I have never had a problem with my tiered cakes, but I made a 4 tier anniversary cake for my aunt and uncle and last night the bottom 16" tier collapsed. I left for a little bit and came back in time that the top three tiers didn't slide right off. Each tier was doweled, plus I had a wooden dowel going through the whole thing, but the cakes were just sliding away from that. When I took off the top three tiers, it looked like 3 of the bottom layer dowels had somehow
So, I can manage without the actual cake, but I really wanted the look with that bottom tier but we don't have any store that sells cake dummies within driving distance. Can I use the pan upside down as a dummy? And if so, how do I get the buttercream to stick to it? I have had one heck of a time this week with this cake, it has been triple digits every day, my BC is a nightmare. I had to take off all of the rossettes from a layer after taking apart the cake and I am worried that the BC may be adding to the slippage problem.
This was my first cakeastrophe...broke my heart!
Dowels can slip because they are NOT connect to a plate/board under the cake. Essentially your cake in simply balancing on top of itself. Once a dowel slips off perfect vertical, you lose support. Then the weight of the above tiers starts pressing on the tier below and, collapse happens. Once again, I will say that a center dowel is false security. It impales itself into the bottom board and will stay there, but if the cake is sliding, the cake will rip it's way around the dowel.
SPS is the answer. The legs fit securely into the plate that holds up the above tier. They CAN NOT slip off vertical. Its an easy to use, cheap system that works.
And yes you can put buttercream on a cake pan. Just glob it on there. A lot of us practice icing and decorating techniques by putting buttercream directly on a cake pan.
I've come to the conclusion that wooden dowels are skinny, slippery sticks that displace cake and have no good reason to stay upright when pushed thru moist cake and greasy/buttery BC. If not all the exact same height and cut exactly level, if one goes, so goes the tiers above.....
I use bubble tea straws or Wilton hollow dowels/pillars with 3/16th inch foamcore cake boards. They don't displace cake, are easily cut, and are extremely sturdy. So far, so good.