I started by baking the cake in 6 inch and 9 inch cake pans. Sometimes I make the cake from scratch...not this time. Boxed mixes work great and they are huge time savers. One tip: let the eggs sit out a bit before you add them to the mix.
After the cakes have all baked and cooled, wrap them in seran wrap and put them in the freezer. I usually bake the cakes a few days before. It's easier for me to spread out the process. Once the cake is frozen, you'll need to level it. You can use a cake leveler (you can get them at any craft store...walmart even sells them) or you can just eyeball it.
I wrapped and froze the leveled cakes because I didn't have time to do more. You don't really need to freeze them again after leveling though.
Ready to assemble the cake? For the top layer, cut out a circle of cardboard slightly smaller than the diameter of the cake. They sell precut circles if you'd rather just buy one. Wrap your circle in foil.
Get your leveled cake (look how even the top is...perfect...and if you let your husband have the dome you cut off it might make his day)...
...put a dollop of frosting on the foil covered, cardboard circle...and the put the cake on top of that. I have the circle sitting on parchment paper. This is just to make moving the top layer around easier.
Frost your first layer.
Then place the next level on, leveled side down. So the part that is a little browner and was on the bottom of the pan will be on top. This gives you a smooth surface with nice corners to work with...it's also a lot less crumbly.
Apply a crumb layer of frosting or dirty ice...same thing. Basically just frost the whole cake with a thin layer of frosting. Try to make it even. While you let that level set up (I sometimes put it in the fridge for a while) you can assemble your other teir. Once the crumb layer has set up a bit, frost your cake again and try to make it really smooth.
This is the crumb layer - see how you can see the cake through bits of it? I didn't take a picture of the fully frosted cake.
Now it's fondant time. Wilton sells fondant. You can get it at any craft store (or again, walmart). You can totally use store-bought fondant. It's convenient and super smooth and really white. And it tastes gross. I've used it and it's great, but I prefer using homemade fondant. It's much cheaper and tastes much better. There are recipes and tutorials all over the internet. I might post a making fondant tutorial sometime...but seriously they're everywhere.
After you make your fondant, you can color it. For this cake, I wanted soft pink, hot pink, and purple. I use wilton gel to color fondant. It's a lot brighter and bolder than just food coloring. But you can use food coloring if you like. It works too. For the soft pink, I used hardly any pink gel. I used more for the hot pink. And then I mixed pink and blue gel to get the purple I wanted. It kind of looks greyish in the pictures, it's not...promise. To mix your colors, twist and knead the fondant until the color is even. Before:
I sometimes wear gloves (latex and powder free, food handling gloves) to dye the fondant - just because I don't want pink and blue hands all day.
Roll out your fondant and then lay it over the cake. Try to keep it smooth.
Cut off the excess. I use a pizza cutter.
Smooth out your fondant and repeat with the other tier. When you have both tiers covered, it's time to stack them. Get some dowels or lollipop sticks (again, sold at craft stores or walmart) and cut them to the height of your cake. Then push them into the bottom tier to support the top tier.