I have a HUGE wedding cake next weekend and I need advice from the expert decorators! It's my largest wedding cake to date, so I want it to be perfect.
The cake is 6 tiers (fondant squares - 6/8/10/12/14/16) with separator legs between each tier. I'm putting 2 squares made of of 1/4 inch dowels inside. Is that enough support? Should I use large plastic dowels instead?
I am VERY worried about it being unstable or leaning with all those separator legs! I was going to use the Wilton white plastic plates and roman columns because I think they're more stable than the push-in pillars. What do you guys think?
But, I don't like the plastic-y look of the plate on top of the cake. Do you just wet the top before you push it in to keep it in place? Also, it gets gumpastes lily bouquets in each corner of each tier, so I'm worried that the plates will cover most of the top corners, leaving no room to stick the flowers. Any suggestions?
If it were me making that cake, I'd use the plates and pillars, and either use the large plastic pillars for support under each plate or buy some stress free cake supports. I wouldn't rely on dowels. I agree that the plates seem more stable than push in pillars.
I don't blame you for not liking the plastic-y look....you could use the clear ones, for a more crystal look...
As far as having room for the flowers, it wouldn't be much, that's true. I don't have an answer for that one. Good luck, it sounds really pretty. Bring a ladder!
Leahs is always talking about her stress free supports. I think they're called SPS. Maybe you can get those ordered by next week. They're sturdier than Wilton. I'd be super afraid of using dowels just in case one goes in crooked it will all go.
Personally, I like the push-through pillars more than the plate system, since the legs are anchored all the way through the tier. I'd use those, and use the plastic tube dowels instead of wooden ones for something that big. You can get the push-through pillars in different lengths, so I've done a lot of cakes that had the shorter ones that don't give you as much height between the tiers, but it also gives you less chance of a leaning tower.
For the squares and the flowers, you could just go barbarian and cut out a little of the corners and stick the flowers over the cutout area. That, or use a plate that's bigger and will give you a little more space on the ledge of each corner to work with, but if you don't like the plates that's a problem, too...If the flowers are separated you could press the pointed end of the lily into the fondant and secure it with royal icing, then put leaves in between to hide the ends. You could put a small hole in the fondant with a dowel first as a guide, then it won't break the fondant around where you press the flowers in.
I've done lots of wedding cakes huge stacked things (check out my photos if you get a chance) The push in pillars are actually more stable that the plates and pillars. They also do away with the plasticy plate look you were talking about.
PM me if you need any more help
I've done a number of 5 tiered cakes.
Here's one that is supported by wooden dowels with plastic plates between each tier: http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=93760
This one is the same way except the top tier is supported by the clear push-in pillars: http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=199773
This is an older cake I did, but the bottom cake is not only supporting the entire cake but the fountain is also sitting on top of the cake. It's supported by wooden dowels:
This one uses the white hidden pillars that the plate legs fit right down into: http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1119353
Except for the cakes that I use the hidden pillars (which are very very rare) I ALWAYS use wooden dowels for support. And I only put 4 dowels into each cake, no matter what the size. The plates on the above tier is sitting on these dowels and supports it just fine.
If you look on my Flickr site (link below in my signature) you can see a photo where I'm using a level to make sure each tier is nice and straight (which I had already determined before delivery .... we took the pic for marketing purposes! )