You can have your cake, eat it, and eat the crumbs, too.
Photo: John Autry
There are several reasons to take the time to make a homemade cake. First, flavor, texture, and pride. Second, a majestic layer cake puts the exclamation point on a holiday table and doubles as a stunning centerpiece for your dessert buffet. Third, this impressive production actually has big make-ahead potential: You can bake layers up to a month ahead and freeze them, and most fillings and frostings can be made in advance, too. All you need to do is thaw and assemble the day before. Finally, our light cakes really do save on calories and fat—no small thing, especially during the holidays. There are, naturally, a few tricks to coaxing great taste and texture from a cake that leans less heavily on butter and sugar. Here, the secrets are revealed. (Looking for recipes? Find 11 Luscious Layer Cake Recipes)