Stacking Tiered Cakes

Decorating By Bakeshop123 Updated 28 May 2016 , 6:21pm by Bakeshop123

Bakeshop123 Posted 26 May 2016 , 12:47pm
post #1 of 23

Hi everyone.. I wanted some help with stacking cakes. Even though I use dowels in tiered cake and cake boards , still the cake is not firm. It moves and tilts. How to avoid it? What to do for a perfect straight tall cake? I have tried using the centre fowl as well but the cake just sunk in.

let me know please. Thanks :)

22 replies
Creativeconfectioner Posted 26 May 2016 , 2:20pm
post #2 of 23

Hey Bakeshop123

There could be several reasons why your cake stack tilts.....

When preparing a tiered cake you must first consider your recipe......for best results a firmer or denser recipe is best.....having a set of pre-tried and tested recipes helps :)


What type of cake board are you using and what size dowels are you using?

If the cake board material is not firm and your dowel diameter too small it would not be able to aptly support your cake :)

I have a cake system made of aluminum.......there is a center aluminum rod (dowel) that bolts into the base cake plate..... it keeps all the tiers from slipping on a horizontal plane and the cake boards are also aluminum...light thin and can handle weight.....it also means that the weight from the cake on the board and other tiers above......is evenly distributed among the dowels......I also use 1/4 inch wooden dowels spaced radiating from the center to near the circumference of the upper cake....  particularly when I have a tall cake.......

if your cake is torted you must also consider the environment...if the filling is for instance buttercream and the day is particularly hot....well your "cement" is melting instead of holding :).......


you must consider all these variables :)



costumeczar Posted 26 May 2016 , 2:40pm
post #3 of 23

If it's shifting as you stack it the dowels might be too long. Make sure to insert one dowel into the cake, mark the exact height of the tier, remove the dowel and cut it, then use that dowel to measure the other ones so that they're all the same length.

Bakeshop123 Posted 26 May 2016 , 8:28pm
post #4 of 23

Thank you so much. Shall consider all These.. Can yu please let me know what size should be the dowels and can straws be used? Also how thick the cake board should be :)

Creativeconfectioner Posted 26 May 2016 , 10:57pm
post #5 of 23

Bakeshop123 what do you use presently?


Creativeconfectioner Posted 26 May 2016 , 11:06pm
post #6 of 23

Here is a cake I am presently working on

900_stacking-tiered-cakes_8829985747818394717.jpg

Creativeconfectioner Posted 26 May 2016 , 11:18pm
post #7 of 23

one more tier to go....


Bakeshop123 Posted 27 May 2016 , 11:16am
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Wow that's great.. So you are using only dowels all around the cakes? Or a centre dowel?

Bakeshop123 Posted 27 May 2016 , 11:17am
post #9 of 23

For 2 tier cake I use straws .. For more I use dowels of around1-1 1/2 inch size

Bakeshop123 Posted 27 May 2016 , 11:18am
post #10 of 23

Even though I use centre dowel, still it sinks in 

costumeczar Posted 27 May 2016 , 11:45am
post #11 of 23

1 - 1 1/2" is way too big! I use dowels that are 1/4" and are made for cakes so they're food-safe. If you put too many large dowels or too many small ones into a tier you'll make Swiss cheese out of it, and that will make it less stable. 

I use the diameter of the tier that's going to be supported as the guideline of how many dowels to use. If it's an 8" and a 6" tier, for example, I use the 6" tier as the guideline. 6" cut in half is 3 so that's how many 1/4" dowels I use in the 8" tier to support the 6" tier. If I'm stacking an 8" tier on top of a 10" tier I half the 8" to get 4, then add one to get an odd number so I use 5 to support the 8" tier. (I was taught that odd numbers are more stable than even ones, don't know if the laws of physics verify that but I've always done it that way.) If I'm stacking a 10" tier on top of a 12" tier I half the 10" to get 5, and that's how many dowels I use. Once I get to a 12" tier being stacked I'll also put one dowel in the center of the tier for added stability, but that's 1/4" dowels. The ones that you're using are too wide!

