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King of Biscuits Has Feet of Clay

May 22, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose

It has been almost 12 months since I baked my last butter layer cake. I am very sorry to report defeat in the form of Rose's Yellow and Chocolate Butter Wedding Cake. I needed to make two 9-inch, two 6-inch, and a variety of smaller sizes. Rose's recipe is perfect, and it is probably a recipe that has been executed over a million times during the 20 years since Cake Bible printed. Use cake strips, lower oven temperature 25 degrees if convection is used, and I THINK you will avoid defeat.


I need to report in advance that soon I will be posting my final results on using Rose's Heavenly Cake Strips, and how you can fit them on any size cake pan!

These silicone strips are so easy to use, no soaking in water, and so simple and hygienic to wash (if that is still the case since I often toss them in my laundry machine together with my clothes!).


Bianca, on the particular love hate cake, the layers were powerfully domed as you see above. The volcano was trimmed to 2" and the sides were about 1.5"

These baked on 2" cake pans, so I used the same pans to make each layer exactly 2" by filling it with a high quality and tasting buttercream (I would never use such thick layer of buttercream if it wasn't good eats). I line the cake pan with wrap, place the cake in normal position (volcano peak up), then fill the sides with the bc. Even it with a icing spatula and refrigerate until solid. Then unmold. And yes, glue together with more bc. I used SMBC, caramel, with lots of dark chocolate blended in.

Yes, for the love hate cake, the layers were placed upside down (volcano peak down). I just wanted more stability on the top surface of each tier. You can't do this by holding the cake with just bc because it would collapse, but remember, I had the volcano peak to hold it. That was my clay of feet!

The 4 layer moist choc genoise was a custom cake made for my best friend Mary on her lovely wedding in Maui. She loves chocolate, so I made the chocolate cake, and after applying the ganache, I applied a think layer of IMBC to turn the cake white.

Right now, I am working on small 3 tier wedding cakes, same format as my birthday 2008 cake (7-5-3-inch tiers, each tier is 2.875-inches). Each tier starts as a perfect 2" layer of cake (no gaps). I tort in half, so 1" layers, and fill with 0.50" of good eats. The final height of each is 2.875", including the cake board and the outside frosting which I make very thin since there is already so much filling.

I use the cake pan method, too. So far, one cake is the triple chocolate cake, I am certain people will not mind having a thick layer of ganache. The second cake is cake bible's healthy carrot cake with the superb white chocolate cream cheese bc, that again is so nice to have plenty. I would not do such thick filling with plain IMBC.

Hope I answered your questions. I don't know what would be standard practice for me!


Hector ~ On the "Love Hate" cake in the middle pic, it looks like you have filling underneath the bottom layer of cake. Is that right?

Can you explain a little more about using the cake pans to fill the cakes? It looks like you fill the cake pan with filling, top with cake and then refrigerate. Do the same with the second layer and then "glue" the layers together with softened BC.

Also, I saw in the "4 Layer Moist Choc Genoise" that covered the cake in ganache and then covered again with MBC. Is that standard practice for you?


Hector - your portfolio is absolutely wonderful!!!


you are welcome, and try make extra cake batter and turn them in madelaines or canapes baked in silicone molds. the silicone material makes them so moist without the typical cake crust. i have also used miniature tart pans, ceramic (Rose's Creme Brulee Set).

today, I had some for breakfast. i keep a supply in my freezer and the night before I take them out and place them airtight. in the morning they are nice and soft at room temperature. straight from the freezer are also great (like ice cream bites) or pop them in the microwave.

3-tier carrot cake coming up.


Hector, just wanted to say thank you for posting all those pictures of Rose's carrot cake. I made it today and OMG........it is so delicious. I don't think I would have baked it had it not been for your pictures. I am not a carrot cake fan..........I am now!


I've have just whipped White Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream and proved the truth behind tempering chocolate for the best frosting stability in warm weather: "do not over melt."

White chocolate melts quicker than dark chocolate. In general, for any chocolate that you wish to remain firm in warm weather, you need to be careful to melt the chocolate at very low temperature and never overly melt. Keep your heat source on/off and remove the heat source once the chocolate has melted only 75%, keep stirring and the residual heat will melt the rest. Ideally, you want the chocolate to finish melting and be no longer warm. It is this residual heat if you keep until the chocolate has melted all the way, that will over melt your chocolate and will make the chocolate never firm up again at room temperature ("the chocolate has lots its temper.")

I use my copper fondue pot filled with 1/2 inch of boiling water. The chocolate is placed on the pot's thick ceramic bowl. Ceramic takes a while to heat up which is great so the water has a chance to cool off a little before the heat reaches the chocolate, so I never worry if water condensation forms under the bowl.

