Tall Layer Cake Advice

I am looking to make an old fashioned strawberry cream cake to serve at least 30. For simplicity and shelf-life (can be made the day before), I like this M. Stewart recipe, but would sub marscarpone-whipped-cream to nix the gelatin, and add additional stability. http://www.marthastewart... Do we think this can work with the recipe tripled? for 6 layers... or maybe don't split the cakes and have 3 full-sized layers? Is the cake going to turn into the Tower of Piza while awaiting it's debut? Can I slide the top layer on at the last minute? Do I need DOWELS (yikes)! Oh wise and experienced baker-neighbors what do you think?



threefresheggs May 31, 2013
@ Emily: Hear, hear!!
em-i-lis May 31, 2013
Cynthia, wow! You are so incredibly knowledgeable!
Hilarybee May 31, 2013
Everything Cynthia said! I would buy acetate cake collar or just acetate sheets to help keep everything tight and together. Professional bakeries use them during the 24 hour sit period to keep the layers even and in tact.
boulangere May 30, 2013
Brownies are best made to be cleanly sliceable 24 hours before serving.
threefresheggs May 30, 2013
Wonderful and amazing – baking the cake 48 hours in advance seems crazy, but wow does that ever help with timing for the 1-'man'-catering-show. I am not much of a cake fan myself, but I am right finicky about the freshness of bread – figured anything less than same-day was serious cheating. How far in advance can I get away with making the brownies, and keep the crackley crust ;) ?
ATG117 May 30, 2013
Agree that if you are using more layers you should slice the strawberries very thinly so that you have flat strawberry slices, as opposed to what's pictured in the two layer cake.
boulangere May 30, 2013
P. S. The general rule is that you should bake a cake 24 hours before you plan to split and ice it. And then, you should ice and decorate it another 24 hours before you plan to serve it. So take your serving date/time and work backwards from there.
boulangere May 30, 2013
Yes, I think it will be fine to build it so high with fresh fruit. Just be sure to slice the strawberries verrrrry thin. Build it this way: a 1/2" layer of cake soaked with simple syrup (yes, don't omit it), a thin layer of icing, just enough to anchor the thin layer of strawberries, then 1/4" of icing over the berry slices, followed by another layer of cake, and so forth. Assemble it all 24 hours before serving, and there you are! Pull it from the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before cutting and serving, depending upon how hot it is. The hotter, the shorter the room temperature time. I hope this helps you.
threefresheggs May 30, 2013
Ooops... and you still think it is okay to got so high, with split cakes and the fresh fruit? How close to the zero hour should I remove it from the fridge?
threefresheggs May 30, 2013
Thank you so much! FYI – the recipe layers stabilized whipped cream and sugar-dressed fresh strawberries with between each layer – replacing the simple syrup, but necessitating considerably more than 1/4 inch between layers. L o v e that the 24 hour advance time is good – for this event, that is really what I need in a cake. Is it often true that it is better to give them time to 'cure'? If so, that is the best bit of knowledge I have been gifted in some time :) Thank you!
boulangere May 30, 2013
You won't need dowels if you slice each layer quite thin - no more than 1/2 " - and don't separate each by more than 1/4" of icing. Three fulll-sized layers will actually less stable. Your take on icing - stabilizing it with mascarpone - is a good idea, but please understand that the protein in gelatine definitely has its uses, and this is a good one. And the earlier you make it, the better. 24 hours in advance of serving would be wonderful so that the icing and layers have a chance to set up. Be sure to soak each layer well with simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar by weight brought to a boil, then cooled with the juice of a lemon) which guards against staling of the cake layers under refrigeration and actually also contributes to stability. Please let us know how it turns out!
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