Straws Or Dowels?

Decorating By Treena Updated 1 Sep 2009 , 5:52pm by FlourPots

Treena Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 3:36pm
post #1 of 51

Any of you ever use Straws instead of dowel rods? I ran into a lady yesterday that said this is what they teach them at Johnson & Wales Univ.

50 replies
dogwood Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 4:55pm
post #2 of 51

I've heard people on hear talk about using straws but I haven't tried it. I got a wedding cake coming that I was considering using straws in instead of the wooden dowels. Maybe someone will answer soon. I'd like to hear opinions on this subject.

kakeladi Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 4:58pm
post #3 of 51

Sure! Many of us use strawsicon_smile.gif They work just as good or even better than wooden dowels.
........ Johnson & Wales Univ........
Have NO idea where this is but I'm a bit surprised to hear such a place would be teaching the use of strawsicon_smile.gif I far prefer using straws over dowels and find them to be very reliable for most tiered cakes.

pattigunter Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 5:03pm
post #4 of 51

I've been using bubble tea straws since watching Sharon Zambitos DVD where she gives a demonstration on them. They are easy to cut to size with regular scissors and work great.

KieslerKakes Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 5:09pm
post #5 of 51

Can you use drinking straws, or special cake straws. If something special were do you purchase them? Thanks

Tita9499 Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 5:10pm
post #6 of 51

I've seen and heard of straws being used instead of wooden dowels, but I can't for the life of me, understand how a bendable straw can support the weight of heavy tiers.

Maybe someone can give me a scientific explanation as to how these are the same as using wooden dowels.

pattigunter Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 5:14pm
post #7 of 51

I cant remember exactly where I ordered them on-line but you can google Bubble Tea Straws and several sites will come up.

Sharon instructed to space them about 1" apart. I think you have to use a few more straws than dowels but bubble tea straws are very strong and not as pliable as regular straws are. I have never had a problem with them shifting or bending.

KieslerKakes Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 5:16pm
post #8 of 51

Thanks, I'll check it out.

Maria_Campos Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 5:17pm
post #9 of 51

I buy my straws from eBay really cheap and I get them by the box full.
I never use the regular one just the Bubble Tea Straws, much easier to use than the dowels, I highly recommend them!

leah_s Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 5:18pm
post #10 of 51

Neither! Try SPS. Seriously.

mcdonald Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 5:23pm
post #11 of 51

I get my bubble straws at a Korean grocery store....

Tita9499 Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 5:26pm
post #12 of 51

Leahs, are you an SPS spokesperson? I'm so not being sarcastic either, you are very convincing when it comes that SPS.

I ordered my first set for a quincenera, do you usually buy the plate the same size as the cake? ie, an 8" plate for an 8"layer? Or do you buy it an inch shorter 7" for an 8" so you can't see the plate?

allcake247 Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 5:31pm
post #13 of 51

I use the bubble tea straws all the time. They really work and easy to cut right on the cake. I google Bubble Tea straws and the site comes up. they are inexpensive.

KoryAK Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 5:56pm
post #14 of 51

I use regular drinking straw for up to 4 tiers all the time. Cylinders are an extremely strong shape. The first place I learned to use them was also in pastry college, California Culinary Academy (J&W is a pastry school too).

leah_s Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 6:28pm
post #15 of 51

LOL, I wish I was a spokeperson for SPS. I'm just a VERY satisfied customer. Seriously, though, it greatly simplified my caking. I will never forget the last cake I made using dowels. It didn't fall, but it was leaning a bit when delivered. I was able to fix it, but I was never sure on that cake.

I NEVER worry any more because I know I'm safe with SPS.

It's just extremely easy to use and very sturdy. And cheap.

Tita9499 Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 7:45pm
post #16 of 51

So do I order the same size plate as the cake that's sitting on it or can I go an inch smaller?

leah_s Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 7:48pm
post #17 of 51

You can order the same size plate as cake tier. The edge of the plate will show a teeny bit, so you'll need a small border or ribbon. The only time I've used a different sized plate is when putting a round plate under a square tier (back in the olden days before SPS offered square plates) and under a hex tier. I don't see why it wouldn't work, though.