For white chocolate, I remove the bowl every 10 minutes, and wait until the bowl is almost cool before returning to the heat source. Be aware that ceramic also retains heat for a long time, so my 75% rule is reduced to 50% or more if the bowl feels too hot!

I don't have one yet, but it has been reported that Lekue's silicone La Bomba is the perfect bowl to temper chocolate, and so easy as it would fit in the microwave.



Cakemom, I think you are overly due ready to do the transition to bake from scratch =)


Thanks, Hector. I have done a wedding cake before, many many cupcakes, and many many cakes. Just not from scratch...so I am a little nervous to try it with such a big occasion, but I don't feel I should do anything less.

I have made about 10 or so batches, large and small, of RLB mouseline buttercream, so that fear is gone away.

I will give the carrot cake a shot, as well as the chocolate. I have only recently started to notice how bitter chocolate cake mix tastes.

Thanks, and I will keep you updated...(I am also under "Cakemom".


JuliC, I don't have ANY experience with cake mix. Your challenge is tough, but I am certain your niece will love you regardless how the cakes turns out. Often, mistakes or unexpected results can turn into interesting cakes and designs. I like your old-school wilton design, I think it is classic.

Let me try answer a few of your questions:

The white chocolate / cream cheese frosting is easy to do. BE SURE to not over-melt the white chocolate, otherwise it will be too runny. I would use a glass bowl, place your pieces of white chocolate in (be sure to use real white chocolate, the type with cocoa butter and seldom found at grocery stores), microwave for 10 second intervals only, and stir vigorously between intervals. NEVER melt all the way in the microwave (or any other heat sure in fact, for chocolate), it is more the stirring which melts the chocolate that is just getting a bit warmer.

The carrot cake recipe on TCB uses butter, and it is indeed a easy recipe to do. I am doing one little 3 tier just now!!! This cakes should be served at room temperature, so it will be ok for wedding cake since traditionally you display for hours. I have a closeup picture of the sliced cake on my website, and people really like it.

Look at the end section of TCB for recipes for wedding cakes or large format. The butter yellow cake, and the chocolate variation, are time tested recipes. It can't get any simpler than this, trust me. Simpler would be cake mix!

I don't promise you will bet the Mousseline Buttercream right at the first time =( Look at the blog and forum for a very long discussion on the challenges on this. It is worth the effort to master since it is absolutely the best frosting you and your guests will ever find! I would say, if you can't get the sugar heated to the EXACT correct temperature, dump the sugar, and re-do. The egg whites can sit for a while already whipped (with the cream of tartar and super stiff... be sure your bowl/beater and whites are grease and yolk free).

One challenge you will encounter is to get even baked layers, and I absolutely panic when otherwise. Try you best, by either overfilling the cake pan then trim it off!!!!!! or by exactly calculating the amount of baking powder per pan size (explained on TCB). For cakes with baking powder... you MUST use cake strips, and Rose's silicone ones are THE BEST in the world... use two or three together for larger pans and secure with a wire, baking string, or silicone rubber band.

Please, do share a photo, and shoot more questions, too.

I will be busy until September 13th, when I need to do this, and btw, production of the cakes have just started with the Triple Chocolate Cake (will post photos shortly):


I am going to post the progress of this project as "My Cousin's Seven Cake Wedding."


Hector, your cakes look perfect! I can get those results with cake mix, which leads me to my question:

I have the TCB coming from the library because I am doing my niece's wedding shower on June 29th and her wedding on July 19th. I don't have a lot of money to experiment(or to buy my own copy, for that matter, which is why my "gift" is the wedding cake) so I need to know: which is the best cake that I can use for cupcakes for the shower ... and if I had to pick one cake for my 16 x16 pan for the wedding, which should I choose? The cake she chose is an old-school Wilton design, it has a 16x16 square on the bottom, a 12 inch round on top of that, some plastic pillars and then an 8'in round on top of that. I think I am going to do maybe a 14' round groom's cake that will be covered in Ganache or maybe chocolate MB. I do want to make carrot cake, and want to use the cream cheese/white chocolate filling from TCB. Will I be able to get it right the first time in a 16x16 pan? Even If I don't do the whole wedding from scratch, I want to do atleast some of it. I also want to try atleast some of the cupcakes. I will go with from scratch first, and if I can work it out, maybe I can do all of the wedding that way. THanks for your help!



Moist Chocolate Genoise had NO feet of clay. This is one recipe baked on 7, 5, and 3 inch pans, 2 inch deep. I filled the pans 3/4 full and during baking rose pass the top. When cooling/shrinking the level was just right: 2" tall.


