What Size Cake Pans to Use For a 2 Tier Cake?

Are you wondering what size cake pans for a 2 tier cake are the right option for you? Luckily, this is a question that even the seasoned pros often wonder about.

Tiered cakes are favored because it’s a simple way to cater dessert to a large party.

Moreover, tiered cakes have a certain wow-factor. Picking the right cake pan is crucial since the wrong size can spell disaster for you.

This is why it is a good idea to pick the cake pan properly. Based on the kind of cake you are making or the aesthetic you are going for, this can play an important role in the final look.

So, if you’re wondering what size cake pan you should get for a 2 tier cake, this detailed guide is here to help you out.

Two Different Size for Two Tiers

One thing you should note is that tiered cakes usually have two different sizes to emphasize the tiers. Layered cakes and tiered cakes are very different things.

Usually, layered cakes have two cakes of the same size that are stacked on top of each other.

In contrast, tiered cakes can even include as many as 4 to 5 shelves but 2 is usually the common number of tiers that people opt for.

It’s common for tiered cakes to have shelves. However, tiered cakes have two different cake sizes that when placed on top of each other create an interesting visual look.

So, if you’re going for two tiers, you need two different sized cake pans. Usually, the top tier of the cake is the one that is the smallest, whereas the lower tier is the one that is the largest. Given this factor, you will have to buy two different cake pan sizes for a 2 tiered cake.

However, you also have to keep your budget in mind, particularly when you’re going with this option.

Some cake pans can be pretty expensive and you will have to make sure that you have the budget to buy different cake sizes. It is also recommended that you get two pans of the same size, especially if you are making more than one cake.

This helps you save time by baking two cakes at the same time, instead of having to wait for one to get done.

Luckily, most cake pan sets can be found that have cake pans of different sizes and that are cost-effective as well.

Standard Sizes for Cake Tiers

On average, tiered cakes follow a basic size for each tier.

While one is always free to mix and match, these standard sizes are known to give aesthetically pleasing, stacked cakes that are easy to decorate as well.

Based on this, you can pick the following cake pan sizes for the following tiered cakes:

  • Small
    • 1st Tier – 6-inch cake pan (top)
    • 2nd Tier – 8-inch cake pan (base)
  • Medium
    • 1st Tier – 8-inch cake pan (top)
    • 2nd Tier – 10-inch cake pan (base)
  • Large
    • 1st Tier – 10-inch cake pan (top)
    • 2nd Tier – 12-inch cake pan (base)

As you can see, each of these sizes ensures that there is a two-inch difference between the top tier and the bottom tier.

However, many people enjoy mixing and matching and playing with sizes.

Some people pair a 6-inch cake pan with a 10-inch cake pan to create a wider shelf as well. In any case, you are not bound by hard and fast rules to follow the sizes mentioned above.

However, when you’re just starting out, these can be a great guideline to follow.

Two Major Factors That Affect Cake Pan Size

Now that you know the appropriate sizes of tiered cakes, you can easily go out and buy tier cake pans.

Before you decide on the kind of cake pan you want, you should also remember that certain factors also influence this decision.

Based on the following, you can mix and match different sizes to see what works for you:

Number of Guests

First of all, the size of the cake pans should also hinge upon the number of guests expected. You want to make sure that there is enough cake for everyone to eat.

If we follow the standard sizes we discussed earlier for two-tier cake sizes, you can easily cater to the following number of guests:

  • Small – Perfect for 12 to 16 people
  • Medium – Perfect for 28 to 34 people
  • Large –Perfect for 46 to 54 people

The measurements mentioned above relate to deep cake pans. For shallow cake pans, you can cut the number of guests down by half.

Also read: Shallow Baking Pan Vs Deep Baking Pan

The shallowness and depth of the pan will directly correlate to the number of people you are feeding. If the party is smaller than 10, then shallow cake pans are a good idea.

Based on the number of people, you can mix and match the cake sizes with ease. However, if your part of the guests is going to be around 5 or 7, it isn’t a good idea to make a two-tier cake.

There will be too many leftovers. In such instances, a well-decorated single cake is a better option for you.

Cake Design

Another factor that will influence your decision on what size cake pans for a two-tier cake are the cake design you are going for.

If you want something decorative, you will need wider shelves to give you room to not just use fondant but other decorative items as well.

Additionally, if you’re using edible flowers or even real flowers, you want to make sure that the cake shelf is wide enough.

Otherwise, you will not be able to adhere to these décor pieces with ease. While simple tiered cakes have a beauty of their own, decorating two-tiered cakes can be extremely fun as well.

As a general rule, it is encouraged to have each shelf at a distance of 2 to 4 inches from each other. This will give you plenty of room to decorate.

Even if you don’t do that, it will help to give you a more aesthetically pleasing look that will make the two-tiered cake stand apart.

Also read: What Pan Is Best for Baking Carrot Cake?

Other Tools Needed for 2 Tiered Cakes

Once you have chosen the cake pans, you have to note that making tiered cakes is not an easy task. There’s a reason why many bakers don’t tackle it as the first cake option.

Given the obvious difficulty level, you don’t just need to get cake pans to make a tiered cake.

It’s a good idea to invest in some other special tools that will help you to carefully stack and stabilize the cake.

A major issue with tiered cakes is that they can collapse, especially if the weight is not evenly distributed.

For this reason, you will need the following specialty tools for making 2 tiered cakes:

Cake Boards

These are extremely useful for stabilizing a cake and helping in stacking. They make the placement of each tier easier and if you need to make any shifts, you can easily use the cake board to move the stacks with ease.

Cake boards can be bought as is or they can be cut to the size you need them for your cake.

Cake boards can also help you to visualize the placement of the cakes before you start to stack them on top of each other.

A good idea is to take a top layer cake board and place it on the base to get a distinct idea of where the cake will go. This helps prevent any mistakes and ensures that you don’t have to make the cakes around.

Always make sure that the material of the cake board is sturdy and it will not bend. When you’re placing cakes on a cake board, make sure to dedicate one board for one cake layer.

Overstacking on cake boards can also cause the cake to collapse.

Another crucial tool that helps with stacking two-tier cakes are dowels. These can be made from plastic or maybe wooden as well.

Dowels also help to stabilize the cake and when added at key points, they can help to distribute the weight of the cake more evenly.

A general rule for using dowels is that you should insert one dowel for every 2 inches of the cake.

This means that if the cake is 18 inches, you will need to use around 8 dowels.

Similarly, if the cake is 10 inches in size, you will only have to use 6 dowels.

Before inserting a dowel into a cake, you have to make sure that you sharpen them appropriately. Sharpening dowels allow them to pass through the cake board and into the base layer with ease.

You can sharpen dowels either through the use of a pencil sharpener or using a knife to roughly create a point on one end.

However, when you’re doing this, make sure that all the dowels are of the same. Irregularity here can ruin the stability of the cake as well.

By paying attention to these tips, you can not only figure out the answer to what size cake pans for a 2 tier cake you need but also avoid other common cake stacking problems too.

Other related articles that you may like: