How Do You Measure Where To Cut Your Supports?

Decorating By fruitsnack Updated 30 Aug 2010 , 12:40am by tokazodo

fruitsnack Posted 29 Aug 2010 , 2:16pm
post #1 of 10

The cake I delivered on Friday was only my third (?) two tier cake. So, yeah, I'm totally a beginner. I had to travel an hour away to deliver it. I think I may have cut the tea straws too long, though, because a crack developed between the top tier and its border - almost like it was teetering back and forth because of the travel. I had to remove the entire border once I got there and re-do it. I'm grateful I brought my frosting, but it had softened while in the car so I couldn't do much with it.

It seems to me that if I had cut the supports shorter, the top tier of the cake would have been resting on the bottom tier and wouldn't have teetered so much from just resting on the four tea straws. It was only a 7" top tier and a 10" bottom tier - I wouldn't think it would've needed any more supports, but maybe I'm wrong. Are you supposed to cut the supports even with the frosting level or a bit shorter - more even with the cake layer?

Thanks for your help!

9 replies
peg818 Posted 29 Aug 2010 , 5:56pm
post #2 of 10

i cut even with the frosting. But your problem probably was that the car was too hot. You said your icing was very soft when you got there that tells me the car was too hot for the cake.

fruitsnack Posted 29 Aug 2010 , 6:50pm
post #3 of 10

I don't know how, though, because we had the a/c on. I started the car about 5 minutes before we brought the car out, and we had the a/c on the entire drive there. It was so cold I was freezing. The extra frosting I brought with me was in a little tool box in the back, which probably wasn't as cold as it was where we had the cake. We were driving really carefully, but I could see the cake kind of "teetering" just a little bit back and forth, and it seemed like that was the reason the border cracked. I don't know, though.

leily Posted 29 Aug 2010 , 7:07pm
post #4 of 10

Four supports is plenty for the 7". Did you measure one dowel and cut them all the same? or did you measure each one seperately? You should be measuring one (cut it to the top of the frosting) then cut the otherones the same length. You don't want the dowels cut to much shorter than the top of the frosting (and we're talking milimeters) otherwise the cake will be taking weight and could cause issues with the bottom tier. The purpose of the dowels/plate system is to support the upper cakes so that the lower ones aren't supporting any of the upper tiers weight.

It sounds like you cut them a little higher so the vibrations of the car ride may have "pulled" the border down if you had piped it more on the top tier instead of on the bottom.

fruitsnack Posted 29 Aug 2010 , 9:42pm
post #5 of 10

I did measure one and cut the rest the same. I just kind of marked it with my thumb and cut the other ones to match - I wonder if I should have gone just a bit further.

Thanks for your help!

BlakesCakes Posted 29 Aug 2010 , 11:24pm
post #6 of 10

Another possibility is that your icing on the cake also "softened" in the heat and slid away a bit from the plate.

Just a thought...

GGx1 Posted 29 Aug 2010 , 11:53pm
post #7 of 10

I put my wooden dowels in my cake, mark them level with the frosting with an edible marker. My DH then cuts them for me.

sweetheart6710 Posted 29 Aug 2010 , 11:59pm
post #8 of 10

I assemble stacked cakes on site. I also dowel level to the top of the frosting. I have everything ready to go, then put the individual cakes in a safe place in my car. I bring a bag of icing, stack my cakes, and put a boarder on then. I'm definitely not perfect, but it settles my worries to know my cake won't settle while I drive and mess up a perfect smooth border.

tokazodo Posted 30 Aug 2010 , 12:37am
post #9 of 10

I used to have the same issue with cutting the supports. I now use drinking straws.
I also watched this video of Edna De La Cruz.
I now stack and support my cakes this way.
Smaller wedding cakes I will now stack and deliver.
Larger wedding cakes I like to stack on site.
I love these videos.
I hope this helps!

Edna actually cuts the supports about 1/4 inch below the level of the icing, and then digs a 'ditch' for the upper tier to rest in. This really made a lot of sense to me when I first watched the video.

I think she also uses 2 center dowels through the entire cake instead of 1 dowel. Again, it only makes sense that the 2 dowels will keep any cake from shifting.

Good Luck, Let me know what you think!

tokazodo Posted 30 Aug 2010 , 12:40am
post #10 of 10

One last thing...

I don't know about your car seats, but mine aren't level. they tilt towards the back. I always carry something like a small box of aluminum foil or wax paper to prop/level the box with.

again, I hope this helps

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