Fall Fruit Basket Cake


Twelve batches of Moist Yellow Cake batter are needed to yield two 6-inch round layers, two 10-inch layers, and two 14-inch layers. Fill each 6-inch pan with 1 3/4 cups of batter. Fill each 10-inch pan with 5 cups of batter. Fill each 14-inch pan with 11 cups of batter.


  • 1 sixteen-inch circle of ¾-inch-thick Masonite, foam board, or plywood, sides covered with ribbon

  • 1 recipe Royal Icing

  • 3 foam boards, .188 inch thick, cut into 14-, 10-, and 6-inch circles

  • 6 two-inch-high Basic Yellow Cake

  • 1 recipe Armagnac Simple Syrup

  • 7 recipes Meringue Buttercream

  • 15 cups (120 ounces) fig jam

  • 7 eight-inch wooden dowels

  • Fun-Tak

  • 5 seven-and-three-quarter-inch wooden dowels

  • Seasonal fruit; we used: 2 dozen purple figs, 2 dozen green figs, 2 dozen Seckel pears, 2 dozen Italian prune plums, 1 dozen crab apples, 1 dozen lady apples, 6 bunches Concord grapes, 6 bunches champagne grapes


  1. Cover 16-inch board with royal icing, and set aside to dry.

  2. Each tier needs a sturdy base. Trace a 14-inch cake pan onto 3/16-inch foam board. Repeat with 10- and 6-inch cakes. This will be the base for each tier. Carefully cut out the rounds. Once cakes have cooled slightly, remove from pans. Do not remove parchment. When completely cooled, place each cake right side up on foam board round, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. This makes the layers firm and easy to handle. They can also be frozen at this point.

  3. Remove the 14-inch cakes from the refrigerator. If they did not bake level, place them on a turntable and use a serrated knife to even the tops. Repeat with the other four cakes. Split each cake in half horizontally. Each tier will now consist of four layers.

  4. On a level work surface, place one 14-inch, one 10-inch, and one 6-inch tier with a foam-board base next to each other. Brush the cut surface of each base cake layer with the Armagnac simple syrup. The syrup will moisten the cake and add a subtle flavor.

  5. With an Ateco #6 plain tip, pipe buttercream around the perimeter of each cake that has been moistened with syrup. This "dam" will prevent the jam from seeping out. Fill the 14-inch cake layer with 2 1/3 cups fig jam, the 10-inch cake layer with 1 2/3 cups fig jam, and the 6-inch cake layer with 1 cup fig jam. Repeat this process with 2 more cake layers for each tier, stacking the layers on top of each other, and laying the final, fourth layer on top (with no jam).

  6. Using an offset spatula to give each tier a "crumb coat," ice top and sides of cake with a thin coat of buttercream. This thin layer of icing will seal the cake. Start from the center, and work toward and over the edge, making sure to spread the buttercream over the sides of the tier. Refrigerate for 1 hour to set the cake and buttercream.

  7. Give the tiers a final coat of buttercream. Be sure to cover all exposed cake. The icing should be smooth and uniform. Refrigerate the tiers again to chill the final coat of buttercream.

  8. Place 14-inch tier on 16-inch board covered with royal icing. Using a 12-inch pastry bag fitted with a large leaf tip (Ateco #115), ice cake in a basket-weave pattern. Insert 8-inch dowels evenly spaced in the center of cake. Add pieces of Fun-Tak to level off each dowel and prevent the tiers from sliding. Place the 10-inch tier on top, and center. Repeat the basket weave on the 10-inch tier. Insert the 7 3/4-inch dowels evenly spaced in the center of the 10-inch tier. Add more Fun-Tak to level dowels. Top with 6-inch tier, and center. Frost the 6-inch cake with a basket-weave pattern. Decorate between each tier with assorted fruits.

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