What Is Your Structural Support Of Choice?

Decorating By smitter5776 Updated 6 Mar 2011 , 12:18am by cowie

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smitter5776 Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 6:58pm
post #1 of 22

There are so many options out there. Stress free cake supports, cake stackers, drinking straws, bubble tea straws, wooden dowels, cardboard dowels, plastic dowels, SPS system, PVC pipe screwed onto a wood board. Am I missing any?

I know there's a wedding cake decorator near me that does some beautiful cakes and she only uses drinking straws. She's been doing cakes for over 20 years. She only does buttercream and delivers them completely stacked and partially frozen. (My sister used to work at one of the reception venues and one time a bride broke her cake knife when they went to cut the cake, because it was still frozen.)

I'm curious as to what other people feel confident using. Do you transport completely stacked? What do you put your cakes on (foamcore, covered cardboard)? What do you use to further secure your cake (carpet tape, nonslip material, melted chocolate, royal icing, buttercream)?

TIA for sharing icon_smile.gif

21 replies
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cathyscakes Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 7:05pm
post #2 of 22

I always use sps stacking system, it works great, alot less stress for me.

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poohsmomma Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 7:50pm
post #3 of 22

My cakes are just for family and friends, but they usually have to travel pretty far. I used to use the straws and dowels, and I never had one collapse. However I was always a nervous wreck until I got the cake where it belonged or I heard that it had made the trip safely.

Now I use SPS, and it is totally stress free. Not only do I not worry about the cake traveling, but if I should set a tier on and not quite get it centered, it is no trouble to just slide a spatula under the cake board and adjust with no damage.

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sillywabbitz Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 8:49pm
post #4 of 22

SPS. Thanks to Leah I never even tried dowels. I place buttercream on the plate for stacking and normally tape between the big cake board and the bottom tier cardboard round. I use 2 cardboard rounds under my cakes. It's just easier for me to work with them that way.

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jenmat Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 9:06pm
post #5 of 22

I use stress free supports. Love them dearly.

The key is to find a support system where the "supports" are all attached to each other, so they can't go anywhere. SPS does this as well.

I do use bubble tea straws for my 2 tiered celebration cakes because they're disposable. My thoughts on this is that the straws displace so little cake and have a larger surface area as opposed to wood, that they stay in place better.

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millermom Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 9:36pm
post #6 of 22

SPS--I'll never go back to dowels again!

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chenawena Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 9:54pm
post #7 of 22

I don't want to sound dumb but what are SPS and where can I find them?

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Chonte Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 10:05pm
post #8 of 22

i have never used straws of any sort. i have only used dowels, wooden and plastic, but this bubble tea straw thing sounds like a brilliant idea!!

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TerriLynn Posted 4 Mar 2011 , 7:37pm
post #9 of 22
Originally Posted by chenawena

I don't want to sound dumb but what are SPS and where can I find them?

I'm sort of a newbie and have the same question. I would be afraid of ordering the wrong items without 'expert' advice from CakeCentral!

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cakeflake80 Posted 4 Mar 2011 , 7:55pm
post #10 of 22

I always used straws or the plastic dowels until I had a cake collapse this summer.....even with a center dowel! I ordered a supply of SPS plates and columns the very next day and never looked back! I love it and can't imagine making a tiered cake without it.

SPS (by Bakery Crafts) can be purchased through Global Sugar Art but other places have them too.... You would need the plates to match the size tiers you are making, and then you would need a package of the standard 4" grecian columns. You can buy longer columns if you plan on making taller tiers. Leah has a post about it in one of the forums.

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BCo Posted 4 Mar 2011 , 8:12pm
post #11 of 22

SPS all the way - One cake disaster with wooden dowels and I switched to SPS and never looked back! I do use double sided carpet tape between my plastic plate and my cardboard round under my cake...that puppy is going no where!! icon_smile.gif

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leah_s Posted 4 Mar 2011 , 8:24pm
post #12 of 22

::wipes tear from eye::

Aww, you guys were listening!

