One small but crucial detail that often separates homemade cakes from bakery cakes is revealed only once you start slicing: perfectly even layers.

But with this quick tip from pastry chef Lasheeda Perry — which she reveals in her new YouTube video demonstrating how to decorate a colorful, speckled terrazzo cake — you can make pro cakes at home. Turns out, the secret to achieving that eye-catching appearance with minimal fuss is a tool more commonly used for cookies than cake: a cookie scoop.

The video is an excellent how-to, but here are the basics: After piping a frosting dam (a ring of frosting on the outer rim of the cake layer, meant to prevent loose fillings from seeping out the sides of the stacked cake), Lasheeda uses a Jumbo Cookie Scoop to cleanly dollop filling onto the center of the cake layer. (She notes that the size of the scoop depends on the size of the cake: “The bigger the cake, the bigger the scoop.”) As she explains: “It serves as a form of measurement; giving each layer of filling the exact same amount.”

Next, she takes a small offset spatula to evenly smooth the filling — in her video she uses raspberry ganache, but this is applicable for any cake fillings, even just regular frosting — to the edges of the cake, up to the frosting dam. Stack the next layer on top, then repeat.

The result is a homemade cake with professional-level finesse — perfectly even stripes of filling sandwiched between towering layers. Finish it off with a crumb coat and final frosting design (perhaps a basket-weave pattern?) to complete the look. Then cut and revel in your gorgeous layers — as Lasheeda says, “The true benefits of using the scoop are revealed once the cake is sliced.”

Cover photo and food styling by Liz Neily.

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About Rossi Anastopoulo

Rossi Anastopoulo grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, which is how she fell in love with biscuits. She didn’t have any bakers in her household (with the exception of her grandmother’s perfect koulourakia), so she learned at a young age that the best way to satisfy her sweet tooth was to make dess...
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