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Thread: How to cut cake into layers?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Vancouver, Canada
    Posts
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    How to cut cake into layers?

    Hey All,

    I've decided to make the following recipe for my mom's birthday in a couple weeks. It's my first really fancy cake. It calls for baking a genoise cake and then slicing it into 3 layers. Any tips on how to do this and keep the layers the same width the whole way through? I'm also worried about the cake crumbling, but I've never made a genoise cake before.

    I can't cut paper with scissors in a straight line, so I'm sure I'm going to have problems doing this!!!

    Many thanks in advance for any tips you might have.


    RASPBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CAKE

    You can view the complete recipe online at: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/re...ws/views/11829


    RASPBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CAKE
    For the white chocolate mousse
    4 large egg yolks
    1/3 cup sugar
    3 tablespoons cornstarch
    1 1/2 cups milk
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    9 ounces fine-quality white chocolate, chopped
    1 cup heavy cream


    white chocolate génoise, cut horizontally with a serrated knife into 3 layers

    For the white chocolate génoise
    3 ounces fine-quality white chocolate, chopped
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3 large eggs at room temperature
    1/3 cup sugar

    1/4 cup framboise for brushing the cake layer


    For the raspberry mousse
    two 10-ounce packages frozen raspberries in light syrup, thawed and drained, reserving 1/3 cup of the syrup
    1 envelope of unflavored gelatin
    3 tablespoons framboise
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

    For the garnish
    fresh raspberries
    fine-quality white chocolate at room temperature (about 72°F.), shaved with a vegetable peeler into curls and kept covered and chilled
    fresh mint sprigs

    Make the white chocolate mousse:
    In a bowl whisk together well the yolks, the sugar, and a pinch of salt, add the cornstarch, sifted, and whisk the mixture until it is just combined. Add the milk, scalded, in a stream, whisking, transfer the mixture to a heavy saucepan, and boil it, whisking, for 1 minute, or until it is very thick and smooth. Strain the pastry cream through a fine sieve into a bowl, stir in vanilla and the butter, and chill the pastry cream, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until it is cooled completely. In a metal bowl set over barely simmering water melt the white chocolate, stirring occasionally, and let it cool to lukewarm. In a large bowl whisk together the white chocolate and 1 cup of the pastry cream, reserving the remaining pastry cream for the raspberry mousse, until the mixture is combined well. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat the heavy cream until it holds soft peaks, whisk one fourth of it into the white chocolate mixture, and fold in the remaining whipped cream gently but thoroughly.

    Line the sides of an oiled 9 1/2-inch springform pan as smoothly as possible with pieces of plastic wrap (the plastic wrap prevents the filling from discoloring and makes unmolding the cake easier), letting the excess hang over the side, and put an 8-inch cardboard round in the bottom of the pan. Invert the top layer of the génoise onto the round, brush the cake with some of the framboise, and spread it evenly with half the white chocolate mousse (about 2 cups). Invert the middle layer of the génoise onto the mousse, brush it with some of the remaining framboise, and chill the cake and the remaining white chocolate mousse while preparing the raspberry mousse.

    Make the raspberry mousse:
    In a blender or food processor purée the raspberries with the reserved syrup and strain the purée through a fine sieve set over a metal bowl, pressing hard on the solids. In a small saucepan sprinkle the gelatin over the framboise and let it soften for 1 minute. Heat the mixture over moderately low heat, stirring, until the gelatin is dissolved and whisk it into the purée. Whisk the reserved pastry cream into the raspberry mixture, whisking until it is smooth, set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water, and whisk the mixture until it is the consistency of raw egg white. Remove the bowl from the ice water and in a bowl with an electric mixer beat the heavy cream until it holds soft peaks. Whisk one fourth of the whipped cream into the raspberry mixture and fold in the remaining whipped cream gently but thoroughly.

