Category: Cake Basics

Your Guide to Frosting a Cake with Smooth Buttercream

Would you believe me if I told you that once upon a time it took me hours to frost a smooth buttercream cake? It was mainly due to my perfectionism, but also because I didn’t know as much as I do now about frosting techniques. I remember agonizing over every flaw and just smoothing the cake over and over again until I reached a point where I was okay with the finish. These days, I’ve got the frosting process down to about 15 minutes and I can’t wait to share my best tips with you so you can eliminate some of the anxiety that seems to come along with cake decorating. 

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How to Crumb Coat Cakes (and Why it’s Important)

How to crumb coat cakes

In the cake making process, you might be tempted to skip ahead to your final coating of frosting after you fill and stack your cake layers. If you’re a perfectionist though (like I am, to a fault), it’s so worth it to go the extra mile and crumb coat your cake. Not only will this prevent crumbs from getting into your final layer of frosting, it also helps to create a stable foundation for your final layer of frosting. In fact, if you’ve ever wondered how to get a super smooth buttercream finish, crumb coating is one of the essential steps. 

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How to Fill and Stack Cake Layers

how to fill cake layers tutorial

Have you ever had a fiasco with your cake filling? I have. Between it bulging out between layers or straight up oozing out of the sides because it’s just too thin to withstand the weight of gravity, I’ve seen it all. The thing is, the filling and stacking process is arguably the most essential part of building your cake’s foundation. If your cake filling is unstable in any way it can throw off the entire outcome of your cake, and if you’re anything like me (perfectionistic to a fault), that can be totally devastating. 

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How to Level and Torte Cake Layers

how to level and torte cake layers

Whether my cake layers come out of the oven with a domed top or a flat one, there’s one step I never miss once those cakes are cooled: torting the layers. Torting is a fancy word for leveling, and the process ensures that any domes get chopped off and any difference in height between layers is eliminated. Perfectly level layers not only make for the most picturesque cake slices, they also ensure that your cake is more level overall when frosted. In my humble opinion, it is a must

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How to Prepare Cake Pans for Easy Release

how to prepare cake pans

Before you mix up your cake batter, there are two things you’ve got to do to set yourself up for cake baking success: preheat your oven and prepare your pans. There’s no need to explain how to preheat your oven (I hope!) but I do have some things to say about cake pan preparation. After all, there’s nothing more disappointing than thinking you’ve baked the perfect cake, only to have it stick to the pan and fall apart upon release. Whether you’re completely new to baking and don’t know the first thing about what it means to “grease and flour” or “line a cake pan,” or you’re just curious about how I prepare my cake pans, you’re going to learn all of it in one handy little blog post!

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Common Reasons Why Cakes Sink

reasons why cakes sink

It happens to the best of us: you spend all this time mixing up cake batter and feeling extra optimistic about those future cake layers, come to find that when you open the oven door your cakes have sunk. Before you blame the recipe, there are many things that can factor into the chemistry of your sunken cake creation. Baking is a series of chemical reactions, which can be cool and frustrating all in the same day!

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Coming Soon: Cake Basics

birthday cake with sprinkles by sugar and sparrow

One of the biggest reasons why I started blogging about cake is because I fell in love with helping people. It totally makes my day when I read messages from you guys talking about how one of my recipes has become your go-to or how a tutorial helped you make the perfect cake to celebrate your loved one. Cake is one of my favorite ways to spread joy, and I feel like teaching you how to make pretty cakes spreads that joy even further – from my kitchen to yours and beyond. I consider it an honor! And while I love sharing cake decorating tutorials and recipes, there’s one thing I’ve been dreaming about teaching for a long time, what I like to call Cake Basics

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Basic Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

vanilla buttercream recipe by Sugar and Sparrow

I’ve tested a ton of buttercream recipes in my day, but my go-to is a super simple American buttercream recipe that I’ve tweaked to my liking. I’ve used this recipe for frosting countless cakes and cupcakes and I’m a big believer that a good vanilla buttercream is something every baker should have in their recipe box. There’s nothing fancy about the way this recipe is made, but it will certainly taste like you whipped up something special!

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How to Convert My Layer Cake Recipes into Sheet Cakes

how to bake a sheet cake from layer cake recipe

In the midst of this crazy pandemic, I have seen so many of you turn to baking to pass the time and escape a little. It’s a really beautiful thing and I’m so inspired by it. I’ve got tons of cake recipes for you to try while you’re homebound, and while I tend to write them for layer cakes, I wanted to show you how to easily convert them into sheet cakes! This way, if you don’t have round cake pans or want to keep things simple with a single layer cake, you can use any of my cake recipes to do it! 

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Homemade Cake Flour Recipe

homemade cake flour recipe

There’s a reason why the majority of my cake recipes call for cake flour instead of all-purpose (aka plain flour). The short answer is that cake flour is what makes my cakes ultra light and fluffy! Maybe it’s because I grew up on boxed cake mixes, but I’m always after that light, fluffy (yet moist) texture when crafting a cake recipe. I get tons of questions about whether or not it’s ok to substitute all-purpose flour and while it’s not something I recommend, there is a way to create homemade cake flour using all-purpose. I’ll show you how! 

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