Advice Pls...i'm Starting To Freak Out A Bit...long...

Decorating By lostincake Updated 5 May 2009 , 12:59am by xstitcher

lostincake Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 10:42pm
post #1 of 51

OK...so I have my first paid cake coming up in just under a month.

This friend of my sis' started off asking for a cake the same size as I made for my sis' 40th B-Day (see here: http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1323390) which is 7" & 9" two layers each with blueberry filling & 4.5" tall to feed 40. So great, I've done several two-tiered cakes and am confident in my support (using regular dowels & cardboard cakeboards in between, no center dowel).

Now, she's told me she needs enough cake to feed up to 60! I tell her I'll need to make it 3 tiers rather than increasing the size of each tier or else it may look bulky (it's for a 1st b-day and needs to be super cute!) and I tell her I can make it 7", 8.5" & 10".

I was planning to use a center dowel with just regular cardboard in between tiers and bubble tea straws instead of wooden dowels (I cannot afford to invest in an SPS at the moment since I'm just doing cakes for friends and most won't need that big a cake). So I start to do some research just to make sure I've got all i's dotted and t's crossed and...

I start to search through the forums for proper support systems to use and come across many, many, MANY cake disasters...and...now...I...am...starting...to...freak...out LOL - ughhh.

This will be my first 3 tiered cake and my first paid customer - I need it to be perfect so hope to get some specific answers pls (with sugar on top) icon_smile.gif

1a ~ how thick should the cardboard rounds be between layers in order to support the weight of the tiers above - 1/16 inch? 1/8 inch? or more? or does it not matter? - I originally bought a simple scalloped board that's 1/16th of an inch with a foil top and now I think it'll be too thin!

1b ~ or should I just use foamcore? - but from what I've read they don't come in circles and I have no way to cut a perfect circle right now icon_cry.gif

2 ~ how thick should the base cakeboard be in order to hold the weight of a 3 tiered cake to feed 60? Is a standard 1/8 inch cardboard round strong enough? If not, will foamcore be strong enough - if so what width? Or do I need to get a wooden board - if so where is the most economical place? I'm giving her a huge discount while I'm building my portfolio so really can't afford to spend more than $10 Canadian.

Sorry for the long post and specific questions - I just really would like NOT to have a disaster! icon_biggrin.gif

Thanks!

50 replies
__Jamie__ Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 10:55pm
post #2 of 51

Breathe. Use foamcore. Trace circles with the appropriate pan size, wither the top lip or the bottom of pan, whichever you want depending on how thick you want your icing on the sides.

Foamcore.....medium thickness for tiers or the smallest. For board, thickest. Use an exacto knife to cut, go slow, stick to your tracing, you will be fine.

You'll do great! If you are assembling on site, don't need center dowel. Your straws will be just fine. If you are transporting all stacked, I would do your center dowel.

Eme Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 10:56pm
post #3 of 51

vlin28,

First, don't panic!! The construction for a 3 tier is basically the same as a 2. I use foam core (covered) between layers - to get a circle, trace around a cake pan then cut with a utility knife, but I've also used cardboard circles - the wilton ones. Either type is sturdy enough for the cake.

Your dowels are actually the main type support for the layers above, so its important to have enough for each layer.

As for the base, I would take a couple of circles in the size you will use and glue/tape them together to get a strong enough base. You could also use double foam core or even buy the larger 1/2" foam core for the base.

HTH Good Luck! thumbs_up.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 10:58pm
post #4 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by vlin28

.....to hold the weight of a 3 tiered cake.......Is a standard 1/8 inch cardboard round strong enough?Thanks!




icon_eek.gificon_eek.gif Holy jeepers, no no no! Whew...missed that the first time I read it. Seriously, foamcore will do fine for all the tiers and your base board. Make sure you get the thickest one for your base board though. A nice ribbon around the cut raw edges will look nice too. icon_smile.gif

SweetMelissa2007 Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 11:01pm
post #5 of 51

Hi vlin28,
I don't blame you for freakin out. I had stress diarrhea for 5 days before my first paid cake but it will be totally fine. There was no reason to freak!

I use just one piece of 1/8"cardboard between each layer and have never had a prob. I also cant cut a perfect circle, but if it isn't showing, noone knows!

For the base, you could go to Home Depot or Lowes and get 1/2" or 3/4" plywood and cover that or you can just stack three pieces of carboard together and cover them. Thats what I do for most of my tiered cakes. I agree with Jamie about if traveling use the center dowel, but if not, don't bother.

Good luck and don't worry-you'll be fine!! Obviously they liked what they saw the first time you did the cake so they'll love it this time!! Make sure you post pics!

__Jamie__ Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 11:01pm
post #6 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eme



As for the base, I would take a couple of circles in the size you will use and glue/tape them together to get a strong enough base.




