My Cake Building Workflow

I’m always on the hunt to find the most efficient way to get things done whether it’s taking care of my kids, editing photos, cake decorating, etc. I like to read about other people’s workflow, and taking bits and pieces to add to mine.

I doubt I’m the most efficient cake decorator and I’m sure there are better ways to build a cake, but this is what I do and what works for me.

  • After I mix the batter, I alternate measuring and pouring one cup of batter into each greased pan until I’m out of batter. This is to ensure each pan contains the same amount of batter and will cook evenly.
  • After baking, the cakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then I remove the cakes and allow them to cool for another 5 minutes on a cooling rack.
  • I place each cake layer on its own cake board, wrap the warm cake with plastic wrap, then wrap the cake and cake board with foil. I freeze the cakes for at least 24 hours before I start to decorate. I do this for a couple of reasons. Wrapping warm cakes and freezing them always produces a more moist cake than not freezing a cake. This also allows me to break up the process, since I don’t have all day to work on a cake.

Below are pictures of how I wrap warm cakes before freezing.

Cake Building Work Flow (1 of 6)

I place the cake in the center of two slightly overlapping long pieces of foil. I tear enough foil that will cover the entire cake.

Cake Building Work Flow (2 of 6)

I loosely wrap plastic over the warm cake and tuck it under.

Cake Building Work Flow (3 of 6)

Cake Building Work Flow (4 of 6)

I make a loose packet by bringing two sides of foil together and sealing the top.

Cake Building Work Flow (5 of 6)

I also seal the sides of the foil. The cake will get crushed if the foil is tightly wrapped. 

Cake Building Work Flow (6 of 6)

I use plastic wrap to wrap the cake boards the other layers will go on, so I don’t waste cake boards.

  • When I’m ready to decorate the cake, I let them defrost in the fridge or if I’m in a hurry I will let the cakes defrost on the counter for ~30 minutes.
  • I level the cakes while they are semi-frozen to reduce crumbs. I make a dam with stiff buttercream, add the filling, and place the second layer on top of the first layer. I continue this process until I have stacked all layers. I also add another cake board and use bubble tea straws if needed.

Cake with dam and filling

  • Next I cover the cake with plastic wrap, place it in the fridge, and put a thick magazine or something similar on top of the cake to help it settle. I do this for couple of hours depending on my schedule. If I’m in a hurry, I press down on the cake and hope the dam holds up.
  • Once the cake has settled, I trim the sides so that it is straight.
  • Next, I crumb coat the cake then allow the buttercream to crust.

*Every so often I will trim the sides, crumb coat the cake, and place it I the fridge to settle in that order.*

  • Last, I add my final layer of buttercream or fondant. Then I decorate.

If I’m in a hurry and wait until the last minute to make a cake, this process doesn't happen. I will bake and decorate the cake and hope for the best.

I hope this helps.
If you have a comment or tip, please share. I’m always interested in learning new ways to make a cake.


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