Tiered Cake Is Leaning!

Decorating By happy1mom Updated 5 Sep 2009 , 11:30pm by BlakesCakes

happy1mom Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 7:34pm
post #1 of 22

I just finished making a three tier cake for my niece. This is my first tiered cake, and it's leaning! Is there anything I can do to "level" it out some? It looked fine last night before I went to bed, but now the entire thing is leaning backwards a bit. I used cardboard in between the tiers and wooden dowels for support. It's a 10, 8, 6. Not a huge cake, but I just want to knock it off the countertop and stomp it to pieces every time I look at it!
I don't have time to start all over, and I'll take it as is, but I sure would like to try just about ANYTHING to get it back to sitting the way it did last night! Any thoughts?

21 replies
BakeLoveMom Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 7:46pm
post #2 of 22

I know it sounds so...I don't know...amature, but could you place some wood shims under the main cake base in the back to level it??? You know cut the excess so they won't show and paint them the same color. You wouldn't want them under during transport, but once you could set it up, it would work well. You could even surround it with fabric.

I only sugguest that because I know how difficult it is to take the cake apart or start over. In the future us foam core instead of cardboard, it is cheap and easy and way more sturdy and won't bend or flex. Let us know how it goes.


MrCake01 Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 7:47pm
post #3 of 22

Hey happy1mom,
You said the boards between the layers are cardboard. The cardboard may have gotten soggy from the moisture. Would you be able to get some plastic boards and pick up the layers and use the plastic boards as added support? Wilton makes a plastic board product that you will have to cut but if the cardboard has taken in moisture from the cake and butter cream than that may work.

tiggy2 Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 7:57pm
post #4 of 22

Were each of your tiers level before stacking? Did you cut the dowels all the same height in each tier. both of these could have caused the cake to lean.

happy1mom Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 8:37pm
post #5 of 22

Thanks so much for all of your input!

Yes, the tiers were nice and level last night, and the dowels were all the same size. The bottom cake is still nice and level, but the middle and top are leaning towards the back. It's almost as if the backs of the two top tiers are "sinking" into the cake it's sitting on. It's buttercreamed, so I'm afraid to touch it for fear of cracking it even more!

MrCake01 - Can I purchase that plastic board at Micheal's or Hobby Lobby? I've probably seen it, but since I know didley about cake supplies, I can't remember for sure.

(Attempting to add a pic - sorry, if it doesn't work....)

Texas_Rose Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 8:42pm
post #6 of 22

It looks like a dowel slipped in the middle tier. Do you have to transport it somewhere?

MrCake01 Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 8:47pm
post #7 of 22

Hobby Lobby and Michaels both have them where i live in Montgomery, al. Again the sizes may be a little big and you will have to cut them but use the cake pan and a pencil to mark and cut with a razor Knife. At hobby lobby they are located close to the greeting cards and party suppiles with the cake decorating suppiles. Also another thought, your cake looks very good besides the slight lean to the back, how about calling it a topsy-turvy cake. You could play that off like a pro.
Goodluck and please let us know how it goes.

abruntz Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 8:49pm
post #8 of 22

I think the cardboard got soggy and the dowel went threw it. I would try and I know this is discouraging take that second level with your bench scraper and lift it up while doing that shove 1/2 of a plastic wilton board there I think it might take care of your problem. Good luck I am so sorry your having difficulties.

DEBBIE157 Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 8:54pm
post #9 of 22

can you spin the top layer around and tell them it's SUPPOSED to be topsy-turvy? icon_biggrin.gificon_eek.gif

happy1mom Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 8:59pm
post #10 of 22

Yes, I have to drive it to my sister's place - about 20 minutes.

I'd like to attempt the idea abruntz, but I don't have a scraper. Would a long spatula work? Or is it not wide enough?

I really have so much more respect for all of you talented cakers (not that I didn't before, but giving it a go on my own really sheds light on how much skill is involved in "just making a cake"!)

"topsy turvy" - not a bad idea! icon_wink.gif

tiggy2 Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 9:01pm
post #11 of 22
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

It looks like a dowel slipped in the middle tier. Do you have to transport it somewhere?

I agree with Texas_Rose about the dowel slipping (ask me how I know). I really don't think a cake board would get that soggy that quick for a dowel to go through it or buckle it.

idgalpal Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 9:11pm
post #12 of 22

BTW - The cake is freakin adorable!!!

Texas_Rose Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 9:22pm
post #13 of 22

I don't think putting more board into it will solve the problem. I'd be a little worried that the cake will fall during the drive...did you use a center dowel?

