Is There A Food Standard For Dowels Used In Cakes?

Decorating By lthiele Updated 1 Aug 2009 , 6:36pm by JenniferMI

lthiele Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 12:19pm
post #1 of 17

Hi all - I have only done one 2 tiered cake and bought the dowels from a cake decorating store, but was wondering what everyone uses for a big cake. Particularly the big centre support dowel, do you just buy them at the hardware store or do you have to buy ones that have been prepared to be food safe?

Hope this makes sense!
Thanks
Lauren

16 replies
minicuppie Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 12:39pm
post #2 of 17

There is a standard for anything that touches something edible. I would buy the name brand and not worry about wood splinters caught in someone's throat.

PinkZiab Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 12:46pm
post #3 of 17

I get mine at the hardware store... you'll get many answers from both sides, so it really comes down to what you're comfortable with. There was a big thread with a debate about this not too long ago actually. As long as it's plain, untreated wood, you'll be fine. All of the professional kitchens/bakeries I have had an opportunity to work/intern in have used hardware store dowels. Wilton is really the only company that markets wooden "cake dowels" to the general public, and most professional chefs and cake designers don't use Wilton products. Other people opt for alternate support systems (SPS, SFS, etc).

Molly2 Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 1:32pm
post #4 of 17

I always use the wilton brand dowels BUT in bigger cakes I use the dowels and bubble straws. I put my bubble straws in first the put the dowel in the straw it just makes me feel better

Molly

chrissypie Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 2:59pm
post #5 of 17

I have not made any stacked cakes yet probably because I am frightened of the whole wooden dowel thing. You always hear stories about arsenic and other things in wood and who knows if it is in the dowels. Plus I think of things like splinters and wood shards from sharpening it. I like the idea of bubble tea straws because they are obviously meant to be put in your mouth ( although who knows how safe anything is these days). It is too bad that wilton doesn't make some thicker, taller dowels as well so you can drive that large one through all the tiers. Since what they make it to be used in food prep they would probably be food safe. At least one would hope. I like the idea of SPS but I only do cakes for family and such and can't afford to buy all the SPS parts and bits and then pay for shipping. So alas, no stacked cakes! Maybe one day I will find the solution to this.

chrissypie Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 2:59pm
post #6 of 17

I have not made any stacked cakes yet probably because I am frightened of the whole wooden dowel thing. You always hear stories about arsenic and other things in wood and who knows if it is in the dowels. Plus I think of things like splinters and wood shards from sharpening it. I like the idea of bubble tea straws because they are obviously meant to be put in your mouth ( although who knows how safe anything is these days). It is too bad that wilton doesn't make some thicker, taller dowels as well so you can drive that large one through all the tiers. Since what they make it to be used in food prep they would probably be food safe. At least one would hope. I like the idea of SPS but I only do cakes for family and such and can't afford to buy all the SPS parts and bits and then pay for shipping. So alas, no stacked cakes! Maybe one day I will find the solution to this.

Melchas Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 4:12pm
post #7 of 17

I use an SPS system that uses dowels and I love It. I've never had a problem with cakes falling over or miss placed cake comming out the sides. It's made specifically for cakes, but the dowels don't look any different than the ones in the hardware store.

PennySue Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 5:29pm
post #8 of 17

I use the Stress Free Cake Support System. It's not cheap but sooooo worth the money if you are planning to do many tiered cakes in the future. This system was recomended to me by Kerry Vincent and I'll never use anything else! The 4 tiered wedding cake in my pics is supported with this and I truly was stress free!http://www.weddingcakesupports.com/stress_free_cake_support_system.htm

wendalynn11 Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 5:34pm
post #9 of 17

I use popsicle sticks and they seem to work fine. I did not have good luck with bubble tea straws but that may have been user error...

Rylan Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 7:27pm
post #10 of 17

I don't prefer using dowels from a hardware store. Hardware stores carry a lot of chemicals, if a chemical spilled on the floor and the dowels touched it--then there is no way you can clean it--I don't believe in the wipe with alcohol method, especially that wood has pores in it. Have you heard of the story where the janitor picked up the dowels that fell in a chemical cleaning solution and put it back in the rack? I don't think there is a way you can remove the chemicals that has leached in the wood--well unless you have the proper equipment.

Anyways, when I make cakes that are really tall, I build my own stand (covered of course) and do the slip-in-the pole method.

__Jamie__ Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 7:38pm
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by wendalynn11

I use popsicle sticks




icon_confused.gificon_confused.gificon_confused.gif Seriously? Thin little popsicle sticks?? And you've never had an issue?? Holy carp....I would be so scared to use something like that. Wow!

jennifer7777 Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 8:40pm
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by __Jamie__

Quote:
Originally Posted by wendalynn11

I use popsicle sticks



icon_confused.gificon_confused.gificon_confused.gif Seriously? Thin little popsicle sticks?? And you've never had an issue?? Holy carp....I would be so scared to use something like that. Wow!




I was wondering how this would work, too! Wooden dowels are bad enough, but popsicle sticks?

loulou2 Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 10:21pm
post #13 of 17

I use wooden dowels either from the hardware section or wilton, then I smooth the cut edge with sandpaper. I have not tried the bubble straws yet but intend to soon. Hobby Lobby sells 12" lengths of pre-packaged dowel in various diameter as well as the Wilton brand. icon_smile.gif

Texas_Rose Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 10:30pm
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrissypie

I have not made any stacked cakes yet probably because I am frightened of the whole wooden dowel thing. You always hear stories about arsenic and other things in wood and who knows if it is in the dowels. Plus I think of things like splinters and wood shards from sharpening it. I like the idea of bubble tea straws because they are obviously meant to be put in your mouth ( although who knows how safe anything is these days). It is too bad that wilton doesn't make some thicker, taller dowels as well so you can drive that large one through all the tiers. Since what they make it to be used in food prep they would probably be food safe. At least one would hope. I like the idea of SPS but I only do cakes for family and such and can't afford to buy all the SPS parts and bits and then pay for shipping. So alas, no stacked cakes! Maybe one day I will find the solution to this.




You can use the plastic Wilton dowels if you're uncomfortable with wooden ones. The plastic ones are sturdier and easier to cut. You don't need a center dowel if you're not transporting it stacked, as long as it's a normal shape.

lthiele Posted 1 Aug 2009 , 1:33pm
post #15 of 17

Thanks guys for all the responses - though seems to be a divided topic! You guys are so lucky in the States, it seems you have a lot of wonderful stores full of great products. I was walking through Bunnings Warehouse last week and picked up a dowel and thought "Surely this cant be what everyone is using!"because as was mentioned - who knows what has touched it before!

So the SPS does not have a centre support - so can it travel stacked?

leah_s Posted 1 Aug 2009 , 1:52pm
post #16 of 17

SPS was made to transport stacked cakes. Made for it - literally.

That center dowel is totally false security. If your cake really starts going sideways, the center dowel will stay firmly stuck in the bottom board and tear right thru your cake.

JenniferMI Posted 1 Aug 2009 , 6:36pm
post #17 of 17

I use wooden dowels from the Hardware store, but cover them COMPLETELY in thin aluminum foil. It only takes a minute to cover each one, then no worries about being food safe.

Jen icon_smile.gif

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