Most of my cake recipes call for baking a cake in one pan and then splitting and layering it so I thought it would be a good idea to take you through the process which is much easier than it first seems.
A few years ago I wouldn’t have thought twice about just baking a cake in separate layer pans – which by the way is totally fine and I still do sometimes – and sandwiching them together without levelling off uneven bits or even making sure the cake was upright and straight but since I learned how to split and fill a cake I think my cakes look so much better.
Let’s start from the beginning. You’ll need your cake(s). As you can see my cakes here are reasonably deep but the tops have domed. What we want to do is cut those domed tops off leaving us with a more level finish.
You can use a sharp serrated knife but I like to use a cake wire: you can set the wire to different heights and you’re guaranteed a straight cut whereas if I attempted this with a knife I’d make a real mess.
You can pick up cake wires relatively cheaply too so they’re well worth buying.
This is one sponge after it’s been cut using the cake wire. The added bonus of cutting your cakes using a cake wire is you know the sponges will all be the same depth.
Once you remove the tops you should be left with lovely level cake layers. If you’re going to brush them with a sugar syrup now is a good time to do so.
Once you have your four layers stack them on top of each other to find the best positioning for them. The best thing about splitting your cakes is that you end up with a nice flat top and a flat bottom for the cake with just soft layers in between.
Once you’ve lined up your best combination, score a line somewhere down the ‘front’ of the cake so that you can get the layers lined up once you start filling them. This is a tip I learned at the Juliet Sear masterclass I went to a few years ago which you can read about here.
Get yourself a cake board, normally I’d use a thin cake card for this the same size as the sponge but I didn’t have any cake cards handy, and spread some buttercream over the base to stick your bottom layer to.
Add your chosen filling to the first layer, in this case it was blood orange buttercream and fresh raspberries.
Then using your guide lines add your second layer.
Then your third.
And finally, your top layer.
Use a cake scraper or a palette knife to smooth any excess buttercream to the sides of the cake. If you’re filling and covering your cake with the same flavour buttercream you could deliberately overfill to help with your crumb coat.
I’m going to cover crumb coating in another post so for now, we’re done! I hope you’ve found this useful. Let me know if you have any questions.
If you’re interested in the finished cake it was my blood orange and raspberry layer cake.
I’d love to see your pictures if you try this, tag me over on Instagram or add #foodieforthoughtblog to your posts on Insta for me to check out.