JuliC, feel free to email me your "large" pictures one at a time to inkasoy@hotmail.com

I can crop and post for you.

We love visuals!


Ok...it's there under Cakemom.


Thank you, Rozanne...I did sort of envision myself as a bit of a cake hero, if only for a second.....sigh.....
Hector, I am going to try the liquor because I am sure my family will get tired of the white chocolate though it does not appear to be taking place yet. I have been using the pasteurized egg whites which I think already takes a bit away from the texture...but lets me sleep at night when I am feeding 150+ people. I also use sometimes a little dried egg white along with the pasteurized liquid egg whites. People still think it's fabulous...in fact I also made chocolate once with Wilton Colorflo and even it was a hit. For my mom's birthday this weekend I am going to use organic eggs though so my family gets the real deal. I think I will try some Grand Marnier in it. I tried posting my pictures but they are too big? I think I need to crop them or something.


Rozanne, I am in total agreement that the liquor improves the buttercream. It helps on the buttery/greasy feel in the mouth for sure, plus it helps the emulsification of the meringue and butter into perfection.

My super-fruit fruit mousseline was fine w/o the liquor, wasn't buttery. The texture not as good, so for I recommend to use as a filling more than piping. People thought my chocolate cake was filled with strawberry ice cream! Cake was refrigerated and taken out to room temp for 2 hours, the filling was still cold.


Hector, I always use liquor in my buttercream b/c it kind of reduces the buttery / greasy feel in the mouth. How does omitting it and increasing the fruit change the buttercream in terms of the buttery texture?


JuliC, you are a wonderful person, to agree to the changes.


JuliC, I hope you got a nice reward for baking away and with 1 day notice! Your cakes sound awesome.

Glad your cake turned well, and glad you are sold to the mousseline. Do try my super-fruit variation when using it as a filling in layer cakes. I've replaced the liquor in the mousseline with Cordon Rose Strawberry Conserve, plus also adding the recipe's amount of fruit puree. It is a thinner mousseline (too soft to pipe) but as a filling in cake is great!

We will love to see your pictures! Pls post them in the forum


JuliC, you can post pictures over on the forums,

There are some limitations:
each picture must be no more than 800 x 600 pixels.
Maximum 4 pictures to one post. Maximum 400KB total to one post.


Thanks everyone for your help! I finished the cake and cupcakes yesterday...It was kinda funny because they wanted 150 cupcakes and a small cut "just to cut into"...a friend of theirs called and was worried that the small cake wouldn't be big enough (at 7:30 PM the night before), so instead of an 8, 6, and 4 inch they wanted a 12, 8, and 6 inch...being the glutton for punishment I am I agreed, ran to the store, baked two new 12 inch layers, bought more buttercream ingredients, stayed up way past my bedtime and got it done. Did I mention this was my first wedding cake? And my first wedding cupcakes? I have pictures but I am not sure how to upload them, I can email them if anyone wants to see. I have to mention that I am the new genius in my family because no one had any idea about mousseline buttercream until I made it a month ago, and I must say that it is the best, most wonderful, most easiest, most awesome icing I have ever worked with, and I've been teaching Wilton for a year now and used to decorate cakes for 12 TCBY's that used to be in our area.


JuliC, I've posted pictures of my little tiered cake. 3.25" tall each layer. Under my bridge cake posting


Thanks everyone! I think I am going to shoot for 3 to 3 1/2 inches, they want white chocolate mousseline with raspberry filling and plain white cake. I don't want to have to add too much raspberry. The wedding is next weekend, and I have 48 cupcakes for someone else to do today and a cake in the shape of a tank. I am thinking I need to work more on my royal icing flowers than baking more layers!


Her "Homage to Linoleum" cake was hilarious.


JuliC - anything goes when it comes to wedding cakes. Traditional is not always the rule. Btw, Margaret Braun is known for her very narrow, yet very tall tiers.


JuliC - anything goes when it comes to wedding cakes. Traditional is not always the rule. Btw, Margaret Braun is known for her very narrow, yet very tall tiers.


Hector, i think you voted for clip#108. most of the the others (tiered ones) have got that awful sugar-sculpture look :(


Also, please visit http://www.brides.com to see if there is a cake worth your vote. My vote is secret...


Julie C, roses were mousseline buttercream, piped on individual 1x1-inch parchment squares. Then transfered with scissors to the cake and placed smashing each other edges.

Your height question is excellent, and I am working on an answer right now. The answer may be on the Cake Bible already.....

The traditional tier is 12-9-6 x 4 height. Actually, with frosting and filling, I measure 13-10-7 x 5 height. The Love Hate Relationship cake was 10-7 x 5.

