Doweling Question

Decorating By mlocklear Updated 19 Jan 2011 , 7:12pm by Tclanton

mlocklear Posted 18 Jan 2011 , 3:43pm
post #1 of 19

Up until now, I've only done 2 cake stacks and have used bubble straws for support.

This weekend I'm doing a 3 cake stacked for the first time (8/10/12 rounds). I'm still intending on using bubble straws for support but do you think I need to add a center dowel through the entire cake? Or will bubble straws be enough. TIA!

18 replies
Tclanton Posted 18 Jan 2011 , 3:55pm
post #2 of 19

If you are going to transport stacked, you need a center dowel.

fruitsnack Posted 18 Jan 2011 , 7:57pm
post #3 of 19

Ditto - if you're going to transport it stacked, I would definitely do a center dowel. If not, I don't think it's necessary - I did my first wedding cake (6/9/12) with just the bubble straws and it went perfectly.

cakesnglass Posted 18 Jan 2011 , 8:47pm
post #4 of 19

I tried center doweling from the bottom up this weekend on my 4 tier and must say it is now my prefered method. Chris Garret (tv) does this quite a bit on his show, Loved it.

Rosie2 Posted 18 Jan 2011 , 9:19pm
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesnglass

center doweling from the bottom up


excuse my ignorance, but how's that done?

cakesnglass Posted 18 Jan 2011 , 10:28pm
post #6 of 19

I'll try to explain icon_smile.gif I use a masonite board as my base which I cover with fondant. All my tiers including the bottom 14" go on 1/2" foamcore board covered in Glad pressnseal (boards r cut same size as the cake with a 1/2" whole cut in the center of the 12",8" and 6" boards (make sure it's centered). I set the buttercream frosted 14" onto masonite fondant covered board, mark the center of the cake and run my center dowel (which has been pre-measured to a few inches under the total heigth of the cakes and pre-sharpen the top dowel tip. So now I slowly hammer the long dowel into my bottom 1/2" foamcore board of my 14" cake that is already on my display board. Now I dowel the 14"as normal for internal support, and I'm ready to slide the 12" threw the long dowel and placed on the 14" top: easier to lay and center because of the center dowel that is perfectly centered. Do the same for the 8" and the 6" just slides on the center remaining dowel.Always remember the center dowel must be a few inches less than the top 6" so it does not show on top. My pic's (starfish cake) 4 tiers was done in this method. Hope it helps !!

cakesnglass Posted 18 Jan 2011 , 10:31pm
post #7 of 19

Srry, it was Amazing Wedding Cakes show Christopher Garren's what talent on this show, amazing.

mfoxx9 Posted 18 Jan 2011 , 11:00pm
post #8 of 19

cakesnglass - Thank you for the instructions! I may try this on my next tiered cake. My only question is: How do you keep the 1/2" foamcore boards from showing?

cakesnglass Posted 18 Jan 2011 , 11:31pm
post #9 of 19

I try to cut the foamcore board close to the cake size. I don't get much shrink on my cakes so I use the bottom of my pans to mark on the board, then I cut inside the line. When I go to frost the cake I include the board as if it were cake and ice and smooth as one. I do usually have a small bead border around the bottom edges. Most of my customers still like buttercream and not fondant covered cakes , so I try to make my buttercream look like fondant.

Rosie2 Posted 18 Jan 2011 , 11:59pm
post #10 of 19

Cakesnglass, thanks a million you have talent!!! so nice of you to explain thumbs_up.gif

cowie Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 2:18am
post #11 of 19

Wow, I didn't know you had to center dowel a stacked cake! Yikers! If you dowel from the top down how do you dowel through the top tier if it is covered in fondant and they dont want any flowers etc on the top? Do you pre drill holes in the boards or do you just hammer the dowel through it? I am a little scared to try this, will it make the cake move or fall apart? I watch the Cake Boss all the time and don't think I have ever seen them do this, just dowel the layers and not through them all at once.

Tclanton Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 2:34pm
post #12 of 19

Cowie - put your third and second tier on the base stacked with dowel or straw support. Then measure to determine how long the center dowel needs to be and subtract about 2 inches. Sharpen both ends of your center dowel. With your bottom and center in place on the base - gently tap with a hammer the sharpened dowel through both second tier and base. Your top tier cardboard base will need a hole in the center large enough for the dowel to pass through. Once the dowel is in place, just slide the top tier onto the dowel.

