The "d" Word-Dowels, Leah, Cover Your Ears!

Decorating By AnnieCahill Updated 13 Jul 2011 , 2:41pm by Texas_Rose

AnnieCahill Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 1:53am
post #1 of 22

So I have a last minute cake coming up and I need to use dowels. As much as I love SPS, my cakes are never 4" in height and this cake has no borders on either the edge or the seams where the cakes are stacked. Needless to say I can't hide any gaps the way I usually would when using SPS.

I am doing a 14, 10, and 6 inch stacked cake. I have seen where some people only use 4 dowels per tier. What width do you usually use?

Thanks in advance.

Annie

21 replies
CakeandDazzle Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 2:03am
post #2 of 22

i would use bubble tea straws way better and easier to work with imo

yummy_in_my_tummy Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 2:08am
post #3 of 22

I use bubble tea straws if I'm doing two tiers, normally 8" and 6", but anything bigger than that, or more tiers I use dowels. On the bottom tier I would use 5, and then on the middle tier, you could get away with 4 (placed in somewhat the same areas as 4 of them in the 14") to support the 6"

VaBelle Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 2:14am
post #4 of 22

Wilton had some plastic dowels that I loved. I haven't seen them lately, but found a different brand at my local supply store. They aren't as thick as the Wilton ones, but still pretty good. I haven't ventured in to using PVC yet, but might for my next bigger cake, I do use bubble tea straws for smaller two-tiered cakes, but wouldn't try them for anything bigger than that. I have seen several people here reporting that they've done so without any problems though.

kakeladi Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 2:39am
post #5 of 22

Certainly straws would work. I always used drink straws - long before bubble straws come on the scene icon_smile.gif They are extremely strong for the light weight of just 2 smallish tiers.
In the 14 I'd probably use 6; in the 10 you only need 3 in a triangle form = 4 if you are really concerned - which you needn't beicon_smile.gif
As long as you are careful to push them in **straight down** and not on an angle they will work just fine. To be sure they are going in straight I usually push in about 2", spin the turntable slowly to observe all angles, then push in another inch or two and again turn it all around making sure the straw is very straight.

leah_s Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 2:55am
post #6 of 22

::taps foot::

"I can't hear you with my hands over my ears."

harumpf, Have you tried putting more batter into your pans to get them up to height?

ashleyandben Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 3:04am
post #7 of 22

I love using "Cake jacks". They sell them at my local cake supply store. The came in two sizes (3 and 4 inch). No cutting is needed. Each dowel is able to be adjusted to get up to an extra inch if needed. They are so easy to use.

Lisas13717 Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 3:12am
post #8 of 22

Hey icon_smile.gif

I'm short dowels and the the nearest store is now closed (that sells the wooden dowels I use) I have some wiltons lollipop sticks that seem pretty strong. Can anyone please share what (if anything) they have substituted in a pinch?

thanks,

Lisa

leah_s Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 3:24am
post #9 of 22

lollipop sticks, like rolled paper ones? They will absorb moisture and disintegrate.

BlakesCakes Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 3:58am
post #10 of 22

NO to lollipop sticks--no matter what they're made of--thin, skinny things slip sideways easily and poke thru cake boards. You just cannot beat the strength of a hollow cylinder--dowel or straw.

I've used the Wilton hidden pillars (hollow plastic over 1" in diameter), Wilton hollow dowels (plastic, just under 1" in diameter), and bubble tea straws. They all work just fine. The straws are the easiest to cut.

To support a 10", I'd use 4 plastic dowels or 5-6 straws. To support the 6", 2 plastic dowels or 3 straws.

Rae

Texas_Rose Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 4:10am
post #11 of 22

I use the Wilton hollow dowels. I never use less than four per tier...I think of them as table legs, and the board of the tier above is the table top. You need four table legs to really be sturdy. icon_biggrin.gif Anyhow, I'd use six in the 14" tier, and 4 in the 10" tier.

Lisas13717 Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 4:12am
post #12 of 22

ooh, thank you both so much. It all makes perfect sense.

appreciate it icon_smile.gif


Lisa

poohsmomma Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 10:55am
post #13 of 22

Texas Rose says, "You need four table legs to really be sturdy."

