In this world of ready mixes and canned frosting, baking and decorating layer cakes from scratch often seems like a lost art. But there's hardly a cooking craft more satisfying: not only does it fill your house with that heady aroma, but by the time you finish assembling and decorating the cake, you feel like an architectural genius. And once you know how to make one layer cake, you know how to make twenty. All you need is an arsenal of a few reliable components—chocolate and vanilla cake bases, and a smooth buttercream frosting—which can be combined with dozens of flavoring and garnishing options, for a nearly endless variety of cakes.
This tool makes it even easier: just select the cake flavor, frosting flavor, and finishing ingredients you want to use, and the ingredients and instructions are generated automatically.
Component recipes by Katherine Eastman Seeley and Kay Cabrera; Photos: Scott Phillips