Cake strips are a tool that many bakers use to ensure that their cakes turn out perfectly every time. They are strips of fabric or silicone that wrap around the exterior of a cake pan and are supposed to help cakes bake more evenly. One popular brand of cake strips are the Bake Even Cake Strips from Wilton, which come in adjustable sizes and can be made to fit just about any cake pan you might have in your pantry.
The Bake Even Strips are fabric strips that come in varying lengths that slide together with loops located at the ends of the strips. The design is such that you can string any number of strips together and aren’t limited to the size of the set (though you might have to buy multiple sets if you want to cover a lot of pans at once!). The strips need to be soaked in water before they are fitted around the pan, then they insulate the pan during baking to prevent doming, cracking and uneven baking.
The strips are easy to use and easy to adjust to any pan you might want to try them on. They’re actually even easier to adjust when they are wet, since the fit of the fabric loops is snug and the fabric is not slippery when dry. I tried the strips on a couple of different recipes and did not notice a huge difference in my light aluminum bakeware, but saw a huge difference in my darker colored pans. Dark colored pans are known to increase the browning the edges of cakes and can sometimes cause them to overbake because they retain heat better than many light aluminum pans. With the strips on, the sides of the cake did not darken excessively and the cakes domed much less, for a more consistent finished look.
The strips should be dry and ready to reuse when they come out of the oven. If they are still damp, you can let them air dry before storing them. If your oven has hot spots, the strips should help temper their effect somewhat and produce a more evenly baked cake with fewer lumps and hot spots. I’ll definitely be using them again when I am using my darker bakeware and as extra insurance when I’m making a lot of cake layers that I don’t want to take chances on, though I might not use them for a regular single-layer cake where I’m not too concerned about a bit of doming on top.