(I accidentally posted this in the "cake ideas" forum yesterday instead of this one)
I'm a beginner cake maker and want to make a tall cake for my sons birthday. I was thinking about using 6", 8", 10", and 12" pans. I'm not sure if I will do 2 or 3 layers of each pan size. I know I need to use 3 boards under, one under the 6" stack, 8" stack, and 10" stack with dowels rods. What size dowel rods would be best (I've use the ones from Lowe's before and cut myself). Is this a hard cake size for a beginner to do? Will I have problems with it toppling over?
ETA: After reading the 2 responses yesterday, maybe I should leave out the 12" and just do the 3 sizes (6",8",10")
About the layers, it depends on how many servings you need. Always make sure you have support after each 4-6 vertical inches of cake. The cake in my avatar is the first stacked cake I ever did, and it was HUGE and weighed a ton! Don't be afraid ~ just make sure you have support. You can use bubble straws or regular straws (the straight kind) as support underneath the cake boards ~ that's all I use and I never have a problem. A word of caution, though ~ don't use too many. Under the 10", I would probably use maybe 6 or 7, only 5 under the 8", and 4 under the 6". Make sure you cut the straws (or dowels, if you are using those) a little bit shorter than the frosted cake ~ this was, the supported cake will settle just a bit into the bottom layer, making a snug fit without having to balance on the straws.
If you are transporting this cake anywhere, I would chill it down for several hours, if possible. If you can't do that, definitely insert a long dowel all the way down the center of the cake, for added stability while moving. If you aren't transporting, I wouldn't worry about this, unless your cake seems wobbly or unstable.
Good luck~ Don't be afraid to give this a try!!!
First off, that's a LOT of cake! How many people will you be serving? A 6" serves 14, an 8" serves 25, a 10" serves 39, and a 12" serves 56.
As for the dowels, I use the plastic ones sold at Michael's/Hobby Lobby/Walmart (made by Wilton). They are much easier to cut (just use a serrated bread or steak knife) and you don't need as many per layer as the wooden ones. Some decorators use bubble tea straws (NOT regular drinking straws) that you can purchase at Asian markets, but I've never tried that.
As long as the cake is properly supported, it won't topple. If you are transporting it, then using a single wooden dowel down the entire cake is a good idea (or assemble on site or invest in the SPS).
Okay, I bought the Wilton plastic supports today which I can cut to size so I won't have to use as many dowels rods. I'll probably just use wooden dowel rods for the top layer.
I'm not thinking about servings for the cake, I'm just thinking about my son being excited about the cake. It's not a big party and I realize I'll have lots of leftovers.
Do I need to worry about the type of cake I'll be making. I've read on here about making sturdier cake (like pound cake) rather than a light fluffy cake). I was thinking about making the bottom cake carrot cake, chocolate cake for the middle and a white cake for the top. I'm not sure
Any other advice??