Discussion=Dowels: What's Your Preference And Why?

Decorating By Mb20fan Updated 19 Mar 2010 , 6:47pm by tiggy2

Mb20fan Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 6:12pm
post #1 of 34

I spend alot of time reading just about anything "cake" related just because I'm trying to learn all I can (very much a newbie). I'm learning about all the different methods to support cakes and I'm wondering not only what the preference is, but why. Wooden, plastic, cake jacks, straws...so many options! I see where some have mentioned that they use wooden dowels in upper tiers but plastic in the bottom. I've read how some will put like 6-8 dowels in a big bottom tier, yet others say that only 4 is necessary. And straws...sounds a lot less expensive than other options, but what kind are best? If you use straws, do have you to make up for lack of strength by adding more?

So far, I've only experimented with wooden dowlels and I need to work on cutting them more precisely. Straws seem like they would be the easiest to work with and like I read in another forum, it doesn't displace the cake since the cake fills up inside. So could that help in adding stability? I guess the same would go with plastic tubes, right?

Anyway...this is just nothing more than feeding my curiosity as to why some of you choose the option you do based on your experiences. icon_biggrin.gif

Best...

33 replies
kerri729 Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 6:35pm
post #2 of 34

I use the Wilton Hidden Pillars, you can cut them to size, they somewhat "lock" into place, and are very stable and easy to use.

PinkZiab Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 6:44pm
post #3 of 34

I use wooden dowels, straight from the hardware store, cut to size. No more than 6 in any tier (sometimes less). Why? Because they've never failed me, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it! lol

aundron Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 6:48pm
post #4 of 34

I use Bubble Tea Straws. I used to use wooden dowels, but had too much trouble cutting them.

I've had no problems with the bubble straws. HTH icon_biggrin.gif

Loucinda Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 6:53pm
post #5 of 34

Bubble tea straw fan here too. I used to use the wilton plastic pillars, and wooden dowels, but much prefer the bubble tea straws over either of the other two. The BTS are much easier to cut, NO cake displacement, always have them on hand (I buy them in bulk) they work perfectly, and are inexpensive.

Auntie_RaRa Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 6:53pm
post #6 of 34

I started with hidden pillars. Started having problems cutting for some strange reason and I really didn't like the holes they left in the cakes.

I saw the Stress Free system and fell in love with them. Just measure the length of the legs and I thought ibe. So, I have two sets and It couldn't get much easier than that. I do charge brides the cost of the rings, legs for their cakes along with shipping. So far, every bride in 6 years have returned them with no problems. I'm starting to use the bubble tea straws for party occasion cakes that have a fake tier.

HTH

jillycakes Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 7:02pm
post #7 of 34

Bubble tea straws here. I used to use wooden or plastic dowels, but had trouble getting a straight cut on them. I tried the SPS system twice, but having to make sure the cakes were precisely 4" high stressed me right out and I was never sure if the peg of the plate was actually in the hole of the cake board. I didn't have any accidents, but the whole process just made me uneasy. The bubble tea straws work perfectly for me and they're cheap.

redheadfairy2003 Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 7:22pm
post #8 of 34

ok this might be a crazy question but I need to ask no matter what...lol


what is the difference between bubble tea straws and regular straws...? And if there is a difference then where would you find the bubble ones?

Thank You !

Kitagrl Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 7:27pm
post #9 of 34

Bubble tea straws...I get them at a restaurant supply store.

aundron Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 7:43pm
post #10 of 34

I get my BTS at a local asian market

leah_s Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 7:52pm
post #11 of 34

I'm the local SPS fanatic. Why? Because I had a dowel shift once and the cake started to lean. I fixed it, but now there's no chance of leaning. And the legs do lock onto the SPS plate. It's easy, cheap and secure.

Your cake tiers don't have to be precisely 4". Legs come pre-cut at 4", 5", 7" and 9". If your tier is 3.75" - 4.25 tall the 4" legs will work. Yes, you'll have a gap to border or put a ribbon on if your tier is shorter, and if your cake is taller, the plate will be in the icing, but either way, it still works.

A small hacksaw or pipe cutter will cut the legs to your own measurement.

Renaejrk Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 8:06pm
post #12 of 34

Bubble tea straws are wider because they are made for tea that has tapioca pearls in it - they are about 1/2" wide so the pearls can be sucked up through the straw icon_smile.gif

tarheelgirl Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 8:22pm
post #13 of 34

SPS all the way for me!! I deliver with confidence and love it!! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

tavyheather Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 8:27pm
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by aundron

I use Bubble Tea Straws. I used to use wooden dowels, but had too much trouble cutting them.

I've had no problems with the bubble straws. HTH icon_biggrin.gif




LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!

