Support Structure For 5 Tiered Wedding Cake

Decorating By mightydragon663 Updated 10 Sep 2013 , 3:40am by ellavanilla

mightydragon663 Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 3:47pm
post #1 of 16

Before you ask the obvious, the answer is "Yes, I am probably certifiably crazy". icon_razz.gif

I am making my first wedding cake for a friend in October and, of course, it couldn't be a simple two tiered cake, it has to be a 5 tiered cake. So, I have a couple of questions about supporting a cake this size.

1. I understand the need for support between each tier. However, I was reading this weekend in "The Cake Bible" about stacking cakes, and the author suggested using straws instead of wooden dowels. Has anyone tried this with a large cake? If so, were there any major issues with it?

2. I have seen the center dowel hammered through the top of all the tiers, and I have seen where the center dowel is attached to the cake board and the tiers are stacked with it coming up through the bottom of the cake tiers. Is there an advantage to doing one over the other?

I'm sorry this so long, and I really do appreciate a forum in which I can tap into the knowledge and wisdom of so many skilled decorators.

15 replies
Kiddiekakes Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 3:52pm
post #2 of 16

I would not advise using straws for such a heavy elaborate cake.It will surely come crashing down from the weight.I would use a SPS pillar system available from Bakery crafts.It isn't cheap though but very sturdy.Another suggestion is the wilton seperator plates under each tier and use the hidden pillars cut to size and the legs of the seperator plates clip inside the pillar.I have used this for several 3 tiered cakes and it is very sturdy as well.

Texas_Rose Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 4:03pm
post #3 of 16

If you're going to be transporting it already assembled, then you need the center dowel. If you're stacking it at the venue, and it won't be moved once it's stacked, you don't really need the center dowel.

Keep in mind that it will be pretty heavy if you deliver it already assembled, and that it will take up lots of room in the car if you stack it on-site. So either way will take some planning ahead...a sturdy cart with wheels at the venue or someone to help carry it, or enough room in your vehicle for all of the tiers in boxes, plus space for your toolbox and anything else you need to bring.

I use the hollow plastic Wilton dowels and foam core boards. I don't use the plastic separator plates because I don't want them showing at all in my stacked cake, and you can't trim them to be invisible. It's really a matter of personal preference though.

Kakeladi's right that straws, while they might seem like a tempting shortcut, won't be strong enough for your cake.

txnonnie Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 4:20pm
post #4 of 16

I have read on here before that people do use the bubble tea straws for support. Also that they do support heavy cakes. They are much stronger and bigger around than the normal drinking straws.

I agree it is a personal choice of what you feel most comfortable with doing.

I personally dowel all my stacked cakes that are being transported. My friend has not been and she had a top layer to fall off before the customer got home with the cake. Could be disasterous if you need that cake to feed the guests.

Jeff_Arnett Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 5:49pm
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mightydragon663



2. tiers are stacked with it coming up through the bottom of the cake tiers. Is there an advantage to doing one over the other?



I personally prefer the center dowel attached to the base and sliding the cakes down over....so long as you center the holes in your boards, the cakes are automatically centered. You can make the base yourself from 1/2 inch thick foamcore or masonite and cut the tier boards from foamcore.....OR....you can make it easy on yourself and order them already made from w w w . l o g i c p i c . c o m [remove spaces].

I only use dowels....I know people use straws but it's not for me!

kyhendry Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 6:13pm
post #6 of 16

For a cake that big - I'd use SPS. No shifting, no center dowel needed. Check out the sticky thread here: http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-603925.html

Leah_s is an excellent source of information on this system and she delivers 5 tier cakes all the time!

Jeff_Arnett Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 6:49pm
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by kyhendry

For a cake that big - I'd use SPS. No shifting, no center dowel needed. Check out the sticky thread here: http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-603925.html

Leah_s is an excellent source of information on this system and she delivers 5 tier cakes all the time!


I used a method similar to the SPS for years before I ever learned of it....I used wilton's hidden pillars with plate and it worked well.

