Newbie Needs Help!!

Decorating By vee_mart Updated 7 Apr 2009 , 3:21am by Rylan

vee_mart Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 8:22pm
post #1 of 13

I need some help, and probably lots of it, but lets start here. I'm graduating from a nursing program soon and was elected to make a cake for our reception. It will be a 3 tiered cake with the bottom being 16". Problem is, I've never made a cake that large before and am not sure how to stack the tiers. Am I supposed to put carboard or something between them? Will the cake support itself? That will be pretty heavy won't it? Please bear in mind that I have only made a few cakes so far, and have had no kind of training or anything at all. Thanks for your help....I'm sure I'll have more questions as the time comes closer icon_wink.gif

12 replies
solascakes Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 8:28pm
post #2 of 13

16" is a large cake have you checked that the pan will fit your oven first of all.

pipe-dreams Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 8:35pm
post #3 of 13

[/u][/i]IF the pan fits in your oven, then yes, you need support between the tiers. Most people would probably recommend SPS(there is a sticky thread on it if you do a search). If you don't do cakes much, and don't want to spend that money, you can use foam board, but you have to either cover it or sanitize it before it touches the cake. Wiping it down with vanilla will kill them germs(so I've learned from here!)
You [i]can
use cake boards, but they aren't as sturdy as the other 2 things I have suggested. With a cake that big, I wouldn't chance it. You also will need dowel rods in each tier, as well as one straight through the middle from the top tier.
Hope this helps!

nancyg Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 8:35pm
post #4 of 13

Hey, We all started somewhere. And yes you do need to support it. first, put dowel rods in bottom tier. Then cut a cardboard ( I prefer foamcore board. You buy it at Michaels or hobby lobby. And cut a circle of it the size of the middle layer... Foamcore doesnt get soggy and collapse. Then more dowel rods in middle layer. And the cut foamcore to fit bottom of top layer. Then you can stack all three of them and do the border. So, to recap. You need to dowel the bottom and middle layer. and cut boards for the middle and top layers. There are some good instructions for this in the Wilton yearbooks. They recommend cardboard, but, I have much better luck with foamcore.
good luck if my directions are hard to understand. email me


kimmybritt Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 8:36pm
post #5 of 13

Hi veemart. I am pretty new to this myself, but each cake will need to be on a cardboard circle of the same size. Then you will definately need to support each layer with dowel rods or straws. Some people prefer SPS but I have not tried that yet. My advice is get lots of practice before the big day. Good luck to ya.

barbydoll8 Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 8:39pm
post #6 of 13

You'll need to put a heating core or a clean flower nail in the center of the batter for even cooking too. If not the sides of that size cake will cook before the middle and you'll have raw cake in the center.

I'd dowl it to help support it if I were you. There are stacking instructions in the forums here (search on them) and on Wilton's web site.

I'd also put a cake board between each tier.

Hope it works out.


baycheeks1 Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 8:39pm
post #7 of 13

I can try and answer some of your questions...and like 80 people always answer everyone's questions...

1. When you ice your second tier, you should already have a cardboard circle under the cake. Some people like to put a circle round of parchement between the bottom tier and the second (under the cardboard piece) so that BC doesnt stick to the cardboard .

2. You need to used supports on the third and second tiers...unless you want the cake to fall in. So on the bottom tier, and the second tier, you will need supports...dowels, SPS, bubble tea straws...something...

3.Yea it's gonna be heavy...just the 16" by it self is gonna be just a lil bit...I suggest that you carry the tiers individually and put them together when you get there. Dowel them before you get there...that way all you have to do stack and do a bottom border. There are some people that dowel the cakes, stack them, and then put a thicker dowel down the middle, but since this is the first one...just do them seperately...

Ohh and congrats on graduating Nursing school...

lisa5573 Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 8:53pm
post #8 of 13

I use the cake separator plates with the plastic dowells. That way it all fits together, and the dowells will hold the plates up. Each plates fits 4 dowells into it, and then I'd use additional dowells to hold the weight.

Here are the plates:

Here are the pillars that fit into the plates:

Here are the plastic dowells:

You could use cardboard between the layers, instead of the plates, but I like that the plates fit into the hidden pillars!

As far as the pan fitting in your oven...I have a standard size oven (it actually may be a bit small), and I can't fit a 16 inch in mine. I can fit a 14 inch. If you can't fit a 16 inch, maybe you can adjust the sizes of the layers to make the bottom either a 14 inch, or an 18 inch. You can buy an 18 inch half pan.

Good luck. I'd love to see pics once it's complete! I'm sure you'll pull it off.

solascakes Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 8:58pm
post #9 of 13

I'm sure you'll be fine,please post pictures and congrats on your graduation.

becklynn Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 9:11pm
post #10 of 13

There are 2 helpful videos on youtube
One is called "Assembling a Wedding Cake" and the other is called "How to Stack a Cake My Way" Edna, who is here on CC...

Good luck!!

kakeladi Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 9:24pm
post #11 of 13

I so disagree with the following statements:
.......can use cake boards, but they aren't as sturdy as the other 2.......
...... need to put a heating core or a clean flower nail in the center of the batter for even cooking too. If not the sides of that size cake will cook before the middle and you'll have raw cake in the center.......

I don't know how many 1000s of cakes I have baked in my over 30 yrs of decorating and have not had to use any kind of heat core/flower nail and don't have raw cake centers. Know your oven. I bake at low temps (300 & 325)..... sure it takes longer but you get a better cake -- moist, tender and level so I don't have to cut any cake 'hump' off.

Again, for years and yrs we have used cake circles (cardboards made to be used on/with food) and not had problems. They are very sturdy in my opinion.
Checking the size of your oven is definately the 1st thing to do. Then you can plan the size of the cake better.
I prefere to use plastic drink straws instead of dowels but there is nothing wrong w/using the 'hidden pillars' and plates OR the SPS (Single Plate System) - similar to but better than the hidden pillars/plate way.
Do as much ahead as you can. Prepare your boards. The base board you present the cake on should be at least 4 to 6" larger than the cake and covered in a nice matching covering. That can be most anything you want if it is covered w/something grease proof like clear contac paper.
Make decorations/flowers etc. Make & color icing. Think and plan & it should all work out just fineicon_smile.gif

vee_mart Posted 7 Apr 2009 , 2:55am
post #12 of 13

Thank you so much everyone for all your help. I was worried about the size of the pan when it was mentioned, but luckily it does fit. thumbs_up.gif I will definately do lots of practice before then to make sure that the cake will cook evenly and to make sure it will stand up to the weight. I would have been so completely lost if not for this site. Oh and thanks for the graduation congrats! I'll definately post pics of my creation when it's done.

Rylan Posted 7 Apr 2009 , 3:21am
post #13 of 13

16 is a big big cake. I would suggest that you use a really sturdy base for the whole cake to sit on. I usually use a wooden base just to make sure. A 16 inch cake is really heavy, especially if its a pound cake.

You can use cake circles in between cakes, just like kekeladi said. Make sure you cover it with something so the moisture doesn't affect it... although I've heard some people don't and it still worked for them. And no, they will not fail you if done properly.

If you don't have any of those SPS, I suggest you use a combination of wooden dowels and bubble tea straws. Those straws are sold fairly cheap at asian stores. Always distribute the the dowels/straws evenly. Check out edna's tutorial on youtube. It gives you a clear explanation.

Oh and as for the heating core... people have baked without it and their cakes turned out perfect. If you wan't to make sure, use it.

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