Tita9499 Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 7:50pm
post #18 of 51

Yeah, because the only border on these tiers is going to be a fondant ribbon and I've got a bad feeling the "lip" of the plate is going to distort it a wee little bit

leah_s Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 7:52pm
post #19 of 51
Originally Posted by Tita9499

Yeah, because the only border on these tiers is going to be a fondant ribbon and I've got a bad feeling the "lip" of the plate is going to distort it a wee little bit

I doubt it. Every cake on my website uses SPS. And there are a lot of cakes with ribbons.

Maria_Campos Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 7:53pm
post #20 of 51

I would go an inch smaller I don't think it really makes a difference, you may just may have an tiny gap between the tiers, but that an easily remedied.

Tita9499 Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 7:56pm
post #21 of 51

You're right Leah, I'll try it and see how it turns out.

Maria_Campos Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 8:01pm
post #22 of 51

I like the system but sometimes I liek borderless cakes and in that case good all bubble tea straws for me.

Tita9499 Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 11:33pm
post #23 of 51

I'll keep that in mind Maria. Thanks!

FlourPots Posted 27 Feb 2009 , 11:52pm
post #24 of 51
Originally Posted by Tita9499

but I can't for the life of me, understand how a bendable straw can support the weight of heavy tiers.

I thought the same thing until I looked into buying some and realized that they're a 1/2" wide and meant to be used for sucking up edible pearls (in bubble tea). I ended up ordering a 50-pack in hot pink. They are much sturdier and fatter than a typical drinking straw, but just as easy to cut.

Steve-AngelCityCakes Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 2:48am
post #25 of 51

I can see why you would use straws. Wooden dowels are very hard to cut the exact same size. With just two tiers you may not notice it, but by the time you get to the third or fourth tier, you notice it's not quite that straight. Because the straws are so easy to cut you can make precision cuts.

jammjenks Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 3:01am
post #26 of 51

Although the straws are hollow, once you put them into the cake they have cake inside and are no longer hollow. I use them exclusively now. I did a five-tier square and drove with it assembled using only tea straws as support.

Adevag Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 3:30am
post #27 of 51

Wow! I have never heard of straws and would never think to use them either. This is such great news. With so many decorators using them I would call it safe. It will definitely be on my list next time I place an order. I have always had a problem with the stacking of cakes. I have used plastic dowels that I can cut with a knife and was just thinking about switching to wooden dowels. Actually, I was going to post a question here asking what tool to buy to cut the wooden dowels with. And I just changed my mind in a few seconds. CC is the best. I learn something new all the time!!!

mommy2remi Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 3:31am
post #28 of 51

i've also used sps , and love how sturdy it is. but when it comes to stacking an odd shaped cake on top of a larger square or round one, i need something else to support it. wooden dowels are a night mare!!!! don't even waste your time, trust me. i am going to try the bubble tea staws though. but regular drinking staws are not sturdy enough. i tried them and they would slip... i couldn't get them to stay in an upright position.
however... i was just at a bay shower today and there was a small 2 tier cake. when they served it, i noticed what seemed to be those long stick/ cookie straws used as dowels. do you know what i'm talking about? has even else ever seen or heard of this... using cookie straws as dowels?

FlourPots Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 3:39am
post #29 of 51

I now get my straws from this seller:

Great price and they're slightly firmer than the original 50 I posted about above.

Steve-AngelCityCakes Posted 31 Aug 2009 , 5:09am
post #30 of 51

I'm sold on the bubble tea straws now and from now on I will use them to support each tier, but after a recent disaster delivering a three tiered cake I now use a PVC pipe that goes up the center of all the tiers and is inserted into a flange that's screwed into the bottom board to keep the tiers from shifting. Dowels or straws will support the tiers above but they don't keep the tiers from shifting or even sliding off if you brake suddenly. That's what the center PVC pipe does. Now I can deliver with piece of mind and speed away.

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