

My first change was to fasten the towel strips around the tin with paperclips instead of safety pins. It was very difficult to get the towel strips tightly wrapped around the tin. It was even more challenging to make them stay in position with safety pins as these allow room for movement.

The first time was a disaster! The towel kept sagging down on the sides of the tin, but I did see a slight improvement in the levelness of the cake. Second time around I used paperclips and I’ve never looked back.


Adapting the technique:

Butter based recipes:

Butter based cake recipes respond extremely well to this technique! Be sure to squeeze and wring out your towel strips as well as you possibly can. If they are too wet, the sides of your cakes can even rise higher than the middle! Be sure to level out your batter with a spatula before baking. There is no need to spread the batter higher up the sides or anything.

  • Bake the cake on oven rack A at 180˚C
  • Gently rotate your pans halfway through baking.


Oil based recipes:

The wetter, the better for this category. Lightly squeeze the towel strips so that they are just past dripping point. Grease and line the tin as usual and pour in your batter.

Swirl the pan around slowly so that the batter coats about 1 cm of the tin’s edge above the batter’s normal resting level.

Shake the pan a little bit so that the main batter returns to its neutral resting level. Do this just before you place the cakes in the oven.

  • To bake the cake, preheat your oven to 170˚C.
  • Place a clean, empty roasting tray on rack A.
  • Place your cake tins on rack B.
  • Pour about 1/2 cup water in the bottom of the oven.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes.
  • Rotate the pans and pour ½ cup water in the bottom of the oven. Continue to bake on rack B for a further 20 minutes.
  • Remove the roasting tray on rack A and move your cakes from rack B to rack A. Rotate your cakes again at this point as well.
  • Continue to bake until done.


Recipes containing Fresh Fruit/Vegetables:

Curiously these batters respond somewhere in between the butter and oil categories. The fresh fruit/vegetables naturally release a lot of moisture as they bake as well which helps in the level cake baking process.

Still, it does help to have a towel strips very wet (squeezed out just past dripping point) for this category as well.

Grease and line the tin as usual and fasten the wet towel strips around your tins. Pour in the cake batter. Swirl the pan around slowly so that the batter coats about 1 cm of the tin’s edge above the batter’s normal resting level.

Shake the pan a little bit so that the main batter returns to its neutral resting level. Do this just before you place the cakes in the oven.

  • To bake the cake, preheat your oven to 170˚C.
  • Place your cake tins on rack A.
  • Continue to bake on rack A until done, rotating the pans every 15 minutes.

level cake layers

Final Notes:

When baking 7 inch cakes and smaller, I’ve found that a hand towel’s absorption powers are too great. For small cakes I use DISH towel strips instead – they work perfectly! OR if you bake different sized cakes, it’s really worth it to get the Wilton Bake Even Strips Set for 6 inch, 8 inch, 10 inch and 12 inch tins.

Although this hack is the most amazing game changer in baking a level cake, you’ll still need to trim off tiny bits here and there – but it’ll be minimal. Oil based cakes especially still rise with a slight dome, but they are about 80% more level than before!

And you also won’t need to trim the sides of your cake ever again. The wet towel strips ensure the oven stays moist and keeps the edges from baking too quickly. Your level cake layers will have a beautifully moist crumb from edge to center 🙂 Yay!

This technique has changed my life! Give it a try and let me know what your results are.

Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)