How to Stack Sheet Cake Layers – Step by Step Guideline

How to Stack Sheet Cake Layers

Last Updated on March 6, 2022 by Editorial Staff

Who doesn’t love a beautifully structured layer cake? Digging into the spongy body of the cake with your fork, then feeling the soft layers dissolve in your mouth with the texture of a creamy filling, is unparalleled.

But as good as they are to eat, layer cakes are also kind of hard to make, unless you’re highly experienced. Not only that, it typically requires using several cake pans.

But this doesn’t have to be true if you have just one sturdy, dependable sheet pan. You just need to know how to stack sheet cake layers!

And that’s exactly what we’ll be teaching you how to do today. Let’s go!

Choosing the Right Cake Recipe

The type of cake you choose to make your layered cake with is an important consideration. You don’t want your cake to be too dense or delicate, because either can make layering difficult. This is particularly important if you’ll be stacking a higher number of cakes or adding complicated fillings and inclusions.

It’s also important to plan ahead on the kind of filling, frosting, and inclusions you want. You can choose to have the same filling and frosting, but if you want to access multiple textures, it’s a good idea to change it up. If you’re feeling inventive, you can even choose more than one filling.

Other than fillings, it’s also a good idea to load your cake with inclusions, such as chopped nuts, chocolate chips, fresh fruit, etc. Because these are incorporated into separate layers, it’s important to note the structural differences each kind of inclusion will cause.

For example, because of the natural moisture contained within fresh fruit, it can add a slippery feel to the cake and break up your layers. So, choose wisely and realistically according to your baking skills.

You have more freedom when it comes to selecting the frosting, although thicker options like American buttercream can take a little more effort to work with. Ideally, the frosting you choose should have a mayonnaise-like texture (think something like ganache), as this is easiest to spread.

How to Stack Sheet Cake Layers

What You’ll Need

  • Sheet cake recipe of your choice (along with the ingredients, of course)
  • Sheet pan with a sturdy, flat base and sides of at least 1 inch
  • Nonstick spray
  • Parchment paper
  • Spatula
  • Serrated knife
  • Cake turntable

Got everything you need? Let’s get started then!

  • Step 1: Grease the Baking Sheet

Use your nonstick spray to prime your baking sheet.

  • Step 2: Line with Parchment Paper

After you have done this, make sure to also grease the parchment paper. If your recipe specifies to flour the pan as well as grease, do it. This will make it easier to take the cake off.

  • Step 3: Make Your Batter

This is the fun part. Following the instructions on your recipe, create the cake batter you will be baking.

  • Step 4: Pour the Batter into the Pan

Once your batter is in the prepared pan, use a spatula to smoothen it, creating as even a layer as possible. Then, put it into the oven and wait.

  • Step 5: Prepare a New Sheet of Parchment Paper

Once the cake is done baking and has cooled sufficiently, it’s time to get down to business. Grab a new sheet of parchment paper and lay it down on the counter. Turn the sheet cake you have baked out onto the parchment. Peel out the existing parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. 

  • Step 6: Trim and Halve the Cake

This step is integral in order to level the cake. Using a serrated knife, cut off the sides of the cake that are of a different height. Now, slice the cake in half. These two halves will be the two layers of your cake. 

Note: Unless you have your frosting ready to go, make sure to wrap the cakes in plastic wrap. Otherwise, the cake will dry up.

  • Step 7: Beginning the Layering Process

On your turntable, lay out the first cake layer. Then, add your filling on its surface. Using a spatula, even out the filling. If your filling is particularly delicate (e.g., jam or curd), first create a wall of icing around the perimeter of the cake. This will ensure that the ingredients stay in place.

  • Step 8: Add the Inclusions

If you’re adding inclusions like fruits and nuts, these should go on top of the filling. It’s usually a good idea to then add another layer of filling, as this helps to uphold the cake’s overall structure.

  • Step 9: Add the Next Cake Layer

Once you’ve applied the filling, place the other cake layer on top. Ensure that the edges are lined up as evenly as possible, then press down gently on the cake to ensure the layers will hold together.

Stack Sheet Cake Layers
  • Step 10: Add a Crumb Coat (Optional)

Although this is usually a personal choice, we have found that adding a crumb coat to a layered cake goes a long way in fortifying its structure. Not only does it eliminate crumbs and hold the cake together in its potentially weak spots, but also it makes frosting easier.

  • Step 11: Refrigerate the Cake (Optional)

After this is done, you can choose to refrigerate the cake. This allows the filling to firm up a little and makes it easier to apply frosting & decorations after. So, if your chosen filling is slippery, we would recommend refrigerating for about 30 minutes.

  • Step 12: Get to Frosting

This is one of our favorite parts of making any cake, and the same is true for a sheet layer cake, of course. Go to town with your spatula. Apply the frosting evenly, spreading it to the cake’s edges. Smoothen the sides while holding your spatula parallel to them.

Try not to freak out about perfect frosting, because decorations are always there to save the day.

  • Step 13: Decorate
Stacking layers together birthday cake

Now that you’ve created your very own layer cake, you should take all the liberties you want in decorating it. Go crazy with frosting, fruit, chocolates, etc. Let your layer cake have its day in the sun.

  • Step 14: Serve and Enjoy

And that’s it! You’re all done. Look at you go!

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Final Words

Now that you know how to stack sheet cake layers, you won’t have to look longingly at others’ layer cakes and wish you could make one yourself. Who knew a simple sheet pan was all you needed for such a beautiful creation?

Good luck, and happy baking!

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