BPA 131: Cutting cake layers, crumb and final coating with Italian buttercream

Day 1, Intro to Cake Decorating

I began with 9" cake rounds and proceeded to make 3/8" layers, about the height of my pinkie finger (give or take depending on finger size). Starting from the bottom and using my serrated knife, I gently held it level to the cake base and with my other hand spun the cake wheel and let the knife cut through the cake and after a couple of turns it came across cleanly. I cut three even layers in this same fashion. I kept them stacked and with a slow sawing motion cut downwards to remove the brown crust of the sides of the cake. *Any layer of cake that had a brown crust top or bottom and was to be used as a middle layer, had the crust gently rubbed or cut off.

The Italian Meringue buttercream recipe used for a 5 quart mixer is as follows:
-1 lb granulated sugar
-8 fl oz cold water
-6 oz egg whites
-1 lb unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
-1 tbsp vanilla extract

I placed my bottom layer onto a cardboard cake round on top of the cake wheel and used my medium offset spatula to put the buttercream onto the layer. I wanted my layers of buttercream to be as thick as those of cake, and finished the remaining layers in the same way. I made sure each layer was flat before starting the next. I applied a thin coating on the sides of the layers and the top, keeping the top even and smooth and the edges crisp. I used my bench scrapper to smooth my sides as I spun the cake wheel.

Crumb coating cake layers with Italian buttercream

The crumb coat is a thin layer to trap the crumbs of the cake within the first layer and to prevent crumbs from appearing in the final coat of buttercream.

The final coating of buttercream was applied after chilling the cake briefly, allowing the crumb coat to harden slightly. This made the second coat easy to apply and crumb free. I smoothed the top and sides using my bench scrapper and offset spatulas the same way I did earlier.

I practiced writing with chocolate using a parchment paper cone, choosing a Happy Birthday message. I also finished the cake with a pearl shell border along the top and bottom edges. This gave the cake a more finished appearance.

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