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Doweling VERY TALL (5 tiers or taller) Wedding Cakes?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
Greetings all,
I was wondering how do you all dowel very tall (5 tiers or taller) wedding cakes, especially when wooden dowels are not that tall? Thanks!
Angelfire3
A woman is like a teabag. You don't know her strength until she's in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

God Is Greater Than Any Problem That You Have.
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Angelfire3
A woman is like a teabag. You don't know her strength until she's in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

God Is Greater Than Any Problem That You Have.
Reply
post #2 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelfire3

I was wondering how do you all dowel very tall (5 tiers or taller) wedding cakes, especially when wooden dowels are not that tall?



You dowel just like you would for any tiered cake, with short dowels the same height as each tier:
http://www.wilton.com/cakes/tiered-cakes/stacked-tiered-cake-construction.cfm

A long center dowel through all tiers may be used during transport.
post #3 of 37
If i have a cake that tall, i use 2 long wooden dowels for extra support. If you have a fondant covered cake, you dowel each tier, but then you can stack each tier using r/i for glue. No center dowel necessary. hth
post #4 of 37
Center dowels don't provide extra support... they only help to prevent tiers from sliding apart from one another.
post #5 of 37
the last 5 tiered cake that i doweled fell apart in the summer heat. the center dowel did nothing to hold the cake together.

this week i did a 5 tier and used the SPS system. It was amazing and so much easier. I will never go back to straws/skewers and dowels.
post #6 of 37
Please do not use hardware store dowels in cakes. No one there or at their factory would think twice about picking fallen ones off the floor and putting them right back on the rack (or worse). They. Are. Not. Meant. For. Food.

bambooimportsmn.com sells 24" ones and during the summer you can find" 31" ones at the grocery store made for long range marshmallow toasting. Barring that, just use one in the bottom few tiers a little to the left and one in the top few tiers a little to the right with some overlap in the center.

(this is all assuming we are talking about center dowels)
post #7 of 37
........Center dowels don't provide extra support... they only help to prevent tiers from sliding apart ..........

I have been trying to drum this into everyones heads for years now! Thanks for re-afirming it.

One can always put wooden dowels into plastic drink straws - keeping the wood from cake but Kory is right about how many dowels in hardwear stors are treated.
post #8 of 37
You need to remember that there is no realistic safe way to move a 5 tier cake after it has been stacked. You would need 4 weightlifters to get it into and out of a VAN not a car, and a heavy duty hand cart to then move it along.

So you don't need a long dowel (especially not a dirty one from the hardware store...) You need to plan to drive your cake to the site in no less than 3 pieces (if not all tiers separate). Then you can use 3 longish cake dowels OFF CENTER to pin the bottom 3 tiers together.
post #9 of 37
I just remembered why I quit coming to this website.

I sanitize the dowels before I use them.
I wonder where Buddy Valastro gets he's wooden dowels, pvc pipes, plywood or 2 X 4's. Just sayin'
post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by tokazodo

I just remembered why I quit coming to this website.

I sanitize the dowels before I use them.
I wonder where Buddy Valastro gets he's wooden dowels, pvc pipes, plywood or 2 X 4's. Just sayin'



thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif Agreed. All you have to do is to wrap those "dirty" dowels in saran wrap.
post #11 of 37
How are you going to hammer a sharpened, saran wrapped dowel through 4 cake boards?

And the other items like pipes can be run through the dish machine and sanitized; not really applicable with exposed wood.

And tokazodo, you stopped coming to the site because people were giving helpful advice in a clear manner to people who might not realize they were doing something incorrectly? By all means, keep doing things your own way - but that doesn't make it sanitary.
post #12 of 37
Yuch to any musty wood in a cake, regardless of who made it or sanitized it or bathed in Unicorn tears first. Transport in a few sections, or two, like was suggested, stack on site, and no one (especially the serving staff/family) have to deal with a center dowel.
*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
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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 #13 of 37
Dowels sold in hardware stores should never be used in food. All wood sold there is treated with an anti-fungal chemical which is extremely poisionious. Since it is also designed to prevent mold, it's also water and moisture proof, so washing it will not do a thing to remove the chemical. Wrapping a wood dowel you bought at Home Depot in plastic then hammering it thru 5 tiers sounds like total fail to me.

PVC is quite food safe. It's what brings the water to your house.

So is any metal pipe designed to use for home plumbing. Totally safe. Although I was taught to spray liquid silicone over the metal otherwise it can make the cake have a metallic taste. The silicone also seals any joints (if you happen to have any) and prevents any spinning.

If you need to use wood dowels, you should always buy them from a craft store like Michales or JoAnns. That wood is untreated. They also sell 3 feet long ones. I use 1/2" for my 4+ tiers.
post #14 of 37
Thread Starter 
Greetings everyone! I apologize for my absence. My mother had a mini-heart attack but is in recovery. I want to say thank you so much for your helpful advice.

I don't understand how the SPS works. I will do a search and read on it. The tallest stacked cake I've done was a two tier. I used milk shake straws (Bubba tea) as my supports and I used a wooden dowel thru the center b/c I transported the cake assembled and I didn't want it to fall. I do have a wedding cake coming up in October and I just wanted to know how to transport a really tall cake, but now I know to either use the sps system or to assemble on site. I'm afraid to assemble on site for fear that something bad may happen.

Someone mentioned to "use one in the bottom few tiers a little to the left and one in the top few tiers a little to the right with some overlap in the center." and another person said to "use 3 longish cake dowels OFF CENTER to pin the bottom 3 tiers together" but how would that help prevent the cake from falling if the dowel isn't going through all of the tiers?

Don't worry, I won't use the wood from the hardware store. I've been in the one near me and they are not clean at all.

Again, I like to say THANK YOU for everyone's advice. I really appreciate it. Hugs to all!
Angelfire3
A woman is like a teabag. You don't know her strength until she's in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

God Is Greater Than Any Problem That You Have.
Reply
Angelfire3
A woman is like a teabag. You don't know her strength until she's in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

God Is Greater Than Any Problem That You Have.
Reply
post #15 of 37
Assembling on site has maybe a 5% chance of trouble, if you plan to have a helper. You will check the cake table for wobbles before you put anything onto it, and the worst case would then be a drunken guest or running child kind of problem (which is not your doing).

Carrying 5 tiers stacked has an 80% chance of cake crashing type of disaster starting from the table where you assembled it. Table to doorway to steps to van to driving/braking multiple times to site to doorway to table. Please--just because you see it on TV does not mean you should even think about doing it.

The bottom three tiers of a 5 tier cake REQUIRE hard dowels not straws. SPS will do this. You can also buy plastic rods or 1/2" pipes and cut them in a mitre box so they are true and square and all the same length.

The bottom 3 tiers require far more support than a 2 tier cake, or the top 2 tiers of this cake. The dowels have to be placed correctly inside the position of each tier just above, to support all the weight above. On the bottom tier you need 2 circles of dowels to hold the rest of the cake.

In the absence of SPS, you need to pin with 3 long dowels in the bottom 3 tiers because they are by far the heaviest. The top 2 tiers together will be only about 1/4 of the total weight. If the base is solid, then these light tiers are also safe.
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