- Cake Mix (or you can make your cake from a recipe)
- Frosting (homemade or store bought)
- Tools to decorate: For example, piping/icing bags & tips
- Food coloring
- 3 Tin Cans, clean & dry (32 ounce size)
- sandwich bag or disposable gloves
- wooden skewers
Make the cake - either from scratch or with a cake mix. Then, if you want the cake to be layered with different colors, separate some of the mix into other bowls. Then add food coloring to change the color of the cake. If you want more than three colors, you will need to make another cake. Fill the cans about 2/3rds of the way full.
Bake in the oven according to the cake mix recipe, which is usually at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Check if it is done by taking a large wooden skewer, and pushing it into the middle of the cake. If you pull it out and it is dry (no sticky wet cake mix residue on it) - then your cake is done. Let the cakes cool a bit, then carefully tip the cake upside down, letting the cake slide into your hand. Then let it finish cooling on a cake rack.
Once cooled off completely, you can slice it into layers. But, first cut off the top if it is domed or not flat like the bottom of the cake. Now there are two ways to slice the layers. For this project, I ended up slicing the layers with a large (very sharp) knife. I got lucky, and seemed to cut them fairly straight and even. It is not always easy.
* Slicing a Cake - Best Trick I learned from my mom: This will require some dental floss, toothpicks and a ruler. Take toothpicks and place them in the cake where you plan on making your slice. You may need to use a ruler to measure the distance from the top of the cake to place you want to cut. Make sure they are evenly placed - with these small cakes - you may only need three of them. Then take a long strip of dental floss, weave it above and below the toothpicks and all around the cake so you are holding the two ends. Then pull the dental floss, crossing the ends of the floss, pulling away from each other. Your cake will be perfectly sliced along the path of those toothpicks. Remove and discard the toothpicks and your ready for more layers!
Next, carefully carve off any dark edges from the layers. This is only necessary if you are not going to put icing on the whole cake (meaning the sides and top). For my cake, I wanted people to see the colorful layers, but the edges of the layers were darker and a bit crusty. I wanted the vibrant colors to show through - so I carefully took my knife (a smaller knife would be better) and sliced the edges off. You can see how to do so in the images below.
Plan the layer layout & decorate. See where you want to place the layers and make your plan. Then add frosting in between the layers and decorate as you please. My frosting was a bit too liquidy, so be sure you have a good thick frosting or you can thicken it up yourself. I should have made my own frosting, as mine needed to be thicker.
* Tip to thicken your frosting: Add powdered sugar to your frosting to thicken it up.
Finishing Touches - add little decorations and you are done!