I just purchased my first 1/2" foam board and heat knife to cut it. I'm curious what everyone uses to cover this and exactly how sturdy is the foam board? I'm planning on using it for a tiered cake using 10", 8", & 6" cakes. Do I need to double the board or will one 1/2" foam board circle work?
On another note... I've never used a middle dowel in any of my tiered cakes and have had no problems (knock on wood). However, I'm thinking that I should start to do this for safety's sake. What I need to know is where are you getting dowels this long? Also, when you pound them into the cake and through the cardboard boards under each layer doesn't it mess up your frosting/fondant? How do you avoid this?
Thanks for the help.
Don't be afraid to center dowel your cakes. You get all sorts of scary visions of cake collapsing as you hammer mercilessly into it like trying to kill a vampire, but really, your cake will be fine. Sharpen the dowel with a pencil sharpener (I keep a small one in my cake tool kit and use it ONLY for cake dowels) and stack the cake. Use a hammer or something else sturdy - I usually use the side of my dowel cutter - to hammer the dowel through each of the interior cake boards and into the base board. Assuming you haven't used a wooden base, that is.
Wilton makes food safe dowels that are 12" long. Be careful using dowels from the hardware store. They often have a chemical treatment. Wilton's dowels will be long enough for your cake assuming you're using 4" tall tiers.
Foam board is very sturdy for its weight, especially the thick 1/2" one that you bought. I cover mine in either contact paper or cake foil.
You don't need to add a center dowel unless you are transporting it stacked. You can find long dowels at any home improvement store or hobby store. 1/2 inch should be fine under each layer, but I would double or triple for the base. I like the look of a nice thick base with a wider ribbon around it. You just sharpen your dowel with a pencil sharpened (make sure to use a new one and save it for just cakes) and twist it through. You might have to use a mallet to get it all the way in. But the only thing you should mess up is a small whole on the very top. Which you can fix or cover with a flower.