Now that I am able to walk unassisted, I need to get back to my life. I'm planning on a 90th birthday cake for my mom in 2 weeks. I plan on a 10" round base, topped with an 8" round tier.
My questions: shall I use a flower thingee in the middle of the cake to assist in getting the middle baked correctly? (Can't think of what's it's called - a flower nail maybe?). Shall I use those Wilton baking strips on the outside of the pan? Use both? Or only one?
Also, for stacking, since it's only one tier, are the wide straws enough support? How many straws should I use to support the 8" tier?
And if I go crazy and make a third tier for the top, will the wide straws be enough for support? The cake will not be moved, as it's being made in my kitchen, and the party is at my house. So, a few feet of movement at the most.
Thanks for your advice.!
Glad you're up and about again. I have a very small home oven (hobby baker), and I always use a flower nail and towel strips around the side for anything 8" or larger - it really seems to help prevent doming and crisp edges. I also use bubble tea straws for stacking and have had no problems supporting or transporting three-tier cakes with the straws. If transporting, I do use long wooden dowels through all tiers. Since you are not transporting, I would think that 5 or 6 straws should hold your 8" top tier. I read in an older book that you should use one dowel per inch in diameter of your cake (8" cake would need 8 dowels), but I haven't been using that many. Maybe someone else will wake up soon and add their experiences.
Hi, I always opt for more dowels so I can be sure the cake will be stable enough. I really like the idea of 1 dowel for each inch of cake. That seems to be the amount I happened to have used in my cake before; altough I have never heard that formula before. My cakes have always been strong and never a problem.
More dowels doesn't equal more stable... think of it this way, you're perforating the cake along a line. I wouldn't use as many as 8 dowels in a cake as large as a 14"--much less use 8 in an 8"... that's overkill, you'll get swiss cheese. You need to consider what size is stacked on top of that 14"--if it's a 10", and you put 14 dowels in the space available under the 10" cake, it's going to crumble.
And now for the dissenting opinion...
I think one dowel per inch is way too many. Especially if you're using straws that are larger in diameter than dowels and the fact that you're not transporting. Punching that many holes in a cake risks weakening the cake.
I would do 5-6 bubble tea straws under the 8-inch tier and 3 straws under the 6-inch, if you decide to add it.
It certainly won't hurt to use a flower nail while baking. If you line the bottom of your pans with parchment, poke the nail through the parchment before placing it in the pan. That way, the parchment is between the head of the nail and the cake. If you don't use parchment, be sure to grease the nail before filling the cake pan.
As for the bake-even strips, I only use those on the thin Wilton pans, not on my Magic Line pans. I found they were unnecessary on the Magic Line pans.
Congrats on your recovery! Happy caking!
Thanks for the advice, everyone! I'm getting hungry for cake again!