skip to content

FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $60! *Limited to domestic U.S. orders only.

Discussion Forum

Topic: How to stack a 4 tier fruit cake?
jkate 02/13/2011 4:41 AM
Hi there, I am a total beginner to cake decorating other than the usual kids birthday party cakes. I am making my daughters 4 tier wedding cake that is a VERY heavy fruit cake (in this part of the world, fruit cake for weddings is the usual thing) and covering in marzipan and rolled out icing (again the usual thing).
The cakes are 12, 10, 8 and 6 inch and will be covered in flowers in the form of a chain be wound around the cake.
Two questions please, what would be the best way to stack this weight of cake, almost all the videos are to stack what we call sponge cake thats soft.
Also how far ahead could I make this please. My guess is being fruit cake I have a couple of weeks to decorate, or try to anyway!
scubabaker 02/13/2011 7:00 AM
I have recently started using the Single Plate Separator system by Bakery Crafts. It's inexpensive, easy to use and very sturdy. The pillars are available in several sizes and can be cut down if you need a custom length.
MARIE J 02/13/2011 8:33 AM
I grew up with fruit cake for special occasions !! Love the stuff (I'm from the UK originally !! ) now in the US and the stuff here is terrible - sorry to anyone who likes it !!

You don't really need any supports in the cakes themselves, since they are so heavy and dense, they should be able to support their own weight if you are only doing a couple of layers !! Otherwise, take a look here, it should help you some !!

I've made fruit cake as far ahead as a couple of months - depending on what/how much alcohol you put in it !! (the alcohol will preserve it !! )

If you're not using any alcohol in the cake, I would bake a week or so ahead of time !!

Good luck !!
jkate 02/13/2011 2:31 PM
Gee thanks for that, yes the fruit is soaked in a cup of brandy for a week before I make the cake, then each big tier will get about a quarter of a cup the second it comes out of the oven. I do that and roll the top flat at the same time, works very well. I wondered if i could get away without any supports, my Christmas cake got dropped to the floor and apart form dust was perfect!
Scubabaker i will look into those, thanks, Marie, I find it interesting that these sort cakes are so popular for weddings when they give such a soft base to work on. I guess not everyone likes fruit cake, but it works very well in the heat here in Australia, anything with butter or cream would be spoiled in a matter of minutes here in summer, chocolate mud cake is sometimes used but usually that will have rum in to help keep it too, yum!
MARIE J 02/13/2011 3:14 PM
LOL jkate !!

I know what you mean !! I have the heat in FL where I live now !!
MARIE J 02/13/2011 3:18 PM
Have you ever tried using sherry? That's the alcohol I prefer to use - works great !!
jkate 02/13/2011 3:19 PM
No but i will try sherry,thanks. Its well into the 30'sC here today with 90% humidity, just perfect for working in the kitchen NOT lol
selina 02/14/2011 2:38 PM
you shouldn;t need any supports in your fruit cakes, but just in case you want to go with some, use 1/4 wooden dowels, just 4 per layer. each cake will be on its own board too. no need to get the sps that is used alot in the US.
jkate 02/14/2011 3:02 PM
Thanks selina, yes I will have each tier on a thick sliver covered board. Are fruit cakes much used in the US, here its fruit for weddings and Christmas (mostly)

cupcake_123 02/15/2011 7:52 AM
jkate - I bake my rich fruit cakes 3 months before they are needed and "feed" them brandy each week for the first four weeks. I normally would decorate them in the week running up to the wedding but there's nothing to stop you doing it sooner than that as it should keep well. The only thing would be that if the cakes are marzipanned and iced before too early then the icing may get a bit dry and hard.

When you cover the tiers with marzipan, don't use cornflour to dust your worksurface as this can react with the marzipan and cause it to ferment. Use icing sugar (confectioners' sugar) that contains no cornflour/cornstarch - it's sometimes mixed in with the icing sugar to prevent it all clumping up.

As for support, I would use 4 dowels - plastic or wooden but always foodsafe - in each of the 12 inch and 10 inch tiers and 3 dowels in the 8 inch tier. I know that the cakes are quite firm but the marzipan and icing are not quite so firm and the tiers will tend to sink into these a bit. It will also stop the underside of the cake boards from sticking to the icing and lifting it off when the tiers are separated when cutting the cake.

P.S. Be very careful if the flowers are real ones that they won't cause any problems if they touch the cake - pesticides, poisonous varieties, etc.
jkate 02/15/2011 4:17 PM
Thank you cupcake, I never knew that about marzipan and will do what you say. I will use gum paste flowers, I will have to set the cake up at 7am and come home to get dressed, hairdressers etc and wont return to the venue till 4pm so need to know the cake cake will be still looking good!