Baking and Frosting a Square Cake: A Complete How-To Guide

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Baking cakes has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. This passion has led me to explore many different creative ways of baking cakes over time. One day, I decided to test my baking skills and create a square cake instead of a round cake. I became obsessed with all things square cake-related and I want to share it with you! This is what I found!

You can bake a square cake by pouring the cake batter into a square cake pan. Once baked, remove the cake from the pan and cut off all 4 edges with a serrated knife. Evenly spread chilled frosting on all sides and in between each layer of cake. Use a bench scraper to remove excess frosting in the shape of a square.

I quickly found out that there are so many variables that could change the outcome of the cake. If you want to bake a square cake for your guests at home or even as a wedding cake, you still need to know the important details that accompany dealing with square cakes. In the article, I share everything you need to know about square cakes!

Table Of Contents:

Although the idea was great, it was not a simple task! Baking a perfectly squared buttercream cake or a fondant-covered cake is not as simple as I first expected…

How To Bake A Square Cake

You can bake a square cake by baking multiple batches of cakes inside square pans and stacking them on top of each other until the cake is evenly square on all sides. Spread frosting in between each cake layer to make the cake stable and apply frosting to all remaining sides of the cake.

There are a few different ways of baking square cakes. These ways differ based on whether or not you have the right tools in your possession to take on this difficult task.

I often use square cake pans for baking square cakes, but sometimes round cake pans and sheet pans are able to help me create the square cake of my dreams. The decorating choices are also varied; sometimes I am in the mood for a simple buttercream icing, while other occasions call for a full fondant decoration.

The easiest way to bake a square cake is to use a square pan for the cake batter. You can also use a sheet pan or even a traditional round cake pan to achieve a square cake.

*By the way, I always wanted to be able to store my cakes the right way but I never found a good container that could fit my large cakes. However, I recently came across an Extra Large Cake Carrier/Storage Container That Holds up to 12 inch 3-layer Cakes. This carrier was perfect for storing my large cakes. You can check out this Cake Storage Container on Amazon here!

Here I found a great video that breaks down all the steps needed when creating a perfect square cake:

If you use either a sheet pan or a round cake pan, you will have to cut the cake in order to achieve the perfect size cake. See next point for more detail.

When I am in a hurry, I like to use a square pan for square cakes. Using this method reduces the time I need to cut the cakes in order to get them to be a perfect size.

However, when I have had multiple layers or simply not had the right size square cake pan, I have been able to use both sheet pans and round cake pans to get perfect square cakes.

How to Make a Square Cake Without a Square Pan?

You can make a square without a square pan by using either a traditional round cake pan or a sheet pan. The sheet pan will give you either one very large cake or a layered square cake, while the round pans are best if you are planning a smaller cake.

First Option: If you used a sheet pan to bake your cake, you’ll need to cut the cake in multiple square shapes using a serrated knife once it’s done baking. This is because cakes from sheet pans are usually thin and will need to be stacked.

In my experience, you will need at least 3 square cake slices to stack on top of each other to make a square cake.

Second Option: If you used a regular round cake pan, the same principle applies. You can cut the round edges off of the round cake in straight lines to make a square cake using a serrated knife.

Keep in mind that the square cake will be smaller in size than the initial round cake since you cut off the round edges.

*By the way, not having any square pans is a headache when you’re trying to bake a square cake. I recently came across a great Set of 2 Premium Non-Stick 8-Inch Square Pans on Amazon. These pans are 2 inches deep and work perfectly for baking a Square Cake!

How to Tell if You Have the Right Size Square Pan

The cake batter should measure halfway up the cake pan’s sides, whether you are using a square or round cake pan. If there is too much batter, the cake may overflow out of the pan, resulting in a lopsided finished cake. If there is not enough batter, your cake will be flat.

Make Sure The Square Cake Pan Is Deep
Using A Square Pan Is Ideal For Square Cakes!

*Side Note: You might also be interested in knowing If It Is Possible to Bake a Pie to be Square. I recently wrote an article that talks about How To Bake A Square Pie, which you can check out here!

How to Make a 2 Layer Square Cake?

As a general rule, you can make a layered square cake by applying buttercream frosting in between each layer of cake including the bottom layer. Once done, place a wooden skewer down the middle of the cakes to stabilize the structure from falling over.

Since baking a square cake has different portions than a round cake, prepare enough cake batter for either two 9-inch round cake pans or two 8-inch square cake pans. The baking time should be similar to the time it will take to cook one cake since the depth will be the same.

