Course 3 Recommendation: Stacked Vs Tiered, Round Vs Square

Decorating By xstitcher Updated 25 Apr 2008 , 3:00am by TexasSugar

xstitcher Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 9:50am
post #1 of 15

Hi Everyone,

I just finished Course 2 today and will hopefully be starting Course 3 the first week of May (this of course depends on the kids soccer schedule icon_smile.gif ).

Before starting Course 3 I was hoping I could ask you all some questions.
I know this may take a bit so I really appreciate your time! My ?'s are as as follows:

1) Would you recommend using square or round cake pans for the final cake for this class? The reason I'm asking now is that I have to order some cake pans and this way they should reach me in time!

2) Depending on the answer for the above ? what size pans would you recommend I get?

3) Keeping in mind that I have never done fondant which pans would be easier to cover round or square?

4) Would you recommend that I try stacked or tiered cake for my final class? Is one easier than the other? I personally think the stacked looks nicer but I don't know the level of difficulty for either method.

P.S. I don't want to be to forward or take up to much of your time but if you all have any other tips/info to help me for this class that would be great! I have only decorated 4 cakes (all for class) - 3 of which I have added onto this site today, so if you would like (and time permitting) maybe you could look at these & see where I'm at and what you think would be the best style of cake to attempt for Course 3.

Many, many heartfelt thanks to you all!



14 replies
mgigglin Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 10:59am
post #2 of 15

I just finished Course 3 a few months ago, you'll have fun with it! I used round since that is what I had. There were people in my class that did square but it was a little bit harder for them to learn how to cover. Mainly dealing with the corners. The round was really easy to learn on, at least for me. I did stacked so I could learn using dowels with someone watching over me. Most of the class did exactly what was in the book, I tend to veer off the path. icon_rolleyes.gif As for what pans you think you should buy.. I would go with what you think you may be selling in the near future. Good luck and have fun!!


dydemus Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 11:10am
post #3 of 15

The round ones are much easier to work with - try those first. And they come in a set of three from Wilton.
I would recommend stacked also - not a lot of people do tiered anymore - if you look at the trends, stacked is in, tiered is dated (but not obsolete icon_smile.gif. And it's good to learn how to dowel - a crucial part in a large cake!!!
Have fun!

nancylynwallace Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 11:22am
post #4 of 15

I agree...the round ones are much easier and that stacked is the "in" thing now. I have looked at your cakes and they are very good! Keep on practicing and trying new things.

vickymacd Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 11:25am
post #5 of 15

Unfortunately, I was so sick for my final cake, I didn't make it, but I also had written the same questions you did when I was faced with my final.

I personally would go with a square!!! For the very reason that it is harder and after all, YOU ARE IN CLASS. What better place to tackle it and learn!!

I also would have done a stacked not tiered.

HerBoudoir Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 11:40am
post #6 of 15

Hi Pam!

I am taking Course 3 right now myself, and was just contemplating what I want to do for next week icon_smile.gif

1. Round vs. square for the final cake - I'm going with a 9 - 6 round stacked cake. Realistically though - you should order what you think you'll like best.

2. 6 - 8- 10 are probably the most useful sizes, round or square. Because I like small cakes, I also always get 5s and 4s if they're available.

3. I've covered a round cake in fondant before, so I brought a 6 inch square cake for class so I could learn how to make the corners neat. I would actually also reommend that you do a square cake because it's a little bit harder than a round - and if you can do a square one ok, you'll be able to do a round one after that more easily.

4. The best thing to do is figure out what you want to do when you're into the class - your end design should challenge you and incorporate things you've learned. If you do the tiered, you'll need 6 and 10 inch round pans. But I'll agree with the above - tiering is NOT hard to do. Make them teach you how to dowel stacked cakes - that's a little more difficult.

Since I have some previous experience with cakes, I have made sure that I learn some of the more difficult things during class, so I can push my own skill level....hence fondanting a square cake, etc. I actually know how to dowel a cake but haven't done one in over a year and I could use the practice.

We made royal flowers on lily nails last night, and I know I'll want to incorporate some of the lilies into my tiered cake.

Unfortunately it's a really tough week at school with a bunch of final projects coming due at the beginning of next week, so doing something really complex for a final cake isn't in the cards. I'll have to go back once finals are over and make something outrageous icon_smile.gif

Gatorfan01 Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 12:54pm
post #7 of 15

I just finished Course 3 last night. Here are my thoughts.

