I'm hosting a baby shower that will have 28 adults and 5 kids. I know a half sheet cake would be the easiest probably but I was thinking of doing a stacked cake instead. This will be my first stacked cake so I'm a little nervous about it. If I go this route, I'm really not sure what size to make. A 10-inch bottom with 8 inch round will be way too much cake right? Would a 6 and 10-inch be best? Is a 6 and 8-inch going to be too small? Should I just keep it easy on myself and do the half sheet cake? I'm so cunfused.
A 9" and 6" round should give you about 36 servings ... is cake the only food at the shower? I think if I were hosting I decide if that would be big enough by who I was inviting and what else would be on the menu (one side of my family, that would be enough cake .... the other side, I'd need to go larger. )
We're having lunch of lasagna, salad and garlic bread.
Any tips since this would be my first stacked cake?
Since you're having a lunch - with a lot of carbs - I would think the 9" and 6" would be plenty for 33, but you won't have much left over. Don't be afraid of the stacked cakes. Just take it one step at a time and you'll be fine. I find it easier to work on each tier separately, but do the same things on each tier at the same time. (i.e. I fill and crumb coat all tiers at the same time, but never work on the next tier till the one is done -- almost like an assembly line. Fill 9", put top layer on and press down. Fill 6", put top layer on and press down. Crumb coat 9". Crumb Coat 6". Ice 9", then ice 6". By that time, the 9" has crusted and I can smooth ... then smooth the 6". Depending on how you want it to look when finished I would usually decorate each tier then put them together ... remember to measure one dowel and cut all other dowels the same length as the one you measured .... don't measure each one separately, as your frosting may not completely level and can trick you -- you won't notice it's not 100% level till the top tier is on, and you don't want to take it off once its' on there. I do center dowels only for cakes I'm moving around, so since this is at your house, you should be ok (especially if you have air conditioning). If you're like most of us, you'll get dissappointed when someone wants a sheet cake instead of tiered because of 1) the challenge 2) the possibilities and 3) the end results and reactions.
Thank you so much for your suggestions! I made it through my first stacked cake and did pretty well. Getting the top tier on was a little tricky without messing up the bottom tier, but I think it looked pretty good that night.
I took a photo of the cake when I was finished and it looked level. The next day we drove it to the shower location and I don't know something shifted on the drive or the cake settled overnight or what, but in the shower photos you can see that the top tier is a little crooked and there is a small gap between the top tier and it's bottom border. I really am stumped to how or why this would happen. Any ideas?
The cake seemed to be a hit and I had plenty for everyone and a small amount of leftovers so that must have been the perfect size cake to make for the party.
I find that I really need to press down on the cake after filling it to make sure that extra space/air is all out of the middle before putting the top tier on. I've read a lot of people also insist on refrigerating overnight after filling/crumbcoating so that it has time to settle. I never have enough frig space, so I haven't tried that. Did you have a center dowel? That should keep it from shifting, especially if it goes into the bottom boards/drum. If the top tier is just leaning, it could be that not all your dowels were the exact same height or that there wasn't even placement of them. How many did you use?
I didn't do a center dowel through both tiers but I used 8 dowels to support the 6-inch tier. They probably were not all the exact same size, my husband was trying to help me cut them and the ends weren't all smooth.
That's probably it. You'd be ok with 4 dowels in the bottom tier to support the 6", but if they're not the same size it will make them lean ever so slightly. The center dowel keeps the top from shifting as you're making those turns while driving. I read another thread on what people are using to cut dowels and A LOT of people LOVE using dog nail clippers (sounds gross, huh?) .... I got a pair before my last tiered cake and it make a big difference for me!!! I wasn't stuck sanding those pointy middles of dowels, either. Next time you do one, try the clippers. Once they're all cut, put them part way into the bottom tier. When you put the top tier on top of the dowels that are sticking up, you'll have time to get your fingers out of the way and the weight of the top tier will push the dowels in all the way.
You did a great job and just think .... it only gets better from here! You're probably the only one that noticed the slight lean at the shower. I'm glad you had enough and everyone enjoyed it -- makes the stress and fretting over it worthwhile!