Combination Guide for Layered Cakes

Combination Guide for Layered Cakes
This chart can be used to provide inspiration, ideas and guidance on how to combine different flavours and textures for a layered cake. We will be expanding the lists in this guide over time.
While we can decorate cakes that are elaborate 3D sculptures or centerpieces it's important that the inside of the cake is great as well. We eat cakes with our eyes first but eventually our taste buds will make the final judgement.

With this guidance we would like to present you a buffet of different recipes and ingredients that will provide inspiration and freedom to come up with your own combinations for a layered cake. The number of components are limited but combinations are endless.

The combinations you choose may suit a 'present first and eat later' occasion, or a 'present and eat right away' occasion. You could bake a beautiful moist orange almond cake, pour a bit of Grand Marnier syrup and "voila", everyone is happy. But can you use that combination to build a wedding cake for 50 people, display it for 5 hours and expect no hiccups or damaged decorations?

It is important to consider the purpose of a cake when deciding what combinations to use so that ultimately you have a problemless, but tasty cake that suits it's occassion. After all, your cake may be for a someones once in a lifetime (hopefully) or once a year event.
Dense Cakes
Sponges & Baked Cakes
The following choices of sponges and baked cakes can be used specially for the needs of wedding and novelty cakes, simply because they are more dense and can be kept in room temperature for a day. Even if these cakes get a bit softer in room temperature, they are still able to be portioned without destroying the layers and textures. Multiple choices can be used in one cake.
Brushing light syrups over the sponges can have a boosting effect in taste and also help to keep the cakes moist for a longer time. The ratio is 1:1 (stock syrup:water). Keep in mind that some cakes may not need extra moisture and using too much syrup can couse seeping/leaking and/or collapse of cake.
  • Vanilla Syrup
  • Lemon Syrup
  • Mocha Syrup
  • Coconut Syrup
  • Whisky
  • Rum
  • Brandy
  • Liqueurs
Creams & Fillings
All the creams in this list can be reconditioned by slight heating in a microwave to a comfortable creamy consistency in order to sandwich/layer and/or mask cakes but most importantly to get a clean sliceable texture after the cake is kept in the fridge for a while.
The items in this list are some of the easy produced small crunchy bites or surprising flavours which can be easily added to the surface of creams or fillings. These items should be produced and stored in containers before hand. Condiments can be a great way to add value to the quality of a cake.
  • Caramelized Almond Crackling
  • Caramelized Walnut Crackling
  • Caramelized Pistachio Crackling
  • Caramelized Peanut Crackling
  • Candied Orange Cubes
  • Mint Fondant
  • Caramelized Banana Slices
  • Rum Raisins
  • Salted Caramel
  • Chocolate Coated Crisps
  • Chocolate Coated Meringue
Masking Creams
For some cases you can choose different components for fillings, crumb coating and masking purposes. Smoothness and colour is more important on the surface (masking) than it is for internal fillings. What masking cream is used may depend on what the final coating will be, for example, ganache will work well under fondant.
This is about the final surface of the cake. These items will effect the final aesthetics of the cake. Rolling, masking, rough paletting, pouring and piping are some common techniques which will be dependant on what component is chosen.
Light Cakes
Sponges & Baked Cakes
The sponges in this list will have a risk factor when stacked for tiered cakes. If using these flavours for a large tiered cake, be sure to give extra attention to the internal support structure to avoid disasters. These choices will be suitable for single tier, light, dessert type of cakes...not for sculpting and 3D cakes.
  • Vanilla Sponge
  • Chocolate Sponge
  • Shiffon Sponge
  • Nut Sponges (dacquase )
  • Butter Cake
  • Butter Cake (coloured)
Use just enough to make the cake moist but not soggy.
  • Vanilla Syrup
  • Lemon Syrup
  • Fruit Teas
Creams & Fillings
This filling are ideal choices to create soft textured cakes but should be kept refrigerated until serving. Not suitable for cakes that will be on display for long periods of time in room temperature.
These kind of condiments should also be soft to match to fillings. If not, then be sure to chop in small pieces.
  • Fresh Fruits Slices
  • Roasted Nuts
  • Jams
  • Raisins
  • Boiled and Marinated Dry Fruits
Masking Creams
When masking light and soft cakes with these creams, be sure to have the cake and the cream at the right temperatures (cake should be cold/set, cream should be creamy and room temperature) to avoid crumbling while masking. Applying a masking layer may not always be necessary if this cream will be the final coating.
  • Mock Cream
  • Fresh and Mock Cream Mix
Coating & Toppings
These componenets add extra flavour and decorational value. The shiny appearance of a mirror gives a cake an inviting look. Jelly coatings also serve a protective function when used directly on fruits or compots.
  • Jelly Mirrors
  • Compots
  • Crushed Nuts
The base acts as an edible platform and also helps to keep the cake in good shape. Bases also help when when moving individual slices without making a mess and can provide additional biting texture to the cake. A thin layer of jams or marmalade can be used to glue the bases to the first layer of sponge/cake..
  • Short Crust
  • Compressed Crumbs
  • Chocolate Brushed Baked Puff Pastry


