I want to bake a cake with 3 layers, but I only have one baking pan and thus I will have to bake them one by one (already thought about making one big cake and dividing it into 3 parts but I pref not to use that method).

The problem is it takes 35 minutes to bake one layer and the batter contains baking soda and baking powder and I'm worried it will affect the outcome since I'm not baking the other 2 layers immediately after adding the baking soda.

So my question is, can I let the batter for the other 2 layers wait before adding to the oven?

Making the batter and separating into 3 and then adding the baking soda and powder isn't an option since I would have to mix it again which will affect the result. And I also don't want to make the batter for each layer separately.

  • 1
    Welcome! If you are using a recipe that’s somewhat unusual (e.g. no whipped eggs), it would be good to include the recipe, especially the method, in your post. Feel free to edit any time.
    – Stephie
    Commented Jan 30, 2021 at 19:10
  • I have done it several times (had the same issue, because I think cakes look way better if baked separately), because it is the easiest way to decorate it as well. The cakes I've baked tasted very fine, but as @Johanna is saying, it probably won't have the BEST flavour. But I did not really notice the difference that much.
    – M.K
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 8:10
  • What kind of baking powder are you using? “Double action” baking powder contains an acid that needs heat to activate it, so if that’s what you’re using then you’ll get some lift even after leaving the batter for a while.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 20:02

3 Answers 3


The last layer will likely be pretty flat, especially if you're using a recipe with whisked eggs for some structure. Any air bubbles and structure you whisk into the eggs will be gone by the time it's been standing on the counter while the first two layers bake. And you will lose some lift from the baking soda reacting with acid in the batter. You will get cake, but it will not be as good as it could have been. I would personally bake it in a taller pan and slice after baking. That will give a much better result than letting the batter stand for over an hour before baking the last layer.

  • Ok ty for the fast answer :) The reason I don't want to bake it all at once is because I don't have any tools to cut the cake evenly afterwards and I don't want the cake to dome and I only have one 9 inch pan which I wanted to use for the 3 layers separately aswell so I'm worried it's too much batter for that pan. Edit: I don't use a recipe with whisked eggs. Is the third layer still gonna be much flatter?
    – xiaofeng
    Commented Jan 30, 2021 at 18:54
  • 4
    “Tools to cut the cake evenly”... you don’t own a knife? Just eyeball it. Slightly uneven layers are the lesser evil here.
    – Sneftel
    Commented Jan 30, 2021 at 21:15
  • 5
    you can always try dental floss to cut it, if you happen to have a flavorless one around, or a nylon string :) Commented Jan 31, 2021 at 2:44

I doubt the raw batter will survive 35-70 minutes out of the oven.

Many times when I made homemade cake, things like

  • forgetting to preheat the oven

  • taking too long to scrape all the batter into the baking pan

  • taking too long decorating the top of the cake batter when its in the pan

rewards me with a flat cake.

On the other hand, after adding the wet ingredients to store bought cake mix, surprisingly, letting the batter sit for a long time (like 30 minutes) before popping it into the oven, doesn't really change the finished product!

What I recommend you do is have your wet ingredients combined and dry ingredients combined all ready in two separate containers. For each cake, mix a third of the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients; this would be more practical then making the batter three times.

  • 1
    Concerning store-bought cake mix: some types of baking powder only release their gas in the presence of heat. It wouldn't surprise me if some industrial baking products use that type of baking powder instead of the consumer-grade stuff (which usually releases at least some of its gas immediately.) Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 13:10

And I also don't want to make the batter for each layer separately

Whether you want to or not, this is the only way you're going to do it.

And there is no reason not to. Making a cake batter only takes 10 minutes by hand, or 5 minutes if you're using a food processor.

You'll need to let the cake cool slightly in the pan before you turn it out. That'll take 5 minutes, right there. So take the pan out, make the batter for the next layer while the first layer is cooling, and then you're ready to go again. And it doesn't even take any longer!

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