Would You Dare Transport This Cake Stacked???

Decorating By ceshell Updated 24 Aug 2009 , 3:51pm by LaBellaFlor

ceshell Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 5:54pm
post #1 of 35

I have transported stacked cakes numerous times without issue, including at least three cakes as far as tomorrow's cake is traveling. However, this time there's a huge difference: my top tier came out WAY taller than I had planned, and it's tapered in a bit "topsy turvy" style to boot.

I am in a bit of a panic about how to fenangle getting this cake to the party. The tier will have a complicated border so I can't really do that in advance and stack it onsite without risking destroying the border...and to make matters worse I am not fondanting the cakes so a) I won't have that fondant shield to help keep the cake "together" during transport and b) fondant would have allowed me to just pick the sucker up and put it on the bottom tier onsite. I can't even imagine getting an IMBC cake on top of another one without marring the icing.

The party's tomorrow so it's too late for SPS. I did buy the Wilton big fat plastic dowels but since the bottom of the top cake is only about 5.5" diameter, I couldn't use a Wilton cake plate to sort of do a faux SPS. Normally I dowel with wooden dowels and then run a center dowel thru the whole thing. But the top cake is so tall, I am worried about the center of gravity and that cake just toppling over and ripping thru the bottom cake.

By the way it has to go about 40 miles...about a one hour drive. Freeway driving (i.e. not rough roads) but possibly a lot of traffic.

If y'all think the only way to do this is to stack onsite, I would love to hear tips about how to actually pull that off without destroying the cakes!

My preview feature isn't working I can't see if the photo has attached, so here is a link to the pic on Photobucket http://s696.photobucket.com/albums/vv321/ceshell/?action=view¤t=cakesinfridge.jpg - the cake on the left is the top tier. By the way the bottom tier does NOT actually have a slanted top: the icing it built up higher in the back than the front but the top of the cake itself is level!

34 replies
__Jamie__ Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 6:10pm
post #2 of 35

I think you can! Maybe drive a little more carefully? I would have someone actually hold this one. So they can gently shift it on turns and stops.

__Jamie__ Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 6:11pm
post #3 of 35

Is the whole thing faux?

ceshell Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 6:31pm
post #4 of 35

No - it's all real cake! By Faux I meant faux turvey - i.e. I'm not doing a total slanty top thing with the cut-the-circle-out...etc. I sure did use the word faux a lot lol.

ceshell Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 6:33pm
post #5 of 35

I think I'm especially worried since it's so far. Normally I could count on the chilled IMBC to hold it all together but the cake board is too big to fit in my cooler so I won't have any way to keep the cake cold like I usually do. Eeek I'm scared!

NatiMF30 Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 6:35pm
post #6 of 35

I agree with Jamie, have someone hold it.

This is kind of off subject but your smbc, does it crust or harden? Won' tit soften when you take it out of the fridge?

NatiMF30 Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 6:36pm
post #7 of 35

Sorry, IMBC.

PinkZiab Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 6:45pm
post #8 of 35

I think as long as it's well-constructed and supported (including a center dowel) I think it will be fine. I would NOT have anyone hold the cake. That's just a recipe for disaster.

__Jamie__ Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 6:46pm
post #9 of 35

Ohhhh, I get it. Hmmmm. I would still do it assembled. Very carefully!

I turn on the car, chill the inside down, take it straight to car and go!

Nati, meringue icings don't crust. One of things we like about 'em, annnnnd one of the things that make them tricky to work with. But the taste and texture generally trump the negs!

__Jamie__ Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 6:48pm
post #10 of 35

Tara.....I have yet to not hold a tiered cake. I know, most people cringe at that, but I also don't have a flat back SUV yet (getting a Flex next week! Hoorah!) and can't stand to have my eyes off the cake. In fact, when I get the Flex, I may STILL do it my way for smaller cakes. Just a habit now. I like to be able to shift it and hold it on turns and whatnot. Have never ever ever had a bad experience doing this. Ever. Not even close. icon_smile.gif

LaBellaFlor Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 6:52pm
post #11 of 35

I also hold tiered cakes, no problems. I have traveled with them sitting flat and I have had sides crushed.

NatiMF30 Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 7:05pm
post #12 of 35
Originally Posted by __Jamie__

Ohhhh, I get it. Hmmmm. I would still do it assembled. Very carefully!

I turn on the car, chill the inside down, take it straight to car and go!

Nati, meringue icings don't crust. One of things we like about 'em, annnnnd one of the things that make them tricky to work with. But the taste and texture generally trump the negs!

That's what I thought from reading all the threads and a batch I made. My DH LOVES SMBC but I don't like using it on orders because I'm terrified of it denting or getting poked by anything little thing that touches it!

What have your experiences been with it? Do I need to start a new thread? Sorry for hijacking this one. icon_smile.gif

ceshell Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 7:12pm
post #13 of 35

OK you are all giving me hope but I'm still nervous. The bottom line is this: the bottom of the top tier is only 5.5" around. That means the four dowels underneath the cake will all be verrrry close together in the bottom tier. I am still worried that it will want to teeter-totter on such a small "base" but I do realize I can do what I normally don't do: which is, allow the top tier to touch the icing below, for extra adherence.

