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But what's a step to cake success that you might be skipping? Bake the cake on a pizza stone (or baking steel) that you've heated in the oven.
We've written about how pizza stones can help you set the bottom of a pie crust (goodbye, soggy bottoms) or crisp up the underside of a ciabatta (see tip 2), but Shirley Corriher, a baker and food scientist whose practically-miraculous Touch of Grace Biscuits transform from a wet slosh to biscuits you'd mistake for clouds, relies on pizza stones for cake-baking, too. She calls heating a pizza stone in the oven one of "the basics" you need to know before baking a cake:
Place a heavy baking (pizza) stone on the low oven rack, then set the baking pan directly on the stone. The stone gives very even heat from the bottom so the batter can start cooking and rising before the heat from the top of the oven sets the batter and crusts the top.
Not only does a pizza stone provide an evenly hot baking surface, but it also retains heat—keeping the oven's temperature more stable—and acts as a diffuser, protecting your food from the hot spots flaming up from the underbelly below.
There you have it: even cooking, a higher rise, and a reason to leave your pizza stone in the oven. In my apartment, my pizza stone has taken up permanent residence there—mostly because I'm lazy and because my kitchen is so small there's not enough space for even the flattest wheel to squeak by. But alas, a windfall benefit to my negligence.
Know any creative ways to use a pizza stone? Tell us in the comments below!