  1. Alese West says:

    I love your tutorials. I have retired from my bakery but still enjoy watching and learning from you. I live in the U.S. and the majority of our cakes are white with buttercream I was wondering if you would make something lovely just so that I can enjoy watching your artistry.

  2. Judy Huxley says:

    What a fabulous picklist guide! Thankyou so much for sharing! Am curious about the use of red font in some of the lists..does it indicate most commonly used option, your preference, or something else?

    1. Serdar Yener says:

      Hi Judy, red fonts indicates they are links that those recipes available in our web site for your perusal with one click. All others yet to come. In a sense yes, they are the recipes I use often.

  3. Zulma Yisel says:

    hola como hago para traducir al español la pagina?

  4. Ирина Лагута says:

    Good day Serdar Yener ! Thank you for your lessons. I want ask you , tell me about recipe Vanilla Syrup and
    Lemon Syrup. How I can these to cooking ? Forgive me , if I wrote with mistakes.

  5. Jaqui Smith says:

    Thank you Mr Yener for your kind generosity, your talent inspires me. I’m learning so much and gaining ‘cake making confidence’ by the minute using your fabulous tutorials, tips and hints…marvelous!

  6. Yasmin Shaawe says:

    what amazing!!! please can you give us the recipie of Butter Ganache Dark,Water Ganache, Soy Ganache,Coconut ganach

    i saw that you didnt use sponge cake for wedding? why
    you are so could, GOD BLESS YOUR HANDS

    1. Serdar Yener says:

      Okay, I will, thank you for your patience.

  7. CakeFellows says:

    I am so enjoying All the tutorials ! My question is , can I put mousse between the layers of the cake and cover with fondant without having any leakage ?

    MAny thanks,

    1. Serdar Yener says:

      Hi, when you talking about covering the cake with fondant I understand you doing a wedding or celebration cake which has to stay in a room for awhile or delivered and decorated quite some time. I do not recommend to take a risk but if it is MUST situation you have to cover the cake with ganache even inside is mousse.

  8. Sheila50 says:

    I am loving and learning a lot. My son wants a chocolate peanut butter cake. Are there any peanut butter filling recipes that I can use?

  9. CelebrityCakes says:

    Wow Serkan I even learn things that are not cake related (Command and P)! Thank you for great resource materials, this and the fondant calculater are invaluable. GReat stuff. Will you be posting information on the water, soy and coconut ganache in the future please?

  10. Jambles67 says:

    My niece & I just watched you making the Elsa cake, she was so impressed as was I.
    If I had an inch of your talent, I would be making amazing cakes.
    Thank you for sharing your talents with the world of cake Baker’s, decorators.

  11. Jans26 says:

    You are so humble to share your talent and recipes with us. May i know tge sponge cake recipe as well if that’s possible, please. I like your cakes. So yummy. Thank you.

    1. Serdar Yener says:

      what is tge sponge.

      1. Jans26 says:

        Sponge cake recipe please. Sorry missed typed

  12. momo says:

    Thank you so much !!!!I needed this!

  13. vasanti rego says:

    I like your instruction of the cake layer construction. Is there any way i can print this.

    1. Serkan Yener says:

      Thanks vasanti, I will work on a printer friendly version when I get a chance. For now, please try using the print function of your browser. Control+P on windows, and Command+P on a Mac. Thanks!

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