Drinking Straws As Dowel Rods?

Decorating By Miraculous Updated 22 Mar 2010 , 1:45pm by CakeInfatuation

Miraculous Posted 7 Jun 2006 , 11:12pm
post #1 of 37

A fellow decorator told me that she uses drinking straws instead of dowel rods to do cake construction. I like the idea cause they are cheaper and easier to cut, but i am too affraid to try it! Does anyone know if this is true? (Sorry if this question has been posed before, I am pretty new!)

36 replies
lsawyer Posted 7 Jun 2006 , 11:23pm
post #2 of 37

Many people use them; many of them have horror stories. I'm not willing to take the chance, so I won't use straws. Does anyone know if PVC is food-safe (if sanitized first)? It's cheap and strong, and smaller than the plastic ones that Wilton sells. I use wooden dowels, but I don't like having to deal with cleaning off any loose wood chips.

mamakau Posted 7 Jun 2006 , 11:27pm
post #3 of 37

Would it also be possible to wrap the wooden dowel rods in saran wrap and then insert them into the cake? If you do it that way, would it still be necessary to remove the wood splinters? Also, would that way be more economical, as you could just remove the plastic wrap then reuse them? Just some ideas, I haven't been brave enough to attempt a 2 tier cake yet. icon_smile.gif

Ksue Posted 7 Jun 2006 , 11:34pm
post #4 of 37

I use drinking straws all the time for relatively "short" cakes ... 2 or 3 layers stacked, max. I'd never trust them to handle a big wedding cake, however.

Doug Posted 7 Jun 2006 , 11:41pm
post #5 of 37
SugarFrosted Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 12:10am
post #6 of 37

I'm with Ksue here, I have used drinking straws instead of dowels in 2 or 3 layer cakes for years and years.

It always reminds me that back in her day, my mother used toothpicks in her cakes, and someone always got "stuck" icon_redface.gif

ihavasweet2th Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 12:27am
post #7 of 37

I too use drinking straws if it isn't too large of a cake. I like the ease of cutting them. Our local grocery stores sells some that are pretty thick and have a large opening. I saw a show years ago where "Martha" used them on a cake (squares, 4 tiers high) and so I decided to try it and I haven't had any problems with them.

~luraleigh~

cheekysweets Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 12:35am
post #8 of 37

I use a hand pruner to cut my dowels and it makes a nice clean cut every time. I just don't think straws can support a dense cake.
Maria

SLK Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 12:40am
post #9 of 37

I've never used straws - but I do use bambo skewers a lot - 2 and 3 layer stacks. They are strong but thinner than dowl rods so easier to cut.

johnniekake Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 12:44am
post #10 of 37

I ALWAYS use straws...........little cakes ,BIG cakes...............no problem!

prettycake Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 12:45am
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamakau

Would it also be possible to wrap the wooden dowel rods in saran wrap and then insert them into the cake? If you do it that way, would it still be necessary to remove the wood splinters? Also, would that way be more economical, as you could just remove the plastic wrap then reuse them? Just some ideas, I haven't been brave enough to attempt a 2 tier cake yet. icon_smile.gif




Hi,
I don't think dowels are meant to be reused or recycled. Besides that they are cheap, they are also not hard to find. I don't think I will ever do it. icon_smile.gif

fearlessbaker Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 12:57am
post #12 of 37

I too have used these for years for up to 3 tiers. But I only bake form family and friends. Rose Levy Birenbaum talks about this in her book "The Cake Bible."

lsawyer Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 1:07am
post #13 of 37

Thanks for the info, Doug. I'll check out the prices for these and see if it's worth it.

winter Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 1:09am
post #14 of 37

I use the plastic dowels.

ajoycake Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 1:12am
post #15 of 37

I have used straws to surport a ball shaped cake that I put on a 1/2 sheet for a birthday. This worked fine. For anything else you gotta use plastic dowels.

Samsgranny Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 1:20am
post #16 of 37

Miraculous,
Welcome to the Board...you will love it here!

candy177 Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 1:21am
post #17 of 37

I had a fellow decorator start in my shop from a prestigious bakery in the area that said they always used straws in their stacked cakes. I'd never heard of this before...but then I saw her use them on a 2 tier cake. So I might try them in a simple practice cake. icon_smile.gif

tiggy2 Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 1:29am
post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SLK

I've never used straws - but I do use bambo skewers a lot - 2 and 3 layer stacks. They are strong but thinner than dowl rods so easier to cut.



