This Baking Gadget Is Your Secret to Perfect Multi-Layered Cakes

Here is the right way to use one.

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June 16, 2021
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Eurasian millennial woman making vegan layered chocolate cake with vanilla icing at home. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Photo by: PamelaJoeMcFarlane/Getty Images

PamelaJoeMcFarlane/Getty Images

No dessert implies celebration quite like a pristine, multi-layer cake. We indulge in a slice during life’s most jubilant moments, such as graduations, weddings and birthdays, so it's no surprise that when we decide to make cakes ourselves, we want them to be perfect in every way. Sometimes, though, we fall short, and our cakes come out a bit sloppy and uneven.

There’s nothing more frustrating than going through the time and effort it takes to research a recipe, bake and decorate a cake, only to have a messy finished product. If you’re trying to perfect your baking and cake-decorating skills, one simple step could make all the difference. Cake levelers are a home baker’s best friend, giving your celebratory treats a pristine, professional look.

What is a Cake Leveler?

Cakes have leaveners in them, like baking powder and baking soda, which cause them to rise while they bake. This process gives cakes that perfect light and airy texture, but it also causes a little dome to form on the top of your cake. That dome makes it hard to stack and decorate, and it also makes multi-layer cakes vulnerable to cracking. This is where the cake leveler comes in. A cake leveler is a tool that is used to slice off just the dome of a cake, giving you a nice, flat surface to begin stacking and decorating.

Why Do You Need a Cake Leveler?

Leveling your cake is crucial for achieving a crisp and clean, professional look. Unleveled cakes may still taste wonderful, but they are uneven and messy, giving the cake a topsy-turvy look. Most importantly, though, multiple layers of stacked, domed cakes can put too much pressure on the center of the cake, causing the whole thing to crack and crumble down the middle (yikes!). Since domed cakes are asymmetrical, you’ll also have to patch together the stacks of cake with uneven amounts of frosting, making your cake unbalanced and teeter in different directions. Cake levelers are key to ensuring an elegant and well-structured finish every time.

How to Use a Cake Leveler

Cake levelers have a long, curved rod that you hold comfortably in your hand and an ultra-thin metal wire that is pulled taut from one side to the other. They usually also have flat legs that rest on your counter to give an effortless, flat swish across the top of your cake.

It is a super simple process, but you’ll want to keep a few important things in mind as you dive in. First, you want to start with a completely cooled cake. A cake that is even a bit warm will crumble easily and make the process way messier than it needs to be. You could even stick the cake in the freezer for three or four minutes before leveling, just to ensure that you are starting with the firmest possible cake. Next, the cake should go on a completely level surface, like on a turntable or cake stand. The metal cutting wire on cake levelers will be adjustable, so, once your cake is secured on a level surface, you’ll want to adjust that wire in the right spot so it will cut off just the dome of the cake. From there, plant the legs of the cake leveler on your counter, and slowly guide it across the top of your cake. Once your cake is leveled, you’re ready for easy stacking and decorating.

Uses for Cake Scraps

Cake leveling won’t yield a ton of scraps, but throwing away precious bits of cake is never an option. There are plenty of ways to transform those scraps into even more delicious desserts, if you can resist snacking on them while you frost your cake.

One of the best ways to use cake scraps is to mix them with frosting and turn them into cake pops. They’re easy to make and they complete any dessert table. You could also make dessert parfaits by layering cake crumbs with frosting and toppings like crushed sandwich cookies, sprinkles and fruit in small cups. One of the more unique uses for the scraps would be turning them into a cake shake by mixing different types of cake with ice cream and milk. All of these cake scrap projects are a delight to make and eat, and they are a wonderful opportunity to introduce the kids to the joys of baking.

Our Favorite Cake Levelers

$8.39

Wilton makes the perfect cake leveler for beginners. The grip makes it easy to handle, and the adjustable wire is numbered, which makes it super simple to find the right spot to level.

Buy It
$4.99

This cake leveler has two cutting wires, making it the right tool for more advanced cake layering projects.

Buy It
$28.92

Looking for all the tools you need in one place? This is your go-to option for all the tools needed to level and decorate your cake. It includes a cake leveler, turntable, offset spatula and bench scraper.

Buy It

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