I am going to make a 2 layer square cake for my sister's birthday. I'm just wondering when layering cakes do you always put dowels in the cake for support? I'm new to this and was trying to decide if it was necessary.
Are you talking about putting one two or more layer cake on top of another one or more layer cake--that is, basically two (or more) cakes, one stacked on top of the other?
The terms "layer" and "tier" seem to become confused at times. For the sake of clarity, when I say tier, I mean a multiple layer cake, usually two layers (for me). When I say layer, I mean a single thickness of cake, like what would come out of a single pan after baking.
So...if I am stacking one layer on top of another, with some sort of filling in between, I would not use dowels (unless I was planning to transport, and the cake has a particularly slippery filling).
Now, if I am taking one of these two-layer constructions and placing it on top of another two-layer construction, I would put dowels in the lower cake tier and put the upper tier on a cake board. The dowels help to keep the top cake level and prevent cake collapses. It also makes it easier to serve, because you probably don't want to give each person an 8 inch tall piece of cake!
This might help to explain things:
I do mean tier! Thanks for the clarification! Also thanks for that article!!