We call this Thirteen Layer Cake because that’s how many layers I used to make. However, over the years, I’ve perfected it to ten layers, because, in my opinion, that’s the PERFECT ratio of cake to icing. That’s how I make it … but we never bothered to change the name.
Anyway, Thirteen Layer Cake sounds more dramatic.
You know how in the movie, “Napoleon Dynamite,” Pedro says he’s gonna “build a cake?” It sounds like a funny thing to say, but that’s what I feel like I’m doing when I make this.
- 1 Duncan Hines Classic Yellow Cake mix
- 1 box (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup oil
- 1 cup water
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- ¾ cup butter, melted
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Adjust oven rack to center position, Generously grease and flour (or coat with non-stick spray for baking) 9-inch cake pans, and preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all cake ingredients, and beat for 2 minutes. Batter will be thick.
- Measure desired amount of batter (For 10 Layers ½ cup … For 13 layers 1/3 cup) into pans, and spread evenly. Avoid thin spots as much as possible.
- Place pans on center rack in oven, and make sure that they don’t touch each other or the sides of the oven. Bake for the appropriate amount of time (For 10 Layers 4 minutes ... For 13 layers 3 minutes), and immediately remove. Allow to cool in pans for 2 minutes; transfer to wire cooling racks until you can start covering with icing. Place the first layer on a cake plate and spread with icing. Repeat with each layer while it’s still warm.
- Combine all ingredients, and beat well. Spread 1-2 tablespoons on each layer of cake, making sure to cover all the way to the edge. The warmer the cakes are, the better it will spread, and the less you’ll need. When the last layer is placed, spread on sides, first, then top. Allow cake to cool completely (several hours or overnight) before cutting.
- 1. Work as quickly as possible because it works best if the cake layers are still warm when you ice them, and the icing needs to be kept warm because it sets up fast.
- 2. Make the icing BEFORE you start the batter, then cover it tightly, and place it in a warm place (I set mine in a larger bowl with about an inch of hot water in the bottom). This keeps it the right consistency. Be sure to stir well before spreading.
- 3. For 10 Layers: Put ½ cup batter into each 9-inch pan, and bake for 4 minutes. For 13 layers: Put 1/3 cup batter into each 9-inch pan, and bake for 3 minutes.
- 4. It helps if you have at least 2 (9-inch) pans. One at a time will also work, but will take twice as long. Don’t try to bake more than two layers at a time. It works best if you put two pans in the center of the oven, on the same rack, but not touching each other or the sides of the oven. If you have enough identical cake pans to have all the batter spread out before you start baking, it’s extremely helpful. It’s not necessary, but it really simplifies the process.
If you have enough identical cake pans to have all the batter spread out before you start baking, it’s extremely helpful ~ not necessary ~ but less stressful once the baking starts.
However, before you start baking, you need to make the icing.
Now we can make the cake.
While the next layers are baking, begin “building” your cake.