39 Cake Assembly

Cutting a cake into layers of an even thickness with a serrated knife, using a saw-like motion to prevent damaging the crumb of the cake. Scoring the cake forms a guide for the knife blade. To cut an even layer, the knife blade should be long enough to be visible on both sides of the cake.
Building a level cake with smooth sides and crisp edges using the most level layer of cake as the top layer. Masking a cake in a thin layer of cream seals in crumbs and is useful for tender cakes with many crumbs or when covering a dark cake with a light cream. Refrigerate before icing.
Creating an evenly iced cake with a smooth, flat surface, crisp edges and straight sides. For straight sides, hold the bench knife so its edge is perpendicular to the turntable when smoothing the sides of the cake. When smoothing the top of the cake, only swipe the spatula halfway across the cake.
Line the molds, which provide structure and form for the cakes, with acetate strips before building to prevent the cakes from sticking to the molds. Trim cake walls to one-eighth-inch longer than the circumference of the mold to ensure a tight fit. Refrigerate or freeze the assembled cakes until set before unmolding.
Creating a very smooth, level cake with crisp edges by building the cake inside a bottomless mold, such as a cake ring, lined with acetate to help release the cake when unmolding. After filling the mold, use the top edge as a guide to level the cake. Refrigerate or freeze until set before unmolding.
Building cakes in silicone or specialty molds, such as half-domes, by filling the mold almost to the top with mousse, leaving a one-eighth- to one-quarter-inch gap at the top in which to place the cake layer so it is flush with the mold. Smooth to remove excess mousse. Refrigerate or freeze until set before unmolding.
© San Francisco Baking Institute | Photography by Frank Wing, Joe Burns, Steve Hunt, Latvis Photography and SFBI staff
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