Little Layers

comments: 94

Cakes12 Four little cakes all in a row. I thought they looked so cute all lined up! My little vanilla-raspberry huts.

Batter1 Friday afternoon, and I had the house all to myself. When Andy's home, there is always music on. But sometimes when I bake or cook I like to have it completely quiet. There's just the whirring of the mixer, the slip-slop sound of the eggs going in, the birds beyond the storm windows, singing because it was as warm as spring outside. Friday afternoon alone, in the clean, quiet house, waiting for people to come over is pretty nice, I have to say.

Batter2_1 I got out my huge new toolbox of cake decorating supplies, but I wound up doing much the same kind of cake I always do: yellow, with buttercream frosting. Not very exciting, of course, but still, a classic. I am a vanilla person, vanilla and almond. It was the first time I used the mini cake-pans and I love them. I used the Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake recipe from A Piece of Cake by Susan G. Purdy, which is, essentially (with some baking powder and salt and vanilla thrown in), 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, and 4 eggs. It makes a thick, delicious batter, enough to fill my twelve little tins.

Cakes1The recipe called for baking two 8-inch rounds for 35 minutes; I pulled these out at exactly 20 and they were perfect. In fact, I think these are the first cakes of my whole life that did not sink in the middle, at all. Go figure. Still not sure what causes that for me, since it turns out that my oven is a little under temperature when tested, but I might stick with this recipe (or this book) from now on. I didn't grease or flour these pans, either; I wanted their sides to be perfectly golden because I intended to do an unfrosted-sided stack, like this cake from Miette I mentioned a while ago. And anyway, what good is Teflon if you still have to grease and flour everything?

Cakes2 Out they popped, just fine. I sliced off the tops of half of them (something I find oddly satisfying). One "accidentally" got "wrecked" so I "had" to eat it. Then found some seedless black-raspberry jam in the fridge to spread on the inside. In retrospect, I think next time I'll slice even these layers in two, and make each cake a stack of four layers. I think that would look more elegant. But anyway, onto the jam.

Cakes4_1 Jam, you're good. I like you. You're not too sweet, and a pretty color.

Cakes14 I spread a layer of jam on the bottom half of each, then piped my usual spiral on top. Capped it with the topper, then piped another spiral. In the kit from Mom was a jar of gorgeous vanilla-bean paste from Nielsen-Massey, so I added a big blob of that, for those lovely little black bits throughout. I really hate frosting the sides of cakes. Probably because I stink at it. Time to learn that. Then onto their plates for a dusting of powdered sugar and a sugar posie.

Cakes7 Aw! A cream puff! For you, Ivonne.

These were fun, and super easy. I think next time I'll do dark chocolate cake, with pastry cream between the layers, split four-ways instead of two-, and with this frosting that my mom always made with cooked milk and flour as a base. Need to get that recipe from her. It makes a lighter, less-sweet frosting. And I'll crack out the fancier supplies and learn how to pipe a real rose.

Cakes15 Ding-dong! WOOF WOOF WOOF! Made it, just in time.


you know, you are going to have 1,437 people knocking on your door wanting one of these, right?

OMG yum
they are so pretty!

Your guests are so very lucky! Your attention to detail and all the magical love you infuse - even little cakes with shines right through!!!

Wow, cute cakes and good photos. Now I have something else, well 2 somethings adding in the book from yesterday, for my potluck nights!
Thank you for your beautiful and inspiring posts!

oh! those cakes look so good, I want to reach into my computer and grab one (and then another, and another)!

Yum yum! Those look gorgeous. Your photography skills are amazing. What cute little cakes. You're so good to still take photos even when you're busy. Whenever I entertain, I always end up not taking any photos because I'm so consumed with my task. Then the next day, I ask myself "Why didn't I take any photos?"

Yum-yum, delicious!

I think 4 layers would look elegant too. Just don't do what I did (with a Black Forest cake) and create a Leaning Tower of Pisa-pastry. For me, more than 2 layers was a disaster waiting to happen - right at the table.

Yours look fabulous. And yummy.

Oh fantastic! I love and SO appreciate very clear directions for something truly lovely and simple. I LIVE for that so thank you. No really.


Mmmmmm...cake. Pretty cake.

These are gorgeous! My Mom used the flour and milk based frosting for her bakery business. I thought it was a family secret.

Wow- now I'm really hungry and craving cakes. Well not just any cakes- your ones in particular!

Picture perfect and making my mouth water.
Now I'm sitting here very quietly contemplating what the chocolate creations might be like... divine!

Those cakes are fantastic! They look amazing and I bet they are so yummy. I'm salivating now just looking at them...

You are the hostess with the mostess.

You are the hostess with the mostess.

What time do I need to be there? I think I can catch a flight out of LAX and be there by oh, say, 6:00ish? Is that good for you? YUMMY! They look like the most amazing little cakes ever! I love cake and more than that I adore buttercream frosting!

Oh my! I'm having a dinner party in March and these would be perfect. Hope they were as perfect as they looked.

I don't know which has my mouth watering more - your descriptions or your pictures. Lucky, lucky guests.

oh the joys of baking :D This past week I made these little heart shaped cupcakes and they were a fabulous hit! You little cakes are so pretty!! Now I want to get my hands back in the flour and bake.

Jenna Lou

You truly take the most amazing photographs. I'm amazed any of your visitors ever leave. Do you have to forcibly remove them?

They look scrummy!

Oh my goodness...yum!!! Must go make some cake:):)

I can't believe it, I missed 10 days of your posts! I read your syndicated LiveJournal feed, and for some reason there has been no update since Jan 31. Grrrr!
These cakes look so good and professional, I don't know how you do it. If I have the house for myself for an afternoon you'll more probably find me on the sofa with a book than making anything useful.

good god!! this killes me. cakes with jam no less!? oh, you evil temptress. . and lovely photos of course-

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at