Leaning Tower Of Piza - Help!

Decorating By cakelady11215 Updated 6 Jan 2014 , 6:11pm by vgcea

cakelady11215 Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 7:34am
post #1 of 40

AI am freaking and have no idea what to do. I have a 4- tier cake that i have to deliver tomorrow and it looks like the leaning tower of Piza. I used dowels on each tier and 1 large one thru the whole thing. It was still leaning so I put another one all the way thru. It's still leaning and the tiers are bubbling out on the sides. What can I do?? Thanks.

39 replies
scrumdiddlycakes Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 7:45am
post #2 of 40

ABy the sound of it, the only thing to do is to unassemble it, take the fondant off, level it properly and start over. it sounds like you either have uneven dowels, or uneven cakes. Could be due to settling. Once a cake has started doing what you describe, no amount of dowels can save it, and the more you keep sticking in, the more it can make the cakes themselves unstable.

Annabakescakes Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 7:46am
post #3 of 40

Take it all apart and cut your dowels all the same length and put it back together. I actually use bubble tea straws, much easier to cut. McDonald's type straws are nice and thick, too. Use a second cardboard, I am sure the one you used is soggy by now. 


As far as the bulging goes, you can either do nothing, or press on your cakes to help them settle and scrape off the icing off and start over. 

vgcea Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 7:50am
post #4 of 40

ADisassemble. Your dowels may be uneven in height causing an uneven distribution of the weight.

If its possible to use a fondant smoother to straighten the sides that are bulging without pulling apart each tier, good for you.

Are you measuring the dowels using the height of the cake at each insertion point? If so, you shouldn't.

cakelady11215 Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 7:59am
post #5 of 40

AThanks for your responses. I am not sure what I could do differently to level it properly. I leveled everything as I always do. I put 4 dowels in each tier and measured them. Do you think it will eventually fall? Ugh, this is terrible!!!!!

vgcea Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 8:13am
post #6 of 40

ASo you're not going to do anything about it? If so I guess we'll just have to see what happens after several hours of further leaning, and transportation/set up.

Oh, and 4 dowels in the lower tiers, especially the base tier, is hardly enough... unless your base tier is a 6-inch round of course.

cakelady11215 Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 8:22am
post #7 of 40

AI stuck 1 dowel in, cut it at cake level, pulled out and cut other 3 the same length. I repeated this per tier I really don't understand this :-(

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 8:24am
post #8 of 40

AYes, it will most likely fall. If its already leaning and bulging, delivery will probably topple it, if sitting overnight hasn't already, sorry. uneven dowelling is the reason cakes lean 99% of the time, that will cause the bulging. What type of dowels dud you use?

vgcea Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 8:33am
post #9 of 40

AWhat size are your tiers?

cakelady11215 Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 8:51am
post #10 of 40

AIi want to fix it, that is why I'm asking for help. The bottom tier is 12" so I guess 4 dowels wasn't enough. I used the wooden ones this time. How many do you recommend for 12˝? What about the 10"?

cakelady11215 Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 9:09am
post #11 of 40

A12, 10, 8, and 6

vgcea Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 9:23am
post #12 of 40

AIf you're using the skinny wooden dowels (I prefer bubble tea straws by the way)I would use 8 dowels at least in the 12 inch tier. I tend to use 2 less than the size of the tier above (so 6 in the 10 inch tier). I've also seen people use the same number as the tier above (i.e. 10 in the 12 inch).

If you decide to do this please be careful and remember that the structural integrity of your cake has been compromised from all the handling and doweling you've previously done. Good luck.

cakelady11215 Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 9:26am
post #13 of 40

AThanks for your help, will try to fix tomorrow

Claire138 Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 10:26am
post #14 of 40

So sorry for you about this mess but as the others have said you can do nought but take it apart and re-assemble after correcting the dowel problem. I would use more than 4 dowels in a 12 inch cake but truly anything over a 2 tier your best option would be SPS (there is a thread on here somewhere. Leah is massive advocate and I am now converted). Hope it all works out well. Good luck.

costumeczar Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 12:34pm
post #15 of 40

AI only use wodden dowels, but if you're using the Wilton ones they changed them recently and they're thinner and bendier,so that could be part of the problem. I was forced to buy someof those when I ran out of my regularones, and I was shocked at how flimsy they are. Watch this: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151703211293671&set=vb.92855088670&type=3&theater

For a 12" tier, I would put five or six dowels in a circle around the tier, then one in the middle. A good rule of thumb is to use the number of dowels that's the same as the diametr of the cake for larger tiers. You shouldn't use too many, though, that willmake swiss cheese out of the cake and the people who cut it won't be able to cut pieces without having to remove dowels from them. They'll hate you for it.

