How to Stack a Two Tier Cake

Is there anything more magnificent than a two-tier cake? Whether you’re creating a glamorous wedding cake or a fun two-tier cake for a kid’s birthday, it’s imperative to know how to stack it correctly. You will need a few tools, but stacking is much simpler than you might think!

Hi! My name is Michelle, and I love tiered cakes. They are as much fun to make as they are to look at and eat! Through my baking days, I have had to try and test different methods of stacking, and I finally think I nailed it.

If you’re thinking about creating your own two-tier cake, you need to know how to do it the right way. Although it’s not super difficult, stacking improperly can lead to a cake that falls over – and ultimately ruins one of the biggest parts of the party.

Who’s ready to stack cakes?

How to Stack a Two Tier Cake

As I mentioned earlier, stacking a cake isn’t too hard – although it might look like it. Below are the simple step-by-step instructions for stacking your very own cakes at home. Keep in mind that every baker has their own stacking method, but this is the easiest way to get it done.

Cook and Cool Your Cakes

The first step is to cook your cakes. If you’re stacking them, one will obviously need to be bigger than the other. When they’re done cooking, let the cake cool off entirely before frosting. Once frosted, place the cake in the fridge for a few hours for the icing to set.

This is a very important step. Why? Because working with soft cake or icing can be a mess. Refrigerating an iced cake for a few hours will allow the cake to be hard enough so that it is easy to maneuver. 

You should not freeze the iced cake, though. Freezing the cake will make it too hard, and you may struggle to insert the dowel rods.

Choose a Base

The next step is to choose which base you will be using. If you are not transporting your cake, then this is not a critical step. You can essentially use anything as your base. If you don’t have anything on hand, consider gluing a few cake boards together.

If you are transporting your cake, you need to be a bit pickier. The base needs to be strong enough and thick enough to support your two-tier cake. A solid cake drum will ensure you can easily transport the cake without problems.

Set and Prepare the Cakes

Now that your base is ready, you can go ahead and place your bottom cake on it. Try to center it as best you can. The base should be larger than your cake, so you have room to carry it or decorate the base of the cake, if necessary. 

Then, use one of your cake boards that match the size of your top cake and set it on top of the bottom cake. For example: if you’re placing a 6-inch cake on top of a 10-inch cake, then use a 6-inch cake board to mark where the top cake will be placed. Center it; use a ruler if needed.

Then, use a toothpick to mark around the cake board. This is necessary for knowing where to place the rods that will offer support to the top tier. 

Place the Support Rods

After marking around the cake board, take it off from the bottom cake. Now, stick a few rods (four typically works best) inside of the circled outline. 

You don’t want the rods to be too long, though. Insert the rod and mark where it reaches the top of the bottom cake. Then, remove the rod and line it up with the rest of the rods you will be using. Cut them so that they all are the same length.

Place the rods into the cake. Make sure to stay within the circled outline so that the rods will serve their purpose and not be visible on the exterior. All rods need to be the exact same length. Otherwise, your cake will be lopsided. Be picky when it comes to cutting!

If you’re transporting your cake, you will need to add an additional support rod to the center of the cake. To do this, you may need to stack two support rods together. The rod should be long enough to hit the bottom cake base and is almost as tall as your top cake.

Stack the Top Cake

Now that your support rods are ready, it’s time to stack! Start by sprinkling a bit of sugar over the cake board, so it doesn’t stick. (Remember: your top cake should have a cake board underneath that matches the size of the cake.)

Then, you can use your angled spatula to pick up your second cake and set it on top of the rods. Be very careful with this final step. You want your second tier to line up perfectly in the center of the bottom cake, so it is aesthetically pleasing.

Here is a great video showing you how to stack cakes unbelievably fast and efficiently using the method above.


See? Stacking a two-tier cake isn’t as difficult as it appears. In fact, it may be one of the easiest cake tricks you learn this week. If you still have some questions about how to stack a two-tier cake, look at these frequently asked questions below!

Do I need dowels for a two-tier cake?

Technically, you don’t need dowels for a two-tier cake. But I wouldn’t suggest trying to stack two cakes without them. Dowels will offer support that is necessary to avoid collapsing or sinking. Dowels are cheap and will only add a few extra minutes to your cake stacking – why not?

How many dowels do I need for a 2 tier cake?

There is no right or wrong answer as everyone will have their own method of adding dowels to their two-tier cakes. However, if you’re really unsure how many dowels to add to your cake, consider this general rule of thumb: use one dowel for every two inches of cake.

How do you attach a second tier to a cake?

You can use an angled spatula to slide the top cake onto the bottom cake. Or you can simply pick it up and place it right in the center. That is the better option if you’re using a lengthy middle rod for transporting your two-tier cake.

Do you need cake boards between tiers?

Much like dowels, cake boards aren’t technically a “must” (except for the base). If you have lighter and smaller cakes, you might be able to get by without a cake board in between tiers. However, cake boards will offer stability, so I definitely recommend using them.

Final Thoughts

Stacked cakes look gorgeous and complicated, but it’s actually pretty simple – and now you can do it right from home. With a cake base, a few boards, and dowels, you can easily stack your cakes into a two-tiered wonder. 

Do you make your own two-tier cakes? What is your method for stacking? Share below so we can try, too!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Sara

    Thanks for the great advice!