Cake Supports

Decorating By Lizmybit Updated 6 Nov 2012 , 7:38pm by southerncross

Lizmybit Posted 29 May 2012 , 9:45pm
post #1 of 11

Do you have a favorite way to support your cakes? I'v always just used Dowel rods and cardboard cake circles for support. I did a Yo Gabba Gabba cake for my Niece's Birthday this weeked and it was ver, very hot. We were inside witht he AC on but after about 4 hours the cake started to lean. It was apparent that the 20 dowels I put in the bottom layer alone were not enough. Each Layer was doweled separately but it still wilted. I'm looking for ideas on a better way to support heavy cakes.

10 replies
leah_s Posted 29 May 2012 , 10:03pm
post #2 of 11

20 dowels in the bottom layer? You're exaggerating, right? That's so many dowels the structure of the cake would be compromised.

Anyway, I advocate the use of SPS. Easy, inexpensive and extremely sturdy.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 29 May 2012 , 10:10pm
post #3 of 11

There are several styles of plastic plates and separators out there. The cardboard can start to deteriorate and lose much of its strength. It becomes more critical with more layers and/or added weight.

While I don't know how much is too much, there is a diminishing return to more dowels rather than better dowels. I think a rough rule would be that when you are considering twenty dowels, fewer dowels but also stronger would be a better solution.

Start with Wilton and SPS and go from there. It is always better and cheaper than a collapsed cake.

BlakesCakes Posted 29 May 2012 , 10:39pm
post #4 of 11

Leah's right--20 is way too many. If that bottom tier is supporting a 12", then the rule of thumb would be 12 wooden dowels or 6 plastic dowels/bubble tea straws.

All it takes is ONE slightly short, slightly tall, or slightly crooked wooden dowel to cause a cake to lean and/or crash. A dowel slips inside the cake and so go the other tiers......

With your cake, look to be 14,12,10,8,6---making a pyramid. That increases the need for very even dowels and very even centering of every tier.

I use foam core boards and bubble tea straws with one, or 2, central dowel(s)--especially in a cake that tall.


Lizmybit Posted 30 May 2012 , 12:22am
post #5 of 11

Haha yes I was exaggerating. Thanks for all the advice. I'll check out the SPS

southerncross Posted 30 May 2012 , 2:45am
post #6 of 11

Leah is the high priestess when it comes to SPS but as a dedicated disciple let me tell you that they are the only way to go. I transport stacked cakes over country dirt roads in the heat and humidity of South Carolina summers (ok we do have AC here and only mad dogs, Englishmen and those who don't mind getting bitten by mosquitoes would have their weddings outside in past July 1). I've never ever had a problem with cakes slipping or sliding. ...except once...and that was a full on being forced off the road by some speeding jerk with NY plates...and then the cake only suffered a slight dent in one corner where it hit the side of the box. Everything else in the car went flying but the SPS kept that cake in deliverable condition.

BlakesCakes Posted 30 May 2012 , 4:38am
post #7 of 11

SPS has it's devotees, but no, it's not "the only way to go", nor is it perfect for every size or shaped cake. Like everything else, it has it's place.

Proper stacking and stabilization CAN be done using other methods, as many of us can confirm. icon_wink.gif

Knowing your options--and when to use them--is important to every decorator.


LilBlackSheep Posted 30 May 2012 , 4:18pm
post #8 of 11
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes

I use foam core boards and bubble tea straws with one, or 2, central dowel(s)--especially in a cake that tall.

How do foam core boards hold up to the weight of a cake that large? Will the weight compress the foam core and cause the cake to lean?

BlakesCakes Posted 30 May 2012 , 11:54pm
post #9 of 11

No, not at all.

Foam core is closed cell polystyrene and is much more sturdy than standard cardboard rounds.

A properly stacked cake means that NO cake is pressing on the cake below, it's merely balanced on the supports in the cake below--that's why the supports have to be strong (as are large bore straws) and level.

I put a 3/16" thick board every 4" of cake height and could go higher--because the board would handle it--BUT the CAKE begins to compress badly............NOT the board.


LilBlackSheep Posted 31 May 2012 , 12:51am
post #10 of 11


southerncross Posted 6 Nov 2012 , 7:38pm
post #11 of 11

as I noted earlier, I use SPS system by Bakery Crafts exclusively and never ever had a problem. I love the idea of no center post.  However, I do wish the SPS posts were more attractive now that I have more brides going retro and wanting raised tiers.  I envy those charming doric columns that I used to buy when in London. I even tried to devise a method of slipping them over the SPS posts but to no avail.  I wrote to Bakery Crafts asking them to consider upping the appearance aspect of their pillars but never heard back.

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