The reason is switched to the foamcore system is that I don't want the trouble of return items...I like everything to be dispoable.

__Jamie__ Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 7:01pm
post #8 of 16

Yes, SPS. And it's totally disposable, if you work it into the cost of the cake.

dawncr Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 7:09pm
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose


I use the hollow plastic Wilton dowels and foam core boards. I don't use the plastic separator plates because I don't want them showing at all in my stacked cake, and you can't trim them to be invisible. It's really a matter of personal preference though.




I use foam core boards with an SPS plate that's just slightly smaller, and the plates don't show. E.g., using a 6" SPS plate with a 7" tier. Although the 'height' of the plate is negligible, one can adjust the legs or cake to adapt. Of course, one wouldn't want to use a plate more than a few inches smaller than the tier diameter, b/c that wouldn't be very stable. All the support would be in the center of the cake. However, 1-2" difference works great for me.

You may have already tried this, or I have misunderstood you. In that case, my apologies.

mightydragon663 Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 10:49pm
post #10 of 16

Thanks you soooooo much. I thought the straws sounded too good to be true, and I am so glad I asked before trying it. You guys ROCK! thumbs_up.gif

Lizzays Cakes Posted 9 Sep 2013 , 8:45pm
post #11 of 16

Thank you. I am doing my first 5 tier. I have done tons of 3 tiers and large straws work best for me. But with 5 tiers that is SO much weight. I like the plastic wilton dowels as a replacement!!! I have never been a fan of the plate sets. I have felt they look old/tacky.

shake n cake Posted 9 Sep 2013 , 8:49pm
post #12 of 16

I always use bubble tea straws as supports, and foam core instead of cake boards in between my tiers! I cut the foam core to the size of the cake after baking, and find it to be a cheaper, sturdy alternative! I also set up on site (I think I would find it too stressful to drive with a stacked cake in my car) lol. Good luck :)

 

Marissa

Lizzays Cakes Posted 9 Sep 2013 , 9:02pm
post #13 of 16

I agree with Marissa. I always set up on site. People are out for blood on weddings!!! haha 

 

I use foam core. You can purchase it at the dollar store and glue 3 sheets together. Cheap and beautiful.

 

Here is an example of one of my cakes.

 

Liz

 

shebysuz Posted 9 Sep 2013 , 9:29pm
post #14 of 16

Another way to go would be to purchase a Wilton Towering Tiers stand ( make sure you get it with your 50% off at Michael's)- each cake  will be totally self sufficient. The only drawback is that you can see the white plastic plates, which to me is very tacky BUT there is a way to hide them. I did this Luau cake using Wilton Towering Tiers and covered the plates with the green fondant to look like a grass skirt. For a wedding cake you can always use doilies , lace fabric , or white fondant to cover the plates. If you do choose to go this way, I have to warn you- DO NOT assemble the cakes onto the cake stand until you get to the venue. Since the stand pierces a hole into the center of each cake, air will find its way in it will dry out if you did this too far ahead of time. See below how the cakes aren't actually touching eachother. There is a youtube video that demonstrates how to use the stand which is very helpful. Good Luck!

This cake was  stacked on a Wilton Towering Tiers cake stand- which I usually do not like because I don't like to see any plastic or spacing between tiers. But I covered each plate with fondant and cut fringe to represent a grass skirt.

shebysuz Posted 9 Sep 2013 , 9:32pm
post #15 of 16

Wow Lizzay that is a beautiful wedding cake! I noticed you are in Oregon City..I am right next door in Gladstone! Small world..

ellavanilla Posted 10 Sep 2013 , 3:40am
post #16 of 16

Quote:

Originally Posted by mightydragon663 

Thanks you soooooo much. I thought the straws sounded too good to be true, and I am so glad I asked before trying it. You guys ROCK! thumbs_up.gif

 

 

the straws work just fine. the SPS works better. that's all.

 

 one tip for set up is to put your SPS dowels into the cake while it's room temp, otherwise, your buttercream could crack. 

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