Make cake layers in advance and freeze them overnight. Cold, firm cake layers are easier to lift and move and don’t crumble as easily.
Take a Stand
If you’re ready to take cake decorating to the next level, invest in a rotating cake stand. A rotating stand makes it so easy to assemble, cut, layer, and decorate cakes. Begin by assembling the cake layers on a cardboard round so you can easily transfer the fully assembled cake from decorating stand to carrier to serving platter. Hold the cardboard round in place on the stand with a little dollop of frosting.
Make the Cut
Another essential tool for trimming and halving cake layers is a long serrated knife. (It’s almost impossible to cut layers evenly with a short knife.) Begin by trimming off the raised dome of each cake layer. Save the trimmed bits for snacking.
Use toothpicks as a guide for cutting each layer in half evenly. Use a ruler to measure the height of the layer, and stick a few toothpicks in the exact middle. Use the toothpicks as a guide when cutting each layer in half.
Get the Scoop
Use an ice cream scoop as a tidy way to evenly portion out frosting from bowl to cake.
An Even Spread
Frost your cake with a large offset spatula for smooth, even coverage. When spreading frosting or filing between layers, leave a quarter-inch border around the edge of the cake. Once you add the next layer, its weight will automatically cause the frosting to spread all the way to the edges.
Next, apply a crumb coat. This is simply a thin layer of frosting that locks in any and all stray cake crumbs. Scoop frosting on top of the cake and spread from the center to the edges, then down the sides. Go with gravity. Chill 30 minutes to an hour, until frosting is firm. Pile on more frosting and apply a thicker, even layer.
For perfect slices, use an offset serrated knife for cutting the cake. Dip the knife in hot water and wipe it off before cutting.
Watch Kitchen Conundrums host Thomas Joseph fill and frost:
Ready to get baking? Check our our favorite layer cake recipes.