I love learning new uses for various and sundry items. As I've been baking larger cakes, I've been encountering the issue of cutting off increasingly larger crowns (the dome that forms on a cake). That part never goes to waste in my house; I've turned crowns into everything from mini-cakes to "trifle for one." There are, however, times when you need the cake to bake evenly and develop as small a crown as possible; namely when you're baking a large or long cake. You can either spend money on heating cores, or reach for a couple of trusty flower nails (and save that money to buy another pan or some other thing that can't possibly be considered gadgetry). The way to use flower nails as heating cores is simple; start by greasing your pan with butter and flouring it lightly (this is a 13 by 9 pan; part of a 4-piece egg-shaped pan set):
Cut out a piece of parchment paper to fit and anchor it down with a couple of flower nails; I think they ought to be at least an inch across (unlikely to tip over under any circumstances):
In the case of this long pan, I used two:
Pour the batter in:
Even it out with a spatula, if need be, and pop it in the oven.
This cake was ready in about 25 minutes. Set the cake on a rack to cool.
torting, filling, stacking, etc.