Layered: Baking, Building, and Styling Spectacular Cakes by Tessa Huff

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Notes about this book

  • kriscollett on April 07, 2021

    Made carrot cake for Easter. It was delicious. The lemony cream cheese frosting really made the cake. The buttercream didn’t add much beyond another texture, but I liked it to protect the cake and to decorate. Her buttercream is nice and easy to work with but I prefer Stella Parks’ version on Serious Eats.

  • Toomanybooks88 on January 09, 2018

    Up to my 15th different cake recipe from this book, with a few flavours baked multiple times plus many more icing and filling recipes made for other bakes. So far all fantastic recipes with current top family and friend favourites; the Classic chocolate cake found in many of the recipes, the Chocolate Praline Crunch, Pumpkin Vanilla Chai and Reisling Rhubarb Crisp.

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Blood orange thyme cake

    • jsyounker on February 14, 2017

      Made this for my husband's birthday/Valentine's Day with blood oranges. Taste wise it was a delicious combination of flavors - just as she describes at the beginning of the recipe. It took a couple of hours on a Sunday morning and mine was a little lopsided with all the drizzle going to one side, but suspect thats my limited experience with 3 layer cakes!

    • inflytur on December 24, 2018

      A lot of fun to bake. The citrus flavor shines through but is not overwhelming. I deviated from the recipe by making a small batch of the Swiss buttercream instead of using half of the medium recipe. I wanted to cover the sides of the layers to allow it to store better. I really appreciate that her cakes are not overly sweet.

  • Milk chocolate buttercream

    • Astrid5555 on September 03, 2017

      Delicious! Goes especially well with the vanilla bean butter cake from this book! Melted milk chocolate is added to the Swiss meringue vanilla buttercream recipe, which is delicious on its own, but a dream with the chocolate addition. Very rich, but perfect for filling and frosting a birthday cake.

  • Vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream

    • Astrid5555 on November 26, 2016

      This was my first attempt at a Swiss meringue buttercream, and it did not disappoint at all! This recipe produces a smooth and silky buttercream, which is very easy to work with. Used only 3/4 of the sugar and the buttercream was sweet enough for my taste. Will be my go-to buttercream recipe from now on!

    • EmilyR on July 28, 2019

      For using an immense and uncomfortable amount of butter, this is a lighter frosting than I would have expected. I reduced the sugar slightly. It pipes wonderfully and it is very silky. I was slightly confused because it is the same recipe as in Tessa Huff's second book / icing on the cake, however this book says it freezes for 2 months and the newer states 3. I'll give that a try...

    • Rutabaga on May 17, 2017

      This buttercream is gorgeous! Just as Astrid5555 says, it is a dream to work with (and to eat). I was a couple of tablespoons shy of the full amount of butter called for (a somewhat scary 1.5 pounds), but it still turned out perfectly.

  • Vanilla bean butter cake 1

    • Astrid5555 on September 03, 2017

      Great vanilla cake, quick and easy to make, perfect birthday cake. Made with a frosting and filling of milk chocolate buttercream from the same book. A little rich, but well liked by kids and adults alike.

  • Apple spice cake

    • Astrid5555 on November 27, 2016

      This is a delicious, moist autumnal apple cake, which tastes also nice on its own without any frosting.

  • Dulce de leche buttercream

    • Astrid5555 on November 27, 2016

      Delicious! Made by adding store-bought dulce de leche to the book's delicious Vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream. Will use for other cakes as well.

  • Apple cider caramel

    • Astrid5555 on November 27, 2016

      Easy to make, but not my preferred caramel sauce. Mine did not taste appely just very acidic. Would substitute my regular caramel sauce next time.

  • Caramel apple cake

    • Astrid5555 on November 27, 2016

      This is fall on a plate, great taste, but also very rich, a small slice goes a long way. Even though I reduced the sugar in the buttercream by 1/4 the cake was still very sweet, as could be expected from a recipe that uses almost 1kg of sugar plus the additional dulce de lece for the filling. Adding the apple cider caramel on top is not really necessary, just adds to the overly sweet taste.

