Supports - What Do You Use?

Decorating By MissCuteCupcakes Updated 29 Mar 2011 , 2:49am by sillywabbitz

MissCuteCupcakes Posted 25 Mar 2011 , 5:02pm
post #1 of 26

I made my very first 2-tiered cake about 2 weeks ago and it was aweful! Its not in my photos so dont even check lol...i'm still debating on whether or not I should post it in the disaster category icon_eek.gif

I had a major problem with my support - my cake was leaning!! I wanted to cry icon_cry.gif I used bubble tea straws and I dont know what happened. I thought I did enough researching on here and felt confident, but something just didnt work out right

Anyway, I wanted to get some insight into what you all use in your supports and what you think is the best method. I have bubble tea straws, dowels, and I recently purchased Wiltons plastic dowels (any clue on how I'm going to cute them icon_surprised.gif )


25 replies
CWR41 Posted 25 Mar 2011 , 5:09pm
post #2 of 26
Originally Posted by MzCuteCupcakes

I made my very first 2-tiered cake about 2 weeks ago and it was aweful! Its not in my photos so dont even check lol...i'm still debating on whether or not I should post it in the disaster category icon_eek.gif

A photo would help, if you'd like opinions for a diagnosis.

MissCuteCupcakes Posted 25 Mar 2011 , 5:21pm
post #3 of 26

here's a photo of camera really did a good job of hiding the imperfections I had with the buttercream and it shows a slight lean...I was really trying to hide it from the camera as best as I could


ignore the plastic container it was in, that was not a part of the cake, I used it to help carry it from the house to the car

leah_s Posted 25 Mar 2011 , 5:40pm
post #4 of 26

Easy. Sturdy. Cheap. Dependable.

tigachu Posted 25 Mar 2011 , 5:51pm
post #5 of 26

I planned to use the SPS system for my very first tiered cake for my own party (in my photos-not even close to the level of decorating displayed by all of you CC members icon_redface.gif ) but the woman at the cake store gave me the wrong size plates icon_eek.gif (1 inch bigger than I needed). So after panicking, I decided to use the bubble tea straws and my cake leaned, too icon_cry.gif . I know it was user error on my part (I probably didn't do the best job with cutting them evenly and level as it was my very first cake like this) but I know this would not have been an issue for me with the SPS system. I tried to fix it, messed up the buttercream, and lost my mind icon_mad.gif .

Needless to say, I ordered the plates in sizes I know I will use often and I will look at the size on the bottoms from now on! And I am going to get an Agbay!!icon_biggrin.gif

So, no, I haven't officially used SPS yet but I did put the columns in the plates and it is very sturdy!! So give it a try.

HTH and my apologies for rambling icon_redface.gif

KarenOR Posted 25 Mar 2011 , 6:26pm
post #6 of 26

Does the SPS system come in rectangles?

CWR41 Posted 25 Mar 2011 , 6:29pm
post #7 of 26

It's hard to say, with such a tiny photo. It is deceiving... looks like the bottom tier is a carved topsy turvy (high on the right side), and the top tier is straight (not carved) but slightly leaning to the right. If the top tier isn't actually set down into a carved hole in the lower tier, it looks like it is because of the randomly-placed dots that appear to travel downhill towards the left. Like I said, the camera is deceiving or you did a good job with the angle to help hide it.

If the bottom tier wasn't suppose to be intentionally carved crooked, did you cut all of your straws to the same height?

agouti Posted 26 Mar 2011 , 12:07am
post #8 of 26

definitely sps - i had a similar problem, bought the sps and loved it! i used square, but i don't know if it comes in rectangles.

rharris524 Posted 26 Mar 2011 , 1:41am
post #9 of 26

I use Wilton's hidden pillars and plates. I've delivered 4 tier cakes an hour away without so much as a tiny budge. I used to use straws and then I had a cake topple over and that was when I decided i needed something sturdier. I *think* that it is similar to SPS but I've never used SPS because my local cake store doesn't sell it

leah_s Posted 26 Mar 2011 , 2:33am
post #10 of 26

SPS plates come in rounds, squares and hearts.

MissCuteCupcakes Posted 26 Mar 2011 , 1:47pm
post #11 of 26

guess i'll be ordering the SPS system!!

BUT, i'm making a 2 tiered cake today (wilton's carousel cake) so the SPS system wont help me today...should i use straws or dowels?!? i dont want my cke leaning ever again!

here's a link to the cake i plan on making

FH_Cakes Posted 27 Mar 2011 , 6:31pm
post #12 of 26

I have always used bubble tea them! Make sure you place the first straw on the highest part of the cake so that when you cut the rest of the straws they are all even...I am constantly measuring and using my leveler to ensure all is good....Don't give up yet on the straws, give it another try!

MissCuteCupcakes Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 3:25pm
post #13 of 26

thank you all! i made a successful 2 tiered carousel cake this weekend using the bubble tea straws (see my photos).

