Adding A Tier

Decorating By MammaG Updated 28 Oct 2009 , 8:54pm by terrijproductions

MammaG Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 4:23am
post #1 of 15

I'm making a 2 tier cake in a couple of weeks. How does that work? Can I just stack the two cakes, or does the top one need a cake board? I wasn't planning on using dowels for just two tiers unless it's necessary.

14 replies
Texas_Rose Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 4:29am
post #2 of 15

The general rule of thumb is a board and dowels for every 4 inches of cake.

If you're making two layers with frosting in the middle, that's just one tier and doesn't need a board and dowels. If you're making something taller than that, then you need some supports in it, to keep it from sinking and also to make it easier to serve...imagine trying to serve a slice of cake that was 8" high.

prterrell Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 4:58am
post #3 of 15

Yes, the top tier must be on a cake board and you must have dowels underneath supporting it. It is the dowels, not the bottom tier, that hold up the upper tier.

MammaG Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 2:31pm
post #4 of 15

Thanks ladies! I didn't think it was necessary for dowels on 2 tiers, so I'm glad you said to. I've never done that so I'll need to look up info. Do the dowels just go into the cake and stop at the cake board on bottom? Is it before or after fondant that i should add them? Thanks for your patience with a very newbie

kakeladi Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 3:03pm
post #5 of 15

You can use plastic drink straws as your dowels. Much more sanitary and tasty icon_smile.gif
To me, wooden dowels *always* leave a taste to surrounding cake.

Yes, just push the supports into the bottom tier of cake until it reaches the cake board. Be *sure* you push them in straight. You only get one chance. You cannot pull it out and reposition. (Well, if you put the support in another spot you could.)
When teaching a student how to insert dowels or pillars I always have them push the item into the cake just enough that it will stay standing (about 1-1 1/2"); have the cake on a turntable and turn it around to observe if the pillar is straight; If it isn't when you push in another 1- 2" you can apply more pressure on the high side, straightening it out. Repeat pushing, turning & observing if it is straight; continue like that until the pillar/dowel is all the way in.
There are differences of opinion as to when to do it - before or after adding the fondant. I prefer to do it after.

ETA: Straws are soooooo much easier to cut than dowels. Cut them level with the cake top.

CakeVision Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 4:02pm
post #6 of 15

Can you just use regular drinking straws?

Texas_Rose Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 4:44pm
post #7 of 15

The only time I ever had a disaster was when I used regular drinking straws. I use Wilton's hollow plastic dowels...they're like a giant straw that you cut with a steak knife.

Some people use bubble tea straws which are a lot stronger than regular straws...I've been wanting to try them but can't find any locally.

CakeVision Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 11:17pm
post #8 of 15

Oh, OK, thanks...I thought regular straws would be too flimsy...

Texas_Rose Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 11:18pm
post #9 of 15

Yeah, I had read about it on CC and gave it a try but I didn't realize people were using the bubble tea straws, so I just bought regular straws from the grocery store and tried them in a small cake and they didn't hold up well enough.

MammaG Posted 28 Oct 2009 , 7:01pm
post #10 of 15

next weird question. . . when eating the cake, so you separate the two tiers and end up with two cakes basically, or how do you cut and serve?

prterrell Posted 28 Oct 2009 , 7:03pm
post #11 of 15

Seperate the tiers and then cut using Indydebi's method (sorry, don't have the link, but someone will!).

Texas_Rose Posted 28 Oct 2009 , 7:36pm
post #12 of 15

Use a spatula or bench scraper to lift the top tier off, set it on a plate, then cut and serve the two tiers. If you're using buttercream, let it crust before you stack the tiers and sprinkle a little powdered sugar on, and the buttercream shouldn't come off the bottom tier where the top one was sitting on it. If you're using fondant, the tiers don't stick together so removing the top tier is easy.

ttehan4 Posted 28 Oct 2009 , 7:48pm
post #13 of 15

Take a look at the tutorials on www. creative designs cakes .com .

Very helpful.

kakeladi Posted 28 Oct 2009 , 8:28pm
post #14 of 15

.......thought regular straws would be too flimsy...

They are NOT flimsy icon_smile.gif If you use the 'fatter' ones like you get at places like Burger King; McD; and many other fast food places they definitely will hold up.
The only ones I have seen in grocery stores are thin, and bendable - definitely NOT what needs to be used. I have never in over 20 yrs used bubble tea straws.
The main thing is to be *CERTAIN* they are pushed in (and cut) 'straight'! I also helps to wrap the cakeboard in aluminum foil - both top *&* bottom. The foil will push into the straw hole and help hold it.
Also, some people have started using a wooden dowel rod inside the straw for extra strength and to keep the wooden taste away.

terrijproductions Posted 28 Oct 2009 , 8:54pm
post #15 of 15

Texas_Rose Don't you want to use a little buttercream on top of the fondant so the top tier doesn't slip off the bottom? I see them do that on the cake Challenges on the Food Network and I'm not sure if it's common practice or not.

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