Rhiannon Ally learns how to bake a seven layer cake with Seth Greenburg.
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Seven Layer Cake Recipe
Audra Lowe: Baking something beautiful and elaborate really doesn’t have to be intimidating. Rhiannon’s in the kitchen with a world-class baker who’s sharing his secrets to the seven-layer cake and it’s all in today’s Better Bites.
Rhiannon Ally: Thanks Audra. It almost looks too good to eat and it sounds like a lot of work. But baker man Seth Greenberg is here today to show us a delicious and gorgeous seven-layer cake. We cannot wait. So what’s first?
Seth Greenberg: Well, first we’re going to prepare our pan. You have to have that ready beforehand.
Rhiannon Ally: And the pan is very important. You can’t just use any old pan.
Seth Greenberg: No.
Rhiannon Ally: How come?
Seth Greenberg: I use the industry standard half sheet 18x13, line it with parchment which you can buy and cut down to size if you need to, butter and flour it and--
Rhiannon Ally: And you have a trick for this?
Seth Greenberg: Yes. When you’re buttering the pan, always butter from the center out so you don’t wrinkle the paper. I put a little butter on the bottom of the pan and at the edges just in case the pan doesn’t--the paper doesn’t fit quite completely over the pan.
So once that’s prepared, it looks like this, nice and ready to go. We’re going to--once we start with our mixer in this particular recipe, you have to go right through with no stops, so you have to prepare everything ahead of time.
So we’re going to get nine ounces of cake flour, sifted. We’ll have eight ounces of granulated sugar. We’re going to add half a teaspoon of Kosher salt, half a teaspoon baking powder. Those are our dry ingredients. We’re going to start mixing those first. While that mixes, we have eight ounces or two sticks of room temperature sweet butter.
Rhiannon Ally: Is that important that it’s sweet butter?
Seth Greenberg: Yes because we’ve added our salt, and you really want to use sweet butter because that way, you can control exactly the amount of salt that’s going into it.
Then we’re going to jump into four eggs with a tablespoon of heavy cream and a little over half a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. And then we’re going to have a little more heavy cream, the other five tablespoons, which is about a third of a cup if you want to save yourself a little time.
Rhiannon Ally: Seth, that only took a few minutes.
Seth Greenberg: Yes, it’s a very quick mix. I love this recipe for that. So once it’s done, take it off and we’ll give the batter a quick scrape, and then we’re going to dump it into our prepared pan. So we’ll take this all.
Rhiannon Ally: And since the consistency is so creamy and smooth, it’s going to come out very easily like that.
Seth Greenberg: Yes. This is a very, very soft mix which means you get a delicious crumb, which is the texture in the cake. Okay, we’re done smoothing it out. Take it and we’ll put it into a preheated 350- degree oven, set the rack in the lower third. You don’t want to bake this in the middle of the oven with a lot of other things.
Rhiannon Ally: Now, while the cake is baking, we’re going to make the filling and the frosting, the good stuff.
Seth Greenberg: Yes, the good stuff, our chocolate. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to start with six ounces of more unsweetened, room temperature butter and we’re going to add four ounces of cocoa powder. And then while that mixes only on slow speed--it’s very important, never use anything other than the slowest speed on your mixer--we’re going to take eight ounces of powdered sugar and a half a cup of boiling water, dissolve the sugar with the water, put it back on the fire, bring it to a boil, and then we’re going to add that boiling sugar which is now a simple syrup on top of the cocoa powder and butter, and that’s going to make our fudge filling and glaze. We’re going to have to let that run for a long time to get the right temperature. But when it comes back down to just a little over room temperature and still is a little shiny, it’s perfect.
Our chocolate is ready and we’ve decanted it into two bowls, one which would become our glaze and one which is our filling, and we always leave more in the glaze bowl because we can add glaze to filling; you can’t add filling to glaze because you don’t want to have crumbs from assembling the cake back into it.
So now that that’s done, we’re going to take our cutting board, turn our cake out.
Rhiannon Ally: I'm going to let you flip it.
Seth Greenberg: Okay, that sounds fair. Just take a nice board that’s bigger than the pan, hold the two together, turn them over, put it down, give it a little push. You can hear it come loose, and then you--
Rhiannon Ally: Viola!
Seth Greenberg: And then we peel the parchment, and there’s our cake. Now, what we have to do is trim the edges, which are a little angled and a little curved. We’ll trim them straight. We’re going to take a piece of baker’s cardboard which the same store that sold you the pan and the parchment should have this, cut it to an 8x3 rectangle and this is going to be our guide to cutting the seven layers out of our one pan.
Rhiannon Ally: Now we have our seven pieces--I can actually count.
Seth Greenberg: Yes, we did our math. Now, we can take that same cardboard and we’re going to slide it under one to make the bottom of the cake. And we’re going to take our filling and we’re going to put filling between each layer, spread it evenly, make sure it doesn’t mount in the center. Use a nice small spatula for good control, and you’re going to do that with all seven layers and the top and the sides.
Rhiannon Ally: Seth, it already looks done but we have one more step.
Seth Greenberg: Yes. We have to glaze it. The thing looks pretty now but wait until we’re finished.
Once it’s set up on the wire rack, we’re going to take our glaze. We have to add a little hot water, make it smooth, microwave it to make it hot on medium power, and then we’re going to pour that right over the finished cake or almost finished cake, take one pass with our spatula to push the extra glaze down the sides of the cake, and then we’re done.
Rhiannon Ally: We will of course put this recipe on our website and you can order some of his delicious desserts. They are the best. We’re going to put the link on our website at bettertv.com. Audra?
Audra Lowe: Looking good! And Seth’s entire recipe and even an alternate filling is also on our website. All you have to do is click on the recipe tab. We’ll be right back.