How to Assemble a Layer Cake

Baking, Cook, Easter Cakes and Cupcakes, How-To, Learn

This step-by-step tutorial shows you what happens once you’ve mixed and baked your layer cake — the fun, decorative part begins! The following techniques will walk you through removing a cake from the pan, cooling a cake, slicing a cake base into layers, filling a layer cake and getting it ready to frost. With a little practice, you can create a cake just as beautiful as the Devil’s Food Layer Cake pictured above.


To Remove a Cake from a Cake Pan


If you’re making a foam cake (such as a sponge or génoise cake), run a thin knife along the inside edge of the pan. Keep the knife against the pan side so you don’t cut into the cake.
Place a cooling rack upside down on top of the cake. Holding the cake and cooling rack together, invert them and set the rack on the work surface. Lift off the pan, then let the cake cool completely before slicing or decorating.


To Slice a Cake into Layers


Place the cooled cake base on a flat surface. Hold a ruler up to the side of the cake base and, using toothpicks, mark the midpoint at regular intervals around the cake.
Using a long, thin serrated cake knife and a sawing motion, split the cake horizontally into even layers. If you are slicing on a turntable, turn the cake while you cut. Put one layer, cut side up, on a cardboard circle. Place the other layer, cut side down, on a sheet of plastic wrap.


To Fill a Layer Cake


When filling a layer cake, the thickness of the filling is determined by the type of filling you use. Jams should be spread thinly, while rich fillings (such as curd, pastry cream or buttercream) should be thicker. Lighter fillings like mousse should be thick, but never thicker than the cake layer.


Place the cake layer on it cardboard circle on a turntable or work surface. Using a pastry brush, coat the cake layer with a simple (or flavored) syrup. Mound the filling in the center of the layer and, using an icing spatula, spread it to the edge.
Flip the other layer over onto the filling, cut side up. Remove the plastic wrap and gently push the layer evenly into place. Brush the top layer with cake syrup.


Now you’re ready to frost! Stay tuned for our upcoming baking tips, which will explain how to make a crumb coating and how to frost a layer cake like a pro.

2 comments about “How to Assemble a Layer Cake

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