Tiered Cakes

Decorating By Chris449842 Updated 22 Jan 2013 , 3:06pm by Ninas Cakes

Chris449842 Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 1:15pm
post #1 of 36

Hi there, bear with me i am just new to the forum and also new to making cakes. I am mum to 5 kids, and decided i would love to make cakes for the family, but its easier said than done lol.

How do  you stick say for instance a 4 layered tiered cake together? What do you use to keep them all in place?


Thank you

35 replies
Ninas Cakes Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 1:36pm
post #2 of 36

AI have found using the really fat straws works easier than dowels. Not sure what there called. Boba straws I think. Insert them into each tier cutting them just slightly lower than icing. Then place next tier on top with a generous amount of buttercream, so it stays in place. Repeat for each tier you stack, except last one. Lol I always make a marking of the cake that is going on top by using the tin, then insert straws. I always use about 9 straws placed evenly around. Hope that helps, it works for me anyway. Nina

Ninas Cakes Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 1:42pm
post #3 of 36

AHi I use fat drinking straws inserted into each tier, around 9. Cut them level to the cake then buttercream to hold the tier in place. I find them personally better than dowels. Easier to work with. Hope this helps Nina

venuscakes Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 1:47pm
post #4 of 36

I would say first of all that the hard work will be worth it when you see the look on your kids faces but be realistic about what you can achieve. Don't burden yourself with over ambitious cakes which have you tearing your hair out at 2am.

I always use dowels to support upper layers.


Good luck!


Chris449842 Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 2:15pm
post #5 of 36

Thanks guys, just watched a tutorial on you tube from here, this is going to sound silly, but why are straws inserted, they are hidden in the cake glued on with icing, then you put next tier on, so the 2 tiers are only held onto each other by the icing, so whats the purpose of straws? icon_confused.gif told you it sounded silly lol xxx

Ninas Cakes Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 2:22pm
post #6 of 36

AI use boba straws I think there called, instead of dowels, but that is just my preference from using them both. They are used as supports so that the tiers don't sink into each other with the weight.

Dani1081 Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 2:25pm
post #7 of 36

I'm glad you are watching youtube videos - you will learn so much from them.  They are priceless in terms of information.  You might also go to the Wilton website and look at some of their tutorials - they are also very informative.


The straws are placed in the cake to actually support the tier that sits on top of it. That way the cake on top doesn't smash the cake on the bottom. Cake weighs alot - if there is nothing to support the upper tiers, they will squish everything below them.

Chris449842 Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 2:38pm
post #8 of 36

Ahhhhhhhh i see icon_smile.gif thank you, makes sense. Yes there is so many tutorials to go through, glad i found cake central, its full of tips and ideas. I am looking for recipes, i have made a dartboard cake before, and also made a madeira cake been told its the best mix for covering, but all the cakes on here, are huge, do you have to make 2 10" cakes and cut them both in half for 1 tier? They all look huge cakes, i am tying to find a good easy cake to make for my mum in laws anniversary, and looking here i think i may need to make loads of cakes first lol.

Ninas Cakes Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 2:45pm
post #9 of 36

AI make 2 10 inch cakes, in 3 inch deep tins, buttercream them together, then I crumb coat the tier in buttercream, let that dry off slightly. Then coat again in a thick layer of buttercream and smooth it. Then I fondant. But again that's just how I make my cakes.

Chris449842 Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 2:49pm
post #10 of 36

Thanks Nina, will take a note of the sizes and get some tins. Just about to do the school run, what is crumb coat?? 

Thank you xxx

Ninas Cakes Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 2:57pm
post #11 of 36

AIt seals all the crumbs, so that you can get a smother finish to the cake, I learnt all this from you tube as well. Type in crumb coating a cake, and it will brings loads of videos up on it. Xx

denetteb Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 3:37pm
post #12 of 36

The dowels and straws do absolutely no good without placing each cake on a cardboard.  That is what supports the tier of cake.  Picture the cardboard like a table top and the dowels/straws like the table legs, with each tier of cake sitting on the table.  So the weight of the cakes are on the cardboard/dowels, not the cake below it.  A crumb coat is a thin layer of icing that seals in the cake crumbs.  Let that sit a little then add the rest of the icing.  There are a ton of cake recipes, as well as icing recipes, no one recipe is best.  You really need to just try some, or use a mix, and find your favorite.  The best way to search for these topics on this forum is to use google.  Type in.......tiered cakes cake central.......and you will have many, many appropriate threads show up.  If you go to youtube there are a lot of videos showing different cake and decorating techniques.  My favorites, seriouscakes and tonedna1 are  great and both have videos showing how to use a crumb coat and stack tiered cakes.   Wilton also has a lot of information on their website.

Chris449842 Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 4:01pm
post #13 of 36

Thats fab Denneteb, thank you, thats a good way to use google  never even thought of that, ok off to cook kids dinner and then i shall be glued to you tube and cake central lol. Glad it was pointed out about cardboard under each tier.

