Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

asked December 11th 2017

Baking a large cake

Hi I've got a large cake to bake this week but I've left it too late to order a flower nail or wrap for cake tin. Can you either recommend a substitute or where I could buy either in Edinburgh? Thanks


Hi nickyd

What type and shape is the cake? If you're not confident baking a large deep cake, the best solution is either to bake in sandwich pans or spread the mixture between shallow sheet pans. However, if you still want to bake in the pans which you have, it's easy to make the wraps using strips of foil and strips of wet towelling. Take a peek here to see different methods of making them:


Metal flower nails can be purchased in local cake decorating stores/ hobbycraft or any store and supermarket which keeps kitchen equipment.

Here are a few stores in your area:

Hope the suggestions help.


Thanks for your reply. It is a 14" square. I have checked in tesco, Morrison's, hobby craft and lakeland.


You didn't find any in those stores? How about department stores which have kitchen departments? If you can't get hold of any, it might be easier to make several sheet cake, fill and trim to the size required. That's what I do because I don't possess a deep pan bigger than 12". What type of cake are you baking?


Hi I've now tried Debenhams, Marks and Spencer and John Lewis. It is a Madeira cake, 2 tier for wedding anniversary. I might just do sheets but will need to patch it all up ok. Thanks for your help


You'd need 16" x 14" sheet pan to get 14" square layer. If you use a smaller tray there will be patching which I wouldn't recommend if you're stacking . It can be done if you get the dowels well away from the joins. However, as you are using madeira recipe I can't see any problems why your normal pans can't be used. Madeira recipe is much sturdier than sponge so there won't be worries about the cake falling. Bake it on low heat for longer and just keep any eye on it. I can't give you timing as oven differ but you'll will be looking at in excess of 3.5 - 4 hours. I bake my 12" round for almost 3 hours on 130c fan oven.
I'm surprised that you've not been able to find the flower nails in all the stores mentioned. Perhaps it's because everyone is busy with cakes ... and here's me with a draw full wishing I could let you have them!!


Is the flower nail used to ensure centre cooks? If so, what size diameter cake would you start to use the nail? I do often find its hit and miss on larger diameter cakes whether the centre is properly cooked.


Hi AnnierLaurie

Yes, the nail acts like a heating core, helping to distribute the heat in the batter more evenly. In large cakes I use two or three nails along with the cake strips and low temperature. I also use Ateco heating cores, however it seems no one has them at the moment. If you can get hold of some at a down to earth price, grab them! Don't pay any more than £ 5. 00 at time of posting this 🙂


Thank you for this. I have a couple of nails I will use on my next large cake and meanwhile will try to hunt down a supply of Ateco heating cores. I’ll let you know if I’m successful.


... good luck with that AnnieLaurie, I can see online that this product is not available from many suppliers. Those who are offering it are doing so at ridiculous prices. I paid less than £3. 00 four years ago. I guess it's simple economics of supply and demand. Look forwards to your feedback.

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