Bowl or dome cakes make a showy alternative to the usual layer cake or tray bake, and they offer many amusing decorating opportunities. At children's parties you might serve them up as fat clowns, footballs or fairy princesses. At adult parties, they might feature an elegant ganache glaze. Some recipes call for scooped-out centres filled with creams and custards. A special cake recipe is unnecessary -- any good cake batter can become a dome cake.
Generously butter the interior of an ovenproof bowl that is large enough to accommodate the risen cake batter. Using enough butter is critical -- without it, the cake will not easily emerge with its shape intact.
Flour the interior of the buttered bowl; the flour holds the butter in place as the cake bakes. To do this, sprinkle a small handful of flour around the interior of the bowl and then shake the bowl in multiple directions to ensure full coverage. Dump the remaining loose flour into the sink, and then tap the bowl on the counter while it is still upended to make sure there is not too much residual flour left.
Pour the batter in and bake according to the recipe directions.
Allow the cake to cool for at least one full hour, then loosen the sides of the cake gently with a rubber spatula. Turn the bowl upside down on to a serving plate. Tap the bowl to loosen the cake. If it doesn't come out immediately, carefully turn the bowl upright and use the spatula to loosen the cake some more.
Some people also bake another cake in a round layer-cake pan, and then stack the cooled bowl cake on top of it with icing between the two cakes. Make sure the diameters match if you do this.