September’s Tip: Layer Layer Layer!!

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So this month I thought that it would be good to cover some tips on layering and filling a cake. Sometimes this can be tricky, and for some bakers it’s at the last moment when they start to see that it was their layers that have created a problem. That leaning cake, or the bubble belly, and what about that seeping cake.; these are just a few of the most typical issues that can be caused when layering and filling a cake.

It always helps to have the tools that will make your job easier. Some of my go to tools that I use when I have to layer and fill a cake are my sharp serrated knife, my piping bag fitted with my round tip, a small offset spatula and my cake.

The first step to layering and filling a cake is…that’s right, layering the cake. This step involves you cutting your cake into even layers if you have a taller/thicker cake. Some bakers who like thicker layers choose to layer or stack whole cakes as opposed to cutting through cakes to create the layers. Cutting a cake that is not warm is key. Warm cakes break very easily! In fact the colder your cake the less likely it is to break while you are cutting through it. I often cut through my cakes why they are still slightly frozen.

Using a sharp knife helps reduce the amount of crumbs and helps you achieve clean layers when you have finished slicing though. For this example we will be using round cakes. Using a turntable while you cut helps to keep the knife level and achieve layers that are oftentimes more even. When beginning to cut, lightly mark around the cake where you would like the thickness of your first layer to be. While making a sawing motion and allowing the knife to do the work, spin the turn table as you gradually cut through the cake. Once you reach the centre the layer should lift off cleanly. You can repeat this step for the required number of layers you want out of your cake, just remember don’t make them too thin as they will be incredibly fragile and try to keep them as even as possible. We don’t want any leaning cakes

Next is filling and stacking.

Depending on the consistency of your filling or icing that you would like to sandwich between your cake, you can either use a piping bag or an offset spatula. Thicker fillings can be used in a piping bag. If you are using a piping bag, pipe a ring around the perimeter of the cake about 3-5 mm inward from the edge of the cake. Then pipe inside your rim with the remaining filling and smooth it out with your offset spatula. If your are not using a piping bag gently spread your filling on the top layer of your cake leaving a 3-5 mm rim around the edge. Try not to put too much filling as this is what causes oozing after the layers are stacked on top of each other.

Once you have covered the top with filing, lightly place your next layer on top and gently press down. Pressing down will make the filling move to the edge of the cake and the space that was left helps to prevent leaking. Continue this process until all your layers are stacked. The higher you have your cake you may want to consider adding structure to ensure it doesn’t start to lean as you build up.

And there you have it… layering and filling basics! Hopefully this helps with tackling some of those pesky filling and stacking issues.

Happy baking y’all!

Chef Sam's September Photo

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