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How to make a tiered cake for beginners: everything you need to know

If you’re clicking on a blog post called ‘How to make a tiered cake for beginners’, then I’m going to hazard a guess that you’ve been tasked with making a cake for a celebration, wedding or special occasion – so firstly, congratulations!

And secondly – deep breaths. You got this! It is absolutely possible to create a stunning cake as a non-professional baker. In fact, I started my journey as a professional cakemaker by being completely self-taught, which is exactly why I’ve put together both this blog on how to make a tiered cake for beginners. It’s also why I created the Essential Cake Foundations course it is based on. Basically, I went through a lot of trial and error when I started my cake journey, and I don’t want you to have to do the same!

So, whether you’ve been tasked with making your niece’s wedding cake but are scared in case it collapses…

…or are planning to DIY your own, but don’t want it to end up looking like something off of Nailed It!...

(If you're a fan of Nailed It, I can highly recommend a blog that has been around for years, it is the OG of hilarious cake fails - Cake Wrecks)

…or perhaps you love to bake, and want to level up your skills so you can stack delicious cake layers high and your hard-earned cash higher…

then this blog post on how to make a tiered cake for beginners is here to help!

The good news is, you’ve already completed the first very important steps – giving yourself a high five for taking on the exciting project, and knowing you need a hand from a pro – so here’s what to do next.

How to make a tiered cake for beginners

Gather your equipment and ingredients

I know, it doesn’t sound very fun – but prep is such an important step of baking (there’s a reason why they often say it’s more science than art – until you get to the decoration stage, at least!) Having the right gear and good quality ingredients is key to a delicious bake at the end of it, so don’t skip this step, no matter how tempting.

Bake your cake(s)

It’s hard to learn how to make a tiered cake for beginners if you don’t have a cake to start with! In Essential Cake Foundations we start with a simple vanilla sponge cake initially, so that you can really nail the basics before moving on to different flavours. (Deciding on your flavours is another thing we cover in the course, a bit later on, so that you can create all kinds of unique and exciting flavours as well as perfectly balanced classics.)

Make your buttercream, ganache and fillings

As well as the cakes themselves, the other fundamental elements of a tiered cake are the buttercream and/or ganache, and the fillings.

As they go in between the tiers, the ganache and buttercream need to be the right consistency, as they keep the cake in shape and stop the tiers sliding all over the place. They also need to be delicious (of course), as well as good-looking, whether you’re going for a naked cake, a semi-naked cake, or a full buttercream or fondant finish.

Decide on and perfect your covering

One of the main questions I get asked in terms of how to make a multi tiered cake for beginners is how to make the surface look perfect. This is especially true if the cake is for a big occasion, such as a wedding or celebration – you want to make sure it looks as good as it tastes!

There are loads of options for how to decorate your cakes – you could spend the rest of your life on Pinterest and instagram looking up more inspiration. Here’s just a few ideas that I include in the Essential Cake Foundations course: