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.