10" cardboard cake rounds
6" cardboard cake rounds
4” cardboard cake rounds (hard to find, you can cut larger ones down to size)
Dowels—I like to use boba tea straws
Cake turntable (optional but makes decorating easier)
2 lbs strawberries, washed, hulled, and coarsely chopped
Assemble the 10” tier first. Using a large serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half. Place one layer face-up on a cake cardboard.
Scoop some buttercream into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. Pipe a ring of buttercream all along the edge of the cake round to act as a barrier and make assembly neater. Scoop about 2/3 cup buttercream into the center, and spread it in an even layer until it covers the cake and reaches the buttercream ring. Scatter a generous handful of chopped strawberries on top, covering the surface evenly, but do not put strawberries on the outer ring of buttercream. Top the cake round with a second round, and repeat the process of piping a ring of buttercream, spreading the buttercream in the center, and add chopped strawberries.
Repeat with the remaining layers, until you have a 4-layer cake with 3 layers of buttercream. Spread buttercream along the sides and top of the cake in a very, very thin layer—this is just to hold the crumbs in. Refrigerate the layer while you assemble the 6” and 4” rounds in the same fashion. Refrigerate all the layers until they’re firm, at least 45 minutes.
Once firm, go back and add another layer of buttercream on the outside of the cakes, this time trying to get it even and smooth. The smoother the buttercream is, the smoother the fondant coating will be. I like to use a bench scraper to go around the sides and get them very straight and clean. To do this, hold the bench scraper in your dominant hand, straight against the sides of the cake. With your other hand turn the cake turntable so the scraper removes any excess frosting from the sides. Use an offset spatula to smooth the frosting on the top of the cake. Once all of the cakes are frosted, refrigerate them again until they’re very firm, at least 1 hour or more for the larger cakes.
To cover the cakes with fondant, I used these approximate amounts:
10” cake: about 2 1/4 lbs fondant
6” cake: about 1 lb fondant
4” cake: about 12 oz fondant
Dust your work surface with powdered sugar, and roll out the fondant until it is a round a little less than 1/4-inch thick. Drape it over the cake and smooth it evenly against the top and sides—if you are unfamiliar with covering a cake with fondant, there are many excellent video tutorials to demonstrate this step. Trim the excess fondant from the bottom, and refrigerate the cakes until you’re ready to decorate and stack them.
Use excess fondant to make decorations of your choice. Glue them on with Tylose glue (preferred) or corn syrup.
To stack the rounds, insert a boba tea straw (or other type of dowel) into the center of the 10” cake. Hold scissors flush against the top of the cake, and cut off the top of the straw so that it is now even with the height of the cake. Add four more straws in a circle around the straw in the center, each about 2” from the center (so that they don’t extend past a 6” radius) and cut those straws so that their height is the same as the cake. These straws will be used to support the 6” cake. Smear a generous amount of buttercream in the center of the 10” cake, and put the 6” cake on top, so it’s secured by the buttercream and resting on the dowels. There should be no gap between the cakes.
Insert two straws, about an inch apart, in the center of the 6” cake, and cut off the tops. Smear some buttercream on the 6” cake to secure the 4” one, and place it on top. Finish your cake by piping buttercream or tying ribbon around the bottom of the cakes to make them look polished.