The New Bakers Dozen
need wedding cake advice - how to stack

The The Bakers Dozen: need wedding cake advice - how to stack
By Hellothere (Hellothere) on Friday, May 10, 2002 - 07:15 pm: Edit

hello everyone,
i'm pretty new to the pro. baking scene and even newer to the wedding cake scene - actually, i've never done one before, but i'm going to attempt my first next month. i've been practicing making wedding style cakes - experimenting with different frostings/filling & piping borders, flowers, etc. - but haven't had a chance to try stacking them, as there no practical purpose for making a large tiered cake in a low volume restaurant/bakey (other than to get the practice). i'm a little nervous about attempting my first stack with the actual wedding cake, but seeing as how i probably won't get a chance to make a practice tiered cake, this is probably what i will end up doing. i was just wondering if someone with experience in the field could give me some detailed advice on the matter. i've checked out a few cake books, but they don't go into too much detail about stacking the cakes. As i understand, wooden dowels are shoved into the cake, the top of the dowel cut level with the top of the cake, then the next layer of cake (on a cardboard round of course) is set on top of the dowels. the problem i see with this is that there is nothing holding all of the tiers together. It seems like the tiers could just slide off of the dowels or topple over when being moved. Should the bottom of the cardboard rounds be touching the frosting of the tier below? What keeps the dowels upright other than the cake that surrounds it? how does one move the assembled cake? any advice on stacking (or on any aspect of making a wedding cake)or book suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanx.

By Thebaker (Thebaker) on Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 05:57 am: Edit

I use straws (not the bending kind) to hold each level
place the cake circle on top then the cake more straws then the next level until you are totally stacked.
when you are done stacking then you drive one long wooden dowel( with the sharp point) down into all the layers,
that should keep them all together.

By Pastrycrew (Pastrycrew) on Sunday, May 12, 2002 - 04:40 am: Edit


I use chop sticks if I'm just stacking a cake on top of one another. (Get a pair of wire clippers to cut them with. Safer and a lot quicker than a serated knife.) There's enough support to stack 5 tiers without worry. If you are separating the tiers, I would check into coast or wilton plastic stands. Wilton makes a book with diagrams if you wanted to go that route.

If you aren't going to transport the cake any long distance gravity does a pretty good job holding the cake together. The last place I worked we made up to 5 tier wedding cakes and would set them secure in a cart and shipped them off in a rental truck. Only had one shift slightly out of all the cakes we made, we never used a center support (might be a good idea?)

For rolled fondant cakes I smeared a VERY small amount of glucose on the top of the layer so the next cake would "glue" itself on. I just assemble the cake where the bottom of one layer is resting flush against the top of the other.

Hope this helps,


By George (George) on Sunday, May 12, 2002 - 09:18 am: Edit

If you make a big cake, even with dowels, chopsticks or straws it really helps to let it sit in a frige or walkin overnight to let the frosting set and firm up as a kind of concreat to keep it all together.

I worked for a lady who was always late for everything and had a nightmayer occur trying to move a freshly made cake.


By Hellothere (Hellothere) on Monday, May 27, 2002 - 07:53 pm: Edit

Thank you for the advice everyone. Using chopsticks or straws instead of dowels is a great idea since the dowels that one might find at the hardware store may not be food safe (although it probably isn't a big deal).
I'm definitely planning on refridgerating the cake since I'll be using an all butter (as opposed to shortening) buttercream, and wouldn't want all the decorations to melt.
Thanx again for the help!

By Spaolo (Spaolo) on Tuesday, June 18, 2002 - 12:15 am: Edit

The best way, since we don't want loose those things into a slice of cake once it is served, is to use chocolate batons, slightly longer than the first layer cake height, use them just as tiny column inside the cake, You can use as many as You like, and they can hold all the weight You can imagine.

By Ladycake (Ladycake) on Tuesday, July 16, 2002 - 06:21 pm: Edit

I transport cakes over rough mountain roads and have found the straws work well. But I never, repeat, never, transport a stacked cake. I take an insulated bag with me with extra frosting, bag, and tips, and stack the cake on site. I then pipe the decoration at the join on site. I have not found the need for a center post, but would recommend one if you are transporting the cake stacked. I also strongly advocate a short time in the freezer before transport, especially if you are using butter buttercream.
Hope your cake comes out well!

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