I have been asked to do a wedding cake for a very good friend. I have no formal training at all and all that I do know I learned from trial and error until I found yall! LOL!
She wants a 5 tiered cake. She doesn't care if it is stacked or on columns. I want the most sturdy obviously, but don't know what that is.
As it is my cakes are not very firm. I am thinking of doing a pound cake for the bottom 16 in and 12 layers. And then my usual doctored box cake for the remaing 10, 8, and 6 in layers.
I was thinking about stacking the bottom 16 & 12 in layers and the putting columns in and stacking the 10 and 8 and then more columns for the top 6 in tier. Or should I stack them all and then just use columns on the last tier???
And what is the best support system out there??
Can you tell I'm so lost!!!!!!
Get a good book on this to refer to, and quick...For a cake that big you'll need to have good support, so use at least the thicker plastic dowel rods, not the wooden ones. I use the wooden ones, but I've been doing wedding cakes for years, so I'm not nervous about it. If this is the first big cake you've done you should go with something really sturdy. The stress-free support system is good, but you'll have to pay for that. It would probably be worth it in peace of mind, though.
On a practical note, is she having her reception in a venue thta requires you to have a business license? A lot of places are doing that now because they don't want to have a problem arise with unlicensed bakers. you should probably check to make sure they'll let you bring a cake in. Also, nake sure she sits down with you and tells you what she wants, and if she plans on paying you anything to cover your costs, or nothing at all and it will be totally a gift. Get it all in writing!!!! This could be more stress and more of a gift than you know, so be prepared. If you're also going to be in the wedding party, you might want to tell her that you can't do it, because there's no way that you'll want to be doing a cake the night before the wedding (and the morning of the wedding) if you're also going to have to be taking part in other events. I don't want to be a buzzkill, but I always get nervous for people who agree to do a large cake like this for friends, and since you seem to be really new to the construction part of it thta makes me more nervous for you...
here is a thread in which I share some large cakes I've done with different constructions: http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopicp-5698457-.html#5698457
Also the wilton site re: construction: http://www.wilton.com/wedding/makecake/building/index.cfm
Like the above poster, I've used wooden dowels forever, but for a beginner, I'd recommend the hidden pillars as a first choice and the push-in pillars as a second choice. With these two methods, you don't have to worry about everything being even and level, cutting rods, balancing plates or upper tiers.