I would never rely on that. I know some do, I don't chance it. Invest in some English drums for next time. It sure does finish off a nice presentation with a good looking board.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eme

You could also use double foam core or even buy the larger 1/2" foam core for the base.

HTH Good Luck! thumbs_up.gif




Double foam core, yes, the 1/2 inch, whatever it's labeled as.

You'll be fine!

__Jamie__ Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 11:03pm
post #7 of 51

Ooooooh, Eme...I love that treasure chest in your avatar! Really cool!

Cables4fun Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 11:07pm
post #8 of 51

Eme,

Where can you purchase English Boards?

Thank you!

lostincake Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 11:08pm
post #9 of 51

ok...breathing, breathing lol

Thanks so much __Jamie__ and Eme!!

Taping together multiple boards for the base and using an exacto/utility knife to cut foamcore are great ideas! In my "starting to freak out state", this neither of these would have occurred to me lol. icon_redface.gif

PHEW! - I knew my fellow CC'ers could calm me down LOL!

I'm gonna go check out the price of foamcore and see which is most economical!

Thanks again...problem solved...thanks for the reassurance! thumbs_up.gif

lostincake Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 11:11pm
post #10 of 51

Thanks SweetMelissa2007!! I must have been typing when you responded. icon_smile.gif

OK...feel SOOO much better now icon_smile.gif and a teensy bit silly - but better safe than sorry icon_biggrin.gif

Rylan Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 11:18pm
post #11 of 51

My first fondant cake was 4 tiers. 12, 10,9 and 6. I used the regular cake circles that I got off from globalsugarart in between layers. It was a pound cake so it was really heavy, but I never had a problem with it. For the base, I used wood covered with plastic wrap, then foil and I did cover it with fondant also. I used wooden dowels and straws, it didn't fail.

Just make sure you use enough dowels on each tier. Make sure it is balanced and that you take your time to see if it is level (I sure didn't so mines was crooked). I did use a long pointed dowel and pushed it from the top tier to the bottom.

Check Edna's video on youtube. It is very clear.

One key is the transportation. Because no matter which support system you use, if someone drives really sloppy, then there won't be any cakes on the table.

-K8memphis Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 11:25pm
post #12 of 51

Cutest cake!!

I have an observation for you. You cake will look towery. You have a 1.5 inch graduation between tiers so it will look more straight up and down and have a 3/4 inch ledge. Which may be the look you are going after--but my taste prefers a 3 inch difference in tiers which gives a 1.5" top edge.

A 10 x 8 will give you 64 servings.

Just some thoughts for you.

Eme Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 11:31pm
post #13 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by __Jamie__

Ooooooh, Eme...I love that treasure chest in your avatar! Really cool!




Thank you _Jamie_!! Every birthday for family I try to come up with something unique... got them this time, no one realized it was cake at first! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Eme Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 11:36pm
post #14 of 51

I suggested the multiple boards taped together just for economical reasons. I agree with _Jamie_ that a solid base is really best, but we creative people sometimes have to be quite inventive. I had another idea but I didn't think 'duct tape and baling wire' would work for caking!! icon_biggrin.gif

-K8memphis Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 11:36pm
post #15 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eme

Quote:
Originally Posted by __Jamie__

Ooooooh, Eme...I love that treasure chest in your avatar! Really cool!



Thank you _Jamie_!! Every birthday for family I try to come up with something unique... got them this time, no one realized it was cake at first! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif




Yay!!! I love it when that happens!!!

Eme Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 11:39pm
post #16 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

Yay!!! I love it when that happens!!!




Really made my day, Trust me!! icon_lol.gif

stephaniescakenj Posted 5 Apr 2009 , 11:41pm
post #17 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

Cutest cake!!

I have an observation for you. You cake will look towery. You have a 1.5 inch graduation between tiers so it will look more straight up and down and have a 3/4 inch ledge. Which may be the look you are going after--but my taste prefers a 3 inch difference in tiers which gives a 1.5" top edge.

A 10 x 8 will give you 64 servings.

Just some thoughts for you.




i totally agree with Kate on the sizing. Not to mention, I've never seen an 8.5 pan? I'm attaching a pic of a 10 and 8 just so you can see what it looks like. I use the cake circles that you get at michaels in between my tiers and it's always worked fine. I also use 4 of those same boards glued together for almost every base and have never had a problem. The other thing you can do is just get the silver cake drums from Michaels too.
LL

lostincake Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 1:25am
post #18 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by RylanTy

My first fondant cake was 4 tiers. 12, 10,9 and 6. I used the regular cake circles that I got off from globalsugarart in between layers. It was a pound cake so it was really heavy, but I never had a problem with it. For the base, I used wood covered with plastic wrap, then foil and I did cover it with fondant also. I used wooden dowels and straws, it didn't fail.

Just make sure you use enough dowels on each tier. Make sure it is balanced and that you take your time to see if it is level (I sure didn't so mines was crooked). I did use a long pointed dowel and pushed it from the top tier to the bottom.

