If you’re looking to add a little extra pizzazz to a layer cake, more cake layers is a great way to do just that. More layers means a taller cake and more oohs and aahs from friends and family when you slice into it. While you can bake each layer individually, you might not have enough cake pans or oven space, so splitting cake layers in half horizontally is the way to go.
There are lots of suggestions out there for how to divide cake layers in half— you can buy a fancy tool, you can cut them in half with the help of toothpicks, and you can even use dental floss. However, this is my favorite method. It’s easy, accurate, and requires no fancy equipment.
What you’ll need
You’ll need a small pairing knife and a large serrated knife. The layers you’d like to cut should be chilled, as a cold cake is much sturdier than a cake at room temperature. I like to bake my cake layers the day before and store them in the fridge.
Also, I always use this trick to bake my cakes with flat tops, but if your cake layers have a domed top you’ll need to remove them with a serrated knife before slicing the layers in half. And finally, I prefer to split cake layers that are 2 inches or more thick (tall). Thinner cake layers can be more difficult to work with.
Now that you’re ready, let’s get started!
Use the paring knife to score the entire outside edge of the cake halfway up the side. Go slowly, get down at eye-level if necessary, and don’t cut too deeply. This is simply serving as a marker.
Take the serrated knife and cut through the cake along the indentation made with the paring knife. Again, go slowly to maintain accuracy, there’s no need to rush.
Use the knife to lift the top layer off of the bottom layer. Your cake should be sturdy enough to lift easily without any buckling or crumbling, however if you’re working with a cake round larger than 8 or 9 inches or cake layers that are extremely thin, you may need to use a little extra care.
Use the divided layers immediately to build a layer cake, or wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer (double-wrapped) for up to 1 month.