Should I Use Bubble Tea Straws Or Wilton Plastic Dowels?

Decorating By tsal Updated 1 Mar 2011 , 2:55am by mommynana

tsal Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 3:01pm
post #1 of 26

I'm making a 5-tier cake for the first time (I have previously only done up to 3 tiers).

It's my chocolate cake recipe (from the Hershey's cocoa can) that's quite heavy. The tiers will be as follows: 6", 7", 8", 9", 10" - they will be about 4" high and will be covered in SMBC and fondant.

Will bubble tea straws be sufficient in terms of support or should I use the Wilton plastic dowels? I have never used wooden dowels and would prefer to stick to something I have used before.

Suggestions? Comments?

25 replies
Elcee Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 6:36pm
post #2 of 26

I like the Wilton plastic tubes. I've never tried bubble tea straws but I'm happy enough with the Wilton that I wouldn't bother.

I recently made a 5 tier cake (my biggest ever) and I bought SPS for it. As hard as I tried, my tiers were not 4" tall. The wilton plastic dowels, trimmed to size, fit perfectly on the SPS separator plates.

stlcakelady Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 7:07pm
post #3 of 26

I've been using the Wilton Dowels for some time now. I've never had a problem with them. They're a pain to cut, but very sturdy. I typically measure the first one and cut the others off of that. Then I use a heavy-duty sandpaper to sand them down to make them level. I recently bought some bubble tea straws, but I'm nervous to use them in a big cake. I'd love to hear what others think about using them.

terrylee Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 7:08pm
post #4 of 26

I always use the Wilton plastic dowels, trimmed to size, for my SPS system. they fit perfect and snuggly to the plates and provide a stable base to stack. Be sure add the cost of the plates and dowels to your cake or a deposit if you want them returned.

Sassy74 Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 7:23pm
post #5 of 26

I recently tried SPS for the first time, and I'm never going back lol . I might use bubble tea straws for small two-tiers that I make for family, but anything over that, and I'd recommend SPS. You can order from Oasis, and have it VERY fast. Anything that tall/heavy, and I'd DEFINITELY use SPS.

lilsis Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 7:27pm
post #6 of 26

Can I ask what the difference is between the SPS system and Wilton's plates & Pillars???

HeatherDawnC Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 7:32pm
post #7 of 26

For more than a 2 or 3 tiered cake I would definitely not use the tea straws. Just my opinion. The wilton plastic dowels will give you much more support. I've also used the wooden dowels but if not inserted correctly they can lean into the cake and shift easier than the wilton plastic dowels. I hope this helps. The last thing you want is a cake falling or even leaning when it is 5 tiers. The tallest I've done is four so far. I used the wilton plastic dowels then under the top tier the wooden dowels

HeatherDawnC Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 7:34pm
post #8 of 26

I too would like to know the difference is between the SPS system and Wilton's plates & Pillars??? I hadn't heard of them.

Mug-a-Bug Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 8:00pm
post #9 of 26

I use bubble tea straws for all my cakes. If you use them you need one every 2-3 inches. I haven't used wilton plastic dowels, but the concept is the same. I like the straws because I can cut them fast. Just be sure that whatever you use, you cut them all the exact same size. Same sized dowels = level cake.

I HATE SPS. I think it's the worst invention in caking ever, but to each their own.

Another comment: it sounds like your tier sizes are too close together. Do you realize that you will only have a half inch ledge on each cake?

thumbs Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 8:22pm
post #10 of 26

I used to use the Wilton plastic supports for everything but switched to the tea straws awhile back due to price.

I was unsure about the tea straws at first but they hold up really well. But for a 4 or 5 tier cake I would likely use the Wilton ones for the bottom 2 tiers as they hold the blunt of the weight then the tea straws for the tops ones should work just fine.

Darthburn Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 8:26pm
post #11 of 26

I previously used the Wilton plastic tubes and did cakes up to 4 tiers with them. But I don't like them taking a 3/4" chunk of cake out everywhere you put them. I almost feel like I'm robbing a piece back.
I started using bubble straws and I love them! You can put them in and snip them off fast, easy, and level with the cake. You only have to insert them one time which saves the internal integrity of the cake. With the Wilton tubes I had to insert, mark, remove, get a welding torch out to cut them, them shove them back in. I hated that.
On Aces of Cakes I see Geoff use the bubble straws all the time.... and for BIG cakes. He just puts more straws in.I can't remember exactly, but I saw one that looked to be about 18" round and looked as if he had probably 14 straws.
I will admit, I haven't made over 3 tiers with bubble straws. BUT... I would try it. I feel very comfortable with them.

