Layer cakes always look impressive when you set them out for dessert. Professional bakers make them look easy, but when you try the same recipe yourself, you might find that the process of baking a professional looking layer cake is a lot more difficult than it seems. The cakes can dome or crack as you are baking them, leaving you with a lot of uneven surfaces, and the process of icing a cake often results in unwanted crumbs being picked up by the buttercream.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to baking layer cakes, but if you really want to improve your skills, it is well-worth taking The Wilton Method: Baking Basics Class. It’s one of the many great cake baking and decorating classes offered by Craftsy, and now is the perfect time to sign up because it is currently being offered free to Baking Bites readers. The class is taught by Beth Somers, Wilton’s Test Kitchen Manager, who makes the cake making process look effortless, but covers every bump that you might encounter as you recreate her recipes in your own kitchen. She walks you through cake baking basics step by step, from measuring out ingredients to putting the finishing touches on your four-layer finished cake. The class is geared towards the beginning baker, but everything is explained so clearly that even experienced bakers can pick up tips and find answers to questions that they might have encountered while baking.
The class also includes the recipes for the classic yellow cake, chocolate filling and buttercream icing that are used in the video. It’s a good idea to stick with the recipes given in the class when you start out, as you can ask questions in case you encounter any problems. It’s a particularly good idea to stick with the basic icing recipe given as you start to learn Wilton’s icing techniques. The consistency of frosting is very important when you are decorating cakes – particularly when you start attempting flowers and more elaborate decorations – and their basic recipe is a good one to practice with.
If you spend any amount of time on Pinterest, you know that there are lots of impressive-looking cakes being baked out there and the level of skill demonstrated can be very intimidating, especially if you don’t have a lot of cake decorating experience. Somers spends a lot of time on cake decorating in this class, discussing mixing, coloring and adjusting the consistency of icing so that it is just right for your project. I’ve been meaning to sharpen up my decorating skills and the two primary techniques that Somers demonstrates – smooth icing and spoon icing – are two of the easiest and most important decorating skills out there.
I really like the vintage, homemade look of a spoon-iced cake – a decorating method that is actually done with the back of a spoon. This homemade look is very in style right now and you’ll even see cakes iced like this in specialty bakeries, so I loved the way that my cake looked very professionally done in just a few minutes, with a lot less effort than you might think. If I had been baking it for a birthday, I would have topped it with a few colorful candles, but since this was an everyday cake, I opted to take Somers’ suggestion of topping it with a few royal icing flowers to add a little pop of color to the finished cake.
Remember The Wilton Method Baking Basics Class is free for Baking Bites’ readers if you sign up using this link (or any of the links in this post). It’s a great opportunity to hone your baking skills, find answers to any cake-baking questions you have and to learn the technique behind this beautiful cake decorating method. Whether you’re just starting out with layer cakes or looking for those tips and tricks that will help you to perfect your favorite recipe, this is a fantastic place to start!
Disclosure: Baking Bites is a Craftsy partner and this post is sponsored by Craftsy. Any commentary given, photos taken and all opinions expressed are my own.