I'm not a gadget junkie, but occasionally I fall for something useful if it really improves my life in the kitchen. Magi-Cake Strips are just that kind of little gadget. They've been a lifesaver as I test recipes for the book, and a mention is going in my chapter about equipment.
The strips are made from aluminized cotton, which, when moistened and wrapped tightly around the outside of a cake pan, equalizes pan temperature, so cakes bake evenly across without rising too high or cracking in the center, or getting too dry and crusty on the edges.
The basic set of two fits 8-inch and 9-inch cake pans. The set of four fits 10-inch, 12-inch, 14-inch, and 16-inch pans (one of each size). For the real pro, there is a set of six that will fit each of those sizes from 8-inch to 16-inch.
They come in a box that looks like it hasn't been redesigned for decades. The copyright on the back of the package says 1977. This is the kind of product we like; it has worked from the beginning, so there's no need to update.
(Set of two is $6.49 at American Cake Supply, or buy by the foot for $1.20/foot)
(Set of two is $6.95 at Sur La Table)
(Set of four is $17.50 at Party Cakes n Things)
(Set of six is $24.99 Pastrychef.com)