Everything You Need to Know Before You Bake Your First Layer Cake

It's easier than you think!

IMAGE Miguel Nacianceno

Making your very first layer cake is exciting, no doubt, but here are a few baking tips to help you avoid some rookie mistakes to make sure that your layer cake is a complete success. Have you tried our four-layer mocha cake recipe yet?


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1 You need to have the right equipment.

The essentials for layer cakes are: a bread knife for trimming, a cake turntable for easy trimming and frosting, 2 to 3 cake pans, offset spatulas, and a wire rack. Trust us—these baking tools will make your life much easier when it comes to baking and decorating cakes!


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2 The cakes need to cool completely before frosting.

Resist the temptation to starting stacking your cakes up—they need to be absolutely cooled through. Otherwise, the retained heat from the cakes will melt your icing, and you’ll end up with a cake resembling Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa—or worse.



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3 Trim those cakes!

Make sure that every single cake layer is even and flat before stacking them up. Place your cake on a turntable and use a bread knife to flatten out any domed tops. They need to be perfectly flat to avoid any bumps further down the road. Also, only trim your cakes once they have cooled completely. Warm cakes will crumble and fall apart.



4 Don’t forget the dam!

If you are filling your cake with a jam or curd in between the layers, you will need to make a dam on the outer edges to make sure they stay in place and do not leak. Make a dam with your main buttercream frosting by piping a ring on the outer edges of each cake layer, and then proceed to fill and stack the rest of the cake.

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5 Cover your cake with a crumb coat.

For beginner bakers, a crumb coat is a must. A crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting that goes all over your cake and set in the refrigerator until firm. What this does is it holds all the little cake crumbs in place to make way for the main layer of frosting that will go around the cake.


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