Tips and Tricks: The easiest way to cut even cake layers

What are those and what are they doing in my kitchen? Those are cross stitch hoops and the idea of using them for cakes came to me as I was working on a cross stitch project. Are you seeing it yet?

Okay, here’s the thing. If you know me or your regular reader, than you know I like to inhale cake like people inhale air. But if you take a look around the blog, I don’t actually do too many full size layered cakes. You’ll find lots of mini, bundts and various other cakes, but not the beautiful layered cakes you will find here, here, here, here and here.

There is a reason for that. Plain and simple: I’m not very skilled at it. I can never seem to cut nice even layers. No matter how hard I try the layers end up cockeyed or sideaways. I’ve even tried this tool, but the problem with it is either the cake moves around too much or you have to push down on the cake to hold it steady. Well holding your cake down pretty much squishes it flat.

But aside from cutting even cake layers, there is also the matter of actually being able to frost beautifully—not my forte. Luckily, I’m pretty stubborn, so for now I’ve solved my first problem to cutting even cake layers. As for the frosting, I’m still working on that one.

Check out this quick and dirty trick I came up with to cutting even cake layers. Seriously, can it get any easier? The best part, those cross stitch hoops are about $1.60 a piece and come in sizes from 3-12 inches. Want thicker slices – just stack two loops one on top of another and tape them together.

1. Place hoop around cake. I use the outer ring of the hoop, so that I can hold onto the the adjustment knob if needed.
2. Rest serrated knife directly on the top edge of the hoop and cut across the cake. Use the top edge of the hoop as the guide to keeping your knife level. Also, be sure to keep the tip of the knife fully visible on the opposite side to prevent the knife from angling down.

And there you have it – a fast and easy way to cut even cake layers.

If you haven’t guessed, cake post coming tomorrow. So come back and see what will become of those cake layers.

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35 Responses to “Tips and Tricks: The easiest way to cut even cake layers”

  1. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 25, 2012 @ 4:36 am

    Good tips and if you have any tips on how to cut super precise lines into a 9 x 13 pan of bars, I’m all ears. My lines are never quite perfectly straight. I wish I had a huge knife that could just slice a 13 inch row in one fell swoop but I don’t. lol


    • Destiny replied: — July 25th, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

      Why not cut a pattern like you would with sewing? I can’t cut a straight line, but a rectangle cut from a cereal box would make a nice straight edge. Or you could find a small ruler?


  2. #
    Becca — March 25, 2012 @ 4:48 am

    You are a genius! Fabulous trick.


  3. #
    Monica — March 25, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    This is brilliant! I have a expensive tool that did not work… specially if I made a cake that is smaller than 9 inches..

    I running to my nearest Michael’s to stock up on these.. I may even make a cake today to try it out…

    Oh boy.. exciteddddd


    • Naomi replied: — March 25th, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

      Monica – I have bought a few tools too. They were pricey and none of them worked too well. I love this cheap and easy trick.


  4. #
    Kyla — March 25, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

    Avery…depending on the pan of bars you can use fishing wire to cut straight lines for your bars. I don’t have any luck when they are a”harder” bar but for brownies and so on it is slick as ever and this way you get clean cuts also so no rough edges!!!!


  5. #
    Shannon — March 25, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

    This is perfect. I cut so many cakes at work, and even with a few weeks of practice I am not doing so well.
    Icing is getting a lot easier. We freeze the cakes for an hour before we frost them, which helps keep the crumbs down to a minimum.


  6. #
    Heather — March 25, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

    That’s a cool trick. If you want a great YouTube tutorial for perfectly iced layered cakes check out Edna’s video at:
    She has been a teacher and baker for many years and has recently been a competitor and judge for the food network.


  7. #
    Backflittchen — March 25, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

    This is such a great idea!! Thank you very much for the trick because I’m not very good in cutting nice even layers, too =D


  8. #
    Russell — March 25, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

    I use an Agbay to level and slice my cakes, but i’m going to try these out for a level layer of icing between the cake layers, the problem i have is i tend to create a little bit of a dome shape and it only gets worse as each layer of cake gets added on. I have a trowel that i got at the hardware store that i scrape on top of the cake to make sure it’s even. this will make it easier.

