Doweling..is It Just Me?

Decorating By Gingoodies Updated 13 Jul 2009 , 8:11pm by adven68

Gingoodies Posted 9 Jul 2009 , 11:37pm
post #1 of 25

I have been reading many posts lately regarding doweling. WHY are people putting so many dowels in their cakes icon_surprised.gif I read a post where someone was putting 17! yes 17 dowels! to support a 10" tier and 8 or 10 to support a 6". It is just me or do you think that's a bit of overkill icon_confused.gif I have never put that many dowels in a cake. And yes, (before leahs jumps in) I would totally suggest SPS or at the very least hidden pillars and plastic plates for a stacked cake. But over doweling your cake will totally destroy the structure of the cake. icon_eek.gificon_cool.gif . OK, I have had my say. Thanks for letting me rant. Happy caking!

24 replies
indydebi Posted 10 Jul 2009 , 12:19am
post #2 of 25

I'm high-fivin' ya, sista, 'coz I've been saying the very same thing.

I've actually cut those cakes that had enough dowels to hold up the Starship Enterprise, and I can tell you from experience, it makes the cake a total MESS to cut. Swiss cheese does ok with all of those holes in it because swiss cheese is pretty dense and stiff. But cakes aren't that stiff and when you punch a bunch (ooooo! a rhyme!) of holes it in, it damages the structural integrity of the cake.

It's also a very good reason that I encourage everyone to cut 2 or 3 of their wedding cakes a year, so they can see first hand how their assembly affects the cake cutting.

I use four dowels in every cake tier no matter how big the tier. If it's a 5 tier cake, I MIGHT put 5 or 6 dowels in the bottom tier, but that's the only exception, and it all depends on if I'm assembling ahead of time or not.

Again ..... I cut most of my cakes, so I see firsthand that 4 dowels is PLENTY of support for 3 and 4 tier cakes.

Unlimited Posted 10 Jul 2009 , 12:48am
post #3 of 25

I know someone who would peg the hell out of their wedding cakes, and then wonder why the bottom cake tier would fall over onto the base board leaving a perfect circle EXACTLY where each dowel was inserted at 1" intervals! Yes, you can over peg a cake... if you use too many dowels, it's just like slicing it with a knife to be served!

BlakesCakes Posted 10 Jul 2009 , 4:03am
post #4 of 25

I was taught to use 1 wooden dowel per inch of the tier to be supported, so if the tier above the dowels is an 8 inch, then the cake below it gets 8 dowels.

Now, I generally use Wilton plastic pillars and use half the number that I would if using wooden dowels, so 4 for an 8 inch.

Hollow tubes and fewer holes make for better support. icon_wink.gif

Rae

__Jamie__ Posted 10 Jul 2009 , 6:00am
post #5 of 25

Thank you! Hollow tubes make such a difference. Be it SPS or tea straws. Dowels displace cake, in other words, squish it out in all directions from the hole it is making. Cakes gotta come out somewhere, when you have overdone it with the pegs. Hollow supports slip into the cake, displacing a negligible amount of cake. And great support.

redpanda Posted 10 Jul 2009 , 7:06am
post #6 of 25

BlakesCakes, I learned a similar rule, except that it was one dowel for every two inches of cake width, so an 8" cake would be supported by 4 dowels, with the caveat that you never go lower than four dowels.

These days, I use the hollow pillars and always use four per tier. I can't see any reason to go to more, since it's so stable that way. I've driven steep, curvy roads with stacked cakes and had no problems.

peg818 Posted 10 Jul 2009 , 11:00am
post #7 of 25

I was taught one dowel for every two inches. And havent had a problem with that, so that is what i stick with. I can't imagine so many dowels in a cake that it falls apart.

jclvs2 Posted 10 Jul 2009 , 11:35am
post #8 of 25

I have a shower cake coming up in a few weeks and it is a 2 maybe a 3 tier. So thanks for your comments it has confirmed my decision on dowels. I will be using the plastic dowels and stick with the 4 for the 10, 8 in. Thanks for chating.

jclvs2 Posted 10 Jul 2009 , 11:35am
post #9 of 25

I have a shower cake coming up in a few weeks and it is a 2 maybe a 3 tier. So thanks for your comments it has confirmed my decision on dowels. I will be using the plastic dowels and stick with the 4 for the 10, 8 in. Thanks for chating.

tcturtleshell Posted 11 Jul 2009 , 5:51am
post #10 of 25

I use the hollow white Wilton dowels. Is that what ya'll are talking about when you say hollow? I used to use the woodel ones till last Oct. When I cut the bottom cake of a 3 tier wedding cake the dowels were sideways, everyone of them!! Thank goodness my cake didn't fall! I could've had a major disaster. So no more wooden dowels for me. icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 11 Jul 2009 , 11:44am
post #11 of 25

tc, I've just started to use the hollow white dowel things recently ... like in the past few months .... to put in the larger tiers. But I've used wooden dowels for 30 years with no problems.
Pssst! Welcome to the Gramma Club! When can we officially induct you?

jclvs2 Posted 11 Jul 2009 , 11:47am
post #12 of 25

Congradulations on being a Grandma! Yes I was talking about using the plastic ones from Wilton. They seem like they would be sturdier then the wooden. Thanks for your sharing your experience with the wooden. When I hear things like that it helps me make a decision even better. I am new here so this is a blessing for me hearing everyones experiences. Thanks everyone at CC! icon_biggrin.gif

poohsmomma Posted 11 Jul 2009 , 1:38pm
post #13 of 25

I usually use straws to support my cakes, but I seldom make anything over two tiers (I'm just a hobby baker). I am relying on a bit of past knowledge that a three legged stool never rocks, while a four legged stool is hard to get level or even. I space three straws in a triangle pattern in the bottom tier to hold my upper tier. I never have problems with uneven "legs" shifting the support of the cake to another "leg". Haven't had any disasters yet.

