Chiggs Posted 20 Jul 2011 , 9:27pm
post #1 of

hi all

I hope someone can help me with this. After a disastrous collapse at the weekend, I need a better support system for tiered cakes! I've read on here a lot about the SPS system which sounds great, but I've never come across this in the UK. Does anyone know of something similar?
At the moment I'm using card boards between each tier and plastic dowels inside each tier, but nothing actually connects all the tiers together which I think is where the problem lies.
Any tips much appreciated!
Charlotte

19 replies
rubycurls Posted 21 Jul 2011 , 9:44am
post #2 of

Hi
What happened to the cake? Did one tier just slide off? To connect them all you need a thick wooden pole about an inch to an inch and a half depending on cake sizes. Sharpen the end to a fine point and hammer it right through the cake to the base board. If I was doing anything over 3 tiers I'd try to assemble on site. Hth

Chiggs Posted 21 Jul 2011 , 9:50am
post #3 of

Thanks for the tip!
All the tiers fell apart it was a real mess!
I'm not sure a dowlel even with a sharpened end would go through the card I put each cake on-what do you use between tiers and where do you get your wooden dowels from?
Thanks! icon_cry.gif

rubycurls Posted 21 Jul 2011 , 11:42am
post #4 of

I just use single thick boards and I buy the piles from b&q but I think you'd get them from any shop like that. It's useful if you have a small rubber mallet and just sharpen the pole super pointy. It should go though.

angelogoo Posted 21 Jul 2011 , 12:33pm
post #5 of

I use bubble tea straws and I buy them from ebay for each tier and then wooden dowels for the combined tiers to hold them together.

Point to note is dont over or under dowel and ensure they are all level before you put the cake on, use spirit level to check if possible.

Chiggs Posted 21 Jul 2011 , 2:08pm
post #6 of

Great I'll try that! Thanks for the help!! x

nanefy Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 2:57am
post #7 of

yup I buy the bubble tea straws from ebay as well. The UK sucks as far as cake decorating supplies is concerned. I'm already planning a trip the states at some point as a business trip to buy in some of the tools that I know I need.

Chiggs Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 9:51am
post #8 of

I agree, nanefy the UK is pants!!
I really want an agbay too, but they only seem available in the US as well.
Maybe I'll have have to arrange a business trip too! icon_wink.gif

mo63 Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 10:16am
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiggs

I agree, nanefy the UK is pants!!
I really want an agbay too, but they only seem available in the US as well.
Maybe I'll have have to arrange a business trip too! icon_wink.gif


I agree with all the comments about the Uk regarding supplies. I was saying this just last week. All the US cakers talk about Michaels. I'd love something like that here. Even when I google suppliers, all the sites come up from the US and none of them ship outside of there. Its so frustrating icon_cry.gif

Relznik Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 10:32am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiggs

I agree, nanefy the UK is pants!!
I really want an agbay too, but they only seem available in the US as well.
Maybe I'll have have to arrange a business trip too! icon_wink.gif




I have an Agbay (MOST treasured piece of equipment!) You can order directly and have it shipped to the UK.

We regards to a previous comment re dowels from B&Q - these are not food safe and shouldn't be used! icon_sad.gif


OP - I'm so sorry you had a cake accident. icon_sad.gif Can you talk us through exactly what you did? Perhaps we could spot an area where we might be able to advise? What dowels? How many? What was the cake filled with / covered in? How did you attach the tiers to each other, etc.

Suzanne x

Emmar308 Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 10:39am

Did you attach the top of one tier to the bottom of the next tier (ie royal ice the top of tier then place next tier atop so the card board adheres to the cake below via the royal ice glue?)

Chiggs Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 12:35pm

Hi Suzanne-thanks for your comments. I did wonder about foodsafe wooden dowels-can you suggest a foodsafe supplier-or is it best to use a different type altogether and if so haw do you sharpen it to go through the boards?!

It was an 8", 6" and 4" round cake, I put 1 plastic dowel in each tier (I'm now thinking not enough!) and put a card board between each layer-stuck to the tier below with royal icing.

Apologies for all the questions-this is just an area I'm really struggling with!

And I'll def be getting an Agbay! xx

Relznik Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 1:31pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiggs

It was an 8", 6" and 4" round cake, I put 1 plastic dowel in each tier (I'm now thinking not enough!) and put a card board between each layer-stuck to the tier below with royal icing.

Apologies for all the questions-this is just an area I'm really struggling with!