    As for long straight cuts, I use a ruler or yard stick and cut along it with the knife.


    • Naomi replied: — March 26th, 2012 @ 1:58 am

      Russell-You just revealed my next Tips and Tricks post for icing even layers. :) The hoops work beautifully for that as well.


  9. #
    Regan Martin — March 26, 2012 @ 12:17 am

    Genius! Thanks a bunch…..I am SO gonna use this!


  10. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — March 26, 2012 @ 3:13 am

    That is genius! Very clever.


  11. #
    Ivy Motuyang — March 26, 2012 @ 3:20 am

    you are brilliant! why didn’t i think of that.


  12. #
    Kaitlin — March 26, 2012 @ 5:13 am

    This is super smart! Thanks for the shout out :)


  13. #
    Kulsum at JourneyKitchen — March 26, 2012 @ 9:26 am

    you are genius. Genius!


  14. #
    La Quinta — March 26, 2012 @ 10:41 am

    Can wait to try this


  15. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — March 26, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

    Nice trick!!


  16. #
    Amanda — March 26, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

    Fun trick Naomi!


  17. #
    Carlos — March 26, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

    That is an ahhhhhhhhhh moment!

    Great tip!


  18. #
    Chau — March 26, 2012 @ 11:53 pm

    Awsome trick. I rarely tackle layered cake. If I ever will I definitely use this trick. Thanks


  19. #
    Alia — March 27, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

    Genius!!! I always make layered cakes and always DREAD halving them.. This trick might just save me loads of time.. Looovveeee!


  20. #
    Barbara — March 28, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

    For an addition to this trick, try using a piece of dental floss instead of cutting with a knife. Works great and gives you a nice even cut.


  21. #
    Cheri — March 28, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

    Great trick – very clever thinking. Love the blog.


  22. #
    Roxana GreenGirl { A little bit of everything} — March 29, 2012 @ 12:33 am

    great idea Naomi! Where did you buy those rings from?


    • Naomi replied: — March 30th, 2012 @ 4:08 am

      Hi Roxanna-I got the hoops from Michaels, the craft store.


  23. #
    Leigh — March 29, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

    WOW! I’m speechless! this is so awesome, I’ve been wanting to make a rainbow layer cake but haven’t cause my straight-cutting-skills suck! lol THANK-YOU


  24. #
    TidyMom — April 3, 2012 @ 11:34 am

    you are SO smart Naomi! What a GREAT idea!


  25. #
    Love Is In the Details — April 3, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

    Oh my word, talk about a light bulb moment!! I have struggled with the decision to purchase one of those pricy layering tools for a long time and I am now so happy I did not!! I love layer cakes, think they are a lost art and the more layers the better! I am so, so excited to snag some of these and get started, yay, yay, yay, thank you for sharing this brilliant idea!!! Andrea


  26. #
    movcharov — April 12, 2013 @ 7:21 am

    THANKS, Naomi!!! This is wonderful. I have been using thread, similarly to the ‘dental floss’ comment – you wrap it around the cake, then make an X on the front, and tight it, until cleanly cut – but I have always been afraid that I could not see well the front and the back, at the same time, and honestly – sometimes my layers are too thick, because I have left them that way out of fear that I might break them, when putting the cake together. :) Now, at least, I can be sure that they are ABSOLUTELY evenly cut. (Note to self: buy also a longer bread knife!) THANK YOU! :)


  27. #
    Sandra — April 30, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

    Absolutely brilliant!!


  28. #
    Chromatophobic — April 30, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

    Cool trick! Another way would be to roll up a strip of card that’s cut the the right size, but the hoops are more reusable.


  29. #
    Josh — July 22, 2013 @ 11:27 am

    Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious
    if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or
    anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any help is very much appreciated.


  30. #
    Sandra — October 31, 2014 @ 8:07 pm

    I use fishing line to slice the cake while it is still in the pan. I am looking forward to using this method.


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