I really like to do layered cakes. Not because I feel like mine always look beautiful, but I like to really emphasize the taste factor going on! Two weeks ago, I made a 1/2 sheet cake for my little sister's senior recital for her college degree. She told me to make something that would "taste really yummy"! I said "I can do that!"
You can make layered cakes any size. One trick to remember is that frosting a round cake is easier to do that frosting a cake with edges. Frosting tends to give trouble around the edges. Double layer, triple layer, whatever you choose!
I do enjoy making cakes from scratch, BUT, even the famed Alton Brown from Food Network sings the praises of cake mixes from a box. Why? Because with baking, measurements need to be extremely precise - it's really a scientific process - and if you use a cake mix, it's hard to mess up! So, especially when I am doing a sheet cake, I often pick a good mix and doctor it up with extra flavorings or add-ins. Less chances of it falling in the middle, coming out dry, etc. etc.
Here's how the cake went:
1. Bake cakes. I baked mine as separate layers, rather than baking one thick cake and slicing it through. Less mess in terms of crumbs, and easy to do with kiddos running around! I always line my cake pans with wax paper when doing a layered cake because they remove so easily and I never fear for it sticking to the pan. I usually bake my cakes 2-3 days in advance and freeze them. You can decorate them while they are still partially frozen, and it helps avoid lots of crumbs in the frosting. Or, if you are cutting shapes from a cake, it is MUCH EASIER to do with a frozen or mostly-frozen cake!
2. On decorating day, pull out of the freezer. Let thaw slightly. While cakes are sitting out, prepare filling. One of my faves: 1/2 brick of softened cream cheese, 1/2 pint of whipping cream, sugar to taste. Whip cream cheese in mixer; when light and fluffly, slowly add whipping cream and beat until whipped through. Add sugar slowly - to taste. You can also add all kinds of flavoring to this: one of my hubby's favorite is 2 T. of strong coffee. Yum. Whipped Mocha Filling.
3. Layer cakes and filling together. Note: I doubled the above filling recipe for two layers of filling on a 1/2 sheet cake. I think I could have tripled/quadrupled it for some REALLY good layers!
4. Prepare desired frosting. Frost/decorate cake - any way that you like! If you aren't serving soon, since you've got a filling with dairy, store this cake in the fridge.
I got some wonderful compliments on this cake. Overall, I was pleased. My decorations never live up to the ideas I have in my brain, but oh well! When it's all said and done, hopefully people leave with a great taste in their mouth ... not just polite comments on the appearance. And if you're not into decorating, you can still make a good tasting and beautiful cake! Just swirl your frosting around as you spread it, making sworls and whorls, put a few fresh flowers on top and you are good to go!