SLK where do you get your bamboo skewers? Seems like they would be much easier to cut and make a smaller hole.

SLK Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 1:33am
post #19 of 37

grocery store - in the isle where they have kitchen utencils. I even saw some at the dollar store the other day - but they wern't bamboo. I tried them last weekend but they splintered pretty bad. I'm going to stick to the ones that cost more than a dollar. They usually come 30 to a bag. They are the kind used for k-bobs on the grill.

Jenn123 Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 1:38am
post #20 of 37

I read a few months ago (here, I think) that someone was using these really thick straws made for bubble tea. They said it works really well for cakes, but I haven't tried it yet. Search Amazon for "fat straw."

karateka Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 1:50am
post #21 of 37

I have used drinking straws in 3 wedding cakes now. They work very well. I still use regular wooden dowels on the bottom-most layer if I'm making it more than 3 tiers, though. But the straws are working well, and I intend to keep using them. Rose Beranbaum uses them in her cakes, too (according to her book The Cake Bible).

subaru Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 2:07am
post #22 of 37

Are ya'll talking about regular plain ol' drinking straws? Like you get at restaurants ?

karateka Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 1:25pm
post #23 of 37

Yep! Plain old drinking straws.

Kiddiekakes Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 3:03pm
post #24 of 37

I use straws for small slab cakes with a 3D cake ontop etc.Rubbermaid sells the replacement straws for their drink boxes and they are made from a heavy duty plastic which isn't as flimsy as the straws you get from 7-11 for slurpees.I also use wooden dowels that hubby gets from Home depot.They are raw wood with no chemicals on them and I use my large bread serated knife to score and snap.I use a small nail file to sand the edges and sides so they are smooth.For much larger cakes I would definetly use wilton large plastic dowels.

sweetooth2 Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 3:51pm
post #25 of 37

The times that i've need any support for my cakes I used lollipop sticks the ones Wilton puts out for lollipop making. I have also used dowel rods from the craft section in Wal-Mart but I worried about splinters even though it cut fairly clean..

quills Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 7:30pm
post #26 of 37

I just did a two-layer birthday cake with straws for support & it was fine. I also realized at the last minute that I didn't have a dowel to go all the way through both layers. I did, however, have some leftover Chinese takeout chopsticks. It was a little hard to cut to size, but it worked beautifully. I was even able to shave down the point a little to make it easier to go through the top layer's board. (Admittedly, this cake was for a friend. Don't think I'd chance it on a paid cake.)

freddie Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 11:26pm
post #27 of 37

I also like to use the Rubbermaid drink box straws they are very sturdy and I have never had a problem with them. Walmart sells a knockoff of them that is even cheaper. You can also get the Bubble Tea Straws in the Chinese or Asian grocery stores they are wider and thicker than regular straws and also very cheap. I find straws easier to cut and work with, and because they are hollow and fill with cake, I find them to be more stable than dowels.

lisascakes Posted 8 Jun 2006 , 11:30pm
post #28 of 37

Please be careful - several years ago the lady across the street had Hyvee ( grocerystore) do her cake because she knew the decorator and for this one cake the store let the decorator use her own frosting. The decorator made/decorated the cake & used wooden dowels. After the cake was done the cake decorator fell and could not set up the cake. The store had another decorator set up the cake and that decorator removed the dowels and inserted drinking straws.

The cake fell!! Smashed so bad that nothing could be saved. The store had some sheet cakes that they gave the bride to have something to serve but it was not the cake she wanted.

I know this because my mom was the decorator that did the cake. She had been doing cakes for over 20 years and never used straws so I know she didn't use them for this cake. I really think there was some jelousy on the part of the lady that set the cake up.

So just be careful!

edencakes Posted 9 Jun 2006 , 12:50am
post #29 of 37

I always use straws on small-ish cakes (2-3 tiers), even wedding cakes. I've never had a disaster, or had anything tilt or move. I use bubble tea straws for larger cakes, they work really well.

I also use bamboo skewers through the assembled cake to keep the tiers from shifting.

Of course, they only work for stacked cakes... if you need separation, you'll have to use something else.

Ponczek Posted 19 Mar 2010 , 8:07pm
post #30 of 37

I will use bamboo skewers in drink straws .

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