    Spread about 1 cup of the raspberry mousse evenly over the middle layer of génoise in the pan, arrange some of the raspberries neatly around the edge of the pan, and continue to arrange the raspberries in concentric circles until the surface of the mousse is covered. Spread the remaining raspberry mousse over the raspberries, invert the third layer of génoise onto the mouse, and brush it with the remaining framboise. Spread the remaining white chocolate mousse over the génoise (the pan will be completely full) and chill the cake, its surface covered with a sheet of wax paper, for at least 6 hours or overnight. Remove the side of the pan, peel the plastic wrap carefully from the side of the cake, and transfer the cake with a spatula to a serving plate.

    Garnish the cake:
    Arrange some of the raspberries around the top edge of the cake, mound the white chocolate curls in the center, and garnish the bottom edge of the cake with the remaining raspberries and the mint sprigs.

    Make the white chocolate génoise:
    Line the bottom of a greased 8 1/2-inch springform pan with wax paper, grease the paper, and dust the pan with flour, knocking out the excess. In a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water melt the white chocolate with the butter, the vanilla, and 3 tablespoons water, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and let the mixture cool. Into a bowl sift together the flour and the salt. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the eggs with the sugar on high speed for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is triple in volume and forms a ribbon when the beaters are lifted. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until the batter is just combined and fold in the white chocolate mixture gently but thoroughly. Pour the batter into the pan, smoothing the top, and bake the cake in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 25 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack, run a sharp knife around the edge, and remove the side of the pan. Invert the cake onto another rack and remove the wax paper. Reinvert the cake onto the rack and let it cool completely.


    Gourmet
    April 1990

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    Texas
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    One way is run toothpicks around the edge of the cake for each layer, after using a ruler to determine thirds. This should help with keeping the knife fairly level...I'd use lots of toothpicks!
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    raleigh, nc
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    the toothpicks as a guide is a good idea. also, i have friends who swear that using dental floss has been the miracle they needed to slice cleanly through cakes, though i've never tried it.

    good luck! please share how it went after you make it!
    What am I? Flypaper for Freaks?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ USA
    Posts
    2,299
    dental floss does work very well - it helps if you pull it tight and do it fast. When I'm nervous about it working I don't pull enough and I've gotten uneven layers.

    Because the actually thickness of each layer is important for the cakes I do I use the Wilton cake leveler. There is a more professional version call the Agby or something like that that cake decorators drool over but its several hundred dollars,

    leveler

    A very large serated knife works well too if you're steady with your hands. It helps if your cake is chilled.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Dorval (suburb of Montreal), Quebec
    Posts
    629
    Quote Originally Posted by sneezles
    One way is run toothpicks around the edge of the cake for each layer, after using a ruler to determine thirds. This should help with keeping the knife fairly level...I'd use lots of toothpicks!
    I've read to put colored toothpicks IN each of the layers, in a line running down the cake. Then when you put the cake together, you just line up the colored toothpicks. That way, even if your layers aren't cut exactly straight, the whole cake is not lopsided.
    Miche

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    24,224
    Quote Originally Posted by mmbedard
    I've read to put colored toothpicks IN each of the layers, in a line running down the cake. Then when you put the cake together, you just line up the colored toothpicks. That way, even if your layers aren't cut exactly straight, the whole cake is not lopsided.

    Great tip! Thanks for sharing!
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  7. #7
    This may not be considered much help, but occasionally when I knew I would need to cut a cake in half, I divided the batter and baked it in 2 pans. (You can weigh the batter to make sure it is evenly divided.)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    24,224
    Quote Originally Posted by ADM
    This may not be considered much help, but occasionally when I knew I would need to cut a cake in half, I divided the batter and baked it in 2 pans. (You can weigh the batter to make sure it is evenly divided.)
    I do that also! I guess since I read it was baked in a springform pan it didn't occur to me to suggest three 8-inch cake pans. You'd certainly have to adjust the baking time.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    I also use the wilton leveler. its like $3 in any michaels or other craft store. My FMIL uses the dental floss, and swears that it works.
    I'm walking in the avon walk for breast cancer AGAIN for the 5th year (2008)!

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