Assembling A Tiered Cake

Decorating By tammik Updated 23 Oct 2006 , 2:42pm by tammik

tammik Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
tammik Posted 14 Oct 2006 , 9:33pm
post #1 of 17

These may seem like silly questions, but I just would like to know what everyone else does?

Everytime I set up a tiered cake I always have problems setting the tiers without getting my fingers in the icing (buttercream) trying to set the layers down on the tops of the cake.
Does this happen to everyone? Does anyone out there have any great tips on how to limit this problem?

Do you buy the cardboards that you use on the tiered cakes or do you cut cardboard and cover them with foil? Just wondering what everyone does.
If you do cut the cardboards yourself, how do you get them to fit perfectly under your cake?

16 replies
Katie-Bug Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Katie-Bug Posted 14 Oct 2006 , 9:40pm
post #2 of 17

Okay, I know that this may seem wacky..but this is what I do. I take the cardboard and trace the pan, upside down and right side up. You know how they have the lip on the top, I trace that and then inside that circle I trace the bottom of the pan. This gives me enought to hold on to, but I can still hide it with a border, well most of the time...when I do it right! icon_biggrin.gif
When I drop the cake onto the bottom cake, I hold it with two fingers, set the back down, and pull my fingers out....down it goes! I'm sure my way is each his own! icon_biggrin.gif How about you?

knoxcop1 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
knoxcop1 Posted 14 Oct 2006 , 9:54pm
post #3 of 17

I've heard of people letting the dowels stay up "above" the cake, and then when placing the top cake on, it sinks them down.

I don't know, though; seems like that wouldn't hold 'em up long enough, either--but I'm waiting to try it! icon_razz.gif

I buy the pre-made circles, and trim them just a wee bit. Seems like they're always about 1/4 inch too big. Which means my icing would be like 1/2 inch thick on the sides---way too much!

Great questions--I'm interested to know how others achieve that "finger free" look, too! thumbs_up.gif


tammik Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
tammik Posted 16 Oct 2006 , 12:27am
post #4 of 17

Those suggestions were terrific. I do usually let the cake "plop" from back to front but I still get those finger markings sometimes. I'll really try your way with the back to front idea.
I also trace the bottom of the pan for the cardboards.
My problem is I just did a cake that only had ribbon around the bottom - no borders anywhere. It just wasn't perfect around the bottom and it really bothered me. I also have 2 more like that. One of them gets ribbon and the other one get nothing. These brides now days are doing some strange stuff in regards to wedding cakes, I think. They are very simple but sometimes simple is really hard, you know.
Thanks again for your answers.

Katie-Bug Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Katie-Bug Posted 16 Oct 2006 , 12:36am
post #5 of 17

I agree! Simple is hard! Oh, border at all! I'm thinking I have seen some people use spatulas and hold the cake and drop it and then slide them out. I haven't tried it,but it might work... icon_confused.gif
Happy Baking-Katie

Joannah Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Joannah Posted 16 Oct 2006 , 12:48am
post #6 of 17

I trace the pans and then cut inside the edges so they won't be to big. Also, if the cake is bc and each layer the same color, I assemble and then ice the whole thing. If different colors, I use a spactula and hold my breath!!! I'm certainly no expert, so I'm really curious to know the "best" way too! If there's an easier way - I'm all for that! icon_biggrin.gif

BeautifulCakes Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
BeautifulCakes Posted 16 Oct 2006 , 1:24am
post #7 of 17

Use one of those Wilton plates in between tiers. Lets say you have a 10" cake at the bottom and a 6" cake on top. Take two 6" cake circles and tape them together. Then cover the 6" cake circles with the Wilton foil. Fill, frost and decorate your 6" cake on this board. Once your are done decorating your two cakes refrigerate them over night. Next day take a 6" Wilton plate place it in the center on the 10" cake and press lightly. Place the dowels or whatever you normally use in the cake for support. Put a little of buttercream to use as glue and place 6" plate on top of the 10" cake. Transport your cakes to their destination. Take some buttercream put on top of 6" plate to use as glue, then place the 6" cake on top of plate. Add borders and other decorations acoordingly and you are done.

Having a large spatula does help!

indydebi Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
indydebi Posted 16 Oct 2006 , 1:33am
post #8 of 17

I always do final assembly at the site and add my borders there. When it's a non-tiered (like when I use the free-standing acrylic stands, I still take extra icing with me for touchups and fixes. I've never delivered a cake already assembled .... I'm in awe of those of you who do that!

Darstus Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Darstus Posted 16 Oct 2006 , 1:41am
post #9 of 17

I have used a spatula to ease the tier down which works but I still manage to get my fingers in the icing sometimes. I recently found a HUGE rounded spatula type thing at William Sonoma. It is about the size of an 8 or 9 inch cake with a handle. I will slide it under my cardboard, carry it to the table then ease the tier off slowly while pulling the spatula out. This has been fantastic for me to use. I know some people that are so comfortable they sorta just PLOP the tier on!!!

