How Do I Transport A 3 Tier Cake?

Decorating By amybunce Updated 28 Mar 2013 , 9:50am by kanderson27

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amybunce Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 5:06pm
post #1 of 22

I'm diving in and doing my first wedding cake. It will be 3 tiers stacked on each other. All buttercream. I have an SUV. I don't want to make this and have a flop in the car. Help!

It will probably be 14, 10, and 6. I'd rather do 12, 8 and 6, but I think the other would look better.

Will I be able to carry it? How do I move this cake? Am I attempting the impossible?

Thanks, cake experts!


21 replies
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Cakepro Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 5:20pm
post #2 of 22

OF course that's not impossible. Relatively speaking, that's not a big cake.

Refrigerate the completed cake overnight, lay down no-skid rubber drawer liner in the back of your SUV, blast the A/C at full power, and go! icon_smile.gif

That's my procedure. The only disaster I had was with a non-refrigerated cake and one dowel in the base tier that was too long.

You will also either need to carry a trolley/cart with you or make sure the venue where you are delivering the cake will have a trolley/cart downstairs ready for you to use. You should also have a friend with you to help you lift the cake and get it positioned on the table.

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Onome Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 5:21pm
post #3 of 22

You are not attempting the impossible. I just transported a three tier buttercream cake last Saturday. This is what I did. I stuck two wooden skewers (dowel rods if you prefer) down the middle of the already assembled three tier cake for stability. then I put a non slip mat in my trunk and put the cake on top of the non slip mat. At least you have an SUV so you can see your cake in the rear view mirror as you drive. Make sure to put the non slip mat under the cake so your cake does not move around. I bought mine from Walmart and it was gotten from the drawer liner section. Also drive a little bit slower than you do and do not take any sharp turns or slam on your brakes real hard.
I hope this helps.

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lisa5573 Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 5:22pm
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Are the cakes stacked directly on top of each other, or are you using pillars to separate them?

If they are stacked directly on top of each other, you would probably be fine driving with it all stacked. Just make sure to put a dowell through all of the cakes (down the center) and drive the dowell into the bottom cake board so it doesn't shift.

Even better-Can you stack them at the location? That is what I would personally do. You could always bring a pastry bag of icing with you to do any last minute touch ups, and the bottom borders.

This cake would also be very heavy and be hard to carry if it was stacked.

Good luck!

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pattigunter Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 5:23pm
post #5 of 22

I've never had a problem transporting a multi tiered cake. I put the nonskid shelf liner underneath and go. Just drive slowly, watch the turns and brakes!

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juleebug Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 5:24pm
post #6 of 22

How far are you transporting and what is the condition of the roads you will be driving on? I transported a similar cake 20 miles to the top of a mountain IMMEDIATELY following a snowstorm.

Yes, you can transport this cake without problems IF you dowel it properly and drive carefully. Also, use rubber shelf liner under your box to keep it from sliding. Place large pieces of styrofoam around your box to take up empty space and also prevents sliding.

That's all I can think of at the moment. Good luck.

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amybunce Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 5:28pm
post #7 of 22

Thanks for the helpful replies. What kind of dowel do I use? Is there a special cake dowel or do I go to Lowes? Like it says by my name, I am truly a newbie!

What kind of box will it fit in?

Should I used foam board for the base? How many layers.

I won't have room to refrigerate it. I don't have a commercial fridge. But I won't have milk in the icing.

Thanks for holding my hand! icon_smile.gif You all are great! I love this site.

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juleebug Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 5:35pm
post #8 of 22

Amy - if you've never doweled a tiered cake I would suggest you read this first:

The dowels and cake boxes are sold at cake supply stores or in the wedding/crafts section at Wal-Mart.

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debster Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 5:37pm
post #9 of 22

You'll do fine follow the above advice, do use the shelf liner and I use the Wilton dowels. I sharpen one end either with a knife or an electric pencil sharpener and hammer 2 of them through and it's amazing the strength it gives. I've sent 3 tiered B-day cakes home with people like this and they say it was a piece of cake. thumbs_up.gif

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juleebug Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 5:40pm
post #10 of 22

OOPS! Forgot to mention sharpening the dowel. Thanks debster.

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stephaniescakenj Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 5:41pm
post #11 of 22

You should seriously try to make room in your fridge to store it. It makes it nice and sturdy for transport. I just use the regular wilton dowels for my center dowel. Use a pencil sharpener to sharpen the bottom so you can hammer it all the way down into the board. You have stacked a cake before, right? You know all about support structure, etc? for the base, you'd definitely want something sturdy. I can't be sure but I think wilton makes those cake drums big enough to support such a large base. Usually I make my bases out of cake boards, maybe 4 or 5 of them glued together and covered. As for your sizing... if 12, 8 and 6 are enough cake, why not go with that? I think that would look fine unless you need more cake and have to bump up to a 14 in base.

