Are you looking for a stunning dessert to impress your guests, follow these step-by-step tips and you’ll be the star of the dinner-party show. Just make sure to save me a slice!
Start heating the oven and prep the pans.
Spray 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottom of each pan with cooking parchment paper—also coated with cooking spray; this makes it easy to get the cake out of the pans.
Make both the white cake and red velvet cake batters. Mix the white cake first so there’s no need to clean the beaters before mixing the red velvet batter. (Do it the other way around and your white cake batter will be pink. Oops!)
Now it’s time to begin layering and baking the cake. Start by spreading 1/2 cup red velvet batter in the bottom of each pan. Place all three pans on the center oven rack.
Bake until cake is set when lightly touched in the center. This should take about 8 minutes, but ovens vary so be sure to adjust if your oven runs hot or cold.
For the next cake layer, spread 1/2 cup white batter evenly over each baked red velvet layer. Bake until cake is set when lightly touched in center, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Repeat layering and baking alternating flavors of cake with remaining batter. You’ll end up with 3 round cakes made up of 6 layers each for a total of 18 layers. The remaining layers need to bake a bit longer—about 9 to 12 minutes per layer—because the baked cake layers insulate the pan. It’s better to slightly over-bake than to under-bake.
Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, then remove parchment paper from bottoms of cakes. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Don’t worry if the cakes have some small cracks or bubbles. That’s normal with this layered baking method.
Next, whip up a batch of fluffy marshmallow buttercream frosting, and you’re ready to put the cake together. To assemble, stack all three cake layers, spreading 1/2 cup frosting between each layer. Add a dab of frosting on the cake plate so that the cake doesn’t slide while frosting
Spread a thin layer of frosting over the sides and top to seal in crumbs. Refrigerate the cake for 30 to 45 minutes to set the frosting. This “crumb coat” of frosting helps to get a clean frosting without crumbs, and it’s an important step since this cake has red crumbs and white frosting.
Spread the remaining frosting on the sides and top. When it comes to decorating, it’s baker’s choice, though we love adding swirls or striping. When you’re ready to serve the cake, have a paper or kitchen towel handy to wipe the knife off between slices.
This is simply the trick to making the 18-layer cake by food editor Kristen Olson.