How to Make a Three-Tiered Buttercream Cake (From Home)

Happy Friday everyone! I recently made a three-tiered cake and I thought it might be interesting to read about the process. It dawned on me that although it sounds like a daunting process, it’s actually very achievable. If you have the tools to make cake, it’s highly likely it’s possible for you to make a three-tiered cake in the comfort of your own home. I’m going to show you how to make a simple one; with layers of super moist chocolate cake filled with vanilla italian meringue buttercream, decorated with ganache, fresh strawberries and silk flowers.tempImageForSave

I started out with the actual cake itself (recipe + ingredient amounts below), and because I only had one 4 quart stand mixer, I decided to combine all the ingredients together, divide the amount by 3, and mix the batter three times, adding it all to a huge stainless steel bowl as I went.

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I had all my pans buttered and lined with parchment, and I used 2×6″, 2×8″, and 2×10″ round cake pans. Then I divided the batter, making sure they were all filled to the same height.

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I baked them and cooled them down until they were warm but not hot to the touch, and popped them out of their pans after running a knife around the edge. When I made the buttercream, I essentially did the exact same thing, taking the full amount of batter and dividing it by three in order to get the amounts I needed per batch. I washed the same staineless steel bowl I used for the cake batter and used it for my buttercream as well (it’s the biggest bowl I own).

When making three batches of cake batter consecutively after each other in the same bowl, it’s okay to start the second or third batch without cleaning it between because it uses the same ingredients. However, it’s a whole different story when making three batches of Italian meringue buttercream in a row. Meringue can only whip up in super clean, grease-free bowl, so between batches, make sure you thoroughly wash and dry your bowl. Wiping it down with lemon juice on a paper towel after drying is a good way to ensure it is completely grease-free.

When the cakes were completely cooled they were ready for levelling, cutting, and decorating. To see how I did the whole process, feel free to check out the video tutorial.

When stacking buttercream cakes, make sure they are thoroughly chilled before handling them. It is also very important that they have some kind of support, so aside from having cake boards under each cake (a 6″ for the top tier, an 8″ for the middle, and a 12″ for the bottom), I also used bubble tea straws to dowel my cakes. I don’t have the proper cutting tools for wooden dowels, and I just find bubble tea straws easier to work with, so I just prefer to use them when I can. The bubble tea straws must be the same height as the cake you are inserting it into. I used four for my bottom tier, and three for the middle tier, and I stacked my cakes and decorated them.

Aside from slightly struggling with the ganache due to low temperatures and an offset spatula that was too large, I’d say the process went pretty smoothly.

Here are the ingredients and amounts:

3 Tier Chocolate Cake + Italian Meringue

Cake

Ingredient 6” 8” 10”
Soft unsalted butter 113g – 1/2 cup 197g – 7/8 cup 254g – 1 cup
Granulated sugar 220g – 1 cup 386g – 2 cup 496g – 2-1/2 cup
Eggs, at room temperature  2 3 4
Cocoa powder 51g – 1/3 cup 90g – 1 cup 116g – 1-1/3 cup
Buttermilk 244mL – 1 cup 428mL – 1-3/4 cup 550mL – 2-1/4 cup
All purpose flour 172g – 1-1/3 cup 302g – 2-2/3cup 388g – 3 cups
Baking soda 5g – 1 tsp 9g – 2 tsp 11g – 2-1/4 tsp
Baking Powder 1g – 1/4 tsp 3g – 1/2 tsp 4g – 3/4 tsp
Salt 2g –  1/2 tsp 4g – 3/4 tsp 6g – 1 tsp

 

Buttercream

Ingredient 6” 8” 10”
Sugar 276g – 1-3/4 cup 325g – 1-1/3 cup 579g – 2-7/8 cup
Water 103mL – 2/5 cup 121mL – 1/2 cup 216mL – 7/8 cup
Egg Whites 154g – 5 egg whites 182g – 6 egg whites 324g – 10 egg whites
Soft Butter 467g – 2 cups 550g – 2-1/2 cups 981g – 4-1/3 cups
Vanilla extract 5mL – 1 tsp 10mL – 2 tsp 15mL – 1 tbsp

Ganache

  • 175g/1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 175g/3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Decorations

  • 1 pint of fresh strawberries
  • Apricot glaze for dipping the strawberries in (1/2 cup apricot jam, 2 tbsp water, boiled and strained)
  • silk flowers, cut with wire cutters, washed, dried, and wrapped in saran wrap.
  • gum paste + wooden skewers (depending on decoration)

NOTE: although I do provide ingredients in cups, I always recommend switching over to grams/mL and using a scale, because it is far more accurate and can make the difference in a recipe working or failing. Baking is science and exact measurements!

Enjoy!!

2 thoughts on “How to Make a Three-Tiered Buttercream Cake (From Home)

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