An impressive layer cake is the signature mark of an accomplished baker. But really, anyone has the chops to make a layer cake with just a few tips. First timers and veterans alike can stand to learn a bit from Chef Eddy’s suggestions on how to give your layers some extra lift.
A layer cake follows a formula. Cake – filling – cake – filling is the internal pattern. Then, when those pieces are set, frosting pulls it all together. It’s generally the baker’s choice on this portion, where you can either cover the whole cake or just drizzle the top.
Make sure you’re equipped to create a perfect layer cake. You’ll definitely need a spatula and parchment paper to decorate. A good serrated knife helps with cutting the layers evenly. Also, use a piping bag and tip to finish everything off.
There are some common mistakes that may occur when you make a layer cake. We’ve listed them below with ways to fix them or nix them completely.
- One common mistake is spreading too much frosting in the center of the cake layers and not enough on the edges. This creates a dome effect inside the cake. Using a metal spatula, place frosting in the center of your layer and then spread it evenly over the entire surface. The frosting should be between ⅙ and ¼ inch thick on most cakes.
- Never work with a warm cake. Make sure it’s thoroughly cooled so your icing stays firm.
- Sometimes, cakes can bulge or grow too think during the baking process. All you have to do is cut away the dome-effect. Professional chefs do it all the time. Take this as an opportunity to snack on the extra pieces. In the future, make sure you check the temperature of your oven before baking. A domed shape cake is a sign of using an oven that is too hot.
- With crumbly cakes, it’s possible for the inner layers to flake off into your frosting. If you want a cake with a crumb-free frosting, it’s necessary to first give the cake a crumb coat. Spread a thin coat of frosting in your layers. Place the crumb-coated cake in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes until the crumb coat is solid, then frost it a second time.
- Storage for this multi-step cake is key. Most layer cakes can be frozen after they are cooked. For time management’s sake, make cake layers ahead of time and freeze them. Then, on the day of serving, remove the cake layers from the freezer and frost them while they’re still frozen. This makes frosting the cakes very easy, and many professional bakers use this method.
Ready to take this from the blog and into your home-bakery? Here are some of our favorite recipes so you can make a layered cake like a pro.
Go beyond banana with your Hummingbird Cake. In this recipe, Chef Eddy has perfectly balanced pineapple, banana, vanilla and lemon for an extraordinary cake. Your sweet auntie would be proud!
If you were a Ho-Ho fan as a kid, you’ll love this grown-up version. Our ultra-moist chocolate cake is layered between smooth buttercream frosting. While simple in construction, the resulting flavor is complex and satisfying.
If you’re looking for luxury, this cake has it. Coffee cream is layered between a tender milk chocolate-cinnamon cake. It’s all topped off with what you’d find on your favorite latte — creme Chantilly, caramel and cocoa powder.
If you love banana bread and carrot cake, you’ll love this hybrid. Dense banana bread-like cake is topped off with cream cheese frosting. Decorate it with coconut and pecans.
Maria Luisa Cake is a popular dessert in Latin America, including El Salvador and Colombia. Instead of icing, this cake is infused with orange marmalade and topped off with powdered sugar. You may end up eating it more for breakfast than dessert.
Once you’ve had this spicy treat, you’ll never want “regular” chocolate cake again. Chef Eddy’s rich chocolate cake gets a new twist from cayenne and cinnamon. Mascarpone frosting will be a real treat for all those cream cheese fans out there.
This thin and intricate cake looks like it should be displayed in a French pastry shop window. The tropical flavor of passion fruit with chocolate ganache is absolutely extravagant. Serve up the cake as a lavish finish to your next gathering.
This stacked cake is a real showstopper. For fall, the pumpkin, caramel and pecans will ground you in the coldest of weather. Watch Chef Eddy put it together here.
It doesn’t get more southern than this. Signature southern pecans hidden in decadent buttercream frosting layers. Topped off with shaved chocolate, this is a show-off cake perfect for any special occasion.
With a few professional tips and a slew of recipes, there’s no layer cake you can’t try. We know you’ll raise the bar, and your cakes, with ease and grace.