To Stack Or Not To Stack?? Uk V Us

Decorating By Emmar308 Updated 2 Sep 2011 , 11:36pm by imagenthatnj

Emmar308 Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 7:51pm
post #1 of 13

Being a UK baker i have noticed a few differences in how things are done by UK cakes compared with US cakers. One of the main areas seems to be delivering tiered cakes - stacked or unstacked. Generally speaking UK seems to deliver stacked, whereas US seem to transport unstacked then assemble on site. I'm curious to know why some do / some don't - what are the pro's and con's - have you tried both ways and which do you prefer?? I'm transporting a 3 tier fruit wedding cake on a 5 hour journey next year and am contemplating which method would be best! Looking forward to the responses xx

12 replies
JamAndButtercream Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 8:20pm
post #2 of 13

I'm with unstacked, my main reason is it terrifies me that a stacked cake will fall!!! icon_eek.gif I think to myself that if it travelled unstacked not so much would go wrong, as if it was stacked, and if I delivered a cake stacked, and it fell I would be kicking myself! icon_biggrin.gif

matthewkyrankelly Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 8:57pm
post #3 of 13

I think there are some other things to consider.

I could be wrong, but my impression was that most UK wedding cakes are traditional - fruitcake, marzipan, fondant. A tried and true very stable cake. More dense than most US cakes I believe.

While there is the traditional white cake vanilla frosting wedding cake in the US, I can't recall the last time I've seen one.

Current trends include a wide variety of flavors of cake, fillings, and frostings. However, slight changes in recipes can radically change the stability of a recipe. This tends to a problem for the baker who may not have previously encountered the recipe/combination with which they are working. Slides and falls are usually a surprise.

Most professionals have a selection of cakes that they know are stable for their style of transport. Usually, the more work you can have done before the venue, the better.

I would surmise that most cakes that are transported unstacked are because of the inherent instability of the tiers. And that's a good enough reason.

southerncross Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 9:07pm
post #4 of 13

This raises an interesting question. Although I'm Glaswegian by birth, celebration cakes were never part of my humble beginnings. It was only after years in the states that I started to bake and decorate celebration cakes so I don't recall how UK cakes are stacked. Are any internal structure used? Like straws or larger piers that click into a plate upon which the upper tier sits.

Relznik Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 9:10pm
post #5 of 13

I think that matthewkyrankelly has pretty much hit the nail on the head....

However, fruit cakes aren't as popular as they used to be. I'd say that 95%-99%% of my wedding cakes are sponge cakes.

From what I can gather, a lot of bakers in the US use box mixes, which is almost unheard of in the UK. I think that the cakes are VERY much lighter and airier than scratch sponge cakes.

Also, I'd say that sugarpaste (fondant) is used to cover wedding cakes 99.9% of the time (or perhaps chocolate paste), whereas the majority of cakes in the US seem to have a buttercream finish (I wish I had the talent of some of the cake decorators who can get their buttercream as smooth as fondant!!)

I delivered a 5 tier wedding cake last weekend - choc sponge with choc fudge frosting, covered with sugarpaste - fully stacked!!!! Crikey it was heavy! icon_lol.gif

cakeandpartygirl Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 9:13pm
post #6 of 13

I have transported stacked cakes before and will be doing it this weekend. My trip too will be 5 hrs. I think you have various answers is because of the method in which people stack their cakes. I have used the sps as well as the boba tea straw/dowel method. I prefer the sps because it seems more sturdy but another thing to think about is that maybe people don't because you don't have to be as concerned driving with an unstacked cake as supposed as because of a difference in cultures.

imagenthatnj Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 9:23pm
post #7 of 13

Not only the box mix bakers have airier and fluffier cakes. Scratch bakers do, too. I've never baked from a box, but I've also never made a sponge or fruit cake. I'm just a hobby baker but about 99% of my cakes are airy and fluffy. There are people in here that say that it doesn't matter how airy your cake is, if you have SPS, you'll be safe. I would still be terrified.

Mud cakes, sponge and fruit cakes are in my list to make soon, so that I can get a rounded cake education.

Relznik Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 9:26pm
post #8 of 13

Sorry, I wasn't trying to say that scratch cakes aren't light and fluffy.

I was just under the impression (from here on CC) that boxes are very different to scratch cakes.

Caths_Cakes Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 9:42pm
post #9 of 13

Personally, all my cakes go stacked! my brothers engagement cake was three tiers of pure fruit cake with marzipan And icing!!! . . i didnt have the arms to lift it, had to get my brother to do it haha! i wasnt worried it would fall , more that my brother would drop it :/ lol!

However, all my sponge cakes, i do Scratch and box , and i must agree box is unusual here (but i still think v.yummy, never had a single complaint with them ) go stacked too, ive always done it that way and never really considered otherwise, it just never occoured to me that i could do it that way really
the only time i could imagine doing it unstacked would be if it was more than five tiers, but thats more down to height restrictions in my car XD
i think people are more likely to do what they're used to, what there comfortable with icon_smile.gif

imagenthatnj Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 10:41pm
post #10 of 13
Originally Posted by Relznik

Sorry, I wasn't trying to say that scratch cakes aren't light and fluffy.

I was just under the impression (from here on CC) that boxes are very different to scratch cakes.

No need to apologize. I have tried the box mixes when they bring cupcakes to the office, and they're even lighter and fluffier!!

What I was trying to say is that to make a dense cake from scratch I think people go through a little trouble; and that fruitcakes will be dense because that's their nature. I have to try a fruitcake soon because my sister in Latin America bakes, and when people get married, they get fruitcake, a 1.5 inch x 1.5 inch, non-decorated little square in a box to take home. There's no cake to cut, and if there is, it's a fake one just as a background decoration.

Relznik Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 10:44pm
post #11 of 13

If you haven't made one and are looking for a good recipe, this is a lovely for a "rich fruit cake" (ie what was traditionally a wedding cake and is also Christmas cake)


Relznik Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 10:45pm
post #12 of 13

Something else that occured to me - we don't have SPS.

imagenthatnj Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 11:36pm
post #13 of 13

Thank you, Reiznik! I'll add it to my list. Ahh, I love how those recipes are written. I have all of Peggy Porschen and Mitch Turner's books and I love those tables with the amounts for different sizes. Mich Turner's last book has a tropical fruit cake that I'm dying to try, too.

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