Dowel rods perform a simple, absolutely necessary function. Inserted into the lower tiers of a cake, they bear the weight of the tiers above. Without dowel rods, tiered cakes would collapse, layers would smash, ornaments and decorations would fall and break.
Be certain the cake is constructed on a sturdy base made of three or more thicknesses of corrugated cardboard. Base tiers of very heavy cakes should be placed on a fiberboard or plywood base, 1/2 in. thick.
Plastic or Wood Dowel Rods?
Wilton Dowel Rods are available in both plastic and wooden styles. Both types offer food-safe support. The type of dowel rod you choose will generally depend on your preference. However, for a stacked cake, using cardboard cake boards between the tiers, you would want to use wooden dowel rods, which can be sharpened into a point and driven through the board to secure tiers together. Of course, you may reinforce the wooden rods with plastic as well.
Plastic Dowel Rods
Plastic Dowel Rods are wider in diameter and offer
greater stability and more support per dowel rod;
therefore, fewer rods need to be used. They are
easy to cut to size with a serrated knife, and many
decorators prefer their pure white color. They do
take up more cake space, and this should be considered
when planning the number of servings.
Wooden Dowel Rods
Wooden Dowel Rods are cut easily and cleanly using wire cutters, sharp shears or a small saw. They are economical and strong.