Here are some tips that I learned on Sunday.
Mashed Potatoes: NEVER EVER let your potatoes cool before mashing them. I had to make my buttercream twice because I failed miserably the first time. My Kitchen Aid was tied up so the potatoes sat in the pot (drained of course) for over 45 mins. I went ahead and started the mashed process adding the milk and butter. All of a sudden I noticed that the consistency turned quickly to glue. I researched it and found that the gluten relaxes turning the potatoes into a sticky bubble gum consistency. I could have literally wallpapered my house with the gunk.
Buttercream Frosting: I made a lemon curd filled, lemon cake, with lemon buttercream. I wanted to add some raspberry preserves to the frosting to add color and a little sweetness to the tart cake. Tip NEVER EVER add preserves/jam to your frosting until the very end. I added it at the beginning and the frosting turned hard and un-mixable! I threw it out and started over. I added it once the frosting was light and fluffy. (2 tablespoons will suffice for 4 cups of powdered sugar)
Halving your 8 inch cakes: This cake was 4 layers. I had to halve my cakes with my handy wire cake slicer thingy. Make sure you remove your "halves" with a large pancake spatula and not your hands! I completely turned the 4 halves into 100 pieces of crumbled mess. After working on this damn cake for four hours, you bet your but that I pieced the thing together and served it like nothing was wrong! Surprisingly, it cut really well once placed in the fridge.
The top layer...Ridiculous.