Anyhow, a long spatula should work to pick up that top tier. It might be a little work to take it off and fix the dowels, but that's better than the whole thing falling over on the drive. I always use fondant and it's possible to unstack the tiers without it getting ugly, but sometimes that's possible with buttercream too, if it was crusted when you stacked it.

I like to use the hollow plastic dowels. They're sturdier than the wooden ones, and require many fewer bad words while I am trying to cut them icon_biggrin.gif Also, foamcore makes great cake boards...buy a big sheet of it and just cut the circles you need and cover in press and seal wrap.

indydebi Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 11:22pm
post #14 of 22

I vote for a slipped dowel. Also, where did you place the dowels? I place mine about 1" inside the circle of the upper tier. I use 4.

In 30 years, I've never had a cardboard get so soggy that a dowel penetrated it. The only time I can perceive this happening is if the dowel has a pointy tip at the top.

Honestly I get so aggravated everytime I see the suggestion that "the cardboards got soggy" that I just want to "big sigh!" all over the place.

Cake cardboards do not sog up and collapse like rice paper. They are CARDBOARD. They hold up. I've cut my own wedding cakes for years and I've never seen a cardboard get so soggy that it wouldn't hold up.

Folks, I worked at a cremation casket factory and these caskets are made of cardboard! It's a very strong material. I really have no idea where this idea of "the cardboards get soggy and collapse" comes from except perhaps from folks who have never taken a cake apart. My disclaimer is if someone is trying to save 7 cents and use non-cake cardboards.

Yes, the cardboards may discolor. Yes, they may absorb some of the cake moisture or some of the icing fat/grease. But get so soggy they collapse? I've never seen it ... in 30 years.

So unless you're using cardboards that come in a package of new shirts, or using a cardboard product that was not designed to be used for cakes, or unless you're sharpening the end of your dowels and putting them in the cake with the pointy side up, then it's just not going to happen.

If you have a slipped dowel, I'm not sure that a center dowel going all the way thru is going to hold the cake up. I agree with Texas Rose that I like the hollow plastic tubes/dowels. Easy to cut and a nice wide area to suppor the upper tier.

leah_s Posted 5 Sep 2009 , 12:07am
post #15 of 22

And for next time, let's talk about SPS.


jenng1482 Posted 5 Sep 2009 , 12:19am
post #16 of 22

Can you plz remind me of the best place to buy SPS? I thought i bookmarked it, but guess not. Thanks

KoryAK Posted 5 Sep 2009 , 1:33am
post #17 of 22

Sorry, hon, but I think this one merits a deconstruction. Pop it apart, redo the dowels, stick it back together and patch. You won't be sorry.

dandelion56602 Posted 5 Sep 2009 , 1:51am
post #18 of 22

I think fondant source has the best prices on SPS. The site says unavaliable, but if you email what you're wanting they'll accomodate. Plus the coupon code "cakecentral" gets you 10% off.

I have used dowels, I have used SPS. Don't ask me why (maybe b/c I had used dowels for sooo many times before) but I feel more secure w/ dowels, but still use SPS lol.

Leahs, if you return to this topic (if not I'll post in the SPS topic). but I've never heard the "swoosh" sound when I slide my cake board onto the SPS board. Am I doing something wrong? I think this is why I feel so insecure about SPS.

DEBBIE157 Posted 5 Sep 2009 , 1:27pm
post #19 of 22

so how did it turn out? any new pics?

happy1mom Posted 5 Sep 2009 , 7:35pm
post #20 of 22

Well, I ended up driving it as-is. No one mentioned the leaning - maybe they were just being nice (family). They all said it was really cute and my niece loved it to pieces - that's what mattered most to me. icon_smile.gif
The icing had tons of cracks, and one butterfly didn't survive the journey. Oh, well! Good practice, lessons learned!

It's weird though - I kind of miss it sitting on my counter top.

Big thanks for everyone's tips/advice! You guys rock! icon_cool.gif

dsilbern Posted 5 Sep 2009 , 7:54pm
post #21 of 22

Where does one find hollow plastic dowel rods?

BlakesCakes Posted 5 Sep 2009 , 11:30pm
post #22 of 22
Originally Posted by dsilbern

Where does one find hollow plastic dowel rods?

At Michaels, JoAnns, Hobby Lobby, AC Moore, or WalMart, in the cake decorating aisle. They're made by Wilton.

My local cake decorating store carries them, but at about $1 more/pack of 4 than the other stores.


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