Monday, January 21, 2013

A few "secrets" to making layered cakes

I have been told that I make the "BEST" cakes ever.  And I have been asked what my secret is.  hmmm....I didn't know I had a secret.  I guess I just learned little things along the way that lead to amazing rich, dense, moist cakes.
shhhhh.....I will only share these secrets with you.  Everyone knows you are supposed to keep secrets and not tell EVERYBODY!

Tip #1 - Use Wilton's Bake Even strips. It is true.  They do work!  I have had mine forever and they still work like a charm.  Your cakes will raise evenly and not have those big cracks across the top.  Don't worry about the size of your bake even strips.  I use the large one and just wrap it around the pan and pin the end.
Just soak your strips in a sink with a little cold water.  After it soaks completely just run your fingers down the length of the strip.  You don't want it to be dripping, but leave it pretty wet.
Tip #2 - For a beautiful layered cake be sure to level the cakes.  Here are my two layers on cooling racks.  The Wilton cake leveler has different height settings.  So just find the one that is perfect for your cake and cut across the tops.  (I have the old version of the cake leveler. The new one folds in half for easy storage.)  You might be asking yourself "why use the bake even strips if you are just going to level the cake anyway?"  And the answer is that without the bake even strips you will have to cut much more off the tops of your cakes to get a level layer.  Without the bake even strips the cake really "humps" up in the center and you lose alot of your layer when leveling.  Remove the cut off portion and set aside.  ( I will show you why later)
 Now mix your frosting.  I use Wilton's Butter Cream and Chocolate Butter Cream frosting recipes.  This will be a 10 inch two layer cake so I recommend doubling the recipe for a cake that large. This is beginning to sound like a Wilton commercial.  :)  And to my lovely daughter Meghann...if you are reading this...don't forget to measure cocoa by spooning and leveling just like flour.   Oh...and add the cocoa powder to the mixer with the mixer on low speed.  That stuff has a way of flying everywhere.

Tip #3 - For the bottom layer of the cake place it on your cake board or plate with the cut side up.  In other words bottom side down.  This gives you a nice stable base for your cake.  Add a dollop of frosting.

Be sure to cover the layer completely.  I even let my frosting extend past the edges so that I don't have to do any filling between layers when the second layer is added.
For the top layer, place it carefully on top of the frosted 1st layer cut side down.  In other words bottom side up.  The cuts you created when leveling will face each other in the middle of the cake.  This placement of the cake layers will give the best end result.  Just be sure that the top layer is centered.  You don't want the cake to look like a leaning tower. that the frosting has begun the dogs are standing guard for anything that I might accidentally drop.  That is Toby on the left and Jasmine on the right. 
Tip #4 - This really isn't a tip, but I thought I would share my edging decoration while I am taking pictures.  I generally do this version of the traditional scallop along the top edge.  Sorry, I am sure Wilton has a name for it, but I don't know what it is.  Basically loop of the scallop goes opposite direction of the last loop.  This scallop kind of "lays down" against the top of the cake. 
For the bottom layer I do the traditional scallop.  The loop is on the bottom and the tail comes up over the top.  So this scallop kind of stands up against the side of the cake. 
Tip #5 - And this is maybe the ONE TRUE SECRET.  I always refrigerate my cakes.  It is best if you can make, frost, and decorate your cakes at least one day before you plan to serve it.  Loosely cover it with saran and put it in the refrigerator overnight.  The result is a moist, dense, delicious cake that makes everyone ask for the cake recipe.  I love making things from scratch, but generally for my cakes I use just a boxed mix.  And people never believe me.  Here is my finished cake.  This cake is going to my daughter's Middle School Dessert Social, so I have placed it on cake boards so that I don't have to worry about getting my nice cake plates back.  I actually put this cake on two layers of cake boards because I knew it would be very heavy. 

 Oooh...and for those cake tops that you cut off when leveling.  Go ahead and put them on a plate and frost them with any extra frosting.  My family always complains when I make something for a special event and they don't get any.  This way they can have some too! 

I hope some of  my cake secrets are helpful.  I know there are lots of young cooks out there like my daughters and maybe these tips will be helpful.
I am entering my cake in the CDAC Anything Goes Challenge.  Such a fun way to share the "other" things we do and make.


  1. OMG this looks SO DELICIOUS! My mouth is watering!! Thanks for all the AMAZING tips ... heck, I didn't even know some of these 'tools' were available! LOL!

  2. Wow, I want to come and eat your cake now! =) Thanks for the tip about how to make layers! I got a beautiful cake book for my birthday but haven't tried anything yet! =)
    Hugs, Elenor

  3. OMG OMG OMG...NOW THIS IS MY KIND OF Looks so yummy Shelly. You are GOOD!!! Thanks for entering it in the cdac challenge.

  4. OMG (sorry there's no other word LOL), you have to sent me one of those cakes....I'm having birthday in January.......thanks for sharing my dear friend!

    hugs Amanda


Thank you so much for leaving a comment. -Shelly