Guys, I know it can look daunting to create a multi-tiered cake. You watch these cake shows (ok, a select few of us watch the cake shows) and they are hammering all sorts of pipes, wooden posts or plastic to support the various layers. You can do this. I’m here for you. A 2-tier cake where the bottom layer is a 9-inch cake and the top layer is a 6-inch cake, is a cinch. All you need is the aforementioned pans (2 of each), a 6 in. cake board, a 10 in. cake board, 3 boxes of cake mix and a package of straws. Yup, straws will be your secret support weapon!
First, spray your pans with Pam or butter and then bang around some flour. If you bake 3 boxes of your favorite cake mix and divide the batter among these four pans, you will have the perfect amount of cake for a party of around people (depending on what sorts of cake-eaters you have on your hands). I followed this vanilla cake recipe that incorporates sour cream and buttermilk with the box mix to make the cake fluffy, tasty and super delicious. This cake was for my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday and her favorite is white cake with white frosting. And so it shall be!
I just want to take a quick moment to praise the handiness of the egg separator. I am not a fancy chef who can separate eggs by passing the yolks back and forth within 2 shell halves. I crack my egg, I put the goods in this separator and the whites ooze out the sides. I place the yolks off to the side for maybe some custardy cream… or throw them out. Whatever you want. But if I’m doing a white cake, I am separating out those yolks and I’m doin’ it with this guy.
To make your cake board a little fancier, you simply take aluminum foil, cut it into a circle and tape that baby to the underside. So shiny! So fancy!
After cakes are baked and cooled, it’s a good idea to “scalp” the tops of your cakes so they are flat on top. (The professional term is “torted” and you can see this video for more on this.) Once you have whipped up 3 batches of your favorite frosting recipe, start with your 9 in. cakes. Place one on your fancy aluminum foiled board and frost the scalped top. Then place your next 9 in. cake upside down. Your cake is now “filled” but needs a “crumb coat” of frosting as its first layer. Then place in the fridge for about 30 min.
While 9 in. crumb-coated cake is chillin’, we’re going to do the same steps with the 6 in. cake: place one 6 in. cake (scalped side up) on your 6 in. cake board, frost the top, place second 6 in. cake upside down and begin your crumb coat. Hopefully, you have cleaned out a couple of fairly large spots in your fridge for both of these cakes to hang out. Here is the torted, filled and crumb-coated 6 in. cake on its 6 in. cake board:
Let’s do some decorating! Out comes the 9 in. cake and you can do another layer of frosting (that will not be filled with crumbs) or maybe something super impressive like ruffles or rosettes. I decided to do some colorful, spring rosettes for decoration. This video shows more on how to create rosettes, if you’d like to go that route. You will need the Wilton 1M tip, piping bags and a steady hand.
After 9 in. cake was all decorated, I took out the 6 in. cake and gave it a second coat of frosting (non-crumby coat). A tip to give it a smooth finish is to dip your spatula in a pint glass of water before smoothing it across the cake. Now time for some stacking! Get out your straws!
Place four straws in your first tier right where your second tier will sit. Grab a pair of scissors and cut your straws so they are level with the cake. You are now ready to stack! Get that second take up there – let’s do this!
You will want to do some sort of border around that 6 in. cake (I did simple dots) so you can’t see the cake board – and then decorate as you see fit! Go wild! Sprinkles, polka dots, fancy piping – the sky’s the limit!
Side note: Is it sad that the best lighting in the house is in the refrigerator? Eh. Oh well.
When it was time to cut the cake at the party, the guests insisted photos were taken of it… some with me. Who was I to refuse? Although it looks like the candles are very close to the photo of my mother-in-law (cake topper frame purchased at the supermarket’s baking aisle), I assure you that her face did not catch on fire.
My mother-in-law said it was the best cake she’s ever had in her 70 years. And that, my bloggos, warmed my little baker’s heart. <3