A Question About Stacking Five Tiers

Decorating By NoNameinNM Updated 27 Oct 2008 , 7:06pm by NoNameinNM

NoNameinNM Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 10:14pm
post #1 of 14

I did a quick forum search but didn't find what I was looking for. I have to stack a square five-tiered cake on Saturday morning. I'll be doing 14", 12", 10", 8" and 6" square tiers.

I do maybe one big cake a year for friends and family--I've never stacked more than three tiers before and I'm a bit nervous about the stability of five tiers. I've never had issues with two layers of cardboard and the hollow Wilton plastic dowel rods (and then one long wooden dowel through the whole thing, but I'm worried about that not being sufficient in this case. With that many tiers, I'm worrying about the overall weight of the cake compromising the two cardboard layers in between each tier (even if I alternate the direction of the corrugated cardboard squares).

Am I worrying too much about this? I'll be stacking it on site.

Would it be better to use the square plastic separator plates with the hidden pillars cut to the height of each tier? I'd still be able to cover the edges of those white plates with an icing border so that's not a big worry. If I go this way, are the four hidden pillars with the plate feet set into them sufficient when you start getting into these larger sizes? I can always put an additional dowel under the center of each plate. The plastic plates seem sturdy but I wouldn't want to see one bend or sag in the center..

Thanks in advance for any advice on this. I'm probably being a little paranoid, but I'm hoping that a bit of caution at first will prevent tears later!

13 replies
sari66 Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 1:01am
post #2 of 14

Use the sps that Leahs recommends

cakedecor Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 1:29am
post #3 of 14

That certainly is a large cake. I actually just did a square 16-14-12-10 stacked. Fortunatly for me the 10" was a dummy. Man that cake was sooooo heavy. I have been using foam core board between my layers instead of cardboard. On this particular cake I also used thicker wooden dowels on the two bottom cakes along with the standard wooden dowels. If you were to use the plastic pillers I would be worried I woud not be able to get them totally even. Seems easier to tweek wooden dowells than plastic pillers. Hopefully you have someone to go with you when you set up so they can help you center the cakes on top of each other. They get heavy when you are stacking so tall. I am not sure I helped you at all but I do with you the best of luck. You'll have to let us know how it went. So you know what is the sps that sari66 is speaking of?

leah_s Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 3:07am
post #4 of 14

If you can find SPS locally, then definitely it will work. I do a fair number of 5 and 6 tier stacked cakes. I don't know if you have time to order SPS and get it shipped to you. The Wilton hidden pillars are similar, not quite as sturdy, but will work in a pinch.

deliciously_decadent Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 10:57am
post #5 of 14

vering by yourself? i only ask as this is going to be a very heavy cake and it may serve you to take it in two sections so that is easier to deliver. i always take my cakes pre assembled but i did a fiver that biag a while back and needed someone else to help due to the weight i just couldn't do it safely. i later realised i could have saved my neighbour the trip by taking the two bottom tiers in one box and the top three in another and setting up that way. i central dowel on thick cake cards and use normal 6mm dowels and have no trouble.

jibbies Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 11:07am
post #6 of 14

Here are 2 that I have done, they were assembled on site so no center dowel.


Both were taken out of state 1st one to South Carolina and the second one to Michigan.


deliciously_decadent Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 11:13am
post #7 of 14
Originally Posted by jibbies

Here are 2 that I have done, they were assembled on site so no center dowel.

oh my goodness please tell me you didn't do all that pipe work on site at set up???? icon_eek.gificon_surprised.gif

jibbies Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 11:29am
post #8 of 14
Originally Posted by adatay

Originally Posted by jibbies

Here are 2 that I have done, they were assembled on site so no center dowel.

oh my goodness please tell me you didn't do all that pipe work on site at set up???? icon_eek.gificon_surprised.gif

I did. My husband helped me stack it, and then I did all the scroll work while the catering people were setting up. they were having a hard time not stopping and watching, hehe. What you don't see is that the scroll work is on the back also, so when it is viewed from the side you can see both sets of scroll work and it forms a "V". My upper back and shoulders were killing me when I got done. Then I was the one who cut the cake.
Thanks for looking!


gingersoave Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 11:34am
post #9 of 14

I just did this 5 tier cake (10,9,8,.7, and 6) I just took the 10, 9, 8 and assembled the 7 and 6 when I got on site, it was a long.....ride too. No problems, used wooden dowel rods. I did put a center dowel thru the 3 for transporting and none once I got there.

Here are some pics:

gingersoave Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 11:37am
post #10 of 14

here's the 3 stacked:

deliciously_decadent Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 12:02pm
post #11 of 14

the cake in your avatar ia AMAZING gingersoave! i know collette's book you got the idea from you did an awesome job! i am making a tea cup and teapot cake next week (nothing like yours its a beauty and the beast theme -mrs potts and chip- but have been looking at everything teapot/cup orientated and yours is fabulous!!

gingersoave Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 12:44pm
post #12 of 14

Thank you adatay! Plan on taking about a week to do this particular cake!! I am glad I did it ONCE, never again! My kitchen was turned upside down for over a week. Pieces drying, plates drying with gumpaste in them, screaming at everyone in the house to stay away from the pieces drying!!! icon_evil.gif Definitely a lot of work!

deliciously_decadent Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 8:58pm
post #13 of 14

lol sounds like me every day (the screaming to stay away part hahaha!!) yes my cake involves a 6" carved 3D scultpure of mrs potts and about 10 ship the tea cup mini cake replicas so there will be saucers and handles dangling from the roof top i am imagining!! lol

NoNameinNM Posted 27 Oct 2008 , 7:06pm
post #14 of 14

Thanks for your help, everyone. Based upon comments by cakedecor and leahs, I did decide to use the plastic separator plates and hidden pillars that I had on hand rather than use the double layers of cardboard I've used for much shorter stacked cakes. I'm glad I did! I did all the cutting of pillars and stacking on site (as planned) and all went well.

When all was said and done the cake was stable and solid as a rock and I didn't have to worry about pillars or dowels going through cardboard. I am definitely a convert to the plastic plates and hidden pillars. I'd always used the larger plastic dowels before anyway, but now I'll stick with the plastic plates with the feet that are put into the hidden pillars.

I worked for two straight days on the cake and still ran short of time at the last minute so it wasn't completely what I'd originally planned, although it was close. I ended up deliberately roughing up and texturing the buttercream because I didn't have time to ice the tiers smoothly, but fortunately I really liked it that way. When it's all said and done, this cake was a donation for the fall luncheon of an organization I volunteer with, and everyone really liked it.

The only thing that really went wrong is that I took my camera out to take a picture after I set it up, only to have the battery instantly die on me (my own stupid fault for not checking before I left the house). I'm still waiting for pics taken by friends.

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