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Leaning tower of Piza - help!

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
I 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.
post #2 of 39
By 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.
post #3 of 39

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. 

Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
post #4 of 39
Disassemble. 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.
post #5 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thanks 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!!!!!
post #6 of 39
So 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.
Edited by vgcea - 1/2/14 at 12:20am
post #7 of 39
Thread Starter 
I 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 icon_sad.gif
post #8 of 39
Yes, 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?
post #9 of 39
What size are your tiers?
post #10 of 39
Thread Starter 
Ii 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"?
post #11 of 39
Thread Starter 
12, 10, 8, and 6
post #12 of 39
If 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.
post #13 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your help, will try to fix tomorrow
post #14 of 39

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.

post #15 of 39
I 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:

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.
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