My sister is visiting me this week. You know, the one who coerced me into making a birthday cake this year. Yep. That one. She got here Tuesday night. It’s so nice to have visitors and even better when the visitor is your big sis! We’re running around like crazy little girls again, and I couldn’t be having a better time. Maybe having her here for a while will result in another fun treat to share here. After all, if her convincing me to make a birthday cake over Messenger from thousands of miles away can get me to try vertical layers for the first time, who knows what having her here in person could cause!!
About that cake…I gotta say, I’m still happy when I look at those layers. I seriously didn’t think I’d be all that impressed, but I’m telling you…it’s so gorgeous when you slice your cake and see this on person! I’ve seen lots of vertical layer cakes around the internet lately, but I didn’t decide to do mine until Amanda of I am Baker wrote a tutorial that I found easy to follow and understand. I tried my hand at it, and loved the results, so I’m going to share the steps with you!
First things first, If you want your cake layers as tall as mine, you’ll need two layers (so two rounds, squares or rectangles) in the same size and color/flavor. That means you’ll need to bake a total of four layers, two in one color, and two in your complimenting color. In my case I made two yellow layers, and two turquoise layers. I know that’s a lot, but you can totally freeze the extra cake and use it another time. I used all of mine, since I made a small tiered cake, but I still froze the largest tier after my birthday was over. To have a perfect seam between the top and bottom layers, trim away the very top of the cake that is slightly browner than the inside of the cake. You don’t have to do this, but if you leave it, you’ll have a slightly dark line going through the middle of the cake. Chances are, you’ll have to trim it anyway if your cake is mounded in the center.
Now, you’ll need a template. I just used plain parchment paper, but you could use cardboard for a sturdier template if necessary. I wanted one-inch wide vertical layers, so I measured the cake and subtracted one-inch to start my template. My cake was seven-inches after being trimmed, so I made my template six-inches square. Next, I drew the remaining layer templates onto it, making each one an inch wide. If you want, you could make each size template separately, but I decided to save paper and time and just trim this one down as I went.Â Center the paper on the cake and trim all the way around it, following the edge closely.
Once both color cakes have been cut with the first size on the template, trim the template down to the next guidelines. Cut both colors of layers to this size, then trim the guide down to the next size of template.
Center you smallest layer on a cake board or stand. Now, gently wrap the cut cake layers around each other in alternating colors. Take your time, checking to be sure that each layer is cut all the way through, and being gentle so you don’t tear anything. This isn’t as scary as it looks or seems. The smaller layers move quite quickly and easily. The larger layers are a little more difficult, but I was able to do them all alone, with just my two hands. If you have the extra help around, though, definitely ask for it, just in case. Better safe than sorry. You can lift and guide the cake from the front, while your helper does so with the back of the cake.
I used some leftover scraps to make a small third tier for my cake. The way that I made this little layer and got it to hold together is also a step that you’ll use on the large vertical layers. Wrap each layer in parchment or wax paper and tie it off with a belt of kitchen twine, or whatever you have on hand. Make sure, before you knot the belt, that the parchment is wrapped tightly enough to hold the layers closely together. Next, brush each of the cakes with simple syrup. Enough to sort of “glue” the layers together, but not so much that the cake gets soggy. Freeze the layers for about two hours before decorating. I let mine thaw out while I mixed up fondant colors, then frosted them and decorated.
I loved the reaction that I got from everyone when I cut the cake! They definitely weren’t expecting this! Yes, this is more work than your typical stack and frost cake, but it wasn’t as much work as I anticipated, and it was so worth it! I highly recommend giving this a go. Keep it a secret and sit back and enjoy the oohs and ahhs of your guests…it’s good payment for your work! Enjoy!