1. I did a square cake for the "present" cake and learned how to put fondant on a square cake. Since I wasn't paying attention when she told the ones that brought round cakes to class how to do their fondant, I had trouble put the fondant on my round cakes for the final class. I thought the square was much easier than the round. icon_surprised.gif

2. Make sure you make your flowers for which ever design in advance. I got busy over the weekend and didn't make my fondant flowers until the day of class. They weren't totally dry and I didn't read the instructions right so I didn't make enough. icon_cry.gif (I was going for the blue tiered cake in the book) I just piped some shells around my tiered cake and called it a night. Very disappointed in myself. thumbsdown.gif

3. I wanted to learn how to do tiered cakes since one day I hope to do a topsy turvy cake. icon_lol.gif

4. Have fun.

CelebrationsbyLori Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 3:58pm
post #8 of 15

It will depend on your instructor. I insist on everyone doing an 8" square cake the second night of class for the gift box cake. Someone mentioned "because I wasn't paying attention I didn't know how to cover the square cake", this solves that problem since everyone is working with the same shape. The last night of class we make a 6" on a 10" wedding cake in rounds. Again, some consistency in instruction, but also lets the students work with both shapes and in essence learn more about working with fondant.
Your kit includes the push-in style pillars, I would suggest learning to use them, they are very handy. Stacked is good too!
It's not a matter so much of which is easier, you want to learn as much as possible with someone right there to help you!
HTH -Lori

xstitcher Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 11:54pm
post #9 of 15

mgigglin, dydemus, nancylynwallace, vickymacd, HerBoudoir, Gatorfan01 and last but not least CelebrationsbyLori,

A great big thanks to you all for answering my ?'s! I'm sorry I didn't get back to say thx until now, but for some reason I didn't get a single email letting me know that you all had responded!

I have just one last ? that I forgot to ask last night, so if you get a chance to respond that would be great! Do you think it would be better to have 2", 3" or 4" difference in the size of the stacked cakes?

For example:

6" & 8"
6" & 9"
6" & 10"

Thanks again everyone! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

HerBoudoir Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 2:40am
post #10 of 15

If you choose to use the plate and pillars that came in kit 3, you will need a 6 and 10.

I plan on making a 6 and 9 myself icon_smile.gif

TexasSugar Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 3:20am
post #11 of 15

I'm a WMI so my reply will be based on what I do in my classes. Some of the answers may depend on your instructor. I haven't read any of the other answers so I'm sorry if I repeat something.

1 and 2. I suggest my students do the 6in round on the top because they get the 8in plate in the kit and they can use it with out buying another one. For the bottom I tell them they can do a 10 in round or square.

For Lesson 2 I give them the option of doing an 8 in two layer or 10 in single layer square cake. So if they get the 10in square for that cake they can use it on their final.

3) Personally I think that squares are easier to cover with fondant. Of course this could be because my first fondant cake was a square. All my students do square fondant cakes in lesson 2. I give them the option of doing buttercream or fondant on the final cake. If they are going on to F/GP then I'd rather see them save money on the fondant since they will need it the next month, and they will get practice on round cakes then.

4) I ask my students to do the pillars and plate. It is easier to do in class to me since we don't have to worry about getting dowels all the same size. Plus you get the plates and pillars in the kit so it doesn't cost you extra to use them.

I do tell them they can take any cake in the book, even the single tiered or stacked ones and turn that idea in to a plate and pillar cake. I also let them be creative as long as they use things we learned in class. I'd say about 70% of them do a version of something in the book while the others get creative and come up with something.

xstitcher Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 7:48am
post #12 of 15

Thx TexasSugar for all the detailed info!

TexasSugar Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 4:42pm
post #13 of 15
Originally Posted by xstitcher

I have just one last ? that I forgot to ask last night, so if you get a chance to respond that would be great! Do you think it would be better to have 2", 3" or 4" difference in the size of the stacked cakes?

For example:

6" & 8"
6" & 9"
6" & 10"

I didn't see this last night but thought I would add my option. My personal opinion is a 3 or 4 in difference looks better. To me the 2 in can look off because there is only an inch around each cake. The 3 or 4 makes each cake stand out a little more.

I have seen a few designs that do look good with just the 2in, but since it has more of a tower look to me, it doesn't fit all of them.

Of course this is my personal opinion and I'm not sure there is a right or wrong answer here. icon_smile.gif If you are debating a look you can always get soem cake pans or cake dummies and stack them to get a visual.

xstitcher Posted 25 Apr 2008 , 12:27am
post #14 of 15


Originally Posted by xstitcher

If you are debating a look you can always get soem cake pans or cake dummies and stack them to get a visual.

That's a great idea. I'm going to go to a restaurant supply store this weekend and hopefully they'll have several sizes so I can do just that!

Thanks again TexasSugar!


TexasSugar Posted 25 Apr 2008 , 3:00am
post #15 of 15

You are welcome. Glad I could help. icon_smile.gif

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