A little bit of knowledge stuck way back in my crowded brain says that "a three legged stool never wobbles"
That being said, when I used straws to separate and support cake tiers, I always used three. It didn't matter if one of them was a fraction off the height of the others, the cake was steady and secure.

Of course, now I use SPS, do I don't use any straws...thanks leah_s!

AnnieCahill Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 11:03am
post #14 of 22

Thanks everyone for your input. Leah, I walk this fine line between a too short tier and cake lava on the bottom of my oven. One day I'll get it!

I hope you're not too disappointed in me. Can we still be friends? icon_redface.gif

I am definitely determined to get this height thing right. Leah, how many layers of cake and filling do you have? For me it varies depending on what the person wants. Maybe that's what my problem is.

Thanks again guys-have a great day!

leah_s Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 11:43am
post #15 of 22

All my cakes have four layers of cake and three layers of filling. Customers do not have any say in that decision. That way, my double blade Agbay stays set to the perfect leveling/torting height.

BlakesCakes Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 1:08pm
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by poohsmomma

"a three legged stool never wobbles"




Absolutely true! But even a 3 legged stool can sit crooked icon_eek.gif

I do,however, feel that 3 dowels isn't enough support for every cake and that's why I'll still use more for larger tiers.

Also, even with just 3, if they're not extremely close to being exactly the same length, a tier can be unlevel--and slip.

Rae

TinkerCakes Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 1:45pm
post #17 of 22

AnnieCahill....have you tried a parchment paper collar? Works like a charm!

AnnieCahill Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 1:58pm
post #18 of 22

I haven't tried a collar but I've thought about it.

When I get an Agbay I will be in much better shape I think. I use Magic Line pans but I can't remember if those hit exactly on the 2" mark. I seem to remember a discussion about that a while back but now I can't remember what we determined.

stormrider Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 2:07pm
post #19 of 22

I don't do tiered cakes often so recently I used the Wilton dowel rods for support in a 6, 10, and 12" layered cake.

http://www.wilton.com/store/site/product.cfm?id=3E3127EA-475A-BAC0-5F98F056B4A6DC92&fid=BEEC4C18-1E0B-C910-EAEE9A4A2C362DF9

I read somewhere that if you halve the size of the tier, that is the number of dowels you should use. My 10" layer was dense and heavy so I used 5 dowels and it worked out perfectly. The tier didn't budge.

liha21 Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 2:09pm
post #20 of 22

If you have an Ikea near you they sell a large bag of 'chop sticks' but they are real thick and round. they are very cheap and they work perfect for dowels. they don't taper off until the very end. and I use a pair of wire cutters to cut them. I also use scewers(sp).

Texas_Rose Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 2:39pm
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by poohsmomma

Texas Rose says, "You need four table legs to really be sturdy."

A little bit of knowledge stuck way back in my crowded brain says that "a three legged stool never wobbles"
That being said, when I used straws to separate and support cake tiers, I always used three. It didn't matter if one of them was a fraction off the height of the others, the cake was steady and secure.

Of course, now I use SPS, do I don't use any straws...thanks leah_s!




Most stools or tables I've seen with three legs have the legs going at an angle, which wouldn't be practical for cakes.

I'm probably just weird about it icon_redface.gif I don't like odd numbers very much.

Texas_Rose Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 2:41pm
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieCahill

Thanks everyone for your input. Leah, I walk this fine line between a too short tier and cake lava on the bottom of my oven. One day I'll get it!

I hope you're not too disappointed in me. Can we still be friends? icon_redface.gif

I am definitely determined to get this height thing right. Leah, how many layers of cake and filling do you have? For me it varies depending on what the person wants. Maybe that's what my problem is.

Thanks again guys-have a great day!




I use the 3" deep pans and bake two layers for each tier (which I usually split so I have four layers of cake and three of filling). I had trouble getting the cakes tall enough in the 2" pans without the cake lava syndrome happening to me icon_biggrin.gif

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