I live in RI and we just experience terrible floods here which have impact a lot of local businesses. A friend of a friend found out just two weeks before their wedding that they will not be able to get their cake from where they planned due to the flooding. They have asked me to make their cake so they will have one for their wedding. I have never done a wedding cake before, so I am very nervous. They do know that I have never done a wedding cake before and were just happy to have anything.
I have done a lot of 3 tier cakes, but never one that is 4 tiers. When I do the 3 tiers, I don't use a center dowl. (I do use dowls between each tier.) With the additional weight and height I am concerned about not using a center dowl - but also concerned about using one because I have never done it before.
Can someone let me know if it is critical that I use a center dowl? Also, if I do use one, do you typically sharpen it and pound it into all the layers after stacking? I'm worried the sharpened dowl will not go through the cake boards under each tier.
Thank you so much for your help! I don't think I will be able to sleep until this cake is made and delivered!
Do you have time to order SPS? If so, do it and your cake will be just fine and you won't need dowels in each tier as well as the center dowel. If you can't, then you should sharpen your dowel and use a rubber hammer to put the dowel down through all 4 tiers. This of course is in addition to the dowels you put into each tier for support. I did a 7 tier last May and the SPS was the secret to complete and successful stacking and delivery.
What is SPS?
I'm also wondering about the center dowel. I've never done it. I'm scared to hammer through. I see images in my head of cake falling apart.
SPS is a Separator Plate System. There is a sticky note about it in the How Do I forum. Here's the link: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-603925.html.
It is wonderful and all my tiered cakes have the price calculated in. I still thank Leahs everytime I use the SPS.
Now as to the center dowel: sharpen the dowel, make sure you use regular cake boards (like Wilton). Once all the tiers are stacked, then place the dowel in the middle of the top tier and start hammering the dowel down the center of all the tiers. It really will go through all the cake boards. Just be sure to keep the dowel straight and make the dowel slightly shorter than the top of the cake. I was scared the first time I did it and was so surprised at how easy it went in.
I made my hubby put the centre dowel in the first time I had to do it becaue I was so nervous! It went in just fine though...good luck!
Never done a four tier cake either but I think if you can assemble the cake on site then you could do without the center dowel. As long as you don't have to move or transport the cake you should be fine.
Thank you for all the responses! I think I will enlist my husband to put in the center dowel so I don't have to watch (-:
You will be fine, I was so nervous the first time I used the center dowel also, but it went in just like that!! It makes a big difference !! Good luck!!
Be sure to check with the venue hosting the reception to see what paperwork you need to bring in with you.
I deal with a lot of RI venues and they want proof of insurance/license from me.
We were lucky and didn't get flooded but it's unbelievable how bad some people did. I couldn't believe the Warwick Mall was flooded too! Wow, hopefully better times ahead for everyone effected.
The center dowel is completely false security. If your cake really starts going dsideways, the dowel will stay firmly implanted in the bottom board as it tears thru your cake. Seriously, order SPS. It's not expensive and it works every cake, every time. Both Global Sugar Arts and Oasis Supply carry SPS.