Here are our insider tips for baking beautiful cakes every time.
Choose the Right Color Pan
Darker pans sometimes cause a crust to form on the outside of the cake and make consistency a little bit crunchier with a more caramelized texture. Dark nonstick pans also usually call for a reduction in baking temperature from the temperature used for lighter-colored aluminum pans.
Make Parchment Rounds
You can fold your parchment paper to get the perfect size circle to line a round cake pan by following the steps below.
- First, cut a square of paper an inch or two larger than your pan.
- Fold the square in half, and fold it in half again keeping the square shape. Then find the corner of the square where the center of your paper would be if you unfolded it. This will be your center point.
- Fold the center point’s two adjacent corners to make a triangle. Put the center point in the center of the bottom of your cake pan.
- Trace a line where the edge of the pan hits the paper, and use scissors to cut along that line.
- Unfold your parchment for a perfect circle.
Scale Your Batter
Once your cake batter is mixed, place a separate large bowl on top of a kitchen scale. Once you weigh your bowl, hit “tare” to clear the scale, and add your batter to the bowl to see how much it weighs. Divide the weight of your batter by how many pans you are using. Place each pan on the scale, and measure out how many ounces of batter you need for each.
Let Cake Layers Cool
Never work with a warm cake. After your cake layers have cooled, wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them. Cool layers are fine to work with, but frozen are best.
Apply a Crumb Coat
A crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting applied to the cake (after it is baked and cooled) to keep light crumbs from appearing in the final layer of frosting. Before applying your crumb coat, make sure you have an even work surface (a turntable works best). Place the first cake layer on a cardboard cake round that matches the size of the cake. Fill a large piping bag with buttercream. Starting in the center of the cake, pipe the buttercream in a spiral out toward the edges. Add the next cake layer, and use the overflow of buttercream from the center to coat the outside of the first round. Repeat with as many layers as your cake calls for. Cover the top of the cake with buttercream, using an offset spatula to smooth it out while bringing buttercream down from the top to the sides of the cake. Place the cake in the refrigerator or freezer for 30 minutes to 1 hour before applying the second layer of frosting.