Bunnyhugger Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 7:27am
post #1 of

Hi I'm about to make my first two-tier stacked cake this week and asked my class tutor for a little advice last night. She told me that she never uses dowels as technically, once you insert dowels in to a cake, you introduce bacteria and therefore render it inedible.

Does anyone use any alternatives to dowels? I've searched the web but can't see anything. My tutor just stacks the cakes but I've seen what happens when the lower ones bulge under the weight!

Thanks guys icon_smile.gif

23 replies
deeann20 Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 7:51am
post #2 of

i use plastic straws when i dont have dowels available

JackiesCreations Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 8:05am
post #3 of

I, too, use plastic straws. You should look up bubble tea straws, they're bigger and better, but normal straws work just as well. All the best!

LisaPeps Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 8:09am
post #4 of

Plastic dowels won't introduce bacteria so long as you disinfect them... Eg boiling water. I'd never use wooden dowels as you can sometimes get splinters and can taste the bleached wood and the bacteria issues your tutor mentioned.

I use straws, they don't displace the cake because they are hollow and they are obviously food safe. Also they are alot easier to cut. Bubble tea straws are the best to use because they are sturdier. You can find them online or at a local Asian store. They can sometimes have them in walmart.

HTH

Bunnyhugger Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 2:20pm
post #5 of

Straws it is then!

Thanks everyone thumbs_up.gif

Tclanton Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 2:56pm
post #6 of

Good Morning! Quick question - how does a wooden dowel introduce bacteria? Not arguing the potential fact or comment - just wondering. Bacteria can begin with simply not washing your hands after handling raw eggs, so I just wonder the logic. TIA

CWR41 Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 2:57pm
post #7 of

SPS or the like.

Mb20fan Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 3:02pm
post #8 of

I use bubble tea straws to dowel the individual tiers and one wooden dowel down the center for overall stability. For those that elect to NOT use a wooden dowel (for whatever reasons), what do you use (other than SPS) as a center dowel on multi-tiered cakes??? Never heard of the bacteria thing...I can understand the concerns of possible splinters and altering the taste though. Just curious...Image

3GCakes Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 3:44pm
post #9 of

I hate to say it... but your "tutor" sounds like she doesn't really know what she is talking about.

All kinds of things are stuck into cake everyday. Dowels, toothpics, flower picks, pvc pipe, metal wires, etc. Sticking something into a cake doesn't make it inedible due to bacteria unless the thing is covered in bacteria. A good wash will render that unlikely.

And I'd love to see all the cakes she is "just stacking" without support. Either she hasn't done many or she is extremely lucky!

Auntie_RaRa Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 4:02pm

For those that elect to NOT use a wooden dowel (for whatever reasons), what do you use (other than SPS) as a center dowel on multi-tiered cakes???

----------------------------------

I use the stress free support system and I stack my wedding cakes on site. Never have used a center dowel in seven years.

Kristie925 Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 4:13pm

I've always used wooden dowels. After I cut them, I use a fine grit sandpaper to smooth the ends. I've never noticed a 'bleached wood' taste in my cakes though. I'm ordering the Cake Stackers system next week! Can't wait!! No more having to stack and finish decorating after delivery!

Tclanton Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 4:31pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3GCakes

I hate to say it... but your "tutor" sounds like she doesn't really know what she is talking about.

All kinds of things are stuck into cake everyday. Dowels, toothpics, flower picks, pvc pipe, metal wires, etc. Sticking something into a cake doesn't make it inedible due to bacteria unless the thing is covered in bacteria. A good wash will render that unlikely.

And I'd love to see all the cakes she is "just stacking" without support. Either she hasn't done many or she is extremely lucky!




Thanks for your post - I thought dowels have been used for years and I have never had anyone to complain about them.

Bunnyhugger Posted 2 Feb 2011 , 6:49pm

No, she is highly experienced and her cakes are just beautiful, she's done thousands of wedding cakes. I'll have to ask her next week.

Anyway, I used straws and it worked like a charm so thanks everyone!!

