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There's something special about a two-layer cake—tender layers of cake with a sweet filling and beautiful frosting—that's hard to beat. The good news is that you can bake a 2 layer cake even if you're pretty new to baking. We'll help you figure out how to make even layers and how to stack your cakes perfectly. Plus, we'll give you lots of helpful tips along the way! Read on to learn more.

Part 1
Part 1 of 2:
Baking the Layers
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  1. 1
    Mix the cake batter according to your recipe or the instructions on the box. Depending on the type of cake you're mixing, you'll either cream all of the ingredients together or beat the wet ingredients and finish folding in the dry ingredients.
    • To make your boxed cake more flavorful, mix in your own spices, chocolate, or fruit.
    • For perfectly light cakes, stop mixing the batter as soon as the ingredients are well-mixed.
  2. 2
    Pour even amounts of batter into your prepared pans. If you're rushed for time, eyeball the amounts and try to put an equal amount into each of your pans. Your cakes will turn out fine and you can always trim the layers so they're even.
    • For more accuracy in dividing the batter set an empty cake pan on a digital kitchen scale and press "tare." Scoop about half of the batter into the pan and repeat this with the other pan until both have the same amount. Then, smooth the top of the batter with an offset spatula.[1]
  3. 3
    Wrap cake strips around the outside of the pans to get flat layers. You can buy cake strips at craft supply stores or online, but kitchen towels work, too! Tear an old kitchen towel into long strips and get them wet. Then, wrap the wet strips around the outside of the cake pans and tie the ends into a knot.[2]
    • The strips help distribute heat as the layers bake, so they don't puff up in the center.
  4. 4
    Bake the layers until the cake is done. Put your filled cake pans on the same rack in the preheated oven so they bake evenly. Set a timer and test the cake when the timer goes off—insert a cake tester, toothpick, or a thin knife into the center of the cake and pull it out. Pop on oven mitts and take the layers out of the oven. [3]
    • Don't open the oven door as the cake bakes or the temperature drop can make your layers fall.
    • If the cake's done, you'll see just a few crumbs sticking to the tester. If you pull out the tester and there's a wet batter stuck to it, set the timer for a few more minutes and test again.
  5. 5
    Put the cake layers away to cool or chill. Run a knife around the sides of each cake layer and carefully flip them out of the pans and onto a wire rack to cool completely. Then, wrap each layer in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge to chill.[4]
    • It's super important to cool the layers before you build your layer cake—if you try to frost a warm cake, the frosting will simply slide off or melt into the cake. Even just chilling the layers for 15 minutes will cut down on crumbs and make it easier to frost the double-layer cake.
    • Want to make your two-layer cake in advance? Bake the layers up to 5 days before you plan on serving the cake. They'll keep perfectly fine wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge.
    • If you used parchment circles in the pans, peel them off of the cake layers.
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Part 2
Part 2 of 2:
Cutting, Assembling, & Frosting the Layers
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  1. 1
    Make homemade frosting or get out a container of storebought frosting. Choose a flavor of frosting that will taste great with your cake flavor. If you'd like a different flavor for the filling, pick a second frosting flavor or filling like fruit curd or jam.
    • Make a double chocolate layer cake by using dark chocolate frosting with chocolate cake or fill a white layer cake with lemon curd and frost it with vanilla buttercream.
    • Cream cheese frosting is fantastic on a carrot cake or red velvet cake. If you're looking for something lighter, make a whipped cream frosting.
    • The amount of frosting you need for a double layer cake depends on how much frosting you like, but in general, you'll need a total of 3 to 5 cups (710 to 1,180 ml) of frosting for a double layer cake.
    • To help buttercream frosting to stick to a cake, whip it up very smoothly.
    • You should start with room temperature butter. Otherwise, the buttercream tends to become very stiff.[5]
    • When the buttercream is very stiff, it is hard to put on the cake and falls from one place to the other.