Gingoodies Posted 11 Jul 2009 , 2:11pm
post #14 of 25

I really like to use the wilton plastic dowels. I think they are cleaner and that little plug of cake in the bottom helps to keep stability (I think anyway icon_surprised.gif ) I have successfully used the wilton hidden pillars and plastic plates for several cakes and have never had a problem. Not sure about the bubble tea straws, since I have not used them. I am definately going to be purchasing SPS for my next big cake though. This old lady learned things long ago.. its changed so much now. But 1 support for every 1 inch of cake is just overkill.

indydebi Posted 11 Jul 2009 , 2:34pm
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by poohsmomma

I am relying on a bit of past knowledge that a three legged stool never rocks, while a four legged stool is hard to get level or even.


I read this to hubby, who is a woodworker and he confirms it. Wow, very interesting and logical!

tcturtleshell Posted 11 Jul 2009 , 3:50pm
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

tc, I've just started to use the hollow white dowel things recently ... like in the past few months .... to put in the larger tiers. But I've used wooden dowels for 30 years with no problems.
Pssst! Welcome to the Gramma Club! When can we officially induct you?




Well thank you indydebi & jclvs2! My 1st Grandbaby is due Dec 5th! We will find out the sex next week. I'm sooo excited!! I can't wait to know the sex so I can start buying things! Oh & I've already starting trying to figure out a design for the baby shower cake. Funny thing I keep looking at baby girl cakes on CC!! Hmmmm.... icon_wink.gif We shall see....

I've used the wooden dowels since I starting caking in 04 & never had a problem till last year. That was enough to make me change to plastic hollow. Maybe it's because I've been gone from CC a while but what does SPS mean? LOL!! I've gotta catch up on all this again!

Happy Saturday, God Bless, ~TC~

Gingoodies Posted 11 Jul 2009 , 5:32pm
post #17 of 25

tc.. first CONGRATULATIONS! This grandma thing is pretty good. SPS is a single plate system by Bakerycrafts. Four legs that attach to 1 plate. Looks like a little table for your cake. One of the forums (I can't remember exactly which one) has a sticky with the info.

tcturtleshell Posted 11 Jul 2009 , 7:57pm
post #18 of 25

Thanks Ginny for the Congrads & the info! I would've never figured it out! LOL! I bought a cake support system thingy back in 07 at the ICES in Omaha I have NEVER used it! I even forgot what it was called. I paid $135 for that thing. If I ever find someone that wants it I'll let em' have it for $100 (hint, hint to anyone). I do not do a lot of cakes so I have never even taken it out of the pkg it's in. I just had to have it though icon_smile.gif My hollow dowels work fine & I can't figure out how to use that support system anyway. LOL! If I had a biz I probably would use it but I don't do many cakes, just for family & real close friends. Don't we always buy things that we don't really need? I also bought a bunch of other stuff that I've never taken out of the pkg! Shhhh shhh.gif DH doesn't know!

stampinron Posted 11 Jul 2009 , 11:50pm
post #19 of 25

What size dowel do you use? The 1/4 inch wilton ones seem so flimsy.

TexasSugar Posted 12 Jul 2009 , 12:18am
post #20 of 25

TC, that is so typical for conventions I think. I have things from my first convention, which was 6 years ago I think, that haven't been opened. But man I thought I had to have them at the time. I have since gotten to be a better shopper and try not to impulse by and get all wrapped up in the, oh that is so cool I just gotta have it, vibe that is going around.

The support system you are talking about is the SFS or Stress Free Supports.

FlourPots Posted 12 Jul 2009 , 1:29pm
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by poohsmomma

I space three straws in a triangle pattern in the bottom tier to hold my upper tier. I never have problems with uneven "legs" shifting the support of the cake to another "leg". Haven't had any disasters yet.




This is EXACTLY what I did on my first tiered cake...3-layers (6''), on top of 3-layers (8")...I thought a "triangle" dowel pattern would surely be okay with such a small tier to support, and it might have been, if the cake didn't have to be transported.
It was fine at my house...I moved it around alot while decorating, but by the time it made the short distance to my sister's house (15 minutes by car), one side was leaning and I was so upset.

I only use straws now...and that might work in a triangle since they're so thick, but I would never try it again.

LaBellaFlor Posted 13 Jul 2009 , 3:29am
post #22 of 25

I used to use wooden dowels, but switched to straws a long time ago. I like the ease of cutting them & getting them level. And yes, I have used them for tiered cakes. If I had some huge, monster, stacked cake then I'ld probably go with SPS. Now 17 dowels?!?!? I don't get it. I would think someone could tell thats just too many holes & instead of getting more support, you'ld get less, cause of tearing up the center.

FlourPots Posted 13 Jul 2009 , 6:05am
post #23 of 25

I really think that the person planning to use that many straws would have realized on her own, that it was too many, once she started inserting them.
She was unsure and looking for guidance here for an upcoming event.

MessiET Posted 13 Jul 2009 , 2:00pm
post #24 of 25

I used to use the wooden dowels - followed directions exactly on how many etc. I had 2 large cakes slide. I have been using SPS since and LOVE it! I will never go back to wooden dowels or anything else. The cakes are well supported, SPS is easy to use, you can transport your cake assembled, etc. HTH

adven68 Posted 13 Jul 2009 , 8:11pm
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I read this to hubby, who is a woodworker and he confirms it.




Of course he is...LOL...I love that you keep reconfirming what I think about you and your husband! icon_biggrin.gif

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