How To Build A Tall Cake?

Decorating By CakesbyBecca Updated 27 Apr 2008 , 5:01pm by drwendy

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CakesbyBecca Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 8:17pm
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Hi, all! I am a brand new cake decorator. Just finished Wilton's course 1 this week. Dh informed me last night that he wants a lighthouse cake for his birthday in June for two reasons: One, he loves lighthouses and two, he wants to give me a reason to figure out how to do more structurally challenging cakes. So, he wants a cake of several layers, large at the bottom and tapering off as it rises, like a lighthouse. How do I support a cake like that so that it doesn't topple over?
TIA for your help!


7 replies
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mindywith3boys Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 8:27pm
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I would just use the stacking method. Put dowel rods in between each two layer cake. Just slightly shorter than the cake. Tapering the size of the cakes as you go up. I would also put a center dowel down through the whole thing. Just make sure that you sharpen the center dowel. You can also cut a hole in the center of each cake board to help the center dowel go through easily.


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kakeladi Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 9:37pm
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To enlarge on what Mindy said:
start w/2 layers 10" rounds; then 2 layers of 9" rounds, then 8"ers etc until you get as high as you want.
With each 2 layer cake you put in dowels (can be drink straws) before you put the next set of 2 layer cakes on. If you don't need or want that much cake you can always go a bit shorter starting w/a 9 or 8" round, then 7, 6, 5 - each a single layer. In that case you would dowel ever 4" of cake.
Use a cake drum for the base board. NOT Wilton's! They are not strong enough. You could make your own by glueing together 3 or 4 cake circles, making the corrigations run oppisit each other like a +, then the next one like an X etc, Once the are glued together cover w/a grease resistant paper (foil etc).
Once you have your strong base board you can use a center dowel which is tall enough to go thru all the cakes and into the base board.

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CakesbyBecca Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 10:08pm
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Thanks, ladies. I have an embarrassing question (shows how green I really am icon_redface.gif ). You mentioned cake boards between each size. Am I supposed to put a cake board between every two layers? And then, how do I get it all into the shape of a lighthouse, once all the layers are stacked? Do I "carve" it? Sorry if these questions sound dumb. I'm so new at this.


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mindywith3boys Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 11:05pm
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No question is a dumb one. We all started too! Yes. You would make individual cakes. Each two layer cake is on it own cake board. I would cut them down a little bit smaller than the cakes, depending how much you are going to carve away. you don't need to ice the sides of each two layer cake until you have them all together, since you will be carving the sides. But you should ice the tops, just like you would put a layer of icing between the layers of a two layer cake. You can use Styrofoam from the craft store to make a dummy for the bottom layer if you don't need that much cake. Just be careful that you carve the styrofoam separately than the cake. it can be messy. Try not to use green floral foam. I think that stuff makes a mess and I would want it anywhere near a cake I was going to eat. LOL. You can Ice it just like a cake. then just put your dowel rods cut to size (there is a video on cake assembly on you tube that will show you what I mean

) I would separate the layer before I serve them too.

If you have any more question, don't feel dumb! We have all been there.

Hope this helps!

Mindy thumbs_up.gif

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plbennett_8 Posted 27 Apr 2008 , 3:56am
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Didn't Doug actually do a diagram of a Light House? Was it lost in the crash? Maybe go into the sketches section in the gallery and see if he saved it there...

Good luck! icon_smile.gif

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ruthberry Posted 27 Apr 2008 , 1:35pm
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Every time I hear about a tall cake, I think about the golf bag cake....

anyway, I just have a question. how would you cover that with fondant ifyou were going to use fondant?

would you use strips to cover the length of it, use small strips to go around several inches at a time, or would you attempt to cover the whole thing in one peice? and how would you keep it from sliding off?

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drwendy Posted 27 Apr 2008 , 5:01pm
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Ruthberry, I think I would fondant each tier separately, just as if it were a standard tiered wedding cake. Then to hide the separations, I would do some kind of royal piped pattern, or possibly a strip of fondant in a contrasting color to make it look like an intentional design delineate the "floors" within the lighthouse as you would climb up stairs inside. I can't think of any way to do the whole thing in one, and I think vertical strips would be a yukky mess.

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