  • Lemon curd

    • nadiam1000 on April 30, 2018

      This lemon curd was on the soft side and a bit too sweet. Tartness was good and I added the grated rind of the lemons. I used as a cake filling and needed something with more firmness like other lemon curds I have made in the past. I doubled the recipe and I cooked it to the 160 recommended but even after chilling overnight it is a bit soft. Might be better with less sugar and all yolks...

  • Red wine cake

    • nadiam1000 on December 04, 2016

      delicious, moist dark chocolate cake. I increased the recipe by half to make 9" layers. The wine adds a purple tone to the cake but you do not get a strong wine taste after baking - just a deep fruity note, but not too much. This would be good with other frostings and fillings - raspberry, cream cheese, chocolate buttercream.

    • stef on August 10, 2020

      This was a very nice moist textured cake. I substituted 1/4 cup with black cocoa. Baked in 2 8"pans but 3 6" pans would have made it higher. Swiss buttercream frosting from Icing on the Cake by same author

  • Ultimate candy bar cake

    • nadiam1000 on August 20, 2019

      Another reliable and impressive recipe from this cookbook. Son's choice for his birthday cake 2019. Baked the layers in a 3" deep 8" pan; cooled overnight and split into 2 layers. Buttercream is heavenly - sets up very firm when cold - cake is better when not directly from fridge. Used chopped up Kit Kat bars - should have chopped a bit more finely. Cake a bit difficult to get clean slices because candy bar chunks get in the way. Did not have enough dark chocolate so used about a third milk chocolate (from TJ's) for the ganache.

  • Blackberry ganache

    • nadiam1000 on December 04, 2016

      made this to accompany the red wine cake for my son's 21st birthday - his choice. I put this between the layers of a 9" cake and used a standard ganache to frost. I would have had to triple the recipe to fill and cover the 9" cake I made so I made one recipe and used it only for the filling.

  • Yuzu curd

    • EmilyR on July 28, 2019

      Yuzu is an interesting flavor. Muji sells candies and coincidentally this is where I purchased the yuzu juice in Japan. This curd turned out well, however I would suggest slightly reducing the sugar so the flavor can come through more.

  • Yuzu cake

    • EmilyR on July 28, 2019

      I brought yuzu back from Japan and was looking for a recipe to use it with. I made the curd and cake one day and a large batch of Swiss meringue buttercream the next morning. YUZU CURD : I reduced the sugar by 50g, because most curds are cloyingly sweet, which I don't like - I am happy to have done that. It felt as though it could have used some kind of stabilizer, like agar agar if it was meant to hold the layers. Maybe I didn't make a large enough dam of buttercream around the edge, but it can and should be served on the side. CAKE : Was just OK, light and airy if not a bit dry. Assembling the cake wasn't extremely difficult, but I don't own 3 pans of the same size, so I improvised with celebration pans, which made 4 layers. This is the kind of cake that would benefit from a syrup painted onto the cake layers for some extra flavor. FROSTING : silky and beautiful as well as easy to pipe. Kids loved to help decorate. Overall it just didn't pack the flavor punch I wished for.

  • Riesling cake

    • Rutabaga on May 17, 2017

      This cake really tastes of riesling. Mine turned out slightly dry, but overall still very good (and it may simply have been that I overcooked them a touch).

  • Rhubarb strawberry compote

    • Rutabaga on May 17, 2017

      This is a good basic compote, which could be used with scones, yogurt, pancakes, etc. For more tartness, increase the rhubarb.

  • Rhubarb buttercream

    • Rutabaga on May 17, 2017

      Such a beautiful buttercream! I would frost the entire cake with this buttercream, not just use it for filling. The strawberry rhubarb flavor is wonderful.

  • Oat crumble

    • Rutabaga on May 17, 2017

      This really upped my interest for the riesling rhubarb cake. Scatter on a nice thick layer to really take advantage of the sweet crunch it adds. I used a blender to chop whole almonds and rolled oats to make it. It maintained its crunch well a day after the cake was made.

