I can make cupcakes galore. I can even rock a cheesecake. But pretty sure that age 30, I am just now learning how to bake a layer cake.
But look out, world. I am now a cake-baking fan. 🙂
I mean, seriously, why did no one tell me how fun it is to bake an enormous cake? And lather it with delicious frosting (or even rose petals)? And hear the ooohs and ahhhs from friends as you cut a big slices from those gorgeous layers of deliciousness?
Although (ahem), why did no one else tell me how hard it can be to keep those layers even? Or spread with said delicious frosting? Or even get the darn cakes out of the pan??
Yeah, there’s a reason that I used to stick to cupcakes.
But still, I am on a layer-cake-baking roll lately. And thanks to some great tips from bloggers and food stylists I work with, and thanks to lots of good ol’ fashioned trial and error, I am loving it and learning more with each cake! So I thought it might be fun to share a few little tips with you that have been helpful for me, especially on the equipment side.
Below are 5 of my new favorite “essentials” for making a layer cake, all between $5-$16. Now granted, I am fully aware that the way our grandmothers made layer cakes still works today. No fancy equipment is needed. However, I have found these 5 tools to be super helpful — especially when it comes to saving time, and just ensuring that all of the time and effort you put into a cake results in a success. So I’m hoping they might prove helpful for some of you too! Enjoy!
I learned about these when I first began trying my hand at professional food styling this past year. I was skeptical when I heard about these Wilton Bake-Even Strips, but the name really does hold true. These handy little strips from Wilton help your cakes bake evenly so that they are much flatter without a “dome” on in the center, which is muy importante in actually layering the layers of your cake. Cooks throughout the years have achieved the same effect by wrapping their cake pans with damp rags, but these well-designed strips from Wilton are way easier to use, and fit a variety of different pan sizes. Just fasten them with the metal pin, and you’re good to go. Just be sure to keep an eye on the baking time. Since the strips slow down the baking of the outside of your cake, sometimes I find it can take a few extra minutes for the total cake to finish baking.
Also on the level-cake-baking topic is this handy Wilton Cake Leveler. Um, can we say brilliant? This thin and lightweight leveler tool is super easy to use, and is perfect for cutting across to level a cake, or even to cut your cake in two. I’ve found it to be way easier and more reliable than trying to level with a knife. And the fine-toothed blade cuts really well, and is also adjustable for different heights. I have already lent mine to a few friends who promptly went out and brought their own. It really is helpful!
Ok, this one may be uber-obvious for many of you bakers. But people! I only recently discovered Baking Spray at the grocery store!! How did I never know about this? For any of you who are also unaware, baking spray is basically cooking spray that is pre-mixed with flour. So instead of having to grease and then flour your pans (and shake it off and inevitably get flour all of yourself, if you’re like me!), all you have to do is spray and go. So easy. And as a double plus, the baking spray is priced the same as cooking spray at my local grocery stores. Brilllllliant.
Set of Three 8-inch Cake Pans
Ok, I may have been the only one in the world to make this mistake. But if you’re into making layer cakes, be sure that you have three 8-inch Cake Pans on hand. I made my first few 3-layer cakes just using one pan three times, which was a huge pain, a huge mess, and took forever. So if you’re looking to build a layer cake, be sure to grab a set so that you’re good to go with just one round of baking. I’m also a big fan of using three 8-inch pans instead of two 9-inch pans so that you get the extra height.
Finally, for the “icing on top”, I am now in love with my Wilton 13-Inch Angled Spatula. Yes, you can use a normal knife. But if you want smooth frosting, or even to create some cool swirly designs, you really need a large spatula. They come in all sorts of different sizes, shapes and angles (or un-angled) options, which I have been using in my food styling kit over the past year at work. But this 13-inch angled version is the one I now definitely use most. It frosts like a pro!
What are your favorite tools for making a layer cake?
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I was not paid to endorse any of these products. All opinions are always my own!