Does this make any sense or did I make it worse?

cowie Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 3:05pm
post #13 of 19

No that made sense. Just makes me nervous lol. Does everyone do this or is it just an extra safety measure? I thought some extra icing and the weight of the cake would just 'hold' it in place along with the layer supports. I always use thinner wooden dowels to seperate my cake plates if they are stacked, would the center dowel push the cake out? I know I have seen this once on a cake show that hammering in the center dowel made the cakes fall out (hope that makes sense).

Tclanton Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 5:33pm
post #14 of 19

Everyone that transports a stacked cake "should" put a structure in place. Some people do not like the dowel through the center and most of them use SPS. I havent bought the SPS product yet. The more experienced folks say that SPS is much more reliable than a wooden dowel.

If you do not give structure with a dowel or SPS - you are most likely looking for disaster. The weight of the cake and icing isnt going to compensate for structure. Your layer supports are only going to hold the layer above it up and keep layer 2 from sinking into layer 3...therefore, if you think about it - you have four semi level sticks or straws rubbing along the surface of cardboard. The two surfaces are not resistant of each other and could cause a landslide. (hope i havent lost you)

I just make sure my cakes are good and cold before I start with the center dowel. Cake are more sturdy when they are cold. After I dowel, back in the frig until customer pickup or delivery. I am sure that some people have experienced disaster, but for me - so far so good and I am no expert by no means!

Now, if you are still nervous - just take the cakes unstacked and stack at the destination.

Tclanton Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 5:35pm
post #15 of 19


nonilm Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 6:01pm
post #16 of 19

I have not tried the SPS system yet but always use the Wilton plastic plates and pillars for stacking. I think it is worth investing in these especially for a three tiered cake that will be transported. The reason I like the plastic plates is the feet on the bottom that the pillars sit in. Makes it very stable. I even tried to tilt my first stacked cake to see how much wiggle room I had during transport and was able to get a good tilt before I said "OK good enough, I'm not going to push my luck!" icon_biggrin.gif
Also the plates and feet make sure the pillars are inserted straight up and down and not at an angle.

Good luck!

cowie Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 6:36pm
post #17 of 19

Thank you so much for that link. It was great (my son loved the music lol). Do you use plastic or cardboard straws? I have only seen the plastic ones for sale and wonder if they are as strong? I have a 2 tier cake due next weekend, maybe I will try to put a center dowel so if I have any issues I can ask you. I can't remember if you answered this but do you pre drill the holes for all the layers or just the top if you have to dowel that one with setting it on the other layers so that you don't poke the dowel through. Do you also put wax paper between the layers or just use the cardboard cake plates?

Rosie2 Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 6:37pm
post #18 of 19

Is there a youtube video to show how the SPS system works? everytime I read about it I can't really get a clear picture in my mind of how's done icon_redface.gif I guess I'm very visual icon_biggrin.gif

Tclanton Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 7:12pm
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowie

Thank you so much for that link. It was great (my son loved the music lol). Do you use plastic or cardboard straws? I have only seen the plastic ones for sale and wonder if they are as strong? I have a 2 tier cake due next weekend, maybe I will try to put a center dowel so if I have any issues I can ask you. I can't remember if you answered this but do you pre drill the holes for all the layers or just the top if you have to dowel that one with setting it on the other layers so that you don't poke the dowel through. Do you also put wax paper between the layers or just use the cardboard cake plates?




Your welcome. I dont use straws - I use wooden dowels in my cakes and then a center dowel. Wooden dowels can be purchased in the cake section of walmart. michaels or at a local hardware store. I wish I could tell you something about the straws, but I cant because I have never used them. All of my cakes normally have a topper that covers or camo's the hole. I havent had to put a cake on top of a dowel, I just drive it straight through the top until it is secure in the base board. Make sure that your supporting dowels will not be in the center causing a crash when you hammer the large dowel. No, no wax paper, just the cardbard cake boards. I also make a note for the client and post on the box as to what to look for, dowels, boards, etc.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%