Partcake Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 5:06pm
post #1 of

I am tempted to use straws instead of dowels..I always use dowels but they are so hard to get EXACTLY the same size..Does anyone have experiences or horror stories...Your help is appreciated

36 replies
Granpam Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 5:16pm
post #2 of

I only use straws. They are relatively easy to cut even I mark them with my food markers and just use a scissor. If you are a little off you can just snip a smidge to get them even. Never had a cake sink yet. I always use a center wooden dowel if the cake has to travel. I use the big tea staws. But I notices that some fast food places have large ones for their milshakes.

Partcake Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 5:19pm
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Thanks for the reply..I had thought about putting the dowels inside the straws and only the big ones would work.

KoryAK Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 6:58pm
post #4 of

I use regular sized drinking straws exclusively on cakes up to 4 tiers high and have not had any problems. I do not use a center dowel, but I do deliver the cakes chilled.

MamaBerry Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 7:12pm
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I use lollipop sticks.

Jessmar Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 7:17pm
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Oh good, I'm glad to see this post! I have been debating whether to use lollipop sticks, straws, or wooden dowels for my first 3-tier square cake (16", 12", 8").

Do you think straws or lollipop sticks would be better? And how many should I use to support the 12" tier? And the 8" tier? Also, how tall should I make each tier? Is 6" too high per tier (so an 18" high cake)? Sorry for all the questions and thanks in advance for any advice!

angelas2babies Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 7:21pm
post #7 of

I use wooden dowels every time unless it's a very small cake that I won't be transporting.

Angie

Teekakes Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 7:26pm
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I think the big tea straws are called "Bubble Straws" and they work beautifully! One of the students in a class I was taking used these and her cake was very stable and the straws were so easy for her to cut and use.

dagrama Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 7:27pm
post #9 of

I am learning sooo much from everyone! Now I know what to do with all those staws I have!

Granpam Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 7:28pm

I wouldn't use lollipop sticks. I tried using them several years ago and the moistness of the cake made them collapse. Fortunately is was for my grandaughter so it didn't cause too big a catastrophe.

Teekakes Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 7:28pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessmar

Oh good, I'm glad to see this post! I have been debating whether to use lollipop sticks, straws, or wooden dowels for my first 3-tier square cake (16", 12", 8").

Do you think straws or lollipop sticks would be better? And how many should I use to support the 12" tier? And the 8" tier? Also, how tall should I make each tier? Is 6" too high per tier (so an 18" high cake)? Sorry for all the questions and thanks in advance for any advice!




Definitely the large diameter Bubble Straws. Six for the 12" and 3 or 4 for the 8". Four inches is pretty standard for spacing between tiers. You can go the 6 if you want to.
Hope this helps a bit.

frosting111 Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 7:42pm

I've always used straws and never had a problem with them at all, and if I feel a need for more support via center doweling I will use bamboo skewers...But all in all I've had a cake stacked 6 tiers high using straws as the doweling support between the tiers.

eatsleepdreamcake Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 7:51pm

You asked for horror stories, so here goes. I was making a three tier cake for the 2005 Wilton cake decorating contest. It was to be a replica of the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec. Well I spent hours sketching the design, planning and thinking. The roofs were all made ahead of time and left to dry. The cakes were baked and filled. (it didn't occur to me to use cake dummies; what a dummy). I had recently read about using straws for support in tiered cakes and thougt "how easy, I'll give it a try". So, I constructed the cake using straws, and proceded with the decorating. Well, I didn't quite finish that night, so I went to bed thinking that I would finish in the morning and then take my pictures. Morning came and I came downstairs to find the top tier on the floor, the middle tier smashed down into the botton one, and all my roofs and turrets broken. And in the middle of all this mess, bent straws. Now I may have used the wrong kind of straw, and I know lots of people have said they work, but I swore I would never use them again.

Happy ending time. I was able to salvage the top two tiers of the cake and the bottom tier was just squished in the back, so I just photographed from the front. I had time to remake and dry my roofs and turrets before the contest deadline. I didn't win or place, but I thought it turned out pretty good all things considered. I'll attatch a picture of the finished product. From the front you can't even tell there is about a two inch gap in the back bottom tier. icon_smile.gif
LL

Kitagrl Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 8:00pm

I have recently discovered "Bubble Tea" straws which are very wide and stronger plastic, which give good support yet still cut with scissors.