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shelbync Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 5:57pm
post #12 of 22

Hey, all the advice seen here is great, but just for added caution, I use my blinkers when delivering large cakes and also have car magnets that say, Handle with care and Caution,,, "Cake on Board" I got these through for nearly nothing. The Flights of Fancy cake I just added to the 3D decorated Cakes forum was 4 tier on a plateau, and it was transported nearly 100 miles round trip with other displays and it was fine. Have Faith,,, You can do it!!!!

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amybunce Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 6:34pm
post #13 of 22

No, I haven't stacked a cake before. I am really diving in, but I think I can do it. My aunt used to make wedding cakes but she always used the columns and separaters. I like the look of stacking on top each other. She is guiding me also, but all of your advice is great. Keep it coming.

Oh, I am traveling around 20 miles with it, good roads, urban.

They want it to serve around 100. Is the 12, 8 and 6 enough cake? I have the guide by Wilton and it adds up to 92 by that.

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Gale Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 6:55pm
post #14 of 22

A few extra tidbits... are they cutting the top tier; this affects the serving number. Also, don't forget you have to put each tier on its own cardboard before you stack them. Personally, I don't stack any tiered cakes until I deliver them. (Just for my own peace of mind.) Always take extra icing with you just in case something gets messed up.

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amybunce Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 9:18pm
post #15 of 22

Gail, question about the cardboard under each cake. Even when they are stacked on top of each other without the pillars? How does the dowel go through the cardboard?

Everyone, does putting it in the fridge make it sturdier to transport? If so, I will rearrange the fridge and take a shelf out to get it in there.

I think I am almost ready. Thanks so much. I couldn't have done it without you!

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JodieF Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 9:24pm
post #16 of 22

Sorry...but forget about dowels! Use SPS...single plate system. It's very inexpensive and MUCH safer than wooden dowels. There's a sticky by LeahS with all the info you'll every need:

SPS is very stable. A center dowel will tear through all your cakes if it starts to tip. I'll never use wooden dowels again.


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amybunce Posted 19 Mar 2009 , 12:49pm
post #17 of 22

I studied your suggestions, read the stickys, read instruction links and I am ready. I see I asked some silly questions (how do you get the dowel through the cardboard)...

Thank you all for your patience and guidance. I am doing the cake today. Still a little nervous going into new territory...fear of the unknown. I didn't sleep well last night and I'm sure I won't tonight - not until this cake is done and delivered safely!! And I'll have my first wedding cake under my belt! icon_smile.gif

Thanks again,


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jammjenks Posted 19 Mar 2009 , 1:20pm
post #18 of 22

You have rec'd some great advice here. I just wanted to add that we should NEVER buy dowels from a home improvement or hardware store. These contain chemical treatments that can seep into the cake and have actually made people sick before. Just a word of caution in case someone may read it and didn't know before. Always use food grade dowels if you use the wooden dowels for support.

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amybunce Posted 19 Mar 2009 , 1:33pm
post #19 of 22


On the same note, someone suggested using cardboard cake round between the cakes and I read this in the tutorial. Are they sanitary without covering them? Can I put the cake right on the cardboard designed as a cake round? This is my plan for tier 2 and tier 3, and to cut the hole and put the dowel (food grade icon_smile.gif) through.

Next time I might use the SPS system. I see some people swear by one and some the other.


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jammjenks Posted 19 Mar 2009 , 3:06pm
post #20 of 22

Yes. Those cardboard rounds are food grade and do not have to be covered. Some people do cover them as a preference, but I never do.

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amybunce Posted 21 Mar 2009 , 3:46pm
post #21 of 22

Thank you so much, everyone! It was a success. Here's what I did from your wonderful advice:

I got the rubber slip mat for the back of my SUV.

I took the cake in 3 pieces and assembled it there. I need more confidence to take it assembled.

I used cardboard cake rounds between the 2nd and 3rd tier. I didn't forget the holes!

I used dowels for support on the bottom and 2nd tiers - a circle of them.

I used a sharpened center dowel that went through all 3 layers, hammered it through the bottom layer first, then inserted the 2nd and 3rd tier on the dowel.

I couldn't have done it without you!

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kanderson27 Posted 28 Mar 2013 , 9:50am
post #22 of 22

AYou can order tier cake boxes from They are sturdy and help protect the cake from moving. I don't know of another company that sells these kind of boxes but check them out. They won't disappoint.

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