  • Riesling rhubarb crisp cake

    • Rutabaga on May 16, 2017

      This cake turned out beautifully. Maybe it's the author's clearly written directions, or maybe I've gotten the technique for buttercream down over time, but the frosting was perfect. The oat crumble adds an interesting texture and nuttiness that's a good contrast with the delicate flavors of the cake; I wouldn't leave it out. Serving the cake with extra compote really brings the strawberry rhubarb flavor to the fore; without it, I think the flavor would be lacking. But rather than serving it with compote on the side, it might work well to mix all of the compote in with all the frosting, rather than only adding it to the buttercream that will be used as filling. Either that, or a layer of compote could be added to the filling along with the buttercream and oat crumble. The cake itself was the tiniest bit dry; perhaps I cooked it for a minute or two longer than necessary. My cake was a two-layer affair baked in 9 inch pans, and I still had a good cup of buttercream left over.

  • Rainbow sprinkle cake

    • Rutabaga on January 02, 2020

      This makes for a show-stopping cake with any special decorating skills, although trying to keep a six-layer cake straight and level is a bit challenging. Frosting it is also rather tricky, but fortunately the sprinkles hide any minor blunders. I baked the layers in two batches, and my second batch was slightly smaller and didn't rise quite as well, but no matter. It looked beautiful when sliced! Plus, the yellow cake and Swiss meringue buttercream recipes are absolutely delicious and wonderfully easy to work with. It's a definite crowd-pleaser of a birthday cake. I made it for my youngest's fourth birthday.

  • Yellow butter cake

    • Rutabaga on January 21, 2018

      There were some issues with the cake, which I think had primarily to do with my baking pans and the fact that the batter wasn't quite mixed thoroughly in one spot. My cake pans are dark, and in this case, that middle of one of the cakes turned out to be doughy inside even through the edges were nicely browned. This was the cake that also had a portion of batter that wasn't quite mixed in the center, so I can only really blame myself. I cut out the doughy part and manage to put a presentable cake together with the aid of much frosting. The flavor was quite good and the cake was nicely moist, so with better mixing and better pans, it would definitely be worth making again.

  • Fudge frosting

    • Rutabaga on January 21, 2018

      This chocolate frosting isn't my personal favorite (largely because I'm a big fan of Swiss merengue buttercreams and dark chocolate ganaches), but it's a very good basic no-cook frosting (other than melting the chocolate) that is bound to be well-liked by almost everyone. It's thickness was also instrumental in holding my cake together! I used a high quality cocoa powder and Trader Joe's Belgium 70% dark chocolate.

  • The birthday cake

    • Rutabaga on January 21, 2018

      This is a sweet birthday cake, sure to please. Mine was incredibly messy to put together, however. The cake crumbled when I tried to put the layers together, but I managed to use the thick frosting to hold it together. The cake was too crumbly for me to manage a crumb coating, so I had to slap the frosting on in spoonfuls and carefully prod it to fill in the cracks and smooth it over. Fortunately, no one could tell once it was finished. It's rich and buttery in flavor, and the chocolate flavor in the frosting is sweet enough for the kids without being too cloying for the adults.

  • Chiffon cake

    • Rutabaga on May 13, 2018

      This cake was an excellent base for strawberries, and would work equally well with other berries. Pairing it with a Chantilly cream icing would be perfect. It was easy to make and had a wonderful light, slightly spongy texture without being dry,

  • Basil whipped cream

    • Rutabaga on May 13, 2018

      My whipped cream was an utter failure - it somehow went straight from loosely whipped and runny to separating. I was left with a bowl of basil-infused butterfat in a pool of liquid. Fortunately, the basil butter was still quite tasty, so I was able to spread it on the cake. I'm not sure why this happened, but am guessing that the cream hadn't had adequate time to chill, although it had been in the refrigerator for at least three hours. I also added the sugar at the beginning without thinking, and that may have exacerbated the problem. Ultimately, I don't blame the recipe for this failure. The basil flavor is light, yet distinct, and is a good pairing with berries.

