I made a 4 tiered cake for my niece's birthday party two weeks ago. I am a hobby baker so I don't normally make large cakes or transport them. The cake was 8", 10", 12" and 14". I decided to stack the 8" and 10" tiers at home and stack the 14", 12" and two top tiers of the cake at the venue. I don't have an SUV or a van to hold a cake that high and drive it for 2 hours. Unfortunately when I began to carefully stack the cakes the fondant began to crack at the base of the cakes as I stacked them. Luckily I was able to repair a bit of it and cover the cracks with a border. I'm trying to figure out what I should have done to avoid this from happening. I'd like to learn from this experience so I would love any suggestions. Thanks!
First question. Did you have dowels inside of the cake? That is pretty much a necessity when doing a stacked cake like that. Especially one so large.
Starting from the beginning, I wouldn't stack any of them until you are at the location of the party. It will make stacking a LOT easier going one by one, instead of trying to stack two tiers that are already together.
If the fondant is cracking, it sounds like it's almost too dry. But, things like that also happen when stacking a cake, again, especially for a four tier.
There's not a lot more that I can say on the subject. Make sure all the tiers (except the top one obviously) has dowels in it, that there's boards under each tier and that you have a really good offset spat to help you.
Any other questions, let me know. :)
I hope this helps.
Thanks for your reply! I did have full support on the cake and it didn't lean or anything like that. I used Satin Ice fondant on the cakes the day before and refrigerated them so that caused the fondant to be set and stiffen up. I've seen on tv where cakes get stacked at the venue but they don't seem to have problem with the fondant cracking when they are stacked and I'm assuming they don't always cover the cakes in fondant a few hours prior to delivering them. The bottom two tiers weren't stacked prior to getting there and it still cracked.
Next time, I would pull the already fondant covered cakes out maybe 10-15 minutes before you're going to stack them. To let the fondant warm up a little and be a smidge more plyable. Or if it's possible, with a small cake maybe (2 tiers), cover then stack them, that way the fondant is still room temp and just worked so it didn't have time to set up or anything. I've never had cracking issues with fondant. I hope you figure something out!
If I were to "pre-stack" any of it, it would be the bottom tiers. I would not want to place two tiers together on the bottom of the cake. Stack one at a time.
Thank you both for your suggestions! I think I will stack cakes at home so the fondant is more pliable and will smooth out. And if I really have to wait until I'm at the location I will stack one tier at a time going forward. This was the largest cake I've done so far and I learned so much from it. Another good thing is that smaller cakes now will feel so much easier to make!