Visit a bakery in Europe and you’ll likely see a version of how the earliest layer cakes looked. Traditionally, the cake batter was baked (in thin layers) using a frying pan. Later, each layer was covered with cream or jam. The layers were then stacked—usually 7-8 layers high. The final step was covering the exterior of the cake with frosting.
Layer cakes, as we know them today, usually consist of 2 or 3 layers; each is separated by a layer of frosting. The exterior of the cake is also covered with frosting. Most kids think cakes come from a bakery or Costco. Making a homemade layer cake is time-consuming, but being able to lick the bowl is worth it.
Is there a difference between frosting and icing? Although the words are often used interchangeably, experienced bakers may think otherwise. Frosting is thicker and contains butter or shortening. Icing is thinner, made with confectioner’s sugar and milk. Here’s a good way to remind yourself (if you care) of which is which. Cakes are frosted and donuts are iced.