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Topic: Help needed for a stacked 5-tier cake
Linda11707 02/05/2010 12:17 PM
I've only done a couple wedding cakes in the past, but would like to do a large 5-tier stacked cake for my brother's wedding, but I have some concerns about the construction... a co-worker of mine told me a horror story of a large stacked cake she had made that fell over during the reception because her cake boards had absorbed moisture from the cake and had bent. She told me to wrap my boards in plastic wrap, but I also found moisture and grease proof cake boards at the craft store. What kind of cake boards should I use to construct this thing so I don't have a catastrophe? Are wooden dowels sturdy enough to use???

Thanks for your help in advance... I'm a first time user in this forum, but it looks awesome from what I have seen so far!
cakes06 02/05/2010 1:05 PM
Wow, that's a big project. I haven't done any larger than a 4 tier and I use two cardboards between tiers. One is already under the cake and the other one, same size, is placed on the lower tier after it's dowelled and frosted etc. Also, it's easier in the stacking process when having that extra board. There have been times I have used hidden pillars, cut off to fit the height of the tier as you would wooden dowells. Then, the plastic separator plate fits right into those pillars and makes a good base for the lower tiers. Those pillars would also serve as the supports so no others would be needed. You wouldn't need to use that system for all the tiers however. For the upper tiers, bubble tea straws with smaller McDonald-size straws inside of them would work and to support the very top tier (which is usually a 6") just McDonald size straws are sufficient. I use the bubble tea straws w/small straws all the time for the two lower tiers and haven't had any problems. In your case with a 5 tier, I think it might be better to use that hidden pillar/plate or wooden dowells for that bottom tier.

Take all the tiers separately to the venue. Don't pre-stack them at home. That's a huge liability in my opinion. You can take frosting with to pipe on borders after they're stacked together. Having that extra cardboard between tiers helps to keep your fingers out of the frosting. I use a sturdy pancake turner under one side and my hand under the other side and slide the upper tier onto the cardboard. It's very simple doing it that way. The greaseproof cardboards would be the best.

Hope this helps. More questions, please feel free to email me. Dana
happy2bake 02/08/2010 3:03 PM
Cakes06, how do you put the 2 cardboards together if you put one on top of the bottom tier and the 2nd one is underneath the cake? would you use icing to "glue" them together? I know it may sound like a stupid question but I'm wondering. I am trying to learn as much as possible before making my niece's wedding cake--not due til October, but trying to understand early so I won't stress out when the time comes. Thanks for your help!!
cakes06 02/08/2010 3:42 PM
I don't put any frosting or anything between cardboards. I just lay the bottom cardboard on the lower tier and then slide the upper tier on (at the venue) I've attached a pic to give you a visiual. That particular cake just had a 8" sitting on top so that's why the cardboard is smaller. Please don't feel like your questions are stupid. I'm here to help any time. You can also email me if needed. Dana
sweetgrandma 02/08/2010 4:18 PM
dana...I haven't used the two cake circles together before...Looking at your picture there seems to be a space between the circle and the bottom cake....Is the circle not actually touching the cake?
cakes06 02/08/2010 7:30 PM
sweetgrandma ~ yeah, it does look like that but actually by the time the upper tier gets put on, the weight of it will press down the cardboard.
happy2bake 02/09/2010 3:53 PM
Thanks Dana. I think I see now how you do it. It seems like that would actually help to see to center the upper tier as well. I find that when I'm trying to put mine on top of the other one, sometimes it's hard to see all the way around to center it perfectly. Thanks for helping!
hrmcknight 02/12/2010 7:38 PM
sorry but im having trouble understanding this. If you use two pieces of cardboard wouldn't there be a big gap between to layers?

I'm having trouble with a gap and i only use one piece of cardboard. it seems 2 would make it worse. The other problem i have is getting my fingers in the icing and messing up the bottom of the tiers. with this problem on the cakes with no borders its especially noticeable.
cakes06 02/12/2010 9:25 PM
I've never found that there's that big of a gap but I do have to pipe on a bigger border where the tiers meet together. Having that extra cardboard already sitting on the bottom tier helps keep your fingers out of the frosting when placing the upper tier on. Just use a sturdy pancake turner under one side of the tier and your hand under the other and slide it on. It's also safer having that extra cardboard because the one under the cake tier tends to get kind of soggy which would make the setup more unstable when resting on the dowells below.
cakedujour 02/13/2010 7:02 AM
You can also have the dowels/supports sticking up a little bit to leave room for your fingers. The weight of the cake will settle them back into the cake where they will be unseen, and you will not have messed up the icing with fingers.
Tillsy 02/25/2010 9:59 PM
I've never used dowels before and am wondering what keeps the cardboard or plastic cake plate from shifting when cutting and serving the upper layers of the cake?
cakes06 02/25/2010 11:14 PM
They're not going to shift or go anywhere. When cutting a wedding cake, the top tier is taken off and set aside to save and then the next tier down gets cut and on down from there. The cardboards aren't going to slide apart.
dottiepark 02/26/2010 7:57 AM
What cakedujour said. I leave the supports (straws or dowels) sticking up about an inch and then I let the weight of the next tier push them in the rest of the way. No sticky fingers or smudgy tops! However, I did learn the hard way that the supports have to be in PAST the filling (to the bottom layer) or else they may go askew.