Thanks again be back soon xxx

denetteb Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 4:17pm
post #14 of 36

This chart will help you with serving numbers/cake sizes.  This is the American standard, not sure if it is standard where you are.  http://www.wilton.com/cakes/making-cakes/baking-wedding-cake-2-inch-pans.cfm     It also has helpful info on how much batter and icing is needed for each size.  Do some homework before you go all crazy buying cake stuff, it is easy to get carried away and end up with things you don't actually need or use.  Gradually work up in difficulty, start with one tier, then do a two tier,etc.  Starting right into a 4 tier could be really overwhelming and potentially disastrous.  Some people slice each 2 or 3 inch layer of cake in half then do the same with the next cake making one tier.  So that would have 4 one inch layers of cake and 3 layers of icing.  Lots of people just put the 2 inch layer then icing then the other 2 inch layer so you have 2 cakes and one icing layer for the tier.  No right or wrong way, just which you prefer. 

Chris449842 Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 4:24pm
post #15 of 36

Ok thank you, i am in the UK. so will i need to find a UK timetable? Will start with 1 layer and play with that, before i try big cakes, and use a madeira mix? Thank you again.


Chris xxx

Ninas Cakes Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 5:14pm
post #16 of 36

AWhere in the uk are you from? I live in Devon. I agree that starting off with one layer, then two is a good idea, that's how I started off and I found that if you can crack one layer, then two, the principle is the same for how ever many tiers you try.

Chris449842 Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 5:38pm
post #17 of 36

Thanks Nina, i live in Scotland, scottish borders, will need to buy in some ingredients, i have found a few cake tins, think one is a 10" tin depth looks like 3" the rest are 8" tins depth about an inch lol.

Ninas Cakes Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 6:18pm
post #18 of 36

AYou can always do three layers to the 8 inch, but it would save you time when baking if you find the 3 inch depth or even 2 inch. I have always got mine off eBay, they are reasonable on price. In fact I get almost all my supplies off eBay, as I have found that cake supply shops are very expensive.

Chris449842 Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 6:49pm
post #19 of 36

Yes they are very expensive, asda is pretty good, also we have a baking shop in next village but she is very very expensive. So i need an 8inch tin that is 3" deep? when you make a cake out of that size, do you slice through it 3 times then you have 3 layers? Is that the way to do it? 

Ninas Cakes Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 7:12pm
post #20 of 36

AYou can do, I recently bought a Wilton cake leveller to cut evenly through cakes and level the tops, as they always come out domed. But the best way I have found to get your cake level and flat when it comes out of oven is to use a same size tin and gently push it on the cake holding it there for a while, when you lift it off it will be nice and flat a level. I tend to bake how ever many layers I need, which is always two. Not to keen on cutting them all in half, but it would save a lot of time if you baked one and cut it in two, but you would lose the height. If you bake two and sandwich them together you get the extra height.

Chris449842 Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 9:58pm
post #21 of 36

Thank you, sounds good idea about flattening the cake, will hopefully make a start tomorrow. 

Thank you for your help xxx

Ninas Cakes Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 10:18pm
post #22 of 36

APost a picture for me on here when you finished, and any other questions, I will try to help with. Good luck.

JanH Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 11:16pm
post #23 of 36

Links to Wilton's tiered cake making & decorating help threads:




Illustrated how-to-cut level dowels by indydebi:




How to cut neat slices of tiered cakes:

(by indydebi)





Chris449842 Posted 15 Jan 2013 , 12:14pm
post #24 of 36

Thank you Nina i will do ,scrap doing it today, son is off school no feeling well, as soon as i have made it i will put a pic up on here.


Thank you Jan for the links, have bookmarked them off to have a read.



JanH Posted 17 Jan 2013 , 3:24am
post #25 of 36

You're most welcome Chris449842.  icon_biggrin.gif


Look forward to seeing pics of your creation!thumbs_up.gif

Chris449842 Posted 17 Jan 2013 , 10:49am
post #26 of 36

Not had time to do the cake, but will do as soon as i can, promise you guys will be first to see the pic, is it easy to upload pics on here or do you need photobucket? xxxxx

Chris449842 Posted 17 Jan 2013 , 5:08pm
post #27 of 36

Not very good as kids moaning they wanted fed, so never had time to play, its not very good but its  my 2nd cake,icon_sad.gificon_sad.gif





denetteb Posted 17 Jan 2013 , 5:11pm
post #28 of 36

Well done, it is lovely.

remnant3333 Posted 17 Jan 2013 , 5:16pm
post #29 of 36

I think it looks very nice!!! You did a great job!!!

Chris449842 Posted 17 Jan 2013 , 5:18pm
post #30 of 36
Originally Posted by denetteb 

Well done, it is lovely.

Thank you,  but i hate it lol, no vodka to make it nice and shiny and clean, the icing all ripped at seams after i put it on, and the flowers and just thrown on but never had time to play, maybe another day will play, got cookie cutters coming and flowerpaste, thank you xxx

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