Check Edna's video on youtube. It is very clear.

One key is the transportation. Because no matter which support system you use, if someone drives really sloppy, then there won't be any cakes on the table.




Hmmm...wooden dowels AND strawssss...what a novel idea and probably sturdier! I think I might try that! Thanks RylanTy!

lostincake Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 1:30am
post #19 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

Cutest cake!!

I have an observation for you. You cake will look towery. You have a 1.5 inch graduation between tiers so it will look more straight up and down and have a 3/4 inch ledge. Which may be the look you are going after--but my taste prefers a 3 inch difference in tiers which gives a 1.5" top edge.

A 10 x 8 will give you 64 servings.

Just some thoughts for you.




Thanks for the compliment icon_smile.gif

And I too worried it might look towery...

I'm a bit limited in the cake pans I have right now although maybe I should start investing in some new ones, especially if this one leads to other paid cakes! Will definitely think this over and thanks for your opinion because I did wonder how a less than 1 inch ledge would look.

lostincake Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 1:33am
post #20 of 51

Thanks for posting the pic stephaniescakenj! It does help to have a visual. And yeah, I got my set of 8.5" a long time ago and I think it was labeled 9" when I bought it but after measuring, realized it was actually only 8.5".

samiam22 Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 1:55am
post #21 of 51

Your cake was beautiful. I too am Canadian and starting out in the cake decorating business as a sideline. I was wondering if I might ask what you were going to charge for the completed cake? It seems to be such a difficult thing to judge as a newbie.

lostincake Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 2:06am
post #22 of 51

Awww...I just checked and I can't do an 8" and 10"! I'm charging according to party size servings - which from what I read is 1.5x2x4 (or 2x2x4) instead of 1x2x4 for wedding size - so I can only get 43 servings from an 8" & 10".

Hmmm...now I'm thinking I've undercharged? Oh well...back to the forums search to double check pricing methods again icon_razz.gif

lostincake Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 2:07am
post #23 of 51

Double post...now how'd that happen?

lostincake Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 2:22am
post #24 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by samiam22

Your cake was beautiful. I too am Canadian and starting out in the cake decorating business as a sideline. I was wondering if I might ask what you were going to charge for the completed cake? It seems to be such a difficult thing to judge as a newbie.




Just saw your post sorry...

I'm still new to this too and am just as confused and now given that I think I seriously undercharged, I'd rather not say the exact amount here but I will say I was planning to charge $4/serving and up for all fondant cakes (until I get better) and she was getting a big time discount off that - I mean big time lol (because she's my sis' friend and first paid cake).

Sorry I can't be more specific...I hope you understand.

jammjenks Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 3:19am
post #25 of 51

I like to use masonite boards for the base.

I also use wooden dowels and cardboard circles between tiers.

lostincake Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 5:04am
post #26 of 51

Thanks jammjenks icon_smile.gif...I'll have to keep masonite boards in mind for when I do more cakes icon_biggrin.gif

xstitcher Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 5:15am
post #27 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by jammjenks

I like to use masonite boards for the base.

I also use wooden dowels and cardboard circles between tiers.




Same as jammjenks but I've also used the foamcore for my base as well but didn't like cutting the circles. Masonite boards are also re-usable so if your just doing it for friends and family you could ask for them back.

jammjenks Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 12:23pm
post #28 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by xstitcher

Quote:
Originally Posted by jammjenks

I like to use masonite boards for the base.

I also use wooden dowels and cardboard circles between tiers.



Same as jammjenks but I've also used the foamcore for my base as well but didn't like cutting the circles. Masonite boards are also re-usable so if your just doing it for friends and family you could ask for them back.




Masonite boards are relatively cheap, so you could just factor in the cost. I write "return to Three Forks Cakes" on the bottom of mine and have always got them back. I KNOW Pinkziab talks about using them and relays the cost to the customer so she doesn't have to get them back. I cover mine in white freezer paper, but you could cover it however you normally do.

jammjenks Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 12:35pm
post #29 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by xstitcher

Quote:
Originally Posted by jammjenks

I like to use masonite boards for the base.

I also use wooden dowels and cardboard circles between tiers.



Same as jammjenks but I've also used the foamcore for my base as well but didn't like cutting the circles. Masonite boards are also re-usable so if your just doing it for friends and family you could ask for them back.




Masonite boards are relatively cheap, so you could just factor in the cost. I write "return to Three Forks Cakes" on the bottom of mine and have always got them back. I KNOW Pinkziab talks about using them and relays the cost to the customer so she doesn't have to get them back. I cover mine in white freezer paper, but you could cover it however you normally do.

bakery_chick Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 12:49pm
post #30 of 51

I used to use masonite boards because I like how thin and sturdy they are. I now frequently use just 3 reg boards glued together. I am liking it a little more because I can spike my center dowel all the way through the boards.

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