Layer cakes conjure images of towering red velvet or chocolate birthday cakes. The art of scratch cooking seems to have gone by the wayside as we celebrate our special occasions with a slab cake from the grocery store. There is something about a layer cake that makes a person smile. It is a birthday, a retirement or a wedding. Make one for your next special occasion.
Be creative with garnishing. Using an ingredient already in the cake is classic. Here I have candied lemon slices and chopped pecans.
Be sure to properly prepare your cake pans by first buttering and then dusting them with flour. Shake out excess flour. I also line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper for easier removal of baked cake.
|Mark to slice cake in half for four layer cake.|
After baking, if your layers are not all the same, trim them to make them even. For a four layer cake, bake two cakes and cut each in half horizontally. Place toothpicks as markers so you can cut the cake in two equally.
You can bake your cake layers in advance and triple wrap in plastic, freeze and they will keep for weeks. Create fillings. Lemon or orange curd keep especially well in the fridge, for a week or longer. Some frostings keep well, especially cream cheese frosting. Most finished cakes will keep well in a fridge for at least a day.
|Crumb coat. Waxed paper protects cake plate.|
Before frosting cake, place strips of waxed paper under it to keep the cake plate clean. Slip these papers out when finished decorating.
|An offset spatula works well for applying filling and icing.|
Apply a crumb coat first. This is a thin layer of icing to keep the crumbs from messing up the final icing layer. Let the crumb coat dry for half an hour before applying decorative layer of icing. I like to ice sides first and then the top. Be sure your icing is not too stiff or it will be more difficult to apply. Thin by adding water a few drops at a time and whipping.