Recently, I decided to join a mini cake collab on Instagram. While trying to create a design concept, I thought, “what would be cuter than a mini cake, with an even mini-er cake inside?!” Probably, not much.
Unless I put a mini puppy inside. With that, the horizontal hole cake concept – and potentially my most complex decorating idea – came to life.
What Is A “Horizontal Hole Cake”
As opposed to a traditional cake with a vertical hole (AKA a bundt cake) or a “surprise” pinata cake, a horizontal hole cake is my term for a stacked layer cake with a hole running horizontally through from one side to the other. It creates a hollow “tube” that you can see straight through. I’ve seen a cake similar to this once or twice on Instagram but wasn’t able to find any references or allusions back to an original creator.
Plus, I couldn’t even find a name for this cake on Google. Every combination of “hole” and “cake” just turned up bundt cakes or “surprise” center cakes. (Those are different in that a hole is created vertically down the center of all layers of cake, only to be revealed upon cutting into it. Bakers often fill them with candy, so as to create a “surprise” that pours out as the recipient cuts the cake.)
So, after more thought than was probably necessary, I decided to stick with the name “horizontal hole” cake. Let me know if you can think of anything better – LOL – I’m open to suggestions.
How To Make A Horizontal Hole Cake
To create your very own horizontal hole cake, first, check out my decorating tutorial video. Then, peruse the list of materials and ingredients that you’ll need. Near the end of this post, I’ve provided some helpful written instructions, tips, and cake decorating references.
Horizontal Hole Cake Tutorial Video
Feel free to follow this tutorial as closely as you prefer. Keep in mind, you can always personalize the steps to fit your design better and make it your own. Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!
Decorating Tools and Ingredients List
Before starting your cake, make sure you have all the necessary tools and ingredients. I’ve included helpful links (some are affiliate) for easy shopping and reference. Here’s what I used:
- Stable cake layers, baked and cooled – choose a small (4″-6″), dense pound cake recipe, rather than a large (6″+), light sponge cake for support and stability (I “cake-cycled” and used only the top, 4″ tier from this cake)
- American-style crusting buttercream (the one I always use is linked in the recipe above)
- Mixing bowls of varying sizes
- Cake leveler/wire, turntable, cake scraper, offset spatula, piping bags – all can be purchased in a kit like this
- Food coloring gels – I used Americolor’s deep pink, soft pink, royal blue, red, and black
- Plastic wrap
- Fondant and fondant toolset
- Silicone mat for protecting the work surface from fondant
- Sharp, thin knife (I used my filet knife from Cutco)
- Gold luster dust and clear, food-grade alcohol like white rum or vodka
- Food-safe paintbrushes
Horizontal Hole Cake – Tips For Success
Creating this gravity-defying cake isn’t too tricky, but there are some key things to keep in mind when working on it. Here’s a little overview of the process with some tips to help you succeed.
Step One: Crumb Coat and Stack Your Cakes
It may seem counterintuitive, but before dissembling and cutting the hole into your cake, you should crumb coat, stack, and chill it. This works better than crumb coating after cutting the hole, and it’s not just because I “cake-cycled” this cake from a previously decorated one.
For starters, once you remove some cake, it loses structure. Buttercream (especially chilled American buttercream) adds a lot of stability to the structure. Plus, it’s more difficult to get a good coating of buttercream on the cake with a hole cut into it, as you have more random cake crumbs floating around and the surface isn’t as stable. “Locking everything in” with a crumb coat before cutting the hole ensures an easier and smoother final coat.
If you need help layering and frosting cakes with a turntable and scraper, check out my video tutorial in this post.
Step Two: Plan Your Cut
Draw out a “template” of your circle in the crumb coat thinly with the knife tip to plan your cut.
If you have a two-layer cake like mine, you’ll cut two semi-circles, one from the bottom layer, and one from the top. If you’re cutting into a three-layer cake or more, you’ll have to cut two, smaller semi-circles from the top and bottom layers, and then completely remove a section of cake from the middle layer(s).
Step Three: Make Your Cut
Make sure your cake is solidly chilled before starting this step. To perform the cut, gently and cleanly slice through the buttercream in between each layer to separate them. Working quickly, starting with the bottom layer, slice out the cake along your template marks. Place the bottom layer back on your turntable. Then, cut the cake in the center layer, if applicable, and the top, reassembling the cake as you go.
Apply gentle pressure to the top of the cake to adhere the buttercream layers together once again. Put the cake back in the refrigerator to let everything solidify again.
Pro-Tip: Don’t waste that cake! I love to make elegant and fun cake domes out of my cake scraps and leftovers.
Step Four: Final Coat Outside and Inside
First, with a narrow offset spatula, apply a coat of buttercream to the hole in your cake. This part is kind of awkward, but I found that making round, sweeping motions with the edge of the spatula worked best.
Then, apply a final coat of buttercream on top and around the edges of the cake, smoothing it gently with a cake scraper. Pay careful attention around the hole areas so as not to tear the cake apart.
Chill the cake again.
Step Five: Add Finishing Touches
You can add a thin piece of fondant to the inside of the hole, or around the edge to clean it up a bit. Or, use buttercream and sprinkles as I did!
If you wish to cover the entire cake (inside and out) with fondant, apply it first to the inside of the hole, then to the outside of the cake. Make cuts in the fondant where you feel the hole, and then smooth the edges together for a flawless, seamless finish.
To create gorgeous, multi-colored spirals of buttercream on top of the cake, lay out a piece of plastic wrap. Spoon out the buttercream colors onto the plastic, and wrap it up. Cut off the tip of the plastic, and place it in a prepared piping bag. Use as normal to create flourishes, lines, rosettes, and other decorations.
To use gold luster dust, mix a small amount with a few drops of your clear, food-grade alcohol until it turns into a paint-like consistency. Use caution when applying to fondant, as too much moisture can make fondant gluey. If you’re applying the luster paint to buttercream, like in my cake, just make sure the buttercream is chilled before doing so.
To complete my cake, I made a tinier version out of fondant. I used the smallest piping tips I had to replicate the outer decoration on the larger version. Then, I simply set it inside the horizontal hole on this cake. You can get really creative with yours, or just leave it empty for a mind-blowing effect!
Enjoy Your Horizontal Hole Cake Creation!
I hope you love your horizontal hole cake as much as I do! It’s a fun and unique way to create a show-stopping dessert piece.
Don’t forget to find me on Instagram so we can keep in touch, and be sure to tag me in any photos you post of your bakes! I love sharing my faves on my stories!
And, if you liked this cake decorating idea, be sure to enter your email below to receive notification of my next blog post like this one. You don’t want to miss it!
Take care guys! Until next time…
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