How to Level and Torte a Cake with Video

Want to know how to make your cakes nice and level for easy decorating? Does the thought of cutting a cake into equal level portions scare you? Don’t worry. I am here to show you a very simple way to level and torte a cake so you will have a nice flat surface to decorate. All you need is a good serrated knife, a turntable and a ruler. Oh yeah, you will need a cake.

How to Level and Torte a Cake | The Bearfoot BakerThe first thing I want to say is my cake is a bit dry. I decided to bake it when I had the flu and then left it out on the counter without covering it properly. So please forgive the ‘crummy cake’ because it was my fault for not freezing it when I took it out of the oven to lock in all that amazing moisture. After a long, long nap and hot shower I managed to get the strength to covered it properly and freeze it until I felt well enough to layer and torte it, but sadly the damage was done. Poor cake.

Since the cake was for us (no special occasion) I saved it with a simple syrup that I will share in the near future. If the cake had been for someone else, I would have rebaked it to make sure it was as fresh as it could possibly be but since I was feeling crummy, it seemed appropriate to work with this crummy cake. 😉

Supplies for How to Level and Torte a Cake:

Serrated Knife

I promise you this isn’t hard to level and torte a cake so don’t stress. It’s as simple as marking the cake with a knife and then cutting it. It really is a ‘piece of cake.’ Learn How to Level and Torte a Cake with a Knife and a Ruler | The Bearfoot Baker

Before we begin let’s talk about your knife. A long serrated knife works best because it’s easy to cut crooked with a short knife. The long knife will make a straighter cut with less effort. Your tools are important.

Layering the cake:

  • Begin by placing the cake on a cake board.
  • Put a piece of duct tape in the center of the turntable.
  • Set the cake with the cake board on the duct tape. It is important to get the cake in the center so it will be easier to cut.
  • Next, measure the cake and decide how much of the top you need to trim.
  • Use the ruler to work your way around the cake and making marks with the knife where you want to level the cake.
  • Once the marks are made, place one hand on the top of the cake and slowly spin the turntable as you apply slight pressure with the level knife. Don’t use a big sawing motion to cut the cake. The turntable will do most of the moving for you so all you have to do is apply a little pressure and gentle motion to the knife as you spin the cake.
  • The goal is to connect the marks you made around the cake with a very shallow cut which will become your cutting guide.
  • Once you have connected the cut marks it’s time to make a deeper cut. 
  • Keep spinning the turntable with the one hand on top of the cake while gently keeping the knife level as you cut.
  • Keep spinning and cutting while working your way to the center. I know it is tempting to just start sawing your way through but be patient. This will work perfectly, I promise!
  • Remove the top of the cake and you will have a nice level cake.

Torting the Cake or Diving it into horizontal layers:

  • Repeat the process above except this time measure and cut the cake in half. We are cutting this cake into two layers so adjust if you are cutting your cake into more layers.
  • Don’t force the knife. Gentle pressure and the spinning of the turntable will help do the job for you as you hold the knife level.
  • Work your way to the center.
  • Remove the top layer and guess what? YOU DID IT! I told you it was easy!

If you have a dome shaped cake this process is the same.

Learn How to Level and Torte a Dome Cake | The Bearfoot Baker

Level and Torte a Dome Shaped Cake:

  • Trim the top of the cake just like you did for the round cake by measuring and marking it with the knife.
  • Connect the marks and trim the top.
  • Next, measure to find out how tall your cake is so you will know where to make the horizontal cut.
  • Flip the cake over so it will be steady and make the marks with your knife.
  • Connect those marks and then make a deeper cut as you spin the turntable.
  • Continue until you reach the center.

Told you it was easy! Now you can watch the video to see it in action.

Once you learn how to level and torte a cake you will be one step closer to decorating amazing cakes for your family and friends. Who knows, you might just become the next Maggie Austin! 😉

Bear hugs,