Sometimes it's nice to take a little break from the usual round or square cake! When it comes to baking up a hemisphere, half sphere or dome cake (whatever you like to call it), there are a few approaches you can take.
3 ways to create a dome cake
1. Bake the cake in an oven-safe bowl
If you're only a hobby baker and bake many half-sphere cakes, try an oven-safe bowl. While it's not a perfect solution, it's an efficient, affordable starting place!
If you go this route, keep these tips in mind:
- Bowls almost always have a flat base, which you'll see on your baked cake. To fix this, you'll have to fill in the top of your cake with cake scraps and buttercream or ganache.
- Bowls are usually deeper than hemisphere cake pans, so bear this in mind when it comes to baking times as well as the size of the cake you need. You may find that you'll need to adjust your temperature and time to accommodate the amount of batter.
- In our experience, it's hard to remove a cake from a bowl. To make it easier, don't remove your cake from the bowl too early. The cake is more likely to break apart while warm, so leave it to cool before turning out onto a clean, level surface.
2. Carve and sculpt a layer cake
The thought of carving a cake can seem scary at first, but creating a dome shape is actually one of the easier shapes. It's great for a beginner who is feeling a little adventurous!
Begin by stacking a few layers of round cake, just as you would to make a regular layer cake. Crumb coat the cake (we always find it easier to carve a crumb-coated cake — the extra buttercream helps hold the layers and crumbs together).
Starting at the top, use a sharp, serrated knife to slowly remove portions of cake until it looks like a dome. Kimberley Bailey's Sculpting Essentials: The Perfect Sphere class will give you more detail on shaving away cake into a round shape.
3. Bake your cake in a dome baking pan
We're pretty cautious when it comes to baking unusual shapes, but we swear by using hemisphere cake pans .
In the end it's so much more straightforward than some of the other options: Carving and sculpting can take a lot of time time. Using a bowl is great if you don't have the time or resources to pick up a baking pan, but it requires a few extra steps. In the end using a baking pan created to do a specific job is pretty much the safest and quickest option.
Here's our best tip for this method: Be generous with greasing the pan. We also like to add a very small parchment circle right at the top or base of the pan, where the cake is most likely to stick.