Do I Have To Use A Wooden Dowel For The Centre?

Decorating By jojo76 Updated 14 Jan 2010 , 12:03pm by jojo76

jojo76 Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 3:51pm
post #1 of 15

Hello, I'm making my first stacked cake at the end of the month. Ive been a total chicken about doing this up till now, but thought I would bite the bullet and go for it for the cake Im making for my step dad! Im making an 8" and 6" cake decorated in fondant. I just brought some plastic dowels to go on the bottom teir. I have got a thin cardboard round to put the top teir on. My question is, can I use one of the plastic dowels to put through the centre of both cakes? I was just reading that someone on here puts a hole in the cake plate of the teir that is being stacked, puts a dowel into the bottom teir and slides the top cake onto the cetre dowel. Could I do this with a plastic dowel? like the sound of this as hammering a dowel through the whole thing fills me with dread...... icon_lol.gif
If I need to get wooden dowels, what size should I need and how is the best way to cut them?

14 replies
LaBellaFlor Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 4:05pm
post #2 of 15

You don't need a center dowel for a cake this small. In fact, not everyone uses a center dowel. If they do, they tend to do it for large cakes that have to travel far. It's usually done with a wooden dowel by the way.

leah_s Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 4:09pm
post #3 of 15

Two tier cakes wouldn't need a center dowel at all, even for transport. Of course, I don't think you ever need a center dowel, but I use SPS. MUCH safer and easier.

jojo76 Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 4:14pm
post #4 of 15

oh hooorayyy! Thats much easier then! So would it just be four plastic ones in the bottom cake, inserted, marked level with the cake and then cut to size? When I put the top cake on, would it be stable enough if its attatched with a bit of butter cream or would I need to use royal icing?

kel58 Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 4:25pm
post #5 of 15

i'v just used buttercream to attatch the top tier withough any problems. You are fine on this cake since you dont need a center dowel but i will NEVER use thin cake board again when i need to hammer a center dowel though(which isnt nearly as scary as you would think usually). I have had it twice that i used them and instead of dowel hammering straight though it bends the board and then goes through. Yep is caused some issues.Maybe its just me but I wont do that to myself again.

kjskid Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 4:34pm
post #6 of 15

When I put a wooden dowel in the middle, I sharpen it to a point with a knife, then twist it until it goes through the cardboard. I've never had problems with the cardboard bending that way. But, I agree, for a cake this small, no middle dowel needed.

_Jamie_ Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 4:35pm
post #7 of 15

I don't even dowel for 3 tiers! Lol....but I'm pretty careful and I know my cakes and how much cake I put into making sure they are steady and sturdy.

artscallion Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 5:00pm
post #8 of 15
Originally Posted by jojo76

...inserted, marked level with the cake and then cut to size?

Don't mark the straws level with the cake. You should level them with each other. So all your straws will be exactly the same height. Cut one, then pull it out and use it to mark the others. If you cut them to match the bottom tier, their heights may vary slightly, depending on how well you leveled that lower tier. And a slight variance can make the upper tiers look really off, more and more, the higher you go.

_Jamie_ Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 5:10pm
post #9 of 15
Originally Posted by jojo76

...inserted, marked level with the cake and then cut to size?

Ouch...that's asking for disaster. thumbsdown.gif

jojo76 Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 6:25pm
post #10 of 15

Ah ok, so if I end up with a slightly un level cake, and so have a straw or two sticking up, and then a gap when I put my next teir on, what do I do with the gap?

So sorry for the basic questions, Ive never done it before and want to minimise disaster. Thanks so much for all the help so far?

tracycakes Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 6:40pm
post #11 of 15

Mark according to the LOWEST point in your cake, not the highest. You won't have a gap. The top cake will sink down a little at your higher points but it shouldn't be enough that it's visible.

Texas_Rose Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 6:48pm
post #12 of 15

Also, if you do have a little gap, that's when you add a border icon_biggrin.gif

I use a center dowel for two tiers when someone else is going to be driving it somewhere, especially somewhere far. It really needs to be a wooden one because you want to hammer it through the boards the cake is sitting my case usually three thicknesses of foamboard (two for the base board and one that the bottom tier is sitting on). I bought a brand new pencil sharpener and use that to sharpen the dowel. Anyhow, it's not scary to hammer the dowel through the cake but it does look nicer to make a hole in the board for the top tier and thread the cake onto the dowel.

jojo76 Posted 14 Jan 2010 , 10:32am
post #13 of 15

Thanks for both of these replies, I feel like I understand what Im doing now, I'm going to give it a go! I will have a practice when my dowels arrive! Thanks for the advice, if this one goes ok, then I will build up to doing bigger and taller cakes icon_eek.gificon_biggrin.gif

FleurDeCake Posted 14 Jan 2010 , 11:23am
post #14 of 15

OK Jojo, so I took a peek at your photos and your cakes a really good so don't worry at all you will do fine . I agree that for a cake this size you most likely don't need a center dowel. But I think it would be good practice to try it on this 2 tier cake and get your feet wet before you do a 3 or 4 tier. Which no doubt won't be long as you have lots of caking talent.

jojo76 Posted 14 Jan 2010 , 12:03pm
post #15 of 15

wow, thanks so much Cakesbymilan, your post made me smile! icon_biggrin.gif Thats good advice, to just have a practice at centre dowels anyway, so that it isnt so terrifying when I actually have to do it for real! I really need to build up my confidence with the whole thing and step out of my comfort zone a bit, a thing I'm not very good at sometimes icon_lol.gif

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