But when the caterers cut it, does it seem a little chintzy? Don't get me wrong, I think it's brilliant, but I'm a novice and I don't want to seem like one in a professional setting...so this is very common?

indydebi Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 8:51pm
post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkZiab

I use wooden dowels, straight from the hardware store, cut to size. No more than 6 in any tier (sometimes less). Why? Because they've never failed me, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it! lol




quote ... word for word ... for me. Never failed yet. It's what I've used for 30 years.

The only exception is that for a 5 tier cake I will use the wilton plastic pillars in the bottom just for more surface support.

Bettycrockermommy Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 9:58pm
post #16 of 34

I usually use the Wilton plastic pillars, but I have also used the wooden dowels. I guess I am afraid the straws won't hold up under pressure.

hilly Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 10:18pm
post #17 of 34

I always use bubble tea straws, I did use wooden dowels for a while but could never get them even icon_confused.gif

Bettycrockermommy Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 10:31pm
post #18 of 34

I have a pair of garden clippers that I bought expressly for cutting dowels. It works great and only cost $5 at Big Lots

Jennzoe333 Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 10:54pm
post #19 of 34

I've used both bubble tea straws and wooden dowels. Do you guys use the BTS in large tier cakes? I've always been scared to use them if the cake was more than 2 tiers. Then I use the wooden dowels, but I'd prefer to use the BTS if I could get away with it.

newbaker55 Posted 17 Mar 2010 , 10:57pm
post #20 of 34

I use wooden dowels but am toying with the idea of BTS, because I can't seem to get the dowels cut evenly no matter what I use...straight-line challenged icon_redface.gif

redheadfairy2003 Posted 18 Mar 2010 , 1:41am
post #21 of 34

Thanks everyone...... I use wooden one now and I might try bts just once on a practice cake... then I can say I did it....lol

southernswthrt Posted 18 Mar 2010 , 1:52am
post #22 of 34

I've been using the Wilton Pillars, and it does make for a super sturdy cake; however, there are huge holes in the cake, which I do not like.

Can these BTS be purchased online? Can anyone recommend a site that's reputable? TIA

cakemakerkevin Posted 18 Mar 2010 , 1:53am
post #23 of 34

I have used dowels in the past . They were ok ..not too trusting on that ... but ,thanks to cc i have been using the SPS method for sometime now.never had a problem (tappin on my wooden desk) ... When cutting the inner pillars I use a pair of wide mouth trim shears( that you can find at your local hardware store or big corperate stores ) All i do is use my small stainless steel ruler that has a slide mark on it slide into the cake, press slide down to edge and pull out .. Then i have the correct size to mark and cut pillar .no more marking with pencil then pull out to cut ...sorry so lengthy icon_lol.gif

Loucinda Posted 18 Mar 2010 , 3:19am
post #24 of 34

This cake was done with all BTS, all 4 tiers of it. Outside wedding in the summer at the Columbus Zoo.
LL

Normita Posted 18 Mar 2010 , 4:00am
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loucinda

This cake was done with all BTS, all 4 tiers of it. Outside wedding in the summer at the Columbus Zoo.




What sizes were they Loucinda? I have also used BTS and I love them. I have a cake coming up this weekend 14inch, 12inch and 10 inch, and I am dreading using the dowels, but I guess I will feel it is more secure that way icon_confused.gif

Normita Posted 18 Mar 2010 , 4:01am
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkZiab

I use wooden dowels, straight from the hardware store, cut to size. No more than 6 in any tier (sometimes less). Why? Because they've never failed me, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it! lol




Do they come precut in the size you need...or do you ask them to cut them the size you need, like 4 inches or so?

Mb20fan Posted 19 Mar 2010 , 4:21pm
post #27 of 34

I am going to hunt down some BTS. Thanks for all the replies!

Solecito Posted 19 Mar 2010 , 4:25pm
post #28 of 34

SPS after loosing a couple of cakes..

Ballymena Posted 19 Mar 2010 , 5:58pm
post #29 of 34

Check out my post on Cake Disasters
5 layer wedding cake disaster
I have been doing cakes for decades and this still happened. Don't take chances with dowels in heavy cakes!!!

aundron Posted 19 Mar 2010 , 6:07pm
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by tavyheather

Quote:
Originally Posted by aundron

I use Bubble Tea Straws. I used to use wooden dowels, but had too much trouble cutting them.

I've had no problems with the bubble straws. HTH icon_biggrin.gif



LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!

But when the caterers cut it, does it seem a little chintzy? Don't get me wrong, I think it's brilliant, but I'm a novice and I don't want to seem like one in a professional setting...so this is very common?




Not sure, I'm never around when cakes are cut; I deliver and then I'm out!! : icon_biggrin.gif I guess it's no different from seeing wooden dowels in the cake.

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