Thanks so much to Sherrie, Anne in NC, and Matthew for answering my post re magic strips. I used the folding and clipping technique as suggested. Worked just fine, although I wonder how the exact dampness of the paper towels and the configuration of the holes in the foil, made with a paper punch an inch apart, affected texture and baking time.
I always go for excess over moderation, so I decided to make my Sicilian Pistachio Cake with three layers. Also, I varied the flavor with cardamom. To get it just right, I wound up making a total of five layers. First I mixed the batter for layers one and two and then I made the third separately—my first cakes baked in my new stove. (It?s cheap but supposedly ecologically sound; mandated by the State of CA.). Layer one came out perfectly, although a little pale around the perimeter. Layer two, baked with layer one, was kind of sloped. Layer three, baked by itself, came out perfectly.
As I only had one layer I was confident in, I made the recipe twice more. I’d used up my pistachios on the first three layers, so I used what I had on hand for layers four and five, except I omitted the cardamom.
In layer four I put blanched toasted almonds, lemon zest, and vanilla. In layer five I put toasted cashews, toasted sesame, and vanilla. So the three layers I’ll use will be pistachio/cardamom/vanilla, almond/lemon/vanilla, and cashew/sesame/vanilla.
I’ll frost it with Creamy Dreamy White Chocolate frosting (because the recipe Rose recommends is too much work at the moment!). The frosting between the layers will have a tiny bit of rose water and a drop of red food coloring as a surprise. The frosting on the sides and on top will be flavored per the recipe.
Next day: The cake tastes great! Next time, however, I?ll use a heaping tsp of fresh ground cardamom per layer, instead of half a tsp. Also, I?m bored with three layers. Next time I?ll make two and cut them each in half. I?ll be much better at applying the frosting, too.
Thanks again for all your help. Thanks especially to Rose for the TCB and RHC. My inability to ?cream butter and sugar together until fluffy? used to result in cakes that were tough and nasty. Now my cakes are actually good, though of course I?m still a greenhorn.