Decorating By pennywells Updated 6 Sep 2008 , 5:52pm by MacsMom

pennywells Posted 6 Sep 2008 , 1:11pm
post #1 of 12

I have my first real wedding cake(have done mostly large fake ones). I am nervous about the number of dowels needed to make sure this thing stands. I have never done this large of tiers in a real cake. I have a 16, 14, and 8 inch square cakes and I have 1/4 inch dowels rods. Can anyone tell me on the bottom tier how many I should use????

11 replies
pennywells Posted 6 Sep 2008 , 1:32pm
post #2 of 12

Opps, typing error the cake is 14,12,and 8. Thanks

bashini Posted 6 Sep 2008 , 2:00pm
post #3 of 12

Hi, on the 14" I would put 6 dowel rods at least, and on the 12" at least 5. If you are transporting the cake already stacked, then a centre dowel as well. icon_smile.gif

MacsMom Posted 6 Sep 2008 , 2:13pm
post #4 of 12

What are using as a base board?

I just had a major faux-pas because I doweled just fine, but then when I stuck a flower into the cake near the bottom it just happened to push a dowel in. I didn't know this happened until that tier collapsed icon_eek.gif . That happened because I didn't use a center dowel since the tier above was only 6".

From now on, I am going to hammer my dowels all the way through the foam core board and then set in on top of another foam core board or other base (to prevent the dowels from poking down into the lower tier, obviously).

indydebi Posted 6 Sep 2008 , 2:27pm
post #5 of 12

No matter how non-toxic a flower is, I try to avoid pushing the floral stem "into" the cake. I cut the stem (real or fake) off as close to the head as possible, then use a blop of buttercream on the back of hte floral to glue it onto the side of the cake. This not only prevents any water/liquid from seeping out of the stem and into the cake, but it prevents what you just described.

I heard Kerry Vincent speak and she told about some flowers that were placed in red water for awhile, then they were penetrated into a cake. When the cake was cut, there was red coloring inside the cake..... the liquid that was in the stem had seeped into the cake. So when that flower is in a vase of water, with dirt, sharing a florist's workbench with pesticides and more dirt, it's all getting soaked up into the stem. She said that's why it's actually illegal for flowers to penetrate the cake in Australia. (Any Australian CC'er's on here who might be able to let us know if I understood this correctly?).

pennywells Posted 6 Sep 2008 , 2:48pm
post #6 of 12

I am using plywood (covered of course) for the base of the 14 inch. Their are no flowers sticking in it just calla lilies sitting on it. I have 7 1/4 dowels in know,sounds like I should be good. Is their such a thing as doweling to much????

indydebi Posted 6 Sep 2008 , 2:56pm
post #7 of 12

Yes, you can dowel too much. While I agree that the support of the upper tiers is dependent on the support system and not on the density or type of cake (you can stack cake on top of cool whip if the support system is good), I have found that if using dowel rods, the cake around the dowel must be able to hold the dowel. You wouldn't put a 1/4" dowel in a 1/2" hole ... too much wobble room.

Too many dowels turns yoru cake into swiss cheese and damages the structural integrity of the cake. It also makes for a freakin' MESS when the cake is cut (I've got other bakers cakes who used something like 12 dowels in a 10" square cake ... I was cussing the whole time, cake was crumbling all over the place because it was nothing but a bunch of holes! What a mess!!)

I use 4 dowels rods in all of my cakes no matter what the size. I rarely have a 16" bottom tier anymore, but I'd probably put 6 in one that big.

pennywells Posted 6 Sep 2008 , 3:03pm
post #8 of 12

Thanks so much for all your replies. I feel more confident now. The 45 minute drive on the other hand may give me a headache!

leah_s Posted 6 Sep 2008 , 3:12pm
post #9 of 12

Next tiered cake, please consider using SPS. Four legs in each tier no matter the size. Once SPS is inserted straight into the cake, it's can't lean or wobble.

bjfranco Posted 6 Sep 2008 , 4:55pm
post #10 of 12

Well that was going to be my question for you. How far do you have to travel? 45 minutes! On a good road? If you live in Louisiana and have roads like us, I would use more than 6 dowels. I use 5 to 6 dowels in a 10" to hold up a 6" round plus a center dowel. I never want to lose a tiered cake or have a leaning cake. I would rather have a few extra holes in the cake then a leaning one. Better safe than sorry is how I feel especially when traveling long distances.


forthwife Posted 6 Sep 2008 , 5:05pm
post #11 of 12

While on this topic I wondered: I'm making my first tiered cake and it will be tiny. I plan doing a 8, 6, and 4" tier. Are dowels necessary? If yes, how many and what size should I use? Also, how does one put in a center dowel? Thanks!!

MacsMom Posted 6 Sep 2008 , 5:52pm
post #12 of 12
Originally Posted by indydebi

No matter how non-toxic a flower is, I try to avoid pushing the floral stem "into" the cake.

Oh, it wasn't a real flower. It was gumpaste on wires stuck into a straw

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