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Dowel Rods have failed me......where to go from here.

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
In three years of making cakes I've never had any trouble stacking using cardboards between layers, dowels rods in each layer, and dowel through the center. Until last weekend. I made a four-tier wedding cake, each tier on double cardboard, dowels in each tier (larger ones on the bottom), and a 1/2" dowel through the center. We had to travel about 25 miles. We got 5 miles up the road, made a slow, steady turn through an intersection, but it was an intersection with a big dip in the road. The cake started to lean! icon_eek.gif . We stopped. The top three tiers are leaning hard toward the back and the bottom layer is splitting on one side. I sat in the back beside it holding the center dowel back up the rest of the way. (It survived and I patched it as best I could). The best guess I have is that one of the dowels had a hole too large (due to several attempts inserting and removing to get the lenght correct), and with the movement, it gave way under the weight.

Now, I've finally recovered from wanting to give up completely, which my husband wasn't going to let me do anyway. He wants to build me plywood bases with pvc pipe center for all the larger cakes. I've totally cool with that, but my question is....what do you use as support in each tier on the sides? I'm not really keen on the idea of putting dowels in again. All these shows on tv make it look like you only use a center pvc pipe and nothing else, but logic alone tells me that won't work. Something has to support the weight all the way around.

Sorry to rant so long to ask a simple question. I was really distraught on Saturday and have to make the same size cake again in June, so I'm incredible nervous now!!
post #2 of 20
So sorry that you had to go through that, I would be totally distraught as well. The pvc pipe attached to your plywood base is a great support idea for your larger cakes. i made a Champagne bottle cake in a class and thats what we used for support. We didnt use anything else on the sides to support and i travel a longggg way back home with my cake and it was perfectly fine. If you are still wanting to insert support for the sides, i would use Bubble Tea Straws around the sides of the layers and stack as usually. Of course you will have to core the centers of you cakes to get it over the pvc pie.

Also, if you dont want to use the Straws then i suggest that you go back to the plastic or wood dowels bc that center pvc pipe is very strong if made sturdy and tightly to yr baseboard. at least you will have more than enough support that yr cake wont go anywhere.

HTH
I can do ALL things Through Christ who strengthens ME!!!
CAKE IS MY LIFE!!!!
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I can do ALL things Through Christ who strengthens ME!!!
CAKE IS MY LIFE!!!!
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post #3 of 20
So sorry that you had to go through that, I would be totally distraught as well. The pvc pipe attached to your plywood base is a great support idea for your larger cakes. i made a Champagne bottle cake in a class and thats what we used for support. We didnt use anything else on the sides to support and i travel a longggg way back home with my cake and it was perfectly fine. If you are still wanting to insert support for the sides, i would use Bubble Tea Straws around the sides of the layers and stack as usually. Of course you will have to core the centers of you cakes to get it over the pvc pie.

Also, if you dont want to use the Straws then i suggest that you go back to the plastic or wood dowels bc that center pvc pipe is very strong if made sturdy and tightly to yr baseboard. at least you will have more than enough support that yr cake wont go anywhere.

HTH
I can do ALL things Through Christ who strengthens ME!!!
CAKE IS MY LIFE!!!!
Reply
I can do ALL things Through Christ who strengthens ME!!!
CAKE IS MY LIFE!!!!
Reply
post #4 of 20
sorry for the double post
I can do ALL things Through Christ who strengthens ME!!!
CAKE IS MY LIFE!!!!
Reply
I can do ALL things Through Christ who strengthens ME!!!
CAKE IS MY LIFE!!!!
Reply
post #5 of 20
Many people on here swear by SPS. I have yet to try it, but plan to with a wedding cake I have coming up.
post #6 of 20
I just got the sps also - will be using it in a couple of weeks. It sure seems sturdy enough.
post #7 of 20
SPS is the way to go. I've traveled with cakes-or sent cakes with people-as far as 60 miles on some rough and curvy Kentucky roads and had no problems with collapsing.
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Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
See. There is no "Someday"!
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post #8 of 20
SPS all the way.
post #9 of 20
I often travel loooong distances with my cakes (my family is spread throughout the New England area). I used to use dowels and cake boards as my support system, and delivery was always a scary event! Then I started using SPS and I will never go back... the cake just "feels" more sturdy! I use the 4" columns so I don't have to cut them and don't have to worry that I mis-measured or cut wrong... I feel very confident now when delivering cakes. OK, so I still get a little nervous, but my cakes are my "babies", lol!

You don't use a center dowel with SPS, the plates have little pegs that poke up through the cake board to keep the tiers from shifting on the plate...
post #10 of 20
I always travel fully assembled and my support system is exactly like yours. I always, always travel with cold cakes. To me, a room temperature, assembled cake is a dangerous cake. I have never had the slightest problem and believe me, the roads in Louisiana are horrible. Was your cake chilled? I have heard great reviews about SPS, but I am confident in my old fashioned dowel rods/center rod system.
Debbie - US Army (Retired) --aka "The Cake Sarge"

Good Cake Ain't Cheap! Cheap Cake Ain't Good!
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Debbie - US Army (Retired) --aka "The Cake Sarge"

Good Cake Ain't Cheap! Cheap Cake Ain't Good!
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post #11 of 20
Has anyone seen a good tutorial on using PVC pipe and plywood for supports? It sounds pretty stable, but this is the first time I've heard of using it so I'm wondering how it comes together.

As far as SPS, for those of you who use it, how much trouble did you run into making sure your tiers were EXACTLY 4" tall? How did you handle that?
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Wow. Thanks for all the replies.
No, ddaigle, the cake wasn't cold...my refrigerator is not that large....although I wish it was!!
I definetely will be ordering sps to try. I too, am curious how yall make sure the came is exactly 4 inches tall?
post #13 of 20
If you level each of your cakes to just under 2 inchs, then add the filling you will come out at 4 inches.
post #14 of 20
Bubble straws and foam core boards (never ever cardboards) here.
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*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
Birthday Cakes
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Birthday Cakes
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post #15 of 20
You know, I've never had a problem with the dowels. I will triple the cardboards to equal a drum (or just go and buy the drums.) I transport well chilled cakes and NEVER transport an assembled cake. EVER. That's where the problems come in.
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To find "THE RECIPE LINKS ARE HERE" thread, click on "Forums", then "Recipes" and it's the first sticky. Latest updates are on (the bottom of) page 10 here: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopic-625803-135.html
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