  • Strawberry shortcake

    • Rutabaga on May 13, 2018

      This cake was delicious, despite the fact that my whipped cream failed. The cream went from runny to butter without ever forming peaks. Although I turned the mixer off as soon as I saw it was starting to appear lumpy, by that time it was already too late. The butterfat separated from the liquid as it sat. I'm uncertain why this happened - perhaps the cream should have chilled for longer? Maybe it was affected by oil from the basil? Fortunately, it still tasted good, like a light, basil-tinged buttercream. I spread it thinly on each cake layer, then topped with the sliced berries and a little canned whipped cream. The canned whipped cream was almost gone, so the cake didn't have the luscious waves seen on the one in the book. Thankfully, nobody seemed to mind.

  • Red wine blackberry cake

    • Rutabaga on September 25, 2016

      This is a wonderful "adult" cake. While the red wine flavor is subtle, it adds a real umami depth to the cake. The cake itself was incredibly moist, despite the fact that I baked the batter in two eight-inch pans rather than the three six-inch pans Huff calls for. My cakes were perfectly baked after 25 minutes. I found the ganache recipe made only just enough to frost the cake, even with the rustic finish on the sides that left much of the cake exposed. But as the ganache is very rich, it really didn't need more. For such an elegant cake, this is also an easy one to produce, as it doesn't call for a separate frosting and filling, and is very easy to frost.

  • Lemon cream cheese frosting

    • stef on September 02, 2018

      Nice not too sweet icing. I used a couple of tablespoons of whip cream to fluff icing up a bit.

  • Boston cream pie

    • stef on March 10, 2018

      I tried baking the cake part twice. First time following instructions and baking cake for 31 minutes if fell apart on me. Second time baking cake for about 43 minutes and reaching internal temperature of 207f and cooling it for 30 minutes cake came out beautifully. All said it is a lovely tender cake. Pastry filling is fine but I prefer recipe that has whipped cream folded in.

    • Gachabot on June 19, 2020

      Absolutely loved this recipe - was a huge hit in our house - pictures posted.

  • Dark chocolate ganache

    • inflytur on December 24, 2019

      Heat extra cream and make ganache just a bit thinner than you want. It will thicken as it cools. The recipe, as written, was too thick to spread evenly between layers.

  • Blood orange thyme syrup

    • inflytur on December 25, 2018

      I found the thyme flavor to be overwhelming when I tasted it but it was perfectly balanced once it soaked into the buttermilk sponge.

  • Gingerbread coffee toffee cake

    • inflytur on December 09, 2018

      Everyone was wowed by how it turned out and it tasted even better than it looked.

  • Chocolate pomegranate cake

    • inflytur on December 24, 2019

      Excellent celebration cake for any winter event. A sophisticated flavor that was also enjoyed by children. Next time make the Dark Chocolates Ganache a little looser. It didn’t spread well.

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Reviews about this book

  • Cookbook Junkies

    One of my best books of 2016. The cake recipes work, the instructions are spot on - it's a must have for any baker.

    Full review
  • Baking Bites’ll find dozens of recipes that will help your baking “reach for new heights” no matter what occasion you are baking for.

    Full review
  • Joy the Baker

    This book is filled with cake creations that are the stuff of DREAMS…. but dreams that you can make come true in your own kitchen...

    Full review
  • ISBN 10 1617691887
  • ISBN 13 9781617691881
  • Published Apr 19 2016
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 288
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Stewart, Tabori & Chang

Publishers Text

It’s time to venture beyond vanilla and chocolate and take your baking skills up a notch. We’re talking layers—two, three, four, or more!
Create sky-high, bakery-quality treats at home with Tessa Huff’s 150 innovative recipes, which combine new and exciting flavors of cake, fillings, and frostings—everything from pink peppercorn cherry to bourbon butterscotch, and pumpkin vanilla chai to riesling rhubarb and raspberry chocolate stout. Including contemporary baking methods and industry tips and tricks, Layered covers every decorating technique you’ll ever need with simple instructions and gorgeous step-by-step photos that speak to bakers of every skill level—and to anyone who wants to transform dessert into layer upon layer of edible art.

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