Practising Tiers And Stacking

Decorating By Rosemary7391 Updated 17 May 2017 , 2:13pm by Rosemary7391

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Rosemary7391 Posted 16 May 2017 , 10:51am
post #1 of 10

Hi everyone,

I'd like to practise making cakes with more than one tier, but I don't want to end up with ridiculous amounts of cake to try and give folks to eat. Would making 2 tier cakes with 2 layers in each be reasonable practice ahead of making larger, 3+ tier cakes with more layers? Obviously I'd practise the latter at full size at least once beforehand! I'm also not sure if it's a bit daft to make tiered cakes for birthdays etc? At least if they're small it won't be too crazy!

Thanks for your opinions :)

9 replies
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640Cake Posted 16 May 2017 , 12:19pm
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Buy styrofoam can practice, take pics and then start over, without having to find a home for a ton of cake.  As far as tiered cakes for birthdays - depends on your area/customers.  I have quite a few customers that do not like tiered cakes for birthday parties.  They find single tiers or sheet cakes easier to handle.

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Rosemary7391 Posted 16 May 2017 , 12:30pm
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Thanks 640Cake. I was mainly wanting to practise the actual stacking/support bit - I'm happy enough with covering them in fondant and piping, for now at least, and I can practise that on smaller cakes too. I only do this for fun, not money so don't have to worry about customers thankfully! I would like to be able to offer to make wedding cakes for friends though. That's why I want to practise with tiered cakes I guess - plus they look pretty!

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CakeKiki Posted 16 May 2017 , 2:37pm
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Some shelters and children's homes will take cakes if you have anything like that in your area.  Gives you practice and helps them out, too.  

I make tiered cakes for my young grandchildren's birthdays and love them!  The higher the better!  

Do practice any tier over 2 layers.  Once I started doing three and four layer tiers I found it was a whole new ball game.  Keep your cake cool as you fill and stack the layers.  That helps mine stay stable a lot.  And don't fudge on cake board and straws/dowels.  Makes so much difference.  

I watch tons of YOUTUBE videos to catch suggestions and watch it happen before I try.  That helps me as I'm a visual learner.

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Rosemary7391 Posted 16 May 2017 , 6:05pm
post #5 of 10

Thanks CakeKiki, that's really helpful. I'll certainly look into organisations that might appreciate a cake, I already take some to church for the various things that happen there but could broaden that a bit.

That's interesting about the more layers being different. So I'd be better to practise making say 2 tiers of 3 layers each than 3 tiers of 2 layers each? Thanks for the tips!

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CakeKiki Posted 16 May 2017 , 7:51pm
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For me, I have 2 layer, three tier under control - so that one isn't a worry for me.  But recently I had trouble with 3 and 4 layer 2 tier.  I didn't realize I would need structure in 4 layer tier itself.  I almost had a crash after I applied buttercream flowers on the 4 layer tier - so will definitely use structure in a any tier over 2 layers now.  Especially if it will have heavy decorations.

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Rosemary7391 Posted 16 May 2017 , 8:26pm
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Oh, I never even considered that a single tier might need supporting on its own! Thank you, I'll definitely look into that.

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SandraSmiley Posted 16 May 2017 , 8:31pm
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For what it is worth, I even use three or four dowels on my one tier cakes that have as little as two torted layers, just for stability if I am traveling with them.  Like CakeKiki said, there are tons of videos on YouTube and lots of cake blogs on stacking tiered cakes.  A rule of thumb is to use one dowel (or straws) per inch in diameter of the cake that will be resting on the dowels.  Example:  if the bottom tier is 10" in diameter and the second tier is 8", use 8 dowels in the bottom tier to support the second.  The heavier the cakes, the larger the dowels should be.  I usually use 1/2" wooden dowels in my bottom tier for a three or four tier cake.  For the upper tiers, a smaller diameter may be used and I sometimes use large straws instead of dowels.  If transporting a stacked tiered cake, I always use a central dowel all the way through the cake, anchored into the cake board.  So far, no disasters.  It really isn't as hard as you might think.  Good sturdy cake boards and a lot of dowels!    

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kakeladi Posted 16 May 2017 , 10:34pm
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Other places that might appreciate tiered decorated cakes are police and fire stations.

You definately need to support any and all of the lower tiers that other tiers are stacked onto.  I have used plastic drink straws for cakes 4 tiers high  (w/each tier 4" tall/2 layers of cake). Don't overload the lower tier(s) w/support.   I remember someone on here once saying they use one dowel every 1" - that's *WAY!* too many.  A good example is to use 1/2 the # of the pan size.  Lets say the upper tier is a 12" going on a 16"er you only need 6 (or at most 8 - not 12) dowels.  And *NEVER!* put any in the center.  In that 16"er (w/a 12"er going on it) mark a 12" circle on the top, then put the dowels about 1" in from that - evenly spreading them around.   That is how it's done no matter how many tiers go over that 12"er.   Of course, you do similar w/the 12"er - whatever it is supporting mark a circle that size and spread dwels around the circle.   

A center dowel all through all the tiers is o.k. - just not as part of the support system.

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Rosemary7391 Posted 17 May 2017 , 2:13pm
post #10 of 10

Wow, thanks for all the tips! I think I just need to get on and try things out for myself. My birthday is in a couple of months so that's a good excuse to invite folks to mine to eat cake ;) after that I'll need to work out the transport logistics - I don't drive, so anything I take anywhere has to be *really* sturdy! But I'll look out for nearby/easily accessible places that might appreciate it. Thanks again !

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