This was my first time applying simple syrup to a cake layer. (Simple syrup is just 1 cup of sugar boiled together with a cup of water until the sugar dissolves. For added flavor, you can add a little vanilla, almond, or orange extract to the syrup once it is cooled.) This will ensure the cake is nice and moist. For this size cake, you only need about 1/3 of the syrup mixture. I found out after I made the cake that once you apply the simple syrup, you should let it rest for a couple hours before frosting your cake. This will allow the syrup to evenly spread throughout the cake layer.
I decided to trim the edges off of the cake before I added the coconut pecan filling because I think I overbaked it a little (oops!).
Frosted and smoothed. Almost done!
And.....Tadah! The finished cake!
This was my first attempt at a reverse shell border. Here's a link to a tutorial for the border if you'd like to try your hand at it: