Okay, so first the first time last weekend, I made a tiered cake! And now I’m going to attempt to tell you how I did it. Because it really isn’t as hard as you probably think it is! At least for me, tiered cakes seemed like a scary animal to tackle. But they’re really not! They’re actually not that hard and they do what you want them to if you follow directions and handle them with care!
My bottom layer was a 10-inch cake and my top layer was an 8-inch cake, both two layers. You can use whatever cake recipes you would like and whatever sizes you would like, just make sure they’re appropriately proportioned. I multiplied this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction (it’s my go-to chocolate cake recipe!) by 1.5 to get enough batter for the 10-inch bottom layer and this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, using 2.5 tsp of vanilla extract total and no almond extract, for my 8-inch vanilla cake.
I baked both cakes well ahead of when I needed to decorate them, so they could cool completely. I even put them in the fridge for about a half hour before beginning to decorate to make them easier to frost. When the cakes were ready to be frosted, I first made sure they were level and then began with a crumb coat. Also, FYI: both cakes should be on a cake board, with the top tier’s cake board the same size as the cake itself and the bottom tier’s cake at least 2 inches bigger. If you don’t know what a crumb coat is, watch this video.
After crumb coating the cakes, I put them back in the fridge for another half hour for the crumb coats to seal the cakes. I then finished frosting the cakes with a full layer of frosting. To make the rough, layered pattern you see on the outside of the cake, I simply held an offset spatula in place, moving slowly downwards while rotating my decorating turntable.
Then came the moment of truth: time to stack the cakes! If you’ve never made a tiered cake before, you may wonder how one stops the top tier from putting too much weight on and sinking into the bottom tier. Well, I have your answer: supports!
For supports, I used 3 sturdy lollipop sticks that I bought at Michael’s (find them here). You can use pretty much anything that you think will support the cake (wooden dowels, etc.). I used three of them. Cut down the supports to the height of the bottom layer; try to get this measurement just right–you don’t want space between the top and bottom tiers and you don’t want a lopsided top tier! Then, simply stick the supports into the bottom tier so that they will not show when the top tier is placed on top of them. Now, carefully center the top tier and place it on top! Voila!
I suggest doing a border around the edges of the cake to hide any imperfections and to hide the board under the top tier. I used a Wilton 21 star tip and made shells around the border. Then I used an edible golden spray product that allowed me to put some gold accents on the cake.
I hope this post has been helpful and informative and I hope you try making a tiered cake soon–it’s not as scary or hard as it seems! My cake served about 30 people, so feel free to adjust the size of your cake for the size of your party.
The finishing touch to my cake was a cute little shell cake topper I got off of amazon that really pulled the entire cake together, making it the perfect centerpiece!