Hi all - I'm new here :) I've been making cakes for friends and family for a few years now, but have been helping my mom make cakes for nearly all of my life.
I thumbed through the archives and didn't see my specific question answered. Hopefully someone can give me some advice :)
Only recently did I discover the center dowel trick for tiered cakes and it works extremely well for me. However, I've now started working with cake stands and that means no thick bottom base to anchor my dowel into. Given that my cakes will only have a single layer of cake board underneath them now, is there a way to assemble my tiers at home, secure them, transport, and then simply drop onto the cake stand on site and add any needed finishing? My cakes always travel thoroughly chilled. Having someone hold the cake in the car is almost never an option for me as well - just a flat load floor and grippy mat to work with.
I had to assemble a cake on site on Saturday because of a stand and boy, I had to haul half of my kitchen with me. I'd really like to avoid this.
Also - just slipping a quick question in - I have my first four tier cake this week. I've made several three tier cakes and they've been no biggie, so one more tier doesn't seem like much of a stretch. Do I need to do anything special or do I just give each layer boba straw supports? I will only stack and dowel the bottom two tiers ahead of time - don't want to risk a heavy cake down my stairs.
Could you not work with a thick bottom base anyway? I've seen lots of cakes, wedding or otherwise, with thick bottom bases (we call them drums here in the UK) that are on cake stands.
If you're only using a single layer of board underneath each cake, I don't think it will be easy to move the stacked cakes from your house to your car, and from car to venue without some trouble. Will the single layer of board hold the weight of all the cakes even with dowelling/straw supports? I think your only option then would be to travel with cakes unstacked and stack on site.
Even with a stand, most decorators use a thicker cake drum. This allows you to easily & safely move the cake around AND to drive in a sharpened central dowel. For this purpose, the drum can be very close to the exact size [and color] of the bottom tier--only 1-2" bigger than that tier--unless the design dictates that it be a decorative element or platform for a decorative element.
I know this decorator personally and, as in the pic below, she uses a thick drum for every cake--and nearly all of her wedding cakes sit on stands.
I always used a cake drum on the bottom - always. It doesn't matter if the cake is sitting on a plateau. Of course, I also always use SPS, not a center dowel.
Thank you for the advice. I didn't see how it could be possible to skip the drum but wanted to check with the experts. It's too late to stack Friday's cake ahead of time, but now I know for future cakes :)