Dowels Or Sps? Dummy Tier?

Decorating By Claire138 Updated 15 Aug 2011 , 8:24pm by Claire138

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Claire138 Posted 15 Aug 2011 , 7:18am
post #1 of 10

I am making a wedding cake for a friend & she wants 5 tiers (2 dummys). I've never worked with dummy tiers before so have a few questions for anyone in the know.
The bottom layer is going to be a dummy and the 4th too. Do I need to use dowel rods in them? Also, is there any different way to covering them with fondant (I use MMF) than a regular cake?
Should I use sps instead? I've never used sps before but I have read lots about it & would be willing to try but don't know if the first wedding cake I make should be the one I try it out on as I have no idea how to use them. For example, how come the pillars don't fall into the cake they are resting on? The look is amazing but I can't work out how to do it.
Another thing worrying me is the size of the dummy(s). The cakes will be 6 inch high each one (her demand) yet the dummy(s) I have found are only 3 inchs, should I buy 2 and stick and stack them on top of one another before covering in fondant?
Any or all answers to these questions are much appreciated!

9 replies
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mvucic Posted 15 Aug 2011 , 8:01am
post #2 of 10

Hi there!

I've made two dummy cakes in the last several years. The last one I stacked 2 3" dummies to create 6" high tiers. All I did was use wood skewers to hold them together, greased up the dummies with shortening and covered them in fondant.

As for placing a real cake on a Styrofoam one, I haven't done that yet, (but will ask my SIL who has) and find out if you need to support the Styrofoam. I don't believe she did because the foam is so dense and the weight is distributed somewhat evenly, but when stacking all cake tiers, they are all doweled and there is a cake board between each tier. (see my Leaning Tower of Pisa, lots of dowels and cake boards!). You need to have the next tier on a cake board before stacking or the weight of the cake with collapse onto the tier below even if you have doweled it.

Never used SPS but thinking I should give that a try myself icon_wink.gif


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tracycakes Posted 15 Aug 2011 , 1:53pm
post #3 of 10

I think I can answer your questions but I've done it all myself.

As far as getting a 6" high dummy, just glue 2 3" dummies together or user carpet tape to hold them together. You might need to use a little royal icing at the seam if it isn't perfectly smooth. Then, you can either use water, shortening, or piping gel on your dummies to adhere the fondant and cover with fondant.

The styrofoam is strong enough to support the cake and does not need any dowels. How do I know this? A 6-tier wedding cake this summer and the bottom cake was a fake. It supported 5 tiers with ease. Also, if I can stand on the dummy without problems, it can support any cake I put on it. icon_lol.gif

I use SPS and I HIGHLY recommend it. Again, I delivered the 6-tier cake fully stacked using SPS. I would never do that with dowels. Just make sure your cake tiers are between 4" and 4 1/2" tall. I use a sewing guage to check height. You asked about why the pillars don't go into the cake below. SPS has a plastic plate that the legs go in to. The legs of the top tier will rest on the plate of the cake below. Just like any dowels do, only these are attached and will not fall over. You just need to put your cake on a cardboard and that goes on the SPS plate. Follow the sticky instructions and it'll work fine.

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CWR41 Posted 15 Aug 2011 , 2:16pm
post #4 of 10

On your 4th tier (that's also a dummy), be sure the dummy is on its own board so the dowels in the tier below don't pierce into the styrofoam.

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Claire138 Posted 15 Aug 2011 , 2:18pm
post #5 of 10

Thanks so much for helping me out on this, I'm really nervous bc I've only ever done 2 tiers before and they were both cake.
I'm still undecided about the sps bc although the bride wants a really tall cake bc I've never worked with them before I don't know if I can pull it of. I couldn't sleep last night for worrying about this!

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Claire138 Posted 15 Aug 2011 , 5:57pm
post #6 of 10

Mvucic & Travycakes I've checked out all your cakes and they are beautiful! Mvucic, the leaning tower of Pisa is a work of art (don't think my nerves will ever be steady enough for a cake like that)!.
Traycycakes, I saw a cake that I love the style of on your page, it's the square wedding cake 4 layers but dummy layers in between. I really like that look and think I will try and do something similar (in round) but not as detailed as I am not 'there' yet. What do you use as a base for each cake? Are they balanced on cardboard the same size as the cakes or are they actual cake drums? I'm asking bc I am trying to work out how high to make the cakes bc if it is a cardboard then I won't factor it in but if it's a cake drum then it's a quarter inch, right? I'm worried that the cardboard won't be solid enough to hold the weight of the cake.
I really appreciate the help y'all are giving me.

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imagenthatnj Posted 15 Aug 2011 , 6:46pm
post #7 of 10

You might want to check the last post in this thread. I think cambo has a good stacking method.

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Claire138 Posted 15 Aug 2011 , 7:11pm
post #8 of 10

Thanks, I will check it out.

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cambo Posted 15 Aug 2011 , 7:19pm
post #9 of 10

My ears must have been burning for a reason icon_biggrin.gif I just posted a picture (I hope CakeCetnral allows it under sketches and templates), and it illustrates the pipe flange assembly method I use!

So weird that you're inquiring about dummy tiers, etc., as I have a cake this Saturday that will require three tiers, but each tier to be 6" tall....AND, only half of each tier will now be cake because they have literally half the amount of attendees as they originally I'll be using my pipe flange assembly method with cake AND dummies for the first time; and this is what I plan to do:

Each tier will consist of a regular 4" tall 2-layer cake, and that cake will be sitting on a cakeboard that is then sitting on a 2" tall foam dummy. BEFORE I stack the cakes I have them cored first using a 3/4" circle cutter that will allow for threading over the PVC pipe....see the picture in My Photos. I will also have to ensure that the foam dummies are cored...and use a seamstress measuring tool to make sure you're coring the center of the dummies!

When all three tiers of cake and dummies are cored, stacked and iced, they are then threaded onto the PVC, taking care to place proper supports such as dowels or my preferred bubble tea straws, in each tier, and you will be able to deliver the cake entirely assembled, and when done correctly, wihtout worry of shifting during transit! I was skeptical until I used it the first time, and now I can' timagine using any other system! Hope that helps!

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Claire138 Posted 15 Aug 2011 , 8:24pm
post #10 of 10

Thank you so much for the detailed directions.
Thanks to everyone for your help, now to get started...........

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