Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Layer Cakes

It is the time of year when we make lots of cakes. Graduations, birthdays, bridal showers; there is so much to celebrate! There is nothing more special than a homemade cake to mark the occasion. Making a simple layer cake doesn’t have to be daunting, if you follow a few basic tips.

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Tips for Making Layer Cakes: 

Let the cakes cool fully in the pans before removing them. This holds true with almost everything you bake. Once the cake is cool, it will release from the pan more easily. It is also important to wait to frost a cake until it is cool. Warm cake will melt the frosting, leaving you a with a less than perfect coating.

I like to cut a circle of parchment and place it on the bottom of the pan to prevent the cake from sticking. Spray or grease the parchment as directed in the recipe.

When cake bakes, it often rises and forms a little dome on top, which can give you a wobbly surface when stacked. If your cake has a dome, use a serrated knife to carefully trim the top to make it even. It will help the layers be more stable when stacked, and give you a more symmetrical finished product. Cake with a very fine crumb can be trimmed using dental floss. Just gently pull the floss across the cake to shave off the excess.

Apply a thin crumb coat to lightly cover the entire cake, and serve as a “primer” for the frosting. This will help prevent crumbs from showing on the surface. If possible, refrigerate the cake for 15-30 minutes before continuing to apply the final coat and your buttercream will glide on much easier.

Place your cake on an inverted bowl to elevate it a bit, making it easier to work on, and giving you easy access to the whole cake. To get the smoothest most evenly distributed frosting, hold the knife or bench scraper steady, and turn the cake.

Lastly, remember that your cake is homemade, and a labor of love. Unless you are a pro, it won’t, and shouldn’t look like it was made in a commercial bakery. That perfect imperfection is part of what makes a homemade cake so special. As long as it tastes delicious, people will forgive you for a few little blemishes and shortcomings.

Enjoy!!

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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