You still don't think that it will be too top-heavy??

btw I do have a flat-backed SUV. I have to admit I am more concerned about someone holding the cake but I can see where that might be a good idea. Or not. I don't know! icon_cry.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 7:15pm
post #14 of 35

Top heaviness is exactly why I am way more comfy holding on to cake. You can "feel" when the cake wants to lean on turns and can adjust it. icon_smile.gif

matthewkyrankelly Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 7:16pm
post #15 of 35

Here are my concerns:

The top tier will be resting on a built up wegde of SMBC? I'm really worried about the stability of that. Most tiers are on a flat surface of cake with a level layer of frosting. That is what the cut out is for in most topsy turveys - stability.

Also, I don't get what is going to be supported by the dowels you have in place. Are they tapered like the frosting? Not the best. Are they level with the cake? What stops the top tier from nestling into the SMBC right down to the dowels.

I think you should be very concerned about the center of gravity on this cake in particular. I would assemble on site. Bring a repair kit. Have a plan.

-K8memphis Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 7:46pm
post #16 of 35

The bottom board being too big for your cooler you mean a portable cooler?

I would so chill this cake and transport it in a sealed corrugated box.
You could add the frozen ice packs in the corners of the box for a very chill climate controlled environment. Nothing travels better than stone cold butter based icing.

I wrap the freezer pack in a paper towel & slide it into a plastic bag and wire it into the corners of the box.

I gotta picture somewhere---

-K8memphis Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 7:50pm
post #17 of 35


Me, never say never but I would never want to attempt to deliver a cake like that without it being fully chilled and placed in a climate controlled box.

msmeg Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 8:03pm
post #18 of 35

no way you are asking for disaster. with four dowels and you said the fat plastic ones will take up much of that 5 1/2 area of the cake so there is not much cake supporting the dowels. then the bottom is not that wide either. the ONLY way I would do it is a thick center dowel that is SCREWED to the wood base and then the cake placed on that. Duff does it for tall cakes.

-K8memphis Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 8:23pm
post #19 of 35

I would use regular drinking straws with bamboo skewers inserted--
I would use five of the drinking straw/bamboo skewers with maybe one down the middle. Plus you can anchor them into the base.

I wouldn't use the big fat white plastic dowel.
Aren't those white ones 3/4 of an inch?
If my math is right over half the footprint of the bottom tier will be consumed in dowel using the big white ones.

Construction thoughts for you.

ceshell Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 8:30pm
post #20 of 35

Thanks for your concerns matthewkyrankelly. No, I would still carve out a spot of IMBC to make a level surface for the cake; my only point was that the cake structure itself is not compromised by cutting the hole out of the cake. So, I would still cut out a flat 5.5" hole across the top of the frosting, drop in the four Wilton dowels which are about 1/2" diameter each, and put the top tier on those dowels. Normally I leave my dowels about 1/8" higher than the icing so that the top tier doesn't actually touch the bottom tier at ALL but in this case I am thinking that having the top tier just barely graze the icing would broaden the contact surface area and reduce the scary risk of the cake simply teetering on four hollow, closely spaced dowels. If I had SPS then the top tier would snap into the dowels which would also be snapped into the bottom plate. *sigh* I would have ordered SPS had I realized my top cake was going to come out so tall! Stupid, unplanned rookie mistake.

I would definitely run a center dowel all the way thru both cakes and into the cake board, but if the top tier wants to move a LOT that dowel is just going to rip right thru the whole contraption.

If you would stack on site, how do you do so without marring the cakes? I'm not opposed to stacking onsite, I just don't know WHAT to plan for or how to get that top cake onto the bottom cake without creating a disaster. I already am going to have to assemble the topper onsite and there is only a 1 hour window to assemble.

Thanks to everyone for all of this input!

ceshell Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 8:35pm
post #21 of 35

Typed up my response before the add'l ones after matthewkyrankelly. SOOOO appreciating all of this advice. The footprint of bottom cake consumed by those dowels definitely bothers me - mind you the BOTTOM tier is about 7.5" around and expands up to 10" at the top. Still, the dowels must crunch into 5.5" of space in order to support the top tier.

I'm thinkin' thumbsdown.gif

I will DEFINITELY take the cake out of the fridge at the last minute, K8. Thanks for the box pic. I just discarded half my ice packs due to leakage (can I say, what great timing, thank goodness I found out before they leaked TOMORROW on my cake!) - I think no matter what I do I should go out today and get more ice packs.

eta: btw I am still, of course, going to have to dowel the bottom cake! Normally I use the wooden ones, I like the small footprint. Sounds like I should avoid the Wilton dowels no matter what, even if I stack onsite?

potatocakes Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 8:37pm
post #22 of 35

I don't work with IMBC, so not sure if this would help, but if you stack onsite, could you leave your dowels about an inch above the surface, so when you place the top cake on (using a spatula), it will slowly sink down on top of the dowels into the bottom cake. That way you don't have to worry about getting your fingers in top or bottom cake. You may still have to smooth out some marks from the top cake, but I wouldn't think it would be too bad. Good luck with whatever you decide!

