dmo4ab Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 3:56am
post #1 of

In three years of making cakes I've never had any trouble stacking using cardboards between layers, dowels rods in each layer, and dowel through the center. Until last weekend. I made a four-tier wedding cake, each tier on double cardboard, dowels in each tier (larger ones on the bottom), and a 1/2" dowel through the center. We had to travel about 25 miles. We got 5 miles up the road, made a slow, steady turn through an intersection, but it was an intersection with a big dip in the road. The cake started to lean! icon_eek.gif . We stopped. The top three tiers are leaning hard toward the back and the bottom layer is splitting on one side. I sat in the back beside it holding the center dowel back up the rest of the way. (It survived and I patched it as best I could). The best guess I have is that one of the dowels had a hole too large (due to several attempts inserting and removing to get the lenght correct), and with the movement, it gave way under the weight.

Now, I've finally recovered from wanting to give up completely, which my husband wasn't going to let me do anyway. He wants to build me plywood bases with pvc pipe center for all the larger cakes. I've totally cool with that, but my question is....what do you use as support in each tier on the sides? I'm not really keen on the idea of putting dowels in again. All these shows on tv make it look like you only use a center pvc pipe and nothing else, but logic alone tells me that won't work. Something has to support the weight all the way around.

Sorry to rant so long to ask a simple question. I was really distraught on Saturday and have to make the same size cake again in June, so I'm incredible nervous now!!

19 replies
msthang1224 Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 4:11am
post #2 of

So sorry that you had to go through that, I would be totally distraught as well. The pvc pipe attached to your plywood base is a great support idea for your larger cakes. i made a Champagne bottle cake in a class and thats what we used for support. We didnt use anything else on the sides to support and i travel a longggg way back home with my cake and it was perfectly fine. If you are still wanting to insert support for the sides, i would use Bubble Tea Straws around the sides of the layers and stack as usually. Of course you will have to core the centers of you cakes to get it over the pvc pie.

Also, if you dont want to use the Straws then i suggest that you go back to the plastic or wood dowels bc that center pvc pipe is very strong if made sturdy and tightly to yr baseboard. at least you will have more than enough support that yr cake wont go anywhere.

HTH

msthang1224 Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 4:13am
post #3 of

So sorry that you had to go through that, I would be totally distraught as well. The pvc pipe attached to your plywood base is a great support idea for your larger cakes. i made a Champagne bottle cake in a class and thats what we used for support. We didnt use anything else on the sides to support and i travel a longggg way back home with my cake and it was perfectly fine. If you are still wanting to insert support for the sides, i would use Bubble Tea Straws around the sides of the layers and stack as usually. Of course you will have to core the centers of you cakes to get it over the pvc pie.

Also, if you dont want to use the Straws then i suggest that you go back to the plastic or wood dowels bc that center pvc pipe is very strong if made sturdy and tightly to yr baseboard. at least you will have more than enough support that yr cake wont go anywhere.

HTH

msthang1224 Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 4:15am
post #4 of

sorry for the double post

Vista Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 4:36am
post #5 of

Many people on here swear by SPS. I have yet to try it, but plan to with a wedding cake I have coming up.

Wildgirl Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 6:01am
post #6 of

I just got the sps also - will be using it in a couple of weeks. It sure seems sturdy enough.

poohsmomma Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 1:24pm
post #7 of

SPS is the way to go. I've traveled with cakes-or sent cakes with people-as far as 60 miles on some rough and curvy Kentucky roads and had no problems with collapsing.

AnnieCahill Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 2:23pm
post #8 of

SPS all the way.

HappyCake10609 Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 2:25pm
post #9 of

I often travel loooong distances with my cakes (my family is spread throughout the New England area). I used to use dowels and cake boards as my support system, and delivery was always a scary event! Then I started using SPS and I will never go back... the cake just "feels" more sturdy! I use the 4" columns so I don't have to cut them and don't have to worry that I mis-measured or cut wrong... I feel very confident now when delivering cakes. OK, so I still get a little nervous, but my cakes are my "babies", lol!

You don't use a center dowel with SPS, the plates have little pegs that poke up through the cake board to keep the tiers from shifting on the plate...

ddaigle Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 2:36pm

I always travel fully assembled and my support system is exactly like yours. I always, always travel with cold cakes. To me, a room temperature, assembled cake is a dangerous cake. I have never had the slightest problem and believe me, the roads in Louisiana are horrible. Was your cake chilled? I have heard great reviews about SPS, but I am confident in my old fashioned dowel rods/center rod system.

GarciaGM Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 2:56pm

Has anyone seen a good tutorial on using PVC pipe and plywood for supports? It sounds pretty stable, but this is the first time I've heard of using it so I'm wondering how it comes together.

As far as SPS, for those of you who use it, how much trouble did you run into making sure your tiers were EXACTLY 4" tall? How did you handle that?

dmo4ab Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 4:16pm

Wow. Thanks for all the replies.
No, ddaigle, the cake wasn't cold...my refrigerator is not that large....although I wish it was!!
I definetely will be ordering sps to try. I too, am curious how yall make sure the came is exactly 4 inches tall?

Vista Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 4:55pm

If you level each of your cakes to just under 2 inchs, then add the filling you will come out at 4 inches.

AZCouture Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 5:28pm

Bubble straws and foam core boards (never ever cardboards) here.

bobwonderbuns Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 5:44pm

You know, I've never had a problem with the dowels. I will triple the cardboards to equal a drum (or just go and buy the drums.) I transport well chilled cakes and NEVER transport an assembled cake. EVER. That's where the problems come in.

Annabakescakes Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 6:58pm

I never had a problem with dowels, cardboards and a center dowel, then I moved and my cakes go further, on a really crappy road. I had a couple that collapsed on one side and the whole cake got crooked. I was able to make one look straight by sticking napkins under one side of it... I was crushed! So I love the bubble tea and foam core or SPS if it is big or has to go far.

sillywabbitz Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 7:32pm

SPS vote here too. If you can't get your cakes the right height (easier with an Agbay if you've got one) then invest in a little table top saw. They're around $35 at Harbor Freight or Northern tool and then you can cut your pillars to height every time and it's not an expensive gadget! I love SPS and I only stack to what I can carry which is normally two tiers.

Sassy74 Posted 17 Jan 2012 , 7:44pm

I had a similar cake-tastrophe not quite two years ago, gave SPS a try, and I've never looked back. I'm a hobby baker, so I just ordered a few sizes that I use quite a bit, and I've found that I can use the plates/columns a couple of times. I just get them back, clean and sanitize them, and they're good to go.

I've transported several 4 tier cakes FULLY ASSEMBLED with absolutely no problems. I'm now an SPS believer!

By the way, LOVE YOUR AVATAR, OP!

Sonya Posted 18 Jan 2012 , 2:18am

I have a large wedding cake to do in March and I cant cut dowels to the same height to save my life so I am looking at buying the SPS for this cake. I am a visual person I need to see pics of how it done... reading the words just dont do it for me, lol... is there a pic tutorial or you tube video somewhere that I can look at??

dmo4ab Posted 18 Jan 2012 , 2:26am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassy74

I
By the way, LOVE YOUR AVATAR, OP!




Thanks Sassy74!

I'm without a doubt going to buy SPS and try it. Any vote for the cheapest place to purchase?

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