Only final pictures, since this is the same recipe as last time, aside from three changes: Added two more tablespoons of flour, baked at 360, and I didn’t use the bands around the pans. It’s better:
I think the bands improve things; they bake more evenly. That is approximately how they were positioned in the oven. The outside halves are the solid, risen portion and they’re more browned. The trimmings were not smushable because the edges were too stiff; the sugar had caramelized.
A half batch of the Italian Buttercream, with about 3 tablespoons of red plum jam (it was sitting the refrigerator, so why not?), is not quite enough frosting. That could be prettier if I had more to smooth it out.
I’m declaring victory-ish. I’m going to keep experimenting with baking techniques, but it’s time to get back to the white cake attempt. For next time, say goodbye to two egg yolks; the extra, high-altitude flour; and maybe a 1/4 cup of sugar. (Is there such a thing as an Oxford semicolon?)