The New Bakers Dozen
Are dowels needed on smaller tiers

The The Bakers Dozen: Are dowels needed on smaller tiers
By Raine on Monday, April 24, 2000 - 03:10 am: Edit

Good point, about the "professional thing".I did ,after all, work in grocery store.Many of the ones I met couldn't make a rose, have never worked fondant or paste..And making more $$$.Pay based on seniority not skill. I admit, there are things I still need to learn.The school of hard knocks is not always the best way.I find that most bakers and decorators are willing to share info,and have been fortunate enough to work with very skilled people.

By W.DeBord on Monday, April 24, 2000 - 08:20 am: Edit

I had a Scotch wedding where they had his and her family patterns, so they combined them nicely as a overlay on the cake table. It actually looked good, better than having those colors on the cake and still got the theme through loud and clear. I'd just restate possible options like a ribbon cascading down cake or wrapped around each layer with that plaid. I don't think bride really understands how goofy cake will look ten years from now in photos.

d. I've used a center dowel before on tall theme cakes. Just explain support structure to client or person cutting. It works well if the dowel is sharp to pass through layers and didn't create any wierd cutting problems (not all cakes are cut table side).

By Panini (Panini) on Monday, April 24, 2000 - 08:30 am: Edit

We have piped plaid patterns before.They are easier on square cakes, sometimes running one pipe the length.If you have time wrap some dummies with similar color tissue paper and show her what the colors will be like. "like her mom used to make" usually is not buttercream but frosting. Have you piped plaid before?Of course if she is just cheap and can't be pleased refer her. I use the referal system, it seems to work much better for me.Refer her to a very good baker who might educate her some more, and usually they return.

By Raine on Monday, April 24, 2000 - 10:26 pm: Edit

She is bringing grandmother to speak with me tomorrow for final arrangements.Crossing my fingers for a more reasonable attitude(mine and theirs).Definetly going to need a demo.My boss doesn't want me to refer.Guess I'm stuck ugly or not.I have done plaid before ,just not on this scale,and not in these tones.
The overlays are great idea,bride would not be so restricted in design.I usually don't have any say in the table setup,it's mostly up to the caterers or site staff.Can only offer suggestions.

By Raine on Tuesday, April 25, 2000 - 07:32 pm: Edit

I'm stuck with the cheap ugly cake,but with white roses(a small victory for me)To make it worse, she liked the table overlay idea,and will be doing that ALSO.There is no hope for them,they are deeply lost in the tacky forest .
Thank you for the Q&A.

By vbean on Wednesday, June 07, 2000 - 04:09 am: Edit

About the dowel that is sharpened and pushed through the entire cake- well that is pretty commen in California. It is not a "branch", but a 1/4 10 1/2 inch dowel, sharpened on one end to pierce the cake easiliy- yet hold the whole thing together. The "pounding" is not like house building!

By Raine on Wednesday, June 07, 2000 - 12:58 pm: Edit

I'm not trying to insult anybody. But if the cake is supported by the smaller dowels inside, I see no need to waste so much time and effort adding the central support on a basic stack cake. Not even for a delivery. The only reason that much caution would be needed is on a cake with a weaker base,or one that is top heavy.
This must be a technique only taught in schools and brought from overseas. I have never seen or read a book that used this method.
It still gives me the chuckles when I think how ridiculous this must look when being being done... Picturing this delicate master piece with angry chef standing over it with big stake and hammer(ha ha snicker snicker snort)

By d. on Wednesday, June 07, 2000 - 10:26 pm: Edit

Raine, the long central dowel really isn't for support, it's so that the stacked cakes don't shift against each other when being transported. If you're assembling the cake at the site, you really don't need one(or if it's a small two-tier). I use it as a precaution since I'm not able to be at each and every site.

By Raine on Thursday, June 08, 2000 - 08:00 pm: Edit

Okey dokey, I'll just keep throwing caution to the wind. Come on live a little. Just think of what you could do with all that extra time!
You realize, of course, the first time I lose a cake, I'm gonna have to crawl back here and eat my words.
You west coasters are always so worried about shifting and cracking :)

By sunny on Wednesday, August 29, 2001 - 06:14 am: Edit

Hello everyone. Why does all the questions stop in the year 2000. Nobody around for 2001? Anyway the long dowel down the middle of the cake is a technique Wilton teaches their teachers. I was a W.teacher and this is the first time I saw it demonstarted. I was the only one out of 200 people who let out a scream! Never did it on my cake. M.Steward showed it on her show early this year. She has her smaller dowels protruding 1/4 inch above the cakes and set the next cake on the dowels. I have never had a problem with my cakes shifting, but a month ago I was concered with a first time student traveling with a stacked three tiered fondant covered cake. So, once the cakes were on their individual boards we punched a hole from the bottom up through the cake. Same to the top tiered cake. Then we placed a long wooden dowel down the middle. I always roll my wooden dowels in wax paper for sanitary reasons. But let me tell you, we use straws all the time in one of the bakeries I work in. Don't use the large straws as they are weaker than the normal drinking straw (soda straws from McDonalds type). It is amazing how strong they are. I actually like the idea about the dowel through the straw. As long as the cutter knows that the dowels and straws are in the cake.

By Donein2K on Wednesday, August 29, 2001 - 01:37 pm: Edit

Subject was beat to death in 2000

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