By the way, I got that handy little tip from Sharon! thumbs_up.gif

ceshell Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 8:39pm
post #23 of 35

Thanks potatocakes...I still don't understand how to get that top cake on top without handling it?

Then again I suppose I am going to have to handle it HERE when I stack it. Duh icon_redface.gif

-K8memphis Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 8:44pm
post #24 of 35

When I stack something like this, I have to mess the top up a bit on purpose--but I stick a big fat full length dowel in there so it's sticking up and I use that for a 'handle'. Then after stacking I twist the dowel out and fix the hole.

My hollow white plastic dowel are 3/4 inch thick icon_biggrin.gif
So if you use four of them 4x3=12/4=3 inches of footprint chopped out of 5.5 leaves not so much cake -- 2.5 inches of cake not involved with a dowel.

Having fun yet icon_lol.gif

Geez this is making me nervous--but it's because my husband is out of town and his car is broken down and we've been waiting for an hour & half for the auto parts store to get delivery on the part he needs or I gotta go get him so...like 4 hour round trip...just kinda been waiting...tum tee tum ...and then transferring all this uncertain nervous energy to your construction and delivery.

You're gonna be fine!!!

ceshell Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 9:09pm
post #25 of 35

LOL I love all of your uncertain nervous energy icon_biggrin.gif. I have read enough stories in the cake disasters forum that I know not to simply "assume" that it will all be OK, at least not without my doing the proper planning!

btw you can tell what a scatterbrain I am being - the whole point of stacking before transport is, I get tons of bonus leeway because then I can apply the border to completely obscure whatever damage I might do when stacking in my kitchen. If I stack onsite, the border has to be already on the tier and I have to hope to heck I don't mess it up when trying to slide the cake off the cake lifter. The top of the cake...I'm not so worried about, as I think the topper will take up the entire top. Sides though, that's my problem.

(oh but Kate remember: the dowels are going into the 10" cake which tapers to a 7.5" base...the 5.5"-based-cake is resting on TOP of the dowels so that cake won't lose anything due to the dowels...)

khoudek Posted 21 Aug 2009 , 9:13pm
post #26 of 35

Rubbermaid shelf liner under the box the cake is in and under the cake board. Dowel the cake from top tier downward into the bottom cake board in two places. Chill the cake so it is firmer for travel. Also, if you can stand it, put the air on as cold as you can stand to travel with it. I've traveled with a 3 tier cake over 200 miles and a two tier cake over 600 miles doing it this way and both arrived safe and sound. Just give yourself plenty of time and space to start and stop gently.

dandelion56602 Posted 22 Aug 2009 , 2:35am
post #27 of 35

Will you have access to a freezer on site? If so you can pop the layers in the freezer for 10 min or so until the icing firms up & then assemble. One thing I've done (and I hope this makes sense) is once you've stacked take a bag of icing w/ a small rose tip & go around the bottom filling in any gaps or smudges you've created. Then use a small angled spatula to smooth out the blemishes. But if you can get them into a freezer before assembly you'd be ok

-K8memphis Posted 22 Aug 2009 , 10:33am
post #28 of 35
Originally Posted by ceshell

(oh but Kate remember: the dowels are going into the 10" cake which tapers to a 7.5" base...the 5.5"-based-cake is resting on TOP of the dowels so that cake won't lose anything due to the dowels...)

Of course! duh on me! told you I was freaked out--

Btw--he got the part, got the car going & got home--the guy's a genius, he can fix anything!!!

ceshell Posted 23 Aug 2009 , 11:29pm
post #29 of 35

Just want to say a big THANK YOU!!! to everyone who offered advice here. I took a bit of nearly ALL of the suggestions! I did end up stacking it at home (which is a good thing because I had to decorate onsite due to all of the fragile doodads and topper, and I just BARELY finished it in time) and I double-center-doweled it, I used the plastic ones on the bottom tier (K8, my Wilton plastics are 3/8", so that's half the size of your 3/4" ones), I turned the fridge temp to COLDEST for the last hour or two before I departed to really chill the bejeepers out of it, I put it on non-skid shelf liner in a big box, [I ALMOST did your icebrick trick (K8 ) but couldn't secure them to the box properly] and the cake rode on my lap (*gasp*-- no seriously it made me sooo nervous) right in front of the A/C vents, which I had blasting. I was the human shock-absorber, shifting and adjusting the box as needed for turns and bumps.

I must say it's a bit enlightening traveling w/a cake on your lap - I had plastic wrap on the top so I could view it the whole time, and you really get a good sense of just how much vibrating that sucker does in the car. icon_eek.gif

Anyway the cake handled the one-hour journey perfectly and when I went to disassemble it to cut it, I realized it really was still totally secure. I am actually more amazed that *I* survived the trip! icon_biggrin.gif I didn't post the pic on yet but I wanted to offer a great big WOOHOO thank you for your tips and encouragement!

dandelion56602 Posted 23 Aug 2009 , 11:36pm
post #30 of 35

Can't wait to see your pic!

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