If you missed it... here's Adventures in Cake Making:: Part 1.
Earlier today, I showed you how I do the first few steps in putting together my tiered cakes in Cake Making :: Part 1. After I bake them, cool them, and put the layers together, I let them rest for a few hours or overnight. Today I couldn't let them sit for long because I started late and well, I just didn't have the time, but you can still see how the bottom layer has started to bulge out. If I had let it sit overnight, it would've been even worse on both the top and bottom layers.
This is not a big deal if you're just cooking for family, but if you're building a cake for a wedding or other event, you don't want the sides of your cake to look all ripply and bulging. You'll want them smooth and straight. I promise - it makes a world of difference!
But, to level that and get a really smooth, straight sided cake, hold a sharp knife straight up and down and trip all the way around the a cake.
Usually, after sitting all night, there's bulge on the top and bottom layers but today, I trimmed mostly on the bottom to make it a really straight up and down (again, this is important when covering in fondant!!).
After I got it all trimmed, I put a thin coat of buttercream on the entire cake. I forgot to mention earlier that I did all these same steps for the 10" layers and the 6" layers (most of my pics only show the 10" layers).
Here's a finished shot of the 6" layer too...
So, when that's done, you'll want to let the cakes sit, preferably in a frig and get a "crust" on the buttercream. I promise, it doesn't get all hard and yucky, it just gets a thin crust so that it's not super easy to damage and it's easier to smooth so that you have a great surface to put fondant on.
Update: Way back when I posted this tutorial originally, I wasn't smoothing the buttercream underneath as much as I should have. I highly recommend getting it as smooth as possible... using a bench scraper to smooth it... then after it crusts, use a Viva paper towel and fondant smoother to smooth even more! The smoother your cake underneath is, the smoother your fondant will be!
I should say here, if you don't "do" fondant, that the rest of my posting today may not interest you, but if you are interested in learning fondant or trying it, this might be a helpful tutorial. I am by not means an expert... I've actually only been doing this for a few months, but I've had lots of practice and I'm getting better with each cake.
So, after the buttercream crusts, I'll do a few more steps then start my fondant work. I'll show you those steps in part 3... coming later tonight or in the morning! For now, I have to get pizza warmed and drinks made for the pile of boys who've invaded my house!!
To keep reading, check out Adventures in Cake Making:: Part 3.