These directions will make baking a square layer cake using a sheet pan easier for you:

  • Add parchment paper to pan
  • Grease the parchment paper
  • Pour batter into pan
  • Smooth batter out until it is even
  • Make sure that the corners have enough batter
  • Bake cake until done, using the toothpick method
  • Allow cake to cool completely
  • Lift out of the pan using the parchment paper
  • Cut the cakes in half
  • Trim the cake’s edges using a serrated knife
  • Apply frosting on the bottom of the first layer
  • Apply frosting in between each layer of cake
  • Put a wooden skewer down the middle of all cake layers

Apply buttercream frosting to each cake slice as soon as they are cooled. Buttercream frosting will keep the square shape of the cakes when placing one on top of the other.

A 3-Layer Square Wedding Cake
A 3-Layer Square Wedding Cake!

Typically, the sheet pan cakes I make are very flat and even. But if you need to trim the cakes to make them a perfect square, make sure your knife is very sharp.

*By the way, you might also want to know How To Bake A Cake Without A Cake Pan. I recently wrote an article that talks about How To Bake A Cake If You Don’t Have A Cake Pan. You can find this article here!

How To Cut A Square Cake Out Of The Pan?

To remove a square cake out of the pan, place a cold wet towel underneath the pan and wait for 20 minutes for the cake to cool off. Use a rubber spatula to separate the edges of the cake from the pan in a slow up and down motion then flip the cake upside down onto a cooling rack.

The easiest way to cut a square cake out of the pan is to grease the pan, add parchment paper, grease the parchment paper, and then add batter before baking it. After the cake is done baking, you should be able to remove the cake from the pan by pulling on the parchment paper.

Once the cake is either on the counter or on the cake stand, frost the cake. Add any decorations before cutting the cake.

Remove a square cake out of the pan step-by-step:

  • Make sure that the cake is not undercooked
  • Put a cold wet towel underneath the cake pan once it’s out of the oven
  • Let it cool for up to 20 minutes
  • Use a rubber spatula to separate the edges of the pan from the cake
  • Flip the square cake upside down onto a plate
  • *Grease and line your pan before starting to bake your cake

How to cut your cake into square pieces:

When you are ready to cut the cake, make one horizontal line 2 to 3 inches from the edge of the cake. Make another horizontal line 2 to 3 inches from the edge of the line you just cut. Continue doing this down the entire cake.

Once the horizontal lines are done, pick a side and make perpendicular cuts of equal length from one another. Cut the perpendicular lines so that each cake piece will be 2×2, 3×2, or 3×3 inches.

*By the way, if you are interested in knowing how to get Stuck Parchment Off of Your Cake and how to Prevent It, I recently wrote an article about Removing Stuck Parchment Paper, which you can find here!

How Do You Ice a Square Cake With Buttercream?

How to frost a square cake?

To ice a square cake with buttercream frosting, use a cake spatula to generously apply chilled frosting to all sides of the cake. Once done, use a bench scraper to remove any excess frosting from each side in a straight line. Chill the frosting again to stiffen it into a square shape.

Before starting to ice your cake, make sure you have removed the cake and placed it on a rotating cake stand or serving plate before you attempt to ice the cake.

To achieve a perfectly smooth look, you will need to use the right type of bench scraper. I use a Bench Scraper with a Rounded Handle so that I can scrape the frosting very leveled and perpendicular to the cake stand. This will make sure that all sides of the cake will be evenly flat.

I also like to use an Icing Spatula with a Good Curve & Handle. I found this very durable icing spatula that I use every time I frost my cakes. You can check out both the Bench Scraper & Icing Spatula on Amazon!

Buttercream Frosting With Crisp Corners
Buttercream Frosting With Crisp Corners!

You will also want to level the top of your square cake. After baking your cake, it makes have a poofy part on top that gives your square a rounded edge.

Simply remove that with a serrated knife, until the top of your cake is a flat square, or apply extra frosting on top of each corner.

Apply a generous coating of buttercream to the top of the cake. Then apply generous portions of buttercream to each side of the cake. Using the bench scraper, smooth out the frosting on the top and the sides.

At this stage, place the cake into the refrigerator to chill. After at least one hour in the refrigerator, remove the cake and use the bench scraper to remove any excess buttercream.

How to make crisp buttercream frosting corners

  • Put the frosted square cake in the freezer
  • Chill the frosted cake for 5-10 minutes
  • Place a parchment paper on your turn table
  • Spread a layer of frosting on the paper
  • Place the square cake upside-down on the frosting
  • Firmly press the cake down onto the frosting
  • Use an icing spatula to scoop the frosting up
  • Use a bench scraper to level each side evenly
  • Put the cake back into freezer for 10 minutes
  • Flip the cake back to the correct side
  • Remove the parchment paper
  • Use frosting to fill any imperfections at the top

*Side Note: I recently wrote an article about How To Properly Store Leftover Buttercream Frosting. This article talks about the right ways to store and freeze buttercream frosting to make it last. You can check out this article here!