BlakesCakes Posted 3 Feb 2011 , 12:32am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyhugger

She told me that she never uses dowels as technically, once you insert dowels in to a cake, you introduce bacteria and therefore render it inedible.




I'm so glad that you had great success using the straws thumbs_up.gif

but... I do have to say that the explanation you were given for NOT using dowels is utterly ludicrous....and I thought I'd heard it all. It makes me wonder if she once had a disaster using dowels and had to come up with a more "scientific" reason for damning them icon_confused.gif

I mean, if that tidbit were taken to heart, then billions of bacteria contaminated cakes have been constructed and served over the years! And cake is generally considered to be an extremely "safe" food!

I use bubble tea straws or Wilton hollow plastic dowels and I often insert a long wooden dowel in cakes traveling long distances for delivery--never had any hint of "bleached wood" flavor, either. I wipe the wooden dowel down with Everclear and then rub it liberally with shortening, disinfecting and then sealing the wood.

Happy caking!
Rae

Tclanton Posted 3 Feb 2011 , 1:16pm

Blakescakes - Can I ask why you use everclear?

And thanks to all for the dowel comments. I have used them time and again and I have never had any issues at all. I must say the OP post had me concerned, but I am glad others are using them without issues.

TIA

BlakesCakes Posted 3 Feb 2011 , 5:44pm

Everclear is a drinking alchohol with a very high alcohol content. It is basically flavorless, so it disinfects, cleans, dries quickly, and leaves behind no taste or odor.

I'd think that any clear drinking alchohol--vodka,gin,white rum--would do pretty much the same. I happen to use Everclear for lots of cake deco techniques, so I always have close by.

Rae

Tclanton Posted 3 Feb 2011 , 7:07pm

Oh ok - thanks for the info. I assumed what you would tell me, but didnt want to do so.

Thanks again, T

kimmi1963 Posted 3 Feb 2011 , 7:45pm

I have only made one cake that had to be supported and I used straws to hold up the top layer and a chop stick for the center support. It was just a small 6 inch and 3 inch, but it was sturdy.

wendydou Posted 12 Feb 2011 , 12:32pm

how much weight can you put on straws as dowels? I have to make a 10" with a scroll stand on that with a 8" round on top. It will need to be pretty strong...

Sangriacupcake Posted 12 Feb 2011 , 3:38pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes



I use bubble tea straws or Wilton hollow plastic dowels and I often insert a long wooden dowel in cakes traveling long distances for delivery--never had any hint of "bleached wood" flavor, either. I wipe the wooden dowel down with Everclear and then rub it liberally with shortening, disinfecting and then sealing the wood.

Happy caking!
Rae




This is a great idea....thanks!

BlakesCakes Posted 12 Feb 2011 , 9:44pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by wendydou

how much weight can you put on straws as dowels? I have to make a 10" with a scroll stand on that with a 8" round on top. It will need to be pretty strong...




The hollow cylinder (straw) is one of the strongest structures in architecture. Just try crushing one lenghtwise between the palms of your hands.

An 8" on a 10" is nothing for 4 or 5 straws to support.

Rae

leah_s Posted 12 Feb 2011 , 10:41pm

And of course there's SPS. Strong, sturdy, easy, cheap.

wendydou Posted 12 Feb 2011 , 11:18pm

What is SPS?

cabecakes Posted 12 Feb 2011 , 11:23pm

I am with BlakesCakes. I have used both wooden dowels and hollow plastic cake dowels, and I have never had an issue...with either bacteria or fowl taste. I prefer the hollow plastic cake dowels though, as they are easier to cut and they don't displace the cake in any way. You can buy them at your local party supply store and I think you may be able to get them at Walmart as well.

Edited to add: I also wanted to say that you should ALWAYS use supports for every 4 inches your cake goes up in height. Not doing so is a disaster waiting to happen. I can't imagine what she is thinking tell you not to dowel, unless you are putting a 2" layer on top of a 2" layer.

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