I am using the SPS system for the first time. I had guessed that using two cakes baked in 2-inch cake pans plus frosting between the layers and on top would give me a four inch tier. I was sorely mistaken. I baked a trial cake and the tier came out too small with the columns showing about 1 inch.
What should I do to make sure this does not happen again? I am planning on baking another trial and I would greatly appreciate any advice and guidance. I will be using square pans in sizes 6-inch, 8-inch, and 10-inch.
I have read one piece of advice that said to overfill the pans and then cut off everything above 2 inches, but that would not account for frosting height, so I am not sure if this is good advice or not.
Thank you very very much!
It's actually ok if they're a little taller. It's a lot harder if they're short. Specifically with square pans make sure you get extra batter into the corners so the corners bake up tall.
Are you doing fondant or buttercream. If buttercream, then you can press the plate into the frosting so frosting height is less relevant. Also are you going to torte your layers or just put filling between the 2 layers? All of these things come into play when doing the math
Thank you so much for replying. I am going to be putting frosting only between the two layers - no torting. I will then cover each tier with fondant. If the tiers are a bit taller than 4 inches, then would the pressure of the plate push the frosting out and make that layer uneven or is it not enough to make an impact? What would you recommend doing to get the tier the right height? Again, thank you!
So first figure out how much filling your putting between the two layers. Probably about a 1/4 inch. Your fondant will be about 1/8 of an inch thick..maybe a bit thicker depending on your preference. So let's say filling and fondant totals just about 1/2 an inch. that means your cake should total 3 1/2 inches. Divide that by two and each layer should be 1 3/4 inches tall.
Those are estimates. Get a ruler and see if you generally use more or less filling than a 1/4 inch. But that should get you started.
Also don't forget to take the colors off the bottom of the plates or the plate won't sit flush on the cakes. If you have 1/4 inch difference showing, you can hide that with a border. More than that us hard to hide.
i'd suggest going a little under the height of the column rather than going taller. the whole point of the sps is for the weight of the cakes to be distributed through the plastic columns rather than through the cake layers themselves. if the cake is extending above the column, the plate on top will push down on the cake causing unnecessary pressure/weight on the layer, defeating the point of the sps system and possible causing bulging of the cake.
bake your cakes as tall as possible, fill with buttercream, then ice. if they are a little under 4", say 3 3/4" to 3 7/8", just add more buttercream on top to boost the height. don't forget the fondant will add a little height as well.
another option would be to bake in a 3" pan, which is what i do. I bake two layers with a little less batter than what is called for and end up with two layers that total approx 5 1/2". i torte each layer then end up using 3 of the 4 layers, saving the extra cake to be used for cake balls or a trifle later. with the addition of filling, buttercream, and fondant my cakes usually get pretty close to 4"
how much batter did you put in each pan? Did you actually get 2" tall layers of cake?
Thank you all for your advice.
About the filling the pans: I didn't use enough batter - I divided one batch of batter between two 8-inch square pans. The cakes were certainly not close to 2 inches tall. How full should I be filling each pan in order to get the proper height?
According to the Wilton website,
you need 4 cups of batter per 8 inch square pan. The average box mix is about 4 cups. That means you would need about 1 box per pan. I don't know if your using a straight box mix or doctored but batter amount vary by recipe as well as brand. I think Duncan Hines gives you the most batter per box but it would still take 2 boxes. I would fill each pan with 4 cups of batter and spoon a little extra in each corner. I hope that helps.
Here is a chart that tells you how many cups of batter should be used in different size cake pans.
Hope that helps some!
Thank you all for the help and advice! I finished assembly today and it worked out great! There was just a little bit of space between the tiers and I covered it with a fondant ribbon border, which I actually really liked the look of (I hadn't planned to do that initially). So, anyways, thank you SO SO much!
Another issue is the brand of pan you're using. W pans generally are not 2" deep, even though they say they are. And different W pans from different years, because there are different manufacturers, will be different depths. W = no consistency.
Agouti, I'm so glad it worked out for you. I love SPS. Be sure and post a pic