When I first started decorating cakes, I had no idea how to level a cake, or that such a thing was even done. I guess I always thought that my cakes were just a little bit rounder than most. It wasn’t until I really started to dive into my decorating with more enthusiasm that I found cake leveling is a must if you want your cakes to turn out right and not topple over.
I remember watching Cake Boss and I saw how Buddy would just grab a serrated knife and “Badda Boom, Badda Bing!” the cake was in half and perfectly cut, the layers the same height…at least from my prospective there on the couch. I’m thinking, “I can do that!” That’s when I learned that I have a very askew point of view. By the time I was done trying to “level” my cake, it would be just a fraction of what it used to be, and it still would not be that level.
Then I discovered the ingenious device that is a Cake Leveler.
Using a cake leveler can save you time and stress if you are new to leveling cakes. Managing to cut your cake completely straight can be difficult the first several times doing it, so a cake leveler can save you from a ton of mistakes.
In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to use a Wilton Wire Cake Leveler, one of the many cake levelers on the market today, to both level your cake and to slice your cake in half to make layers. I personally use this leveler, but that does not mean it’s the “Cat’s Meow” for everyone. To find which type of cake leveler will work best for you, check out my post What Is A Cake Leveler? – A Guide To Cake Levelers.
How To Use A Cake Leveler
Leveling the top of your cake
The first step to prepping your cake for decorating is to level the top of the cake. Since this tutorial is focused on using a wire leveler, there may be slight changes to the following steps if you were using a serrated blade leveler, or one of the guides featured in my Cake Leveler post.
Adjust the blade or wire to the height that you wish to cut your cake. I always place the wire to the height of the lowest edge of the cake so I cut the full “dome” off the cake.
Start to slide the leveler back and forth across the counter and allow the blade or wire to “saw” through the cake. (Think of a two-person blade sawing through a tree, back and forth, back and forth.)
*Tip: If you happen to leave your cake out to cool too long without covering it, or over-cook it a little, the sides of the cake may start to dry out a bit. This will make cutting into the cake with the wire a bit difficult and will cut the cake crookedly. Try taking a serrated blade and making a small cut in the cake where you want the wire to start slicing through.
When you get to the other side of the cake, place your hand against the side of the cake that the wire will come out of. Don’t worry, the wire is not sharp so there is no need to worry about cutting yourself.
*Tip: The reason for placing your hand at the end of the cake is to keep the cake from bending at the end and creating a weird slope, due to the edge of the cake being harder. Sometimes the edges refuse to let the wire go through, causing the wire to go upward. It’s an easy fix, if the happens. Just turn the cake and use the leveler to slice through it sideways, or use a serrated blade to gently cut it off.
Pull off the dome of the cake and Violà!
Dividing your cake in half
Measure your cake AFTER you have leveled the top of the cake.
Find the center and adjust the height of your leveler to that point on the cake.
*Tip: A good way to mark the height you need to cut the cake is to stick a toothpick in the cake at that point, or to use a serrated knife and make a small cut, horizontally, in the cake at the point you need to start slicing through.
Place your hand on top of the cake, exerting a SLIGHT pressure to hold the cake steady, and start sawing back and forth through the cake till you come to the end.
*Tip: DO NOT put too much pressure on the cake or your layers will look wavy after they are cut.
There you go, two layers of cake!
Tip: Making your cake have layers and dividing it in half is for cakes that are a little more dense. Some cakes can be a little too fluffy and might not be stable enough. You can help make your cake a little more dense, without compromising flavor, by doctoring it up. Check out my post, Doctored Up Cake Recipe, to give your cake the density it will need. This recipe features a chocolate cake, but you can use this same recipe for any flavor. Just substitute the cake mix with any other flavor and the pudding with that same flavor of cake. The rest of the recipe would be the same.
- Lemon cake mix + lemon flavored pudding
- Yellow cake mix + vanilla flavored pudding
- White cake mix + white chocolate flavored pudding.
- Red Velvet cake mix + white chocolate or vanilla flavored pudding (you could use chocolate flavored pudding too, but the mix will be darker.)
So, what did you think of this tutorial? Did it help you to understand how to properly use this cake leveling tool? Do you have a favorite way to level your cakes? If you have any questions or comments you would like to share, please leave them below. 🙂