I have a question... While I really like using the SPS system and always do for my bigger cakes sometimes I use the WILTON plastic dowels for my smaller cakes. The ones that are 12inches long and come 4 to a bag for almost $4 at the craft store. Basically I am paying $1 per lenier foot for dowels.
The thought happend to cross my mind why are those dowels any better than basic 1 inch PVC that cost aprox 10 cent per foot? I did a google search and found this link... http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-645636.html where it appears as long as you buy the same pvc used for drinking water it is safe.
Am I missing something or would this be a much more economic way to dowel each tier?
"Cheap cakes are not good, and good cakes are not cheap"
Food safe or not, the last thing I expect to find INSIDE a custom cake is PVC from Home Depot. Your signature says it all, good cake is beyond the actual cake to everything that goes into it (including packaging). I would suggest buying SPS or Wilton's in bulk to reduce cost OR just passing on the cost of the supports to the customer.
Of course it is possible that PVC is indeed used in those extreme 3-D cakes. I don't do them so I don't know. I'm curious to see what the responses would be. I personally just don't like the idea of PVC inside cake when there are other options specifically designed for the purpose.
vgcea, I agree that it would look poorly....but I was also curious to what the responses would be.
I have a structure for a standing person cake that is all PVC. Bronwen Weber's topsy turvy cake stands are made from PVC. None of the 1" PVC on my structure has an writing on it, it's cleanly cut, and has been sanitized. I have no problem using it or having a client "see" it.
That said, for smaller cakes, I think PVC is overkill. I, and many other decorators, have excellent results using bubble tea/milk shake straws--cheap, light weight, easy to cut, easy to find, etc. I know a decorator who has used straws exclusively for 14 yrs. for all of her stacked cakes--up to 6 tiers.
Straws...can't get any cheaper than that. If you have the storage space, and plan on doing this for a long time, you can get them in bulk for really good savings. I recently ordered a case (4,500 straws) and sold half of them. I will still be in straws for at least a couple of years by my count.
For those who use bubble tea straws for 4 tiers and up, do you always stack on-site? Are there any extra precautions (like foam core instead of cake boards, 2 off-center dowel rods, a greater number of straws per tier) that you use? I've only stacked 2 tiers with bubble tea straws. I'd be terrified to do 3 or more but I've heard it can be done and be just as effective as SPS-type devices.
I try to never to have to stack on site. The less I'm manhandling tiers, the better. I have used them on cakes as large as 7 tiers. Now, on that note, the base cake was only 10", so while technically 7 tiers, it was not very heavy or big. I always use foam core, cardboard creeps me out for some reason.
Thanks AZCouture. I'm going to try out foam core on my next practice cake.