Kitagrl Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 8:54pm
post #13 of 26

Bubble tea straws are the best, I use them for everything. You just have to make sure you use enough...and its plenty to support any size or weight of cake.

stlcakelady Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 8:56pm
post #14 of 26

If you're using more bubble straws to accomplish the support aspect, aren't you robbing them of just as much cake???

Kitagrl Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 8:58pm
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by stlcakelady

If you're using more bubble straws to accomplish the support aspect, aren't you robbing them of just as much cake???




Not really. I used 9 straws (one in the center, and 8 around) in a 10" tier and 7 straws in an 8" tier. It doesn't remove THAT much cake, and even if it did, I use Earlene's chart anyway so my customers will not be scraping the board for their last three servings.

Darthburn Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 9:30pm
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by stlcakelady

If you're using more bubble straws to accomplish the support aspect, aren't you robbing them of just as much cake???




I was thinking about that as I typed it. And maybe I am... but I just feel better about it lol.

In my mind (and I don't intend to get into a big mathmatical debate about this... this is just for thought) if you look at it as:

Wilton is 3/4" tube so for four to support a cake you took away a 3 inch strip of cake at 3/4 inch wide.
Straws are 1/4" tube so even using nine to support a cake, you take away
2 1/4 inch strip at only 1/4 inch wide.

Picture them as square if that helps.

Or if the Wilton is 1/2"... you use four so that is a 1" x 1" piece.
Bubble straw is 1/4".... you use eight that is a 1" x 1/2" piece.
It would take 16 to make and equal size to what the Wilton take out.

So less cake... WAY easier to cut. Hands down winner for me. icon_smile.gif

cakenewby Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 7:09pm
post #17 of 26

I use the bubble straws for everything, even my sister's 5 tier wedding cake. They are very sturdy!

creations Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 7:19pm
post #18 of 26

I used the bubble straws for all my cakes now i hated the wooden dowels since they where hard to cut regardless which ever cutters u have never the same level size, i put more then one straw in my cakes very supportive and they also are cheaper a bag of 50 for 99cents cant beat that good luck

Sangriacupcake Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 8:16pm
post #19 of 26

I was afraid to use bubble tea straws until I saw that Sharon Zambito uses them in her stacking dvd. Now I love them!

mommynana Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 8:46pm
post #20 of 26

i have never used wiltons separators but i might soon does the cake have to be 4"??

CWR41 Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 11:36pm
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommynana

i have never used wiltons separators but i might soon does the cake have to be 4"??




If you're talking about Wilton hidden pillars, they're 6" tall (trimmable):
http://www.wilton.com/store/site/product.cfm?id=3E3119F0-475A-BAC0-5772682F766C019C&killnav=1

If you're talking about Wilton plastic dowel rods, they're 12 3/4" tall (cut to height):
http://www.wilton.com/store/site/product.cfm?id=3E3127EA-475A-BAC0-5F98F056B4A6DC92&killnav=1

mommynana Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 12:34am
post #22 of 26

what i meant was wiltons plates and pillers

CWR41 Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 2:22am
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommynana

what i meant was wiltons plates and pillers




I know you said Wilton's, but which ones?

If your standard tiered cakes are 4" tall and you buy 6" tall Wilton hidden pillars, you're going to need to cut them to the height of your cake anyway for internal support, so it really doesn't much matter if your tier isn't exactly 4" tall since you're trimming the internal pillars regardless.

I don't know of any 4" tall Wilton internal/hidden pillars, which is why I ask which ones. The only thing close that I'm aware of is in the two links that I posted above. Please post a link, if they are available.

mommynana Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 2:29am
post #24 of 26

oh ok,CWR41, im sorry i understand now i never used them so i dd`t no they could be cut down thank you

CWR41 Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 2:50am
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommynana

oh ok,CWR41, im sorry i understand now i never used them so i dd`t no they could be cut down thank you




According to Wilton's description, it says they are trimmable but I've never cut them before so I'm not sure how difficult it is. Probably not too hard with the right hacksaw... just too inconvenient.

The Bakery Craft support legs are more popular because they are available in 4" height with optional add-on pieces too... just more convenient and user friendly!

mommynana Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 2:55am
post #26 of 26

well,CRW41,thats why i have a carpender for a husband he dose all my cutting lol

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