I have done many stacked cakes but I am scared to death to drive a sharpened dowel down the entire cake. What I have done is a leader hole in the cardboard base under each cake and then tried to center dowels. This makes a mess when you try to cut the cake.
So my question is, when you drive a dowel through a four tier stacked cake are your tiers supported by cardboard? How hard do you have to push to get the dowel through all the layers? Have you ever had it ruin your cake by poking out the side of the cake or cracking the frosting or something else?
I am just scared to death to try it!
Yes the tiers are supported by cardboard. I just push it without a lot of effort. Don't be scared. It really doesn't hurt as long as the dowel has a sharp end.