How to Cover a Square Cake With Fondant

You can cover a square cake with fondant by laying a big piece of fondant on top of a frosted cake. Smooth out the fondant on all sides of the cake by using a fondant smoother. Make sure to not fold the fondant over the corners too much since it might break. Cut off any excess fondant using a knife.

First, level your cake to make sure it is flat on top. Then ice your cake as you normally would, using the icing of your choice. Once the cake has been leveled and you have applied frosting, it is time to apply the fondant.

Gently Layer The Fondant On Top
Make Sure To Gently Layer The Fondant On Top!

Cover the bottom of each side with piping gel. This gel will help your fondant stick to the cake.

Knead your fondant, using vegetable shortening on your hands to keep the fondant from sticking. Repeat the kneading process until the fondant is stretchy, and you are able to roll the fondant with a rolling pin.

Fold the fondant out using a rolling pin until it is 1/16 inches thick.

Roll the fondant onto your rolling pin, then the fondant up to one side of the cake. Carefully unroll the fondant onto the top of the cake. Smooth out the fondant on the top of the cake first, then focus on the sides; press the fondant into each corner of the cake, but do not pull the fondant.

You can use a Regular Fondant Smoother to easily smooth the fondant. I found one on Amazon that you can check out!

Cutting Fondant Square Edges
Cutting The Edges Off Of The Fondant!
Cutting Fondant Edges
Make Sure To Cut The Edges With One Swipe!

After the corners are taken care of, use your hands to press down and smooth the fondant on each side of the cake. You can purchase a fondant smoother to help make this process more simple.

Trim the excess fondant off using a sharp knife. Read on to see the steps of squaring the cake the right way.

How Do You Square the Edges of a Cake?

Use a serrated knife to properly trim each side of the cake. If it is a layer cake, stack the cakes as you normally would, but trim them using a serrated knife. You should be able to go up and down the cake with the knife, without any excess corners hanging over a layer.

Trimming the cakes is the most important part of getting a square edge of a cake. After the cake has been trimmed, you can apply the icing and fondant.

When you apply the fondant, you can get square edges by properly pressing the fondant onto the corners.

Putting Fondant On Top Of Square Cake
Mold The Fondant Around Each Corner!
Layering Fondant on Square Cake Edges
Don’t Forget The Sides Of The Cake!

If you are trying to get sharp corners on a round cake using fondant, you can achieve this by pressing the fondant onto the cake and molding the fondant onto the top of the cake to give it a sharp edge or border with the fondant.

*Side Note: I recently wrote an article about How To Freeze Leftover Fondant Icing. This article talks about the right way to freeze and thaw fondant icing to make it last. You can check out this article here!


How to Make a Round Cake into a Square Cake

First, remove the cake from the pan. If it is a layer cake, go ahead and apply frosting and stack the layers. Then follow these instructions:

  • Two inches from the edge, cut a horizontal line with a knife
  • Cut another horizontal line two inches from the next side, perpendicular with the line you just cut
  • Repeat this process until you have a square shape

*Keep in mind that this cake will come out smaller once the round edges are cut off

How to Convert Round Cake Pan Measurements for a Square Cake Pan

You typically need to increase the measurements by 1 inch or 2 centimeters when you use a square pan instead of a round cake pan. Common conversions are as follows:

  • For an 9×2 inch round cake pan, use an 8×2 inch square cake pan
  • For a 10×2 inch round cake pan, use a 9×2 inch square cake pan
  • For a 10×3 inch Bundt cake pan, use either a 9×2 inch square cake pan or a 10×2 inch square pan

*Each cake size varies on the cake pan measurements

How to Make a Square Cake into a Round Cake?

To make a square cake into a round cake, use a serrated knife to evenly cut off each corner of the square cake. Start cutting each corner from the middle of one side all the way to the middle of the next side. This will make sure all 4 corners will be cut off evenly.

Do Square Cakes Take Longer to Bake?

As a general rule, square cakes take longer to bake because square pans unevenly distribute the heat throughout the cake. The center of a square cake will rise faster than the corners which means you have to leave the square cake in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes for the corners to finish baking.

How Do You Get a Square Cake to Rise Evenly?

To get a square cake to rise evenly, you have to add the cake batter to the square pan and smack it down on the counter a couple of times. This will help distribute the cake batter equally to each corner of the pan making it bake evenly. It will also help air bubbles trapped inside the batter to escape.

To Summarize…

Square cakes are a great dessert for almost every occasion. My family has enjoyed them for birthday parties, weddings, summer celebrations, and even simple family gatherings on the weekends.

While we often use round cake pans to prepare our homemade cakes, sometimes I am in the mood for something a little bit different. On those occasions, a square cake will do the trick. After reading my experiences, I have no doubt you’ll be able to create a quick and easy square cake for any occasion as well!

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My name is Fainna! I've been baking desserts ever since I was 10 years old with my grandma passing her baking wisdom down to me with every passing day. I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful here at my little Baking Nook!

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