- On April 10, 2015
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Last weekend I had the pleasure of baking a birthday cake for one of my dear friends, Tiffany. I think cakes are probably one of the most rewarding items to bake, being that they are so often the centerpiece for special and momentous occasions in life. Special as they are, they can be intimidating to make. All too often we break down and buy one from the grocery store or bake one from a box (gasp!!) for fear of failure. I would like to offer you a few simple tricks and techniques that are not often mentioned in recipes. Hopefully, I can take away some of your fear and you will bake a cake for your next celebration.
My first tip is to be organized and have all your ingredients at room temperature. Cold milk or eggs will impede the leavening process. Leave your eggs and butter out on the counter overnight, measure any dairy products a few hours before using and leave them on the counter.
Many recipes will require you to divide the batter between two or more pans. This can be easily done using a scale, ensuring the pans contain the same amount of batter and finished product after baking.
Once your cake(s) are baked and completely cooled, you may need to split them in half horizontally for some recipes. This is best done with a refrigerated cake as it will be more stiff and dense after cooling. To do this without the use of any of the ‘gadgets’ available on the market, I use toothpicks! Using a ruler, mark the half-way point around the circumference of your cake every three inches or so with the toothpicks. Using the toothpicks as a guide, gently align a serrated knife with the top edge of each toothpick. Continue cutting, with a sawing motion until you have split the cake into layers.
Successful cake assembly is really in ensuring that your layers are even from the start, and that you spread your filling evenly over each layer. In this case I made a giant batch of salted caramel to go between each of the six layers. Make sure you allow your assembled cake to set in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours before frosting.
Icing the cake is relatively simple as long as you do a crumb coat first. The crumb coat is a thin layer of icing that locks in crumbs and fills in any imperfections. Allow this first coat to set in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before applying the finished coat.
Salted Caramel Layer Cake recipe from Martha Stewart
Thanks for visiting! Till next time…