Creativeconfectioner Posted 27 May 2016 , 12:25pm
post #12 of 23

1 to 11/2 inch diameter!!! is way too big!

As I said before I do not go above 1/4" diameter I use food safe wooden dowels.

I have a center dowel 1/4" diameter in aluminum that runs through the center of the entire stack and is bolted to the base plate to ensure it is sturdy and my cake plates are all aluminum so they are quite thin.


I agree with costumeczar as to the choice of how many dowels to use in a tier.

There are also many picture guides on the internet....just look up doweling a cake in google images :)

costumeczar Posted 27 May 2016 , 1:37pm
post #13 of 23

I did a video about doweling a cake...Here's the link. how to dowel a cake tier

Bakeshop123 Posted 27 May 2016 , 7:04pm
post #14 of 23

Thank you so much :)) 

will try all what you all suggested :)

my dowels are too wide I guess that's why 

-K8memphis Posted 27 May 2016 , 9:49pm
post #15 of 23

I've used one inch dowel in whopper cakes like it was about 21" and there was a 16 on top of that etc etc -- can't remember 6 or 7 tiers  and I mean they went no where -- super secure -- I mean the dowels stand by themselves on the table -- how could those make your cake wobbly? yes they're too big for most cakes but they have a purpose for the real big real tall monster cakes --

if they were not the same length it would wobble -- also if your cake boards are inadequate -- but I can't imagine that not being stable -- your problem might be something else --

yes those are too big but the cake should stand like a guard at Buckingham castle

are these plastic or wood? what kid of boards?

are these dowel?


-K8memphis Posted 27 May 2016 , 9:51pm
post #16 of 23

what size are cakes & how many dowel did you put in there?

Bakeshop123 Posted 27 May 2016 , 10:01pm
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Well I'm facing it nowadays.. My 2 tier cakes (not very big- like 10 inch and 8 inch) .. It kinda tilted to one side .


the other was a tall cake with 10 inch, 8 and 7,6 inch cakes on top. Which was sinking in 

-K8memphis Posted 28 May 2016 , 6:41am
post #18 of 23

the dowel you describe are too big for your cakes but there's no reason for them to tilt or sink in from fat dowel -- i think you have other issues there with cake building -- 

if you use the center dowel it needs to be sharpened -- and struck in smartly on purpose just a good whack and it will pierce the board rather than smoosh it

what kind of boards are you using --

are all your dowel the same length --

Bakeshop123 Posted 28 May 2016 , 10:25am
post #19 of 23

Dowels are same size but maybe it's the cake board then. It's a thin cardboard material.. It can easily bend

-K8memphis Posted 28 May 2016 , 12:35pm
post #20 of 23

idk -- it would seem obvious that the cakes are being torn up by the oversized holes you're placing in there especially if you moved any of them -- so i'm not sure why you ask here -- don't quite understand this thread but i don't need to -- but one more question anyway -- where did you find these dowel? i went to a hardware store and had them cut them for me --

so where did you get them, how did you cut them and what material are they made of

costumeczar Posted 28 May 2016 , 4:14pm
post #21 of 23


Quote by @Bakeshop123 on 5 hours ago

Dowels are same size but maybe it's the cake board then. It's a thin cardboard material.. It can easily bend

That's definitely going to be a problem too, especially if you're driving a fat dowel through all of them. You could switch to plastic boards and see if that helps. Check these out: http://freshboards.net/

costumeczar Posted 28 May 2016 , 4:14pm
post #22 of 23


Quote by @Bakeshop123 on 5 hours ago

Dowels are same size but maybe it's the cake board then. It's a thin cardboard material.. It can easily bend

That's definitely going to be a problem too, especially if you're driving a fat dowel through all of them. You could switch to plastic boards and see if that helps. Check these out: http://freshboards.net/

Bakeshop123 Posted 28 May 2016 , 6:21pm
post #23 of 23

got the dowels from a wood shop. They cut it for me :) 

okay I'll try hard material cake board :)

 thanks alot

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