How to Make an Even and Tall Cake

I have been asked over and over again if I could do a post on how to make an even and tall cake, so I finally gave in. For that reason I made videos (yes, plural), to help you practice making a tall and very even cake. If I managed to learn it, you will too. I can tell you, I was scared of cutting a cake in more than half (you know like cutting one big cake layer into three) and my cakes were loop-sided. But I promise you, practice makes perfect, so if I can make a nice even cake, so can you. I mean the below three-tiered wedding cake I made does show that it is possible, right? Yes, this wedding cake was prepared by me and yes, I did overcome my fear.

Dreistöckige Hochzeitstorte mit Schoko-DripFor wedding cakes it is extremely important that they are even as you are going to stack one on the other and even if you have the proper support, you want to be sure the weight is distributed evenly. You will find the recipes for this wedding cake here.

#1 Buy two cake pans of the same size

If you are going to make a tall cake, you will need to make three to four layers (or even more). For that reason you should have at least two cake pans of the same size. Here in Germany regular grocery stores such as Rewe, Edeka etc. do have them, I checked. I own a lot from the brand Dr. Oetker. They didn’t pay me, this is not sponsored, but I do love their quality. I love their series called “Retro”, I own two of this 18 cm springform from Dr. Oetker, they also have them available in different sizes. If you can divide the cake dough from the start, chances are much higher that you will not need to cut off any dome. In the best case you can use them as soon as they have cooled off. You may need to divide each in half, but that is about it. If you bake dough in just one springform (which needs to be a deep one!), you will need to bake longer, so baking time increases. With the energy prices at the moment, I would want to avoid that. And secondly, you will most likely need to cut off the top, make them even and level them.

#2 You need even cake layers for an even and straight cake

Yes, I know it sounds very straight forward, however, it is amazing how often people forget this. If you want to have an even cake, you will have to have even cake layers. That is how simple it is. Meaning, you will need to level your cakes, any dome, any uneven parts need to be cut off. The best way to do this is with a serrated knife. I made a vido for you to see it. The most important thing is that you don’t cut through right away. Instead you will only cut about 0.5 – 1cm in, your hand will not move, all work will be done by the turn table. It actually is not that hard once you understand the basic concept. It took me a few tries until I finally got it. Once you have cut all around the cake, you can finally cut through or you can simply move in another centimeter until you have cut through the entire cake. I would say below cake layers look even, don’t you think? If I managed to overcome my fear, I think you can, too! And by the way, any leftovers can be used as cake pops, as a layerd dessert in a glass, a trifle, with some whipped cream or simply eaten just like that.

#3 Be sure to divide the filling before you assemble the cake

For even cake layers, you need to divide your filling prior to spreading it on each layer. If you have four cake layers, you will need to divide your filling into thirds. If you want to use the very same filling also for the outside, you will need an equal amount for the outside frosting. However, this only holds true for smaller cakes between 16-20cm, for larger cakes I would recommend using at least two parts of the filling to cover the entire outside. For example, a cake of 24cm should have two fifths for the outside.

Once you have assembled cakes more often, you will get a much better feel as to how much filling you actually need per cake layer. On average I usually have between 3-4 heaping tablespoons of filling between the cake layers. Be sure to be consistent, if you filled the bottom layer with four tablespoons, use four tablespoons throughout.

#4 Several tools will help you a lot to achieve your goal

I have often been asked whether you really need all those fancy tools in order to assemble and stack a tall cake. The answer is, you don’t, but you will need to practice more and need to have experience under your belt in order for it to look the same. If you are on a tight budget, I would recommend investing in a turn table. In my opinion you can do without other tools, but a turn table will get you far. This already starts with getting even cake layers, a turn table will do most of the job. To the present day I only use a serrated knife and my turn table to get that job done. Yes, my turn table is from Ikea, it is nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. Even if you don’t want to invest in further tools, the turn table will help you to get consistent, even, and straight results. In this video you will see how I stack and frost a cake. If I hadn’t use a turn table, it wouldn’t have turned out. I would say the tools you may want are (sorted according to importance):  icing spatula, bench scraper, piping bags, and a cake ring.

You may see here, I am not moving my hand holding the tool, but instead am moving the turn table

#5 All cakes need a sturdy buttercream as a frosting

Especially if you have fruity fillings, you need to be sure to have a sturdy and strong buttercream that keeps the cake together, you don’t want it to slide or melt! The best frosting in my opinion is buttercream, my favorites are Swiss meringue buttercream and Italian buttercream. If you frost all your cakes with it and have the cakes chill overnight, they will keep your cake stable, especially if you have slightly softer fillings. I made Swiss meringue buttercream for this three-tiered wedding cake for 100 guests. For extra support, I also created a dam on each cake layer as pictured below. This keeps the outside color white and also helps for soft fillings not to spill out. If you want to use whipping cream, mascarpone-based frosting or anything softer than butter for your frosting, you need to stabilize them using gelatine or other measures to be sure that your cake is going to keep. Especially if you are serving these cakes on a hot summer day and they have to sit at room temperature for a while.