I use precut cardboards but usually have to cut me squares. I use the bottom of my cake pans to trace the size but find they are often too large. I will place my layers on the board and use my utility knife (used only for this) to trim away any excess.

I always take any repair icings I may need. If I get my fingers in the icing or mess up the bottom edge, I can usually fix it. Even if there is no border, I usually manage to repair it using the icing and my spatula.

JaneK Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
JaneK Posted 16 Oct 2006 , 1:56am
post #10 of 17

I had pretty well the same question a while ago and was given some excellent advice from jmt1714 which I have passed on to a few others who have asked me...
It worked really well on a stacked cake I made... see what jmt1714 said


Forum Addict

Joined: May 12, 2006
Posts: 638

Posted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 12:37 pm

practice, mostly. all of us have had the same issues. one thing I read on here that really does work is to have the dowels not quite stuck all the way in . . . cut them the length they need to be, but don't force them all the way down - leave an ince or so sticking up. when you put the next layer on, you'll have a the tiniest bit of time to withdraw your fingers and the weight of the cake will drop the dowles into place. And don't be afraid to let the cake "drop" a bit - they are tougher than you think they are. Just don't put fragile decorations into place until the cake is stacked.

tcturtleshell Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
tcturtleshell Posted 16 Oct 2006 , 2:00am
post #11 of 17

I do my wedding cakes exactly how knoxcop1 explained it. I keep my dowels (I use plastic dowels now not wooden ones) sticking out about an inch or two. The cake is on a cake board smaller then the cake & wrapped in foil. I set it lightly on the dowels & let it sink in by itself. Some days it doesn't want to sink all the way but it will sink after I put the final dowel in.. I use a wooden dowel (sharpened like a pencil at one end) to go through the center of the whole cake. I hammer it in when I'm finished stacking the cakes & that makes the cakes settle down & fit perfectly~

When I first started decorating I was terrified to deliver a cake fully assembled but now that's how I do it. I use non-skid/slip shelf paper (I think that's what it's called) to put the cake on & I use a huge box that is several inches wider then the cake & higher then the cake. I get my boxes at the U-haul place. I put the shelf paper under the box too. The cake ain't going anywhere! icon_smile.gif It would take a major wreck to tear my wedding cakes up~ So far so good~ thumbs_up.gif

tammik Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
tammik Posted 16 Oct 2006 , 12:55pm
post #12 of 17

Great advice from everyone! Thank you. I do trace the cardboards and cover them with foil. But, I usually get them a little bit too big and for that cake that I did on Sat. with no borders or anything - I really had to use my icing to repair after I set each tier. I don't feel comfortable taking the cake already assembled. For one thing I couldn't carry it myself and I'm usually alone when I go but I did assemble one that only had to be taken up the street and my husband helped me carry it in. That was really nice. I'll just keep working at it. The dowel rods sticking up sounds like a great idea. I'll try that this weekend. I really hadn't thought of doing that. I don't put a rod down the middle though. I just don't feel like it's a necessity for me.
Thanks again for all the advice.

Sugarbean Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Sugarbean Posted 16 Oct 2006 , 2:07pm
post #13 of 17

I too do the big spatula trick...icon_smile.gif

tcturtleshell Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
tcturtleshell Posted 16 Oct 2006 , 6:15pm
post #14 of 17

The reason I put the dowel down the middle is so that all layers are together & it gives it that added support for the center of the cake. Also making the boards a little smaller then the cake helps you do the spatula trick easier too. I use both tricks in one~ icon_smile.gif

tammik Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
tammik Posted 22 Oct 2006 , 9:56pm
post #15 of 17

I wanted everyone to know that I set a tiered cake this Sat. and I left the dowel rods sticking out then set the cake down on them and pulled my fingers out. Wow, that worked so nicely. That was a wonderful suggestion! I also had to use homemade cream cheese icing. It did turn out pretty good but thank goodness it wasn't supposed to be white because it was pretty creamy colored. It was smooth though and very tasty.

tcturtleshell Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
tcturtleshell Posted 22 Oct 2006 , 10:47pm
post #16 of 17

Tammik, Glad to hear stories like yours! Glad it worked for you. What works for some people might not work for others. Creamcheese icing is to die for! Yummy! Yes, it's an off white color. I always add white coloring to it.

tammik Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
tammik Posted 23 Oct 2006 , 2:42pm
post #17 of 17

I've never seen white coloring. But, the cake was supposed to be cream colored and the side cakes were the cream cheese so all was well.
Thanks again.

Quote by @%username% on %date%