And I'll def be getting an Agbay! xx




Firstly, you can buy wooden dowels from on-line cake supplies place - eg

http://www.almondart.com/shop/Dowels.html#aW1009

DEFINITELY not enough support. I would put 3 or 4 dowels in each tier (either 3 in a triangle shape, or 4 in a square). Make sure the dowels are a fraction of a millimeter above your sugarpaste - the weight of the tier above is taken on the dowels, not the cake. How thick was the card you placed the cake on? It needs to be relatively strong, otherwise it will distort and it won't be supporting the cake. I use something like these:

http://www.almondart.com/shop/Boards.html

(it does say they're suitable for each cake when doing a tiered cake)

Place a blob of royal icing on top of the dowel - this will secure the cake above to the cake. If there's a gap between the tiers, just fill it in with royal icing or let down sugarpaste (think of when someone puts sillicone between a bath and the wall... they squeeze it along the join, then smooth off the excess with their finger! That's exactly what you do)

For an ordinary 3 tier cake, I don't think there's any need to use a centre dowel. Firstly, the wooden dowels we buy aren't long enough. Secondly, the cake boards we use are different to the US ones, so you'll find it won't be as straight forward as you think to just sharpen the dowel and knock it through.

I've done quite a few cakes and I've NEVER used a centre dowel through all 3 tiers.

HTH

nanefy Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 2:10pm

see this is why it's confusing for us UK cakers because the folks in the states have such a much larger selection of tools etc that we don't. I've been advised more times that I can remember on here to use a wooden dowel and sharpen the end and knock it through each of the tiers - and I know having used double thick cake cards, that it's DEFINITELY going to take more than a hammer and a wooden dowel with a sharp point, to knock through one of those bad boys, so I haven't even bothered trying it.

What ron ben israel does, is probably something you could do and that would be to take a hard board circle (you'd have to make this yourself mind you) and a long wooden dowel (sharpened at one end), drill a hole in the hard board circle right in the center (the same width as your dowel), pop some glue down into the hole and pop your dowel in. Then in each of the cake boards that each of your tiers would be sitting on, drill the same size hole into the middle of them before putting your cake on and then basically once you are ready for stacking, you place each tier down over the sharpened dowel (which should be tall enough to go through all cakes, but short enough that it only goes about 1" through your top tier). Before you put your next tier on, put your support dowels/straws in as usual and then put your next tier on. I've also seen ron using a plexi glass equivelant, which he obviously gets made for him and he has used stainless steel (once again, not really a great option for those of us who are not ron ben israel lol).

Anyway this way of stacking is used in Australia quite a lot - planet cake do it this way. I'd find out what kind of wooden dowels they use, because I think they are ordinary hardware store dowels.
Why are the hardware store dowels not food safe? I would think so long as they are not coated in glue or any other toxic substance, they would be totally fine - I certainly wouldn't have any issues using something like this (because to me I just think it would be a giant cocktail stick lol).

Relznik Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 2:12pm

Apparently, there are two reasons (this was covered at the last BSG demo I went to); The wood they're made from isn't suitable - it's a lot more likely to splinter (hazard) and b) the way they're stored is incredibly unhygienic!

nanefy Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 2:23pm

you could disinfect each dowel well before use I suppose, but I suppose that doesn't get rid of the splinter issue. However one thing I am thinking is you could probably coat the dowels in something food safe, like a food safe lacquer that would prevent it from splintering - I am going to have to investigate this now lol.

Chiggs Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 2:51pm

Mybe we should all just move to the US-they have the best stuff over there.. icon_wink.gif

Emmar308 Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 3:43pm

I'm curious as to what tools you can't get in the UK that are widely availabe in the USA? With the use of the internet i don't have any problems getting hold of anything i need.

nanefy Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 5:08pm

it's not the tools that are the problem - it's consumables that are the problem - ordering consumables from the states is pointless unless you pass the costs onto the customer, which I don't think is reasonable considering customs charges. However, even for tools, custom charges are a nightmare, so I might buy several tools every month from the UK, but to order them from the states with that kind of frequency would mean I'd have to pay customs charges every single time. Ordering from the states is not like ordering from your own country - then add delivery charges to your order (or if you want to keep the costs down you can wait maybe 8 weeks at times for your order to arrive) - it's just not hugely viable.

LisaPeps Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 5:26pm

Say if you were doing it the RBI way, starting with a board with a centre dowel and stacking the cakes onto the centre dowel... could you coat the centre dowel say in melted chocolate or ganache so that there is something between the cake and the dowel? The chocolate wouldn't come off the dowel because you would unstack it before cutting and serving.

Or could you wrap the dowel in tin foil or cling film or something like that?

I need to stack a topsy turvy wedge cake this way so I can transport it stacked.

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