The outer ring piped on this cake layer serves as a dam, no filling can spill out

#6 The tools should do the job for you

For me who has no technical understanding at all, it was important to learn that my hands shouldn’t move at all. You are a robot who cannot move. The turn table is doing almost all of the job for you. It is a simple equasion, if you want to be sure to spread frosting evenly while moving the turn table, you cannot and should not move the knife, bench scraper or whatever tool you are holding in your hand for best results. Just the movement of the turn table will do the trick.

The same holds true for the cake ring. If, even though you did your very best, your cake looks crooked, is not even, or loop-sided, place it inside a cake ring and tighten the ring as much as you can. You can wrap the cake in parchment paper first to be sure as little frosting as possible will get off when you release the cake from the ring. However, if left inside the cake ring for a few hours, it will help for the cake to straighten. Best results will be achieved if you keep the cake inside the ring overnight. It basically works like a corset, a cake corset if you will.

Himbeer-Schokofüllung für HochzeitstorteA cake ring is like a corset, everything is kept straight and in place

#7 Place the top cake layer upside down

Keep your best and most even cake layer for the top. Place it upside down as cake layers are always straighter on the bottom. So before you start assemling your cake, make sure you pick out the best for the top. This will mean you don’t have to cheat using buttercream to make it even.

#8 Chilling is key

Sometimes I wonder, I hear people complaining that their cake was loop-sided and when you investigate a little more you learn that the cakes had not chilled properly, the filling was still warm when the cake was assembled, etc. It goes without saying that this will result in desaster. You need to be sure to have cooled-off cakes before you cut into them, your fillings need to have room temperature before spreading. Mind you, wedding cakes are always chilled overnight, anywhere between 8-12 hours is normal before they are delivered. So don’t worry if you start a day earlier, better safe than sorry. I found it helpful to visualize that the butter of the buttercream needs to harden again. First you beat so much air into it for it to become creamy, but then, once you applied it, you want to be sure it is extra hard and can keep all that weight. So chilling is never wrong, you can always chill every step of the way.

30cm Torte im KühlschrankThe upper cake is chilling before it is going to be frosted. The below cake is in the cake “corset” for it to be straight.

#9 Use a bench scraper for a nice and even outer frosting

In this video you will see how I assemble a cake. In case you somehow ended up with an uneven top, buttercream can do the trick for you. You just need to be sure to apply enough buttercream. By applying buttercream, scraping it off again and then applying more, at some point you will get an even layer of buttercream. This is the last resort, but if you somehow had problems beforehand, buttercream will help you to conceal any mishaps.

You see the same cake pictured. On the left I was still unhappy, it doesn’t look smooth, you can still see a bit of the cake layers, the picture on the right was much better with an even layer of buttercream.

Only if you have a straight and even cake, you can consider decorating it with a drip, swirls or anything similar

#10 Recipe ideas

If you want to see how to bake and assemble a tall cake, below you will get some recipe ideas:

The Oreo cake that was my model for a lot of these pictures:

Super leckere Oreo-Torte

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry chocolate cake

 

 

 

Schoko-Karamell-Torte

 

 

 

Chocolate caramel cake

 

 

 

 

Hohe Erdbeer-Stracciatella-Torte

 

 

 

Strawberry chocolate shavings cake

 

 

 

 

Die ultimative Schokotorte mit Schokomousse und Schokoganache

 

 

 

Chocolate cake with chocolate mousse

 

 

 

 

Zitronen-Holunder-Torte

 

 

 

Elderberry lemon cake

 

 

 

 

Umwerfend leckere Schoko-Nutellatorte mit Heidelbeeren

 

 

 

Nutella chocolate blueberry cake

 

 

 

 

Fruchtige Piña-Colada-Torte

 

 

 

Piña Colada cake

 

 

 

 

Vegane Mango-Schoko-Torte

 

 

Vegan mango chocolate cake

 

 

 

 

 

Dreistöckige Hochzeitstorte mit Schoko-Drip

 

 

Three-tired wedding cake with three different flavors

 

 

 

 

 

You Might Also Like

6 Comments

  • Reply
    Dorothée
    Saturday March 2nd, 2024 at 04:33 PM

    Liebe Jenny,
    vielen Dank für Deine tolle und ausführliche Beschreibung. Ich habe schon geahnt, dass es jede Menge Arbeit ist, so eine Torte zu backen. Es freut mich, dass Du bei meinem Blog-Event dabei bist.

    • Reply
      Jenny
      Saturday March 2nd, 2024 at 06:10 PM

      Ja, ist eine Menge Arbeit, aber auch wunderschön anzusehen und zu essen 🙂

  • Reply
    FEL!X
    Wednesday March 6th, 2024 at 05:43 AM

    Deine Torten und die hilfreichen Tipps sind genial!
    Ich freue mich stets, wenn ich sehe, dass keine Mühe gescheut wird – ich halte es auch so!

    • Reply
      Jenny
      Wednesday March 6th, 2024 at 08:58 AM

      Danke dir, sehr liebe Worte!

  • Reply
    zorra vom kochtopf
    Sunday March 31st, 2024 at 05:17 PM

    Jetzt bin ich top motiviert mit deinen Tipps mal eine gerade Torte zu machen. 🙂 Danke dafür und frohe Ostern!

    • Reply
      Jenny
      Sunday March 31st, 2024 at 05:19 PM

      Sehr gerne und ebenfalls frohe Ostern!

    Leave a Reply