I am working on a 7-5-3 x 3 right now. On smaller cakes, a 4 height will be much taller in proportion, so you should make them 3 to keep the ratio (same cake, just smaller). But this story is true for round cakes......

The answer to your question is "keep your squares tall." Square cakes are "wider" than round cakes. A square on its wider with is about 25%s wider than a round. Measure your square cake from tip to tip diagonally on it largest points and use this as your size. Your 8 square is about 14, your 6 square about 9, and your 4 square about 6.

Most bakers don't follow this, so their square cakes turn out looking short.

Tall or short, it is your design choice. I like my cappuccino short, but most people in Starbucks prefer them tall! For cakes, I like them tall, so tall that on September 13th, I might break a record (my cousin's wedding, will talk about this later).

Here, some 'traditional' wedding cakes 'bakery style', some tall, some short and stubby. The ocean color one was made by me at this bakery I help for love, it was sugar free (not my specialty, but done for a good cause). It was a low budget cake, so I didn't give it more than 2 hours of work, and that was slow considering there wasn't a professional turn table to use!



Gene, if I was making a cake for myself or an original (as I often do!), I would have taken advantage of this unique cake shape.

Julie, thanks! And I know, I know, I know. My team felt that I could have done something more on this cake, my response was "why can't I make something standard every now and then?" My client requested a very simple chocolate cake and even wondered if I was capable to do so, and honestly, I had to do more than simple, so this is as simple as it gets from THE YELLOW KITCHEN.

Had to do what I had to do to follow my cake draft board. I trimmed the tops (and ate it), and filled the gaps with chocolate chipped mousseline (actually silk meringue). I think it is great to have a denser/tastier filling with chocolate pieces or other stuff (another favorite is strawberry or raspberry conserve, seeds and fruit chunks included, unstrained). But for frosting the cake, the chocolate mousseline, so smooth, works best for me. The taste was equally good for both in my opinion, and a good interesting complementing composition. I gave a little of both frostings to my friend Natalie for her cupcake experiments, she could not decide which one was better, so she blended both!

Note that filling layers by using the cake pan lined with plastic wrap helps me get TOTALLY even layers. Refrigerate to stiffen the buttercream, and it will unmold perfect. I am considering getting 2.5 (do they exist?) or 3 inch cake pans just for this purpose.

Both cocoas were Dutch processed. The lighter brown is from Whole Foods, and the darker one is from France brought over from Castelanne by my friend Kathy. I could not tell which one was better as it is near impossible to tell until eaten baked in a cake, in this case I mixed both because I didn't want to waste anything. I used the Whole Foods cocoa for Rose's World Cake, on biscuit, and was good.

My birthday cake on the 31st (is that my age instead?), will be chocolate all over, and will be similar to this cake.


Wow! You sure can fit a lot of roses on one tiny ledge. I have a question about scale since your cake does not have monster tiers...I have a 3-tier square offset wedding cake to make, they want it smaller because they are having cupcakes too. The tiers are 8, 6, and 4 inches...I was thinking of not going for 4 inch heights on each, maybe 3, but after looking at your cake, Hector, I am wondering if that would be acceptable. Is 4 inches the only acceptable height for wedding tiers?


Gene Russell
Gene Russell
05/23/2008 10:52 AM

I am confused. You shouldn't have had to cut the tops? Where do you think you strayed from the shining path?



Count me in the "Love" group. I think the cake turned out beautifully, you transformed the "volcanoes" into a perfectly-shaped, tiered masterpiece!

Now I don't feel so bad about some of my own mistakes, seeing that even talented bakers like you encounter the occasional problem!

What were the two cocoas, dutch-processed and natural? And which did you like better, the chocolate mousseline, or the caramel-choc chip SMBC?



i felt defeated and thanks for making it public!

i made the most out of it, including gaining about 2 lbs from eating all the delicious trimmed domes.

i posted earlier, the 9 and 6-inch layers were "filled" with chocolate chipped buttercream, and frosted with chocolate mousseline. the chocolate mousseline is so delicious, that I wish I was this lucky to get lots of frosting on cake even when done by necessity.

note that i've added an extra photo of the cacao colors while I was measuring.


the cake is called Love Hate Relationship, because my team either loved it or hated it, literally their own words. For me, having the cake plain and smooth (see the bottom large picture) made me feel the happiest because the blue rose collar needed nothing else... one of my friends said "congratulazioni, looks like a De Chirico painting!"

i finally compromised and added a "touch" on the top layer. one suggestion was to add a dragonfly, which I would agree it will match perfectly heavenly, but unfortunately I did not have sufficient time to do.

the smaller layers remain frozen, wait for May 31st, when Luca will throw me a birthday bash.

after that, back to biscuit and genoise, I promise to stick to my own business!



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