Help Needed Pretty Quick With Dowels Please

Decorating By joanna3292 Updated 23 Jun 2011 , 1:23am by tiggy2

joanna3292 Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 9:26am
post #1 of 18

Im making a toadstool cake which is two cakes stuck on top of each other. I know I should use dowels in the bottom cake but ive only got plastic ones which i cant cut to size. I dont really understand why dowels ave to be cut to the height of the cake, surely the cake would be more stable if i left the dowels sticking out the top of the bottom cake and then stuck the top one onto the dowels and therefore piercing the top cake? any thoughts greatly appreciated as i am feeling very under pressure with this cake and its important to me that i do a good job, the cake has a long way to travel so i am keen for it not to fall apart! you can tell im new to this cant you! thanks

17 replies
ALVARGA Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 1:32pm
post #2 of 18

The dowels on the bottom support the top layers. Then one long one is driven through all the cakes to keep the cake from shifting. Buy a Wilton yearbook and in the middle of the magazine is pictures on how to dowel in a variety of ways. You are asking for a disaster if you don't dowel your cakes correctly. Hope this helps.

subaru Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 1:42pm
post #3 of 18

You MUST dowel you cake or you will have a disaster. Here is a tutorial on how to do it from the articles here in CC:

http://www.cakecentral.com/article23-Teired-Stacked-Cake-Construction.html

If you don't cut the dowels to length and allow them to pierce into the top layer, then the cake is not stable. There would be no point in using the dowels at all. The whole point of doweling is to keep the weight of the top layer off of the bottom layer.( and cutting to length keeps the top cake level). It needs to be kind of like a small table stacked on top of a larger table. Then you dowel down the center through both cakes to keep the top cake from shifting. I hope I explained this right.

Mencked Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 1:54pm
post #4 of 18

If you have the wilton plastic dowels you really can cut them with a steak knife--I know from first hand experience icon_smile.gif! But you must use supports and the dowels must be cut to the height of your first cake--that way all of the weight from the cake above will be supported by the dowels and it won't smush down onto the bottom cake.

slopokesgirl Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 1:59pm
post #5 of 18

If you leave the dowels too long, you will find a space between the cakes that you will have to cover. AND you run the risk of the top cake sliding off if you don't use buttercream or royal icing as a glue to keep them together.

subaru Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 1:59pm
post #6 of 18

Oh yeah, I was going to say, that a good set of kitchen scissors or wire cutters works great on plastic or wooden dowels.

slopokesgirl Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 2:02pm
post #7 of 18

Or go to home depot and get a pair of racheting sheers. That way you wont get fatigue in your hands.

buglady77 Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 2:11pm
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by joanna3292

Im making a toadstool cake which is two cakes stuck on top of each other. I know I should use dowels in the bottom cake but ive only got plastic ones which i cant cut to size. I dont really understand why dowels ave to be cut to the height of the cake, surely the cake would be more stable if i left the dowels sticking out the top of the bottom cake and then stuck the top one onto the dowels and therefore piercing the top cake? any thoughts greatly appreciated as i am feeling very under pressure with this cake and its important to me that i do a good job, the cake has a long way to travel so i am keen for it not to fall apart! you can tell im new to this cant you! thanks




I have a question - are you putting a cake board under your top cake? That is why everyone is saying the dowels cut to height keep the weight off the bottom cake. Dowels aren't just about avoiding side-to-side wiggle (which is what dowels through all the cakes would do) but about supporting weight too. Cake with icing is VERY heavy so the dowels cut to height support the weight of the top cake without having it smoosh down the bottom cake (believe me, I learned this the hard way!) I hope I didn't just talk in confusing circles. good luck!

kakeladi Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 3:57pm
post #9 of 18

O.k. 1st off....you say this creation is 2 cakes stuck on top of each other ....... what size are these cakes? Is each one 2" tall? OR are you talking about 2 *tiers* which would be two 2" layers of cake put together w/a filling for a total height of 4"?
If you mean you are putting together two tiers (each cake/tier is approx. 4" tall) then you need to put a cake board under each (4" tall) tier and support in the tier it will sit on.
Using the words 'cake' or 'layer' usually means one 2" tall layer.
A tier is usually two 2" tall cake layers put together w/filling.

joanna3292 Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 7:37pm
post #10 of 18

i am so gladi checked here first! The top half of the "mushroom" is 4" tall and the bottom half 5". I think it would be difficult to sit the top half on a board as it is a pretty irregular (but mushroomey!) shape so do you think it would be ok to dowl the bottom one by cutting the dowels to the correct height, "sticking" the top one on with royal icing and then putting a long dowl through the whole cake? I sometimes feel that cake making is the quickest way to a nervous breakdown... Thanks everyone. Oh, Im also going to take a look at the tutorial now, thanks

tiggy2 Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 7:57pm
post #11 of 18

If you don't put the top tier on a board there is no sense using dowels at all. The board keeps the weight of the top tier off the bottom tier when it is placed on top of the dowels. Without the board the top tier will simply "fall into" the bottom tier. If you have dowels in the bottom tier they will come through the top tier unless a board is used. If the top tier is irregular just cut the board to match the shape of it.

Lori17201 Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 8:10pm
post #12 of 18

Straws work too.

KoryAK Posted 26 Feb 2009 , 8:48pm
post #13 of 18

yes, you absolutely need a board under the cap part of the shroom. Aren't the edges going to stick out over the trunk part? How will the hanging ledges stand up w/o one? And then of course everything else that was said about pillar stability.

I too use drinking straws as dowels in all my cakes up to 4 tiers.

joanna3292 Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 7:41am
post #14 of 18

Now Im getting it! Back to the cake shop for another board then.. thanks a lot

Bluesea Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 6:44am
post #15 of 18

Hi there,

I am making the Mushroom house cake in 2weeks time and need some help. This is what i plan to do:

Use the Wilton Wonder Mold for the Mushroom Head.
Bake 3x 6inch and stack them on top of each other for the bottom half of the mushroom.

Please help me understand on the stacking.

a) 1st for the base - do i put a board in between the 3x 6inch cakes? Or should i just stack them on top of each other and put a long dowel thru in the centre?

b) i do understand from the previous posts, that i must put a board between the mushroom head and the bottom half of the mushroom. Right? What i don't quite understand (because i have not done this before) is that if there is a board in between the 2, how can i put a dowel right from the top of the cake thru the bottom? How to have the dowel go thru the boards? Hope what i am asking makes sense.

I need to transport this cake.

Appreciate all the help please.

Thank you.

CWR41 Posted 22 Jun 2011 , 2:24pm
post #16 of 18

This might help:
http://www.wilton.com/cakes/tiered-cakes/stacked-tiered-cake-construction.cfm

and yes, each tier must be on its own board. General rule is to use a board and a support system for every 4" of cake height.

Bluesea Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 1:07am
post #17 of 18

Thanks for the link CRW41.

What i don't understand is this:
Step 4
To stabilize tiers further, sharpen one end of a wooden dowel rod and push it through all tiers and cake boards to the base of the bottom tier.

What can i use to sharpen the wooden dowel? How can i push it thru the boards without damaging the cake? Sorry if this sounds stupid. I have not done this before and wld need all the help and explanation.

Many thanks.

tiggy2 Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 1:23am
post #18 of 18

Use a pencil sharpen to sharpen it then drive it through with a hammer. I believe there is instructions in the article section of this site.

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