How To Make A 3-Layer Cake With One Pan

How To Make A 3-Layer Cake With One Pan: Expert Guide

Last Updated on April 22, 2024 by Lori Walker

Making a cake from scratch can be an enjoyable and rewarding process, but it can also require a significant amount of time and the need for several pans.

However, what if we told you you could make a three-layer cake using just one pan? Yes, it’s true. 

We’ll teach you how to make a 3-layer cake with one pan. With this method, you can save time and effort while still impressing your friends and family with a stunning and delicious cake. So, let’s get started.

12 Steps On Making A 3-layer Cake With Just One Pan

Cake on a Baking Rack
  1. Preheat your oven to the desired temperature and grease a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray or butter [1]. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  2. Prepare your cake batter according to the recipe instructions. Be sure to mix the batter thoroughly to ensure even baking.
  3. Pour about a third of the batter into the prepared cake pan, using a spatula to spread the batter evenly.
  4. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Once the cake is finished baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan.
  6. Carefully invert the pan onto a wire rack, allowing the cake to cool completely.
  7. Once the first layer has cooled, clean the cake pan and re-grease it. Pour another third of the batter into the pan and repeat the baking and cooling process.
  8. Once the second layer has cooled, clean the cake pan and re-grease it. Pour the remaining batter into the pan and repeat the baking and cooling process.
  9. Once all three layers have cooled completely, use a serrated knife to level the tops of each layer.
  10. Place the first layer on a cake plate or serving platter and spread a layer of frosting or filling on top. Repeat this process with the remaining layers, stacking them on each other.
  11. Once all layers are stacked, use an offset spatula to spread frosting or filling over the cake, creating a smooth, even layer.
  12. Decorate the cake as desired and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

You might also like to read about how to make your cookie batter thicker here.

Best Type of Pan For Making A 3-Layer Cake

The best type of pan for making a 3-layer cake is a 9-inch cake pan at least 2 inches deep. This size allows for even baking and stacking of the layers. 

It is also essential to use a pan made of high-quality material, such as heavy-duty aluminum or stainless steel, to ensure even heat distribution and prevent warping. 

“All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much.”

– George Harrison – Musician

Non-stick pans can also be used, but properly grease the pan and use a non-abrasive spatula to prevent scratching the surface.

Using a pan with straight sides can also help create clean and even layers. But is it safe to put aluminum pans in the oven?

How To Prepare The Pan To Prevent Cake From Sticking?

Greasing a Pan for Baking Cake
  1. Grease the pan: Use a pastry brush or paper towel to apply a thin layer of cooking spray, butter, or vegetable oil to the bottom and sides of the pan. Be sure to coat the corners and edges well.
  2. Flour the pan: Sprinkle a small amount of flour [2] into the pan and tilt it to distribute it evenly. Alternatively, you can use cocoa powder or a mixture of flour and cocoa powder to prevent white flour residue from showing on chocolate cakes.
  3. Tap out excess flour: Turn the pan upside down and tap it lightly to remove any excess flour. This will prevent the cake from having a floury taste or texture.
  4. Use parchment paper: For added insurance against sticking, you can also line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and place it on top of the greased and floured surface.

3 Ways To Divide The Batter Evenly

  1. Use a scale: The most accurate way to divide the batter evenly is by using a kitchen scale to weigh the batter. Weigh the batter bowl before and after removing a third for the first layer, and repeat this process for the remaining layers.
  2. Use measuring cups: If you don’t have a scale, you can use measuring cups to divide the batter evenly. Measure the total amount of batter in the bowl and divide it by three to determine how much batter to pour into each layer.
  3. Eyeball it: If you don’t have to measure tools, you can eyeball it by visually dividing the batter into thirds in the bowl. Use a spatula to transfer each portion of batter to the pan, carefully spreading it evenly.

Read: Can You Prepare The Cake Batter Ahead Of Time?


What is the best method for assembling and decorating a three-layer cake?

The best method for assembling and decorating a three-layer cake is to level the cake layers, apply a layer of frosting between each layer, frost the sides of the cake, smooth the frosting, add decorations, chill the cake, and then serve and enjoy.

How many cake mixes are for a 3-layer cake?

The number of cake mixes needed for a 3-layer cake depends on the size of the cake mix and the size of the pans used. Generally, a single cake mix can make a 2-layer cake in 9-inch pans. 

To make a 3-layer cake using a single cake mix, you may need to divide the batter evenly between three 8-inch or 9-inch pans and adjust the baking time accordingly. Alternatively, you can use two cake mixes to make a 3-layer cake in 9-inch pans. 

Final Thoughts

Making a 3-layer cake with just one pan is a fun and easy way to impress your friends and family with a delicious homemade dessert. 

Following the steps outlined above, you can prepare the pan properly, divide the batter evenly, and adjust the baking time and temperature to ensure even baking. 

Once the layers are baked and cooled, you can quickly assemble and decorate the cake with your favorite frosting or filling. 

This method saves time and effort without sacrificing the impressive look and taste of a traditional 3-layer cake. So, prepare to bake, stack, and enjoy your delicious creation.


Lori Walker

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