I may occasionally write posts about how I decorate a cake, so I thought it would be a good idea to go over the basics first for those who are beginners. I have learned a lot about making and assembling cakes through trial and error as well as from blogs and tutorials on the internet.
I have collected many different cake and frosting recipes over the years and I am always experimenting with new ones. Below I will share one of my current favorite yellow cake and chocolate frosting recipes.
To begin making a cake, bake your cake layers according to your recipe. It is essential to have a well greased pan, so that you can get your cake layers out of the pans without ruining them. I recommend using coconut oil spray, which I get at Trader Joes. The cake seems to release from the pan with no problem every time. Once the cake layers have been removed from the pans, I recommend freezing them for at least a few hours. This makes the cake less flimsy and easier to work with.
When you are ready to begin, place your first layer on your cake plate. I usually place my cake layer upside down, so that the completely flat bottom is facing up. This helps to guarantee a more level cake. You may want to place a few pieces of wax paper around the first layer to protect the cake plate from getting dirty while you frost your cake. I didn’t do this this time, and just used a wet paper towel to wipe up any frosting that missed the cake.
Spread a generous layer of icing on to your first layer and then place the second layer, also upside down, on top of your first layer.
Again, spread a generous layer of icing on top of your second layer. You can stop here and simply ice your whole cake or continue to add layers in the same manner. I added a third layer for this cake and then applied a crumb coat using a large offset spatula.
A crumb coat is a thin layer of icing that covers the top and sides of the cake to seal all of the crumbs. This prevents little pieces of cake from mixing into your final layer of icing. After you apply your crumb coat, I recommend placing the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes to help it solidify.
After your remove your cake from the fridge, you are ready to either decorate it or apply your final coat of icing. If you are just going to frost the cake, apply another, slightly thicker layer of icing to the entire cake. If you are going to decorate the cake, you can either add another layer of icing and then apply your designs, or you can just start decorating right on top of the crumb coat as I did for my cake pictured below.
And that’s it…all you need to know to create your first layer cake. Not too difficult is it? Easier said than done, I guess 🙂
Classic Yellow Cake
Yield: two 8 or 9 inch cake rounds
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3 extra-large eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease two round 9-inch pans.
Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in your mixer. Measure the milk in a two-cup measuring cup and then add enough canola oil to bring the liquid to 1 1/3 cups.
Add the milk/oil mixture, butter and vanilla to the flour mixture. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes.
Add the eggs and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Pour into prepared pans and bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean
Yield: 3 cups of frosting
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk (I use skim)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix melted butter with cocoa powder in an electric mixer. Add sugar and milk alternatively. Add vanilla. If the icing is not the consistency you want, add additional milk or sugar to change it.
Here is a sneak peak of my finished cake. Check in later this week to see how I did it!