Do I Need Dowels And Cake Boards For This Cake?

Decorating By Cakekiasan Updated 15 Feb 2011 , 10:16pm by Cakekiasan

Cakekiasan Posted 13 Jan 2011 , 6:04pm
post #1 of 12

Hello oh-wise-CC-forumites!

I am a proud new member of CC as of yesterday and already need your help.
I am new to cake baking, but very enthusiastic and optimistic indeed, so even though I have used fondant only twice in my life, I am attempting a Barrel cake for my boyfriend's birthday! Yes, I must be mad, and it will probably look more like a giant heap, but let's humor me for a second icon_biggrin.gif

The best part is that I have never stacked, or carved a cake before!

So I am pretty sure you'll be seeing me in the forums a lot... I apologise for that in advance icon_smile.gif
It might help to think of me as your nagging but well-meaning little sister.

But for now, stupid question number 1:

As all my 5 stacked cakes will be the same circumference, do i need dowel rods and cake boards, or are those only necessary when stacking different size cakes?

I am confused as to how I will be able to carve the cake if needing to gently saw through a dowel rod! But I don't want a squished bottom cake layer either...

11 replies
brett9008 Posted 13 Jan 2011 , 6:26pm
post #2 of 12

You definately need dowels and boards. If not all cakes will sink down into one another because of the weight or 5 tiers....

metria Posted 13 Jan 2011 , 6:28pm
post #3 of 12

could you elaborate on the size of your cakes? what dimensions are you looking for?

pastryqueen9 Posted 13 Jan 2011 , 6:30pm
post #4 of 12

Welcome Cakekiasan!

I'm no expert but I would say yes dowel it! I would also say make sure you get good even layers of filling between the layers and definitely use a board at least between the 3rd layer and the first two so it's essentially two cakes (a 2 layer stacked on top of a 3 layer). You should also chill it prior to carving because the chilled/cold cake is much easier to carve than warm/soft cake. Most importantly have fun and don't be afraid to enter the forums and ask questions because everyone has to start somewhere and needs a little help along the way. Good Luck! thumbs_up.gif

metria Posted 13 Jan 2011 , 6:35pm
post #5 of 12

look at Wilton's instructions for building a stack cake:

http://www.wilton.com/cakes/tiered-cakes/stacked-tiered-cake-construction.cfm

you'll see the dowel supports are not close to the edges of the cake. when carving a barrel, it's not to extreme on either end, so you shouldn't have to encounter them.

enchantedcreations Posted 13 Jan 2011 , 6:54pm
post #6 of 12

Welcome Cakekiasan!!!! I don't really have anything to offer about cake stacking. I wanted to welcome you to cake central and just say Hi and have fun with your caking!!!! Amy

Cakekiasan Posted 13 Jan 2011 , 7:10pm
post #7 of 12

Thank you so much everyone! I can't believe how quickly you all responded! You are amazing, thank you!
And for the welcome messages too! I no longer feel like I'm alone, waddling around in the dark with my rolling pin!

@metria, I am planning on making my cakes 10" rounds. That should be a rather decently-sized barrel icon_smile.gif Thanks for the link!

@pastryqueen9, that makes sense, thanks!

I was planning on freezing the cake overnight before carving it. Which brings me to stupid question number 2:
Do I fill and dowel the cake and then freeze the whole thing? Won't that make me buttercream filling watery when it thaws?
But if I fill and dowel the cake only once it has thawed, what's the point in freezing it at all?

Cakes are hard and confusing! I told my mother that at lunch and she thought I was bonkers: "Don't you just mold the cake into any shape? Like plasticine?" I do NOT want to know what weird cakes she's been eating!

Cheriepie Posted 13 Jan 2011 , 7:16pm
post #8 of 12

[

As all my 5 stacked cakes will be the same circumference, do i need dowel rods and cake boards, or are those only necessary when stacking different size cakes?

I am confused as to how I will be able to carve the cake if needing to gently saw through a dowel rod! But I don't want a squished bottom cake layer either...[/quote]

Oh Yes, dowel your cakes. Anything over 5" is about the industry norm.
The easiest way for me is... set all cakes, without boards, in their stack. all you want to do is carve them to get the shape. After you get the shape right, put your cakeboards (cut to the size you need for each layer) inbetween the appropriate layers as you are filling the cake layers. Make sure that you cut all the doweles the same height. (don't mark one then cut one- mark one then cut them all for that particular layer) otherwise there is no use in using doweles because it has to be supported evenly. Your cakes may be easier if you bake a day early and freeze or refrigerate overnight.
GOOD LUCK!

Cakekiasan Posted 13 Jan 2011 , 7:31pm
post #9 of 12

Hihihi, it all seems so obvious when I read your responses! I think I was confusing myself by reading so many different articles online.

Thanks @Cheriepie, that is a great guide. Your outline has put every step back in order!

I am sure that my kitchen will look like a sugary war zone in a couple of weeks when I get to it, but I will be sure to take a picture of the result for this thread, whatever it may be! (I figure if I fail miserably, I can just roll the cake into 1000 cake pops and pretend that was the whole idea to begin with icon_smile.gif )

genevieveyum Posted 13 Jan 2011 , 7:41pm
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Cakekiasan Posted 13 Jan 2011 , 7:47pm
post #11 of 12

@genevieveyum, those are seriously good indeed. The apple one is unreal! No pressure then icon_smile.gif

Cakekiasan Posted 15 Feb 2011 , 10:16pm
post #12 of 12

Hi everyone!

I finally made the barrel cake last week. The pictures are up if you're interested in the results!
http://cakecentral.com/gallery/1938288

I learnt SO much making this cake. It took much longer than expected so I had to cut a few corners here and there, but I'm pretty happy with it... I am mostly proud of my apples icon_smile.gif

Thank you for bearing with my stupid questions and for your support!

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