Something that I realized after making my first tiered cake, was that I didnt let my cake settle at all. So my buttercream ended up "farting" all over the place and the finishing touch looked so aweful. So this time I made sure this didnt happen by placing can weights on top of each filled cake for about 2 hours. Worked like a charm! No "farting" and my buttercream was super smooth at the end.

Oh how I love CC!!!

sugardugar Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 3:55pm
post #14 of 26

Any dowels, plastic or wooden, or bubbletea straws, should work the same and work well.

Are you cutting them post-fondant? This is important. It needs to be even with the top of the fondant. Measure each dowel the exact same height, regardless of any imperfections in your cake's height so the next layer sits even. Lastly, use enough and use them in the right place. If you have, say, 3 all on the center the cake will undoubtedly press and pull at the edges.

Kiddiekakes Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 4:08pm
post #15 of 26

I would never...ever use bubble tea straws but that is JMO.You are asking for trouble with them for any tiered cake.I use several..I use the SPS the most but I have used the wilton hidden pillars and plates with good results.I also use the plastic dowels and use a large serated knife to cut dowels inside 3D cakes...

AnotherCaker Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 4:58pm
post #16 of 26

You do not need SPS on a teeny little cake that like. I only use SPS on 5 tiered cakes and larger. Bubble straws are the perfect support for smaller cakes.

Kiddiekakes Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 5:02pm
post #17 of 26

Jamie-....I respectfully disagree icon_wink.gif ..Until you have a cake collapse because you use bubble tea straws...Then you will understand. thumbs_up.gif

AnotherCaker Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 5:10pm
post #18 of 26

Aww, that's too bad. I'm pretty careful and would stake my reputation on them though. I take great care to cut evenly and make sure everything is perfect. Several thousand servings of cake have been perfectly supported by those straws over the years. I'm pretty anal about the cake being structurally sound and would never use something I thought to be inferior. Truth be told, I don't like SPS even when I have to use it, but there are instances when I know I need it.

leah_s Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 5:17pm
post #19 of 26

Me = SPS every tiered cake, no matter the size. My customers who purchase a two tier cake deserve t know that their cake is properly supported, just as much as my customers who purchase a five tier cake. I can just hear it now, "Wow! That little two tier cake was leaning! Can you image what would happen with a really big cake?" Not the customer buzz I want.

AnotherCaker Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 5:24pm
post #20 of 26

Well, just like with anything in life, some people swear by things other people wouldn't have the nerve to do. But there are plenty of people confident in their skills and assembly to not have to do something like SPS for every single cake, especially teeny little two tiers. I might think about using it if people picked up their cakes, but I insist on delivering.

costumeczar Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 6:12pm
post #21 of 26

I only use wooden dowels, I cut them with a cable cutter and they're not always completely flat on the ends, and yet nothing has ever fallen over...

If the cake is levelled correctly to begin with and the supports are all the same length that's 90% of the battle. I've seen people cut supports wrong then wonder why the cake fell over, so it's usually human error.

I don't use SPS or any other internal system because of two things. One, it's an extra cost for the cake, which isn't something that I want to pass on to the client. Two, I've spoken to many reception sites who complain about how hard it is to cut cakes that have complicated support systems and a lot of plastic in them. They're so happy to have a cake that they don't have to wrestle with to cut, they send me more business icon_wink.gif

lilmissbakesalot Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 6:32pm
post #22 of 26

I use bubble tea straws too. Many many many many cakes... and never had an issue. Jamie is right... one person's never ever do is another person's works for me everytime.

I think it's important to make sure that everything is level and your supports are all cut properly and even. SPS was a pain for me to use because my cakes are not 4" tall... they are 4.5-5" tall and I had to cut those SUPER hard legs each time. SUCH a pain in the heiny. And once I had to take a cake apart and getting those freakin' plates out of the tiers was SUCH a pain.

For me, bubble tea straws and a central dowel for every cake works every time.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 8:22pm
post #23 of 26

Bubble tea straws for me too. Used them this weekend in a super heavy 4 tier with no problems whatsoever.

cutiepiecupcake Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 11:35pm
post #24 of 26

I too use wooden dowels measured post fondant and cut evenly with a small craft hack saw.. works a treat. I place them evenly under each tier to disperse the bulk of the weight.. and again, like mentioned previously by another poster, use a central dowel. The central dowel I sharpen with a pencil sharpener & then hammer it through the top tier right down through the bottom tier onto the main cake board. Done.. sturdy and stable!

cakeninja82 Posted 29 Mar 2011 , 1:53am
post #25 of 26

Bubble tea straws for me as well, never had a leaner or a collapser.
I also take the time to properly measure and cut them, it's not a guess and stick kinda operation.

sillywabbitz Posted 29 Mar 2011 , 2:49am
post #26 of 26

SPS for meicon_smile.gif

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