How To Level A Cake

Not sure how to level a cake? We’ve got you covered. Everything you need to know about leveling a cake is right here, check it out!

Everyone loves cakes. Whether they’re eaten at a birthday party, a wedding, or just at home on the couch while watching your favorite Netflix show.

Cakes are one of the best creations humans have come up with.

If you’ve ever done some baking, there’s a good chance you know how difficult it can be to get that cake looking perfect.

It’s a problem that many people struggle with! The most difficult part? How to level a cake.

Lucky for you, you found us! If you are experiencing the stress that goes with trying to level a cake, step back and take a breath.

Here, we are going to go through the process of leveling a cake – made easy.

So, if you want to know how to level a cake like a pro – all you need to do is keep reading, and maybe even bookmark this page when you need it again!

We know you will. 

Why Is It Important To Level A Cake?

Leveling a cake is important because working on a flat surface is a lot easier than working on an uneven one.

This is especially the case when the cake needs to be decorated.

You don’t want any bumps in the middle of your fondant decorations, so make sure the cake is leveled before decorating.

No cake will come out the oven perfectly even, so every cake needs to be leveled if it requires intricate decorating.

And you know how important cake decorating can be!

When you level a cake, you will cut off the domed part of it. You can use this domed piece as a little treat to yourself… it needs to be perfect, right?

Taste test it all you want. This domed part of the cake probably won’t be as soft as the rest of the cake, and a lot of people don’t like the crispy part.

Lucky for you, it’s all yours.  

Leveling a cake is also crucial when it comes to cake layers. When there are multiple cake layers, you need to make sure that every cake layer is even.

If you leave the cake layers domed, the whole cake will end up being precariously balancing. Then there’s a good chance it’ll just fall over.

If that happens, you can say goodbye to your beautiful layer cake.

What Tools Do You Need To Level A Cake?

There are a number of tools you might need to level a cake. It all depends on which method you intend to use, since there are six good ones!

You might think that you need some special tool to level a cake properly, but you don’t.

With just a couple of things you can already find in your kitchen, you can level a cake like a pro.  

Generally, to get rid of a domed cake top, you will need a good knife. A bread knife ideal, but it works best when you cut the cake slowly.

If you need to level something like a layer cake, a bread knife might be a little tedious, but it’ll work!

If you want perfect cake layers, it would probably be better to opt for a tool that will make the process easier.

However, the trust bread knife is something that most of us have, so it’s always good to make use of it!

How To Level A Cake

Method 1 – Use Toothpicks 

You can use toothpicks to level a cake so easily!

All you need to do is get your toothpicks (four should do), and measure out how much you want to cut off the top of the cake.

Use a ruler to do this so that the result is precise. 

After measuring around the cake, stick the toothpick into the cake. Place it at the height you want the cake to be leveled.

Do this with all the toothpicks, so they are sitting evenly on the cake.

They should be at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. You should only be pressing the toothpicks halfway into the cake.

Finally, get a serrated knife and cut the cake using the toothpicks as a guideline.

Cut it very carefully so that you don’t tear the sponge and break any chunks off. You should have a beautifully level cake at the end!  

Method 2 – A Turntable And Serrated Knife

Next, you could try leveling your cake with a turntable and serrated knife.

To start with, place the turntable on the table where you plan to serve the cake. Make sure you have enough space under the turntable for the cake. 

Put the cake on the turntable.

Then, put the blade of the knife against the side of the cake, and cut along the edge of the turntable until you reach the center of the cake.

Repeat this process until you’ve got everything level. 

It’s possible to cut off the dome without getting too close to the edges of the cake.

After cutting, you’ll just have to smooth out the sides of the cake. Try not to leave rough spots or holes from the knife.

If you’re having trouble, check out our video tutorial on how to level a cake!  

Method 3 – Level It In The Pan

All you need to do for this one is leave the cake in its pan to cool down, then use a serrated knife to slice away.

You can easily cut off the domed area by using the pan lip as a guide. 

Be sure so slowly slice the top layer of the dome cake to get it even. Cutting too quickly can make a mess.

This is probably the easiest method on this list, as all you need is a long serrated knife.

As long as the knife is long enough, you will be able to get a beautifully level cake. 

You can use this method for basically any kind of cake pan, including the ones used for a sheet cake, so it’s a super helpful method.

Method 4 – Try Floss

Yeah, it sounds weird, but it works! Just make sure the floss is clean and fresh. If you don’t have a knife handy, floss will do the trick.

You would cut this cake exactly how you would use the pan method.

Follow the pan lip as the guide, hold the floss tight, and wiggle the floss through the cake gently. 

Make sure the floss is at least an inch longer than the diameter of the cake, or else there won’t be enough space to work!

So, if you have an eight-inch cake, get a piece of floss that is at least 9 inches long.

Bear in mind, this method can get a little messy, and you need to be careful while doing it.

If you pull the floss through the cake too quickly, you could simply break the sponge. No one wants that! 

Method 5 – A Cake Leveler 

How To Level A Cake

A cake leveler does exactly what it sounds like. You can buy these at most cake supply stores, and they’re very easy to use.

It’s effectively a U-shaped tool with a tiny serrated blade or wire at the bottom. 

You will first need to place the cake onto a flat surface to work on.

Then, hold the cake leveler over the cake so that the feet of the device are touching the table on both sides of the cake. 

Decide the height you would like your cake to be cut at and set the blade. Once that’s done, saw the top of the cake off with gently motions.

Make sure you keep the tool planted on the table to get an even cut.

Method 6 – The Dishcloth

Finally, the dishcloth, or tea towel method can also be used to level a cake. This is super handy for anyone who doesn’t feel like handling sharp objects!

To do this, you need to work on a cake that is fresh out the oven. A moist cake will react to this method really well.

As soon as you take your cake out of the oven, get a dishcloth and dampen it. Place the damp dishcloth over the fresh, domed cake.

By doing this, your cake will readjust itself and the dome will flatten out. 

Place something like a cutting board on the top of the cake, then press it gently. You’re trying to make sure that the cake stays flat. 

Remove the cutting board, and a beautifully level cake will be revealed.

This method should work well on most cakes, but some might be a little stubborn!

If that’s the case, you should revert to one of the methods mentioned above. One cake recipe might not work as well as others!

Final Thoughts

Leveling a cake is a lot easier than you thought, huh? Hopefully this article was helpful to you, and you can now level a cake with ease!

It might be daunting at first, but you should test out all these methods to find out which one you like the most.

Hopefully it makes your baking a lot easier, and you can enjoy decorating as much as you like!

Just remember to level every cake layer so that it comes out looking perfect. A perfectly level cake is the key to stunning decorations.

Remember – your favorite bread knife can do an amazing job, as long as you know what you’re doing.

Picture of Kathryn Sewell

Kathryn Sewell

Hi! I'm Kate and I have been baking and cooking for as long as I can remember. I like to share the most interesting tips and recipes I try here on What Kate Baked for you to enjoy. If you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share send it over on social.

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