Dowelling Vrs Sps

Decorating By Cathy26 Updated 6 Apr 2010 , 6:01pm by Rosa2745

Cathy26 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Cathy26 Posted 1 Nov 2008 , 6:14pm
post #1 of 18

Hi guys, ive been researching dowelling and SPS and am still uncertain as to which to use. I've noticed that the Confetti Cakes book uses dowels as does the Wilton site, etc but then i can understand why the SPS System is more sturdy.

The problem is i live in the uk and the only place selling SPS is ebay which charges £14.99 postage and £6.00 for the plate. obviously that is not cost effective for me so i was wondering how many of you just use dowels and also what do you use to seperate the tiers - cardboard cakeboards?? im making my first two tier cake for my goddaughter's first birthday and dont want any disasters.

Also how do you transport a dowelled cake? i take it it needs to be boxed in seperate tiers as there is nothing holding the tiers together?


17 replies
MichelleM77 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
MichelleM77 Posted 1 Nov 2008 , 9:57pm
post #2 of 18

I can't give you any advice as I just did my first tiered cake and used SPS, but I found it pretty easy and I felt comfortable doing it. I'll bump you back up to the top and hopefully someone will help. icon_smile.gif

bashini Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
bashini Posted 1 Nov 2008 , 10:04pm
post #3 of 18

Hi Cathy, I'm from UK too. When I do tiered cakes, I use dowels. Never ever used SPS system. And I use the silver thin board under the tiers. And a cake drum for the bottom tier. And when I stack them, I use a little bit of Royal Icing to stick it together. I always transport my tiered cakes already stacked. You can buy cake boxes for tiered cakes from lot of cake decorating shops.

HTH. If you have anything please feel free to ask. thumbs_up.gif

MichelleM77 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
MichelleM77 Posted 1 Nov 2008 , 10:12pm
post #4 of 18

I don't know how you guys do it! I was a nervous wreck delivering my cake with SPS and I didn't put it together until I got to the party house! I sat in the back with the cake while hubby drove. I would have had a heart attack had the cake been together already. Yikes! Brave, brave souls.

luelue1971 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
luelue1971 Posted 1 Nov 2008 , 11:14pm
post #5 of 18

I just started using SPS about 3 months ago. Before I always used dowels and it seemed that by the time I got the cake to its destination it was alway leaning. With SPS it doesn't but I make sure that the cake is the height of the tier so I don't have to cut the legs because that is hard.

I'm not sure of the conversion rate but that does seem expensive. Alot of people use bubble tea straws and consider them to be sturdier than the dowels because they have a hole in them so they're less likely to move.

kakeladi Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
kakeladi Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 12:44am
post #6 of 18

As luelue said, I would suggest bubble tea straws if you can get those. I would trust those **way!** before dowels.....I always hated working w/dowels icon_sad.gif
How avaiable are Wilton products for you? YOu can do something similar to SPS using Wilton plates and their 'hidden dowels' - which are hollow plastic tubes.

ladyonzlake Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
ladyonzlake Posted 6 Apr 2010 , 2:56am
post #7 of 18

Luv SPS. I've transported a 4 tier cake with it....5 tiers was way too heavy for me to carry. I had help carrying the 4 tier.

marisworthit Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
marisworthit Posted 6 Apr 2010 , 3:13am
post #8 of 18

Flimsy sticks make you comfy, and sturdy unbreakable SPS makes you nervous. Interesting.

leah_s Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
leah_s Posted 6 Apr 2010 , 3:48am
post #9 of 18

Michelle, why would you be nervous with SPS? It's designed for consumers to transport cakes on their own. You know, the sort of people who travel with cakes on the car seat, or wedged into a corner of the trunk. There is no reason to be nervous with it.

madgeowens Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
madgeowens Posted 6 Apr 2010 , 4:02am
post #10 of 18

I use those long hollow white plastic dowels of wiltons....

peg818 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
peg818 Posted 6 Apr 2010 , 12:17pm
post #11 of 18

I use dowels- the wooden kind. the key is they must be inserted straight and they must be cut straight. I deliver cakes already stacked, i like to refrigerate first as a cold cake transports much easier then a room temp one.

I have used the sps,(just never remember to order them) and yes they are very easy to use, but if it is cost prohibitive for you then you need to learn to use the dowels. JMO

dalis4joe Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
dalis4joe Posted 6 Apr 2010 , 12:33pm
post #12 of 18

Hi.... I have used both... I prefer SPS.... and I always stack my cakes here and deliver them stacked... either doweled or sps'ed....

Cake Alchemy Girls (We's Amazing Wedding Cakes) they dowel all their cakes.... 5, 6, even 7 tiers high... and they assemble most of their cakes at their shop and deliver them assembled...

the key to dowels is to cut the all the same size... make sure the dowel are supporting your top tier, not the cake... and if yo do... as someone said here... I think it was leah... you can have cotton candy as your bottom tier and still be able to stack a cake...


leah_s Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
leah_s Posted 6 Apr 2010 , 1:11pm
post #13 of 18

That cotton candy remark is true, but wasn't mine. I liked it though!

PS SPS is NOT cost prohibitive. You just add the cost to the order. When I explain that "this is the sturdy system that's inside your cake holding it up from the inside. Without it your cake will fall down." The ONLY customer response I ever hear it, "Oh yes, I want that!"

Rosa2745 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Rosa2745 Posted 6 Apr 2010 , 1:45pm
post #14 of 18

I like sps. I wouldn't go back to doweling....ever. I used to deliver three teir cakes with dowels and it was the most nerve recking thing. When I delivered my first sps stacked cake I was amazed at how sturdy the cake was. It wouldn't move or shake or anything. I usually ask people to return them to save on costs. Some do, some don't. Either way they are not too expensive to replace and they can be averaged into the cost. I order from Oasis supply. They are pretty inexpensive. Pros for me are a sturdier cake, no cutting dowels, quicker stacking time, and being able to place plate and center correctly before inserting sps columns. The only cons for me are making sure my cakes are the correct height and getting the board to puncture into the center of the plate. Other than that it's great!

tarheelgirl Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
tarheelgirl Posted 6 Apr 2010 , 1:57pm
post #15 of 18

I add it into the cost of the cake. When explaining that I use this system and why the extra cost my customer has never had a negative reaction. Especially if you explain it the way Leahs does.. without it your cake will fall down. To me its cost effective and honestly you couldn't put a price on the security of knowing your cake will make it safely to its destination!

leah_s Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
leah_s Posted 6 Apr 2010 , 2:03pm
post #16 of 18

Rosa, are you remembering to punch a hole in the cardboard first and then enlarge the hole with a skewer or knife point or something?

cai0311 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
cai0311 Posted 6 Apr 2010 , 5:44pm
post #17 of 18

This past weekend I did an experiment with cake.

I had two cakes, each with two tiers. One was stacked using bubble tea straws and a dowel down the center. The other I stacked using SPS. The cakes were driven 2.5 hrs away and I drove with my usual style (about 10 over the speed limit while weaving to miss pot holes).

Both cakes arrived at the destination in perfect condition.

I felt more secure using the SPS system, but I didn't like that I would always have to have a border at the bottom of each tier. From here on out, SPS will be my "go to" way of stacking unless the cake design will not allow for a border.

Rosa2745 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Rosa2745 Posted 6 Apr 2010 , 6:01pm
post #18 of 18

Leah usually I do punch the hole in first but sometimes I forget. That's when I'm in trouble.

Quote by @%username% on %date%