KonfectionKonnection Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 8:01pm

Eatsleepdreamcake--Sorry to hear the straws let you down, but what a lovely cake! Great detail! (And a wonderful save on your part!) thumbs_up.gif

eatsleepdreamcake Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 8:23pm

Thanks for the compliment. icon_smile.gif I just used the straws in my cupboard. They probobly weren't big or strong enough. Maybe I will give straws another try with the right kind, and on a practice cake just in case.

imartsy Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 8:37pm

Okay maybe I'll try them next time.... but I do know that you can get them here: http://www.bubbleteasupply.com/store/store.php3?item_id=2

Jessmar Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 8:48pm

This post has been so informative and helpful!

Eatsleepdreamcake - great recovery, your cake is wonderful!

Teekakes - your advice is so helpful and thank you for answering my questions!

Where can I find / buy bubble tea straws? Are they easy to find?

Jessmar Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 8:54pm

I just saw your post imartsy - thanks for the website!

Can I only get bubble tea straws by ordering them online? I was hoping I could find some at, for example, a grocery store or craft store.

nefgaby Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 9:02pm

Also try eBay, I got a pack of 50 for $1 ea. and shipping is pretty good too, I ordered 4 packs for the same amount shipping!

Here is a link:

http://stores.ebay.com/IPC-Food-Service-And-Kitchen-Supply

They don´t have them listed right now but they will list them if you ask them to. HTH

miriel Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 9:07pm

Thanks for the link for the bubble tea straws. I will try that next time. I currently use straws from Mc Donald's icon_smile.gif

JenniferL Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 9:10pm

On my first (and only) tiered cake I used Bubble Tea straws. I don't know what "Bubble Tea" is, but they sure make sturdy straws for it! icon_lol.gif They worked really well. Thanks for posting this. I was wondering what other's opinions were too. thumbs_up.gif

lh Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 9:11pm

you can get bubble tea straws from asian supermarkets. they're less than $2 for a big pack. they're sold next to gelatin/tapioca supplies.

Tolinda Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 10:01pm

i was planning on making a tier cake soon, probably just 2 tiers since it's just for practice but i don't know how the wooden dowels work. how would you cut them? with a saw? but anyway, i was thinking of just trying the bubble tea straws out. and JenniferL, bubble tea is an "asian" drink that has tea in it and usually tapioca balls in it. that's why you need a big straw to suck them up.

Partcake Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 11:25pm

wooden dowels are cut with clean garden shears. I have a pair that are only use for cutting dowels.

Partcake Posted 29 Apr 2007 , 11:51pm

Jessmar, If you are asking how high the cake itself should be--each layer cake for the tiered cake should be 3"" to 4""

Jessmar Posted 30 Apr 2007 , 2:22am

Thanks partcake! I now have another question though, that I'm a little embarrassed to ask because I should probably know the answer icon_redface.gif , but here goes: When you say 3'''' does that mean 3 centimeters, or inches, or something different? Sorry I'm getting a bit off topic... but thanks for your help!

Jessmar Posted 30 Apr 2007 , 2:30am

Oh I think I understand now, after reading it again - you mean for example, the top tier (the 8" square cake) should be 3-4 inches high once the layers of that cake are stacked and filled? Please correct me if I'm wrong... you can tell this is my first 3-tier cake, since I have so many questions!

miriel Posted 30 Apr 2007 , 2:41am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessmar

Oh I think I understand now, after reading it again - you mean for example, the top tier (the 8" square cake) should be 3-4 inches high once the layers of that cake are stacked and filled? Please correct me if I'm wrong... you can tell this is my first 3-tier cake, since I have so many questions!




Yes, tiers are usually approx 4" high. I say approximate because I make the top tier (smallest tier) 1/4" shorter than the middle tier, and the bottom tier 1/4" taller than middle. This is to "deceive" the eyes into thinking all tiers are same height (smallest tier tends to look tallest compared to others, if not done this way).

gateaux Posted 30 Apr 2007 , 3:01am

I have only used straws once and I put skewers in them for extra stability. Maybe I did not need them but they worked great.

For small cake I use a couple of chocolate covered pretzels when kids are there and it works really nice Again just adding a small cake to a larger one. Not any type of wedding cake.

Good luck.

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