From assembling your layers to applying frosting, here’s all that you need to know about constructing the perfect Layer Cake.
Layer cakes are more than a baking project. They are a piece of art, and you need a crafter’s technique and precision to get them right. Mastering the art of making a “Perfect Layer” cake doesn’t happen overnight. It requires time and patience.
With that said, most bakers, even experts are intimidated while making this stunning, impressive dessert. But, it is way easier, than you think.
Here, in today’s post, you can find all that you need to know to make a perfect layer cake from scratch. This is quite a long post with plenty of tips and secrets. So, grab a cuppa of coffee and settle in for an illuminating read.
We’ve divided the post into different sections, so you get an idea of what to do in each step.
Preparing the Cake Pans
The first step in making a layer cake is to get your cake pan ready. Here, are two tips to ensure that your cakes (aka the layers) come out of the oven perfectly every single time.
Always use parchment paper for lining your pans
Make sure to line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper so that the cake doesn’t stick to the pan and slides out smoothly without tugging and pulling. Make sure to trace parchment paper rounds that fit your cake pans, beforehand. This way you can use one quickly when baking.
Grease the pan with flour and butter
Make sure to grease your parchment paper bottom with a coat of butter and then dust it with flour. This prevents the cake from sticking to the pan. Alternatively, you can coat the parchment paper with a non-stick baking spray that is readily available in baking stores.
Bake – Flat, Even Layers
Once you have prepared the cake pans, the next step is to pour the batter and bake. Here are two handy tricks to ensure that individual layers are of the same size and have a flat top.
Weigh the pan after you pour in the batter
If you have a digital kitchen weighing scale, then you can use it for this purpose. Weigh your pan after you have poured in the batter. Make sure to fill all other pans to the same weight. This ensures that each layer is precisely of the same size.
Reduce Baking Temperature
You can use any one of the several techniques to bake a layer that is flat and without any domes on top. But, this method is one that’s suggested by several expert bakers. Reduce the baking temperature by 25°/20° and increase the time by half. The lower temperature and longer time help in making the cake totally flat without a dome on top.
For instance, if the recipe instructs you to bake at 200°C for 30 minutes, reduce the 175°C and increase the time by 15 minutes (half of the original time). So, the total time for baking is now 45 minutes. Once, you reach the initial baking time (30 minutes); take a look at the cake every five minutes so that it isn’t overdone.
Store Layers Ahead
Building a layer cake typically takes time, around a couple of days. Make sure to bake the layers ahead and let them chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. This way, you get cold, hard layers to assemble, which makes the assembling process way easier.
Here is what you need to know when you store layers ahead of assembly:
3 to 5 days
If you’re storing layers for a short time, then wrap each layer with cling wrap and store it in the fridge.
To simplify the assembly process, you can invest in a turntable. Additionally, a few cardboard rounds help in the smooth transfer of the cake from the work-table to the fridge and vice versa.
- Start by placing a chilled cake layer upside down on a cardboard round. Place this round directly on a plate or cake stand.
- Top it with a layer of buttercream frosting (or any other filling /frosting of your choice). If you’re using a soft filling like fruit preserves, make a dam with buttercream frosting around the edge of the cake. This prevents the filling from leaking outside.
- Repeat this step for all the layers.
- Then, stack the layers one on top of another.
Let it chill in the fridge for a few minutes.
Frosting the Layer Cake
One of the essential steps in making a layer cake is to “Crumb Coat” it. This helps to seal in crumbs and give a professional, clean look to the final cake.
Apply a thin coating of frosting all over the cake. It’s ok if the crumb coat is a little messy. It needn’t be perfect. All it has to do is cover the cake layer and give it a shape.
How to apply the crumb coat?
Start at the top of the cake and then work on the side. The crumb coat is also used to fill any uneven surfaces or gaps in the assembled cake. A thick frosting doesn’t work well for a crumb coat. Dilute your frosting with a tablespoon of milk, so that it’s easy to apply.
After you have finished the crumb coat, let the cake chill in the fridge for another thirty minutes.
Apply the final coat of frosting
Finish frosting by applying a thicker coat on top of the crumb coat. Once again, start at the top and work your way down. Use a bench scraper or an offset spatula to even the top and sides.
Use your turntable to get an even finish. Chill in the fridge for another thirty minutes before you can start decorating the cake.
Storing the Layer Cake
Always store the layer cake in your fridge to keep it firm. It lasts for several days in the fridge. Take it out around 1 hour before serving.
Transporting a Layer Cake
Transporting a layer cake requires patience. Keep it in the fridge and remove it only right before the actual transportation. Additionally, you can insert dowels into the cake to hold the layers in place.
Enjoy your Masterpiece
That’s it! You have successfully created and assembled a layer cake from scratch right in your kitchen. It’s time to cut it and enjoy your delicious culinary masterpiece.
If you have any further queries about building a layer cake, shoot them to us, and we’ll be happy to help. Better still, book a seat at one of our customized baking classes and create a layer cake with assistance from our expert bakers.