I bet what happened is that when you put the center dowel in you pressed the whole thing down, and any dowels that weren't standing without bending were compressed enough that they did bend. If it was the Wilton dowels that wouldn't surprise me. That would also explain the bulging.

emetz74 Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 1:13pm
post #16 of 40

I am sorry your cake is doing that but I am so grateful for this thread. I am attempting to make a two-tiered cake for my son's birthday and have learned a lot of great tips so thanks to all who have offered advice!

remnant3333 Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 2:09pm
post #17 of 40

It is a shame that Wilton is putting out such poor quality.  That is what happens when everything is made in China with no quality control what so ever. I will not buy anything Wilton ever again. The last thing I bought from Wilton was terrible!!! Sorry you are having such terrible issues with your cake leaning!! Hope all goes well and you will be able to save your cake!! Good luck!!! My heart goes out to you!

JWinslow Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 3:06pm
post #18 of 40

This happened to someone else here recently and she did not fix it and is turned into a real disaster.  You really need to disassemble and redo those dowels or straws.  Something has shifted and you can't fix it from the outside.

-K8memphis Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 3:11pm
post #19 of 40

i saw some wilton 'bamboo' skinny wooden dowel are those the bendy ones? i've never seen the bamboo before--just wondering--



JWinslow Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 3:29pm
post #20 of 40

K8, yes those are the new ones.  They have way to much give in them. 



Elcee Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 3:59pm
post #21 of 40

Personally, I like the hollow poly dowels.


OP, what happened? Everyone who responded gave you the only advice there is, to disassemble and restack. Sorry, but I wouldn't have left it leaning overnight. Gravity...

Godot Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 4:06pm
post #22 of 40


cakelady11215 Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 4:30pm
post #23 of 40

ATook it apart, its worse than before. I dont think I can fix this. The cakes seem too soft. I am debating whether to get more fondant, recover, and display separately. And either discount the price or not charge at all. Im so upset and cant stop crying which doesnt help.

-K8memphis Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 4:41pm
post #24 of 40


Originally Posted by JWinslow 

K8, yes those are the new ones.  They have way to much give in them. 




thank you, jw--will avoid--i like the hollow 3/4 inch ones elcee likes too--hollow poly--say that 5 times fast--


op, i'm so sorry--try & suck it up--this is why i keep my caked chilled too--would that help any do you think?

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 5:07pm
post #25 of 40

AHow long do you have until delivery?

-K8memphis Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 5:10pm
post #26 of 40

what about some cake spackle--but i'd totally get it cold first--do we have any time?


you could trim off any super loose stuff--and make the spackle out of that?


where are you--i'll be right over...

jenmat Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 5:11pm
post #27 of 40

Um, aren't they cold? Get those babies COLD and then deal with them.


Agreed with everyone here that the whole thing needs to come apart and be re-cut, but if the cakes aren't cold, you are dealing with an unstable structure to begin with and yes, they will be too soft to manage. 

Best of luck, sounds like you are going to need a glass of something soon!

cakelady11215 Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 5:55pm
post #28 of 40

ANew york (yes, impending blizzard). Have to leave in about 3 hours. I feel nauseous m just ran to store, going to recover and display separately. Hating life. Have to let the woman know soon

IAmPamCakes Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 5:57pm
post #29 of 40

AIs it a wedding cake? Will your customer be OK with a completely different design?

-K8memphis Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 6:13pm
post #30 of 40
Originally Posted by cakelady11215 

New york (yes, impending blizzard). Have to leave in about 3 hours. I feel nauseous m just ran to store, going to recover and display separately. Hating life. Have to let the woman know soon



after you get it stabilized: if you can save both the design and the cake servings great--


if not -- one possibility is to ditch the original design in order to salvage the cake as a random but still visually pleasing dessert--so you can cover a ton of booboos with decor--flowers, ribbons, swags, scrolls, dots --whatever


just a thought to consider in crunch time here--she might have to cancel due to the storm too--- but can't count on that --


i applaud your determination--

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