Ahem, yes I too use SPS. Oasis Supply is another online source. Search Oasis' site for a coupon code for Cake Central.

The tutorial is a Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating forum. Scroll to page 15 of the Sticky to download the instructions.

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DianeLM Posted 4 Mar 2011 , 9:07pm
post #13 of 22

I love my Stress Free Supports for 3+ tier cakes. I still use a center dowel, just for my own peace of mind, but it's not really necessary (so I've been told icon_wink.gif ). All of my cakes are delivered fully stacked.

I provide my customer with a postage-paid Priority Mail box so they can just toss the supports in and send them back to me. When I receive them, I mail a check to refund the deposit.

Like jentreu, I use bubble tea straws for 2 tier cakes, as well as a center dowel.

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TerriLynn Posted 4 Mar 2011 , 9:58pm
post #14 of 22

I'm ready thru the SPS thread now and I'm so excited to try this. Can it be used on fondant-covered cakes? Thanks, Leah. You are AWESOME. icon_biggrin.gif

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VentureSister Posted 4 Mar 2011 , 10:17pm
post #15 of 22

Definitely SPS.
A big thank you to Leah for introducing us to it.

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cupadeecakes Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 3:01am
post #16 of 22

I have always used drinking straws and have never had a problem. I like to carry cakes cold, but not frozen. When traveling, I will carry a 4 tier cake stacked. If it's 5 tiers, I will usually carry it in two pieces (bottom 3 and top 2).

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leah_s Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 3:42am
post #17 of 22

Yes, Terri, SPS can be used for fondant cakes. *Always* put the plate and leg assembly in while the fondant is soft. It's also more important to measure correctly, making sure the legs are at or slightly above the top of the fondant.

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Sassy74 Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 5:06pm
post #18 of 22

I bake for fam/friends, so I don't do a lot of wedding or multi-tier cakes, but when I do, it's SPS, no question. I got so tired of having to transport 3 and 4 tier cakes in pieces and stress over having to assemble it at the venue, and constantly worrying about blow-outs and collapses. I did a 3 tier (6", double-barrel 9"/12") BC cake for a friend's housewarming, and it totally blew out the bottom tier on the way. The roads were under construction, so it was about 15 min of driving on wash-board gravel...DISASTER. Had to disassemble the cake and just carve it up out of sight of the guests. Never again.

If I'm doing a small two-tier (10"/6") I use bubble-tea straws, but anything bigger gets SPS, and no questions asked.

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cowie Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 11:51pm
post #19 of 22

I have always used wooden dowels and then heard about the bubble tea straws. Used my first straw this week for a cake and loved it. I have a wedding cake booked (before I knew about SPS) and don't have room in my supply budget for them, guess i'll have to remember that for next time. It's a three tier (6, 9, 12) I hope that the bubble tea straws hold up! I'm scared now after reading about SPS. Any suggestions?

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cowie Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 11:54pm
post #20 of 22

Do you guys get the SPS systems back or include that in the price and don't get it back? I was just thinking that I could possibly buy the system and then tell the bride I have changed to a new system (won't charge her a fee or anything extra) and then tell her I need them back because it's like a rental item? What do you think?

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leah_s Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 12:12am
post #21 of 22

SPS is designed to be disposable. Our local Health Dept has instituted new rules about all disposable items. If an iten is marketed as disposable, we are no longer allowed to sanitize and reuse it. Period, even though it's technically possible. For us, this includes icing buckets, plastic containers and SPS. Of course the rules might not be like this in your location.

But really, SPS is cheap! I include an "equipment fee" for every cake.

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cowie Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 12:18am
post #22 of 22

Leah, thanks for the info. I'm kicking myself now for not knowing about SPS before I quoted the cake price. Next time I guess. I live in Ontario Canada and haven't found anyone locally or even in Canada that sells SPS. Everyone around here is use to the cardboard cheapo boards and I even hate using the drum boards because the price goes up and they don't understand why.

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