  2. 2
    Cut off the top of each layer if they happened to dome. Take the layers out of the fridge and unwrap them. Then, set them on a flat surface and hold the blade of a serrated knife horizontally. Slowly saw across the top of the layer to remove the raised dome. Do this for the other layer so they're both flat.[6]
    • Brush the tops of the trimmed layers with a pastry brush to remove crumbs that could get stuck in the frosting.
    • Enjoy the trimmed scraps as a snack or save them to make cake breadcrumbs.
  3. 3
    Cut each layer in half if you want to make extra layers. Although you don't have to slice the layers in half since you already baked 2 layers for your cake and you want to keep them even, you can make a taller layer cake by cutting them in half. Instead of trimming off just the dome, hold your serrated knife horizontally and cut directly through the middle of each layer.
    • Some cake layers aren't very thick, so it's best to simply stack the 2 layers while other types of cake make really thick layers that are easy to slice in half. In general, your layers should be at least 2 inches (5.1 cm) thick if you'd like to cut them in half.
  4. 4
    Place a dollop of frosting on a cake stand and set 1 cake layer on it. The frosting helps hold the cake in place while you assemble it. Take 1 of your cake layers and turn it upside down before you place it directly on the cake stand.[7]
    • Usually, the side that was on the bottom of the pan is the flattest—this is why you flip the layer over before putting it on the stand.
  5. 5
    Spread the filling on the layer and stack the other layer on top. Place a big spoonful of filling onto the middle of the cake layer—aim to use at least 1 cup (240 ml) of filling. Use an offset spatula to spread the filling so it evenly covers the top of your bottom layer. Then, take your other cake layer and place it on the frosted layer, so the trimmed side faces down.[8]
    • Brush away loose crumbs as you work so they don't get stuck in your frosting.
    • If you're using a soft or loose filling like a fruit jam or custard, pipe thick frosting around the perimeter of the bottom cake layer. Then, spoon the filling across the layer. The frosting perimeter will stop the filling from spilling out.
  6. 6
    Spread a thin crumb coat over the layer cake and chill it for 15 minutes. Use your offset spatula to apply a really thin layer of frosting to the sides and top of your two-layer cake; this crumb coat can be so thin that you still see the cake underneath it. Then, set a cake dome on top of the stand and put your layer cake in the fridge for 15 minutes. This gives the crumb coat a chance to firm up.[9]
    • The crumb coat simply acts as a barrier between the frosting and the cake, so you don't end up with big crumbs in your perfectly frosted layer cake.
  7. 7
    Apply a thick layer of frosting to the sides and top of your layer cake. Take the cake out of the fridge and remove the cake dome. Then, place a big scoop of frosting on top of the cake and use your offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly over the sides and top.[10]
    • To make it easier to frost, slowly turn the cake stand as you work.
    • If you want really smooth frosting, drag a bench scraper against the sides of the cake as you rotate the stand.
  8. 8
    Decorate your two-layer cake before you serve it. If you want to add embellishments, have fun! Scatter sprinkles over the top, pipe rosettes out of frosting, or garnish the cake with edible flowers. When you're ready to serve, carefully pull out the strips of parchment from under the cake.[11]
    • You can keep the cake out at room temperature until it's time to serve unless the frosting has dairy like whipped cream or cream cheese. If so, stick the cake in the fridge until closer to serving.
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      About This Article

      Quynh La
      Co-authored by:
      Professional Baker
      This article was co-authored by Quynh La and by wikiHow staff writer, Jessica Gibson. Quynh La is a Professional Baker and the Owner of Sugar Bakery & Cafe in Seattle, Washington. With over seven years of experience, she specializes in baking cakes, cookies, croissants, and bread. Quynh holds an AAS in Culinary Arts from South Seattle College and a second AAS in Specialty Desserts & Bread from Seattle Central College. This article has been viewed 32,952 times.
      2 votes - 100%
      Co-authors: 11
      Updated: August 27, 2022
      Views: 32,952
      Categories: Featured Articles | Cakes
      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 32,952 times.
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