teenykat, I had my PVC pipe cut about an inch shorter than my finished cake would be. Assuming my 3 tier cake has 4" tiers, I would cut the pipe to 11". The top layer of cake only gets cored part way through, but since the top tier is on the pipe for 3/4 of its height or thereabouts, it stays stable.
I use a lot of straws. It depends on how big the tier above is. I mark off where the cake will sit, and go around the circumference, maybe an inch inside the circle, and put in a straw every couple of inches. Then I add some to the center, again how many depends on how big the upper cake is.
The pipe is use is 1/2". The straws, while big for straws, are still pretty small. Not a lot of cake is displaced, certainly not enough to warrant concern about serving sizes.
ok you can call me an idiot I don't care - but---is there an instruction sheet to make this? I am just not getting it. I get the milkshake straws still need to be used in cake but not getting instructions on how to make this thing. If it is on the forum somewhere, can you direct me???? Many many many thanks!! Tami
Tami, Cami's directions and pictures are on the first page of this thread. That's about all the instruction sheet that's available. I added some pictures a little farther down the thread. The straws support each tier but the PVC pipe keeps the whole cake stable and stacked.
This is the thread you need. On page one of this thread, Cammie posted pictures. You need a circle of plywood or MDF. You need a flange. You need a PVC coupler for the flange (same size. Some people use 3/4", some use 1/2" flange and coupler.) You need PVC pipe of that diameter. The pictures are there so you know what to get. Worse to worse, print them and take them to the home improvement store. They will help you. They will cut the pipe to the length you want. You might want to have a few sizes to fit on different cakes - two tier, three tier, four tier. I had mine cut to an inch less than my cake's likely total height.
Picture 1 - the flange attached to the wood
Picture 2 - the coupler
Picture 3 - the coupler on the flange
Picture 4 - the pipe attached to the coupler and flange
Picture 5 - how the foam core boards are cut
At home, screw the flange to the center of the wooden circle. Measure to make sure it is dead center. The couple fits onto the flange. Just put it on. No tools needed for that. The pipe will fit right onto the coupler.
Cammie also posted pictures of the foam core board. The bottom one needs to be carved out to fit over the flange and coupler. The bottom cake will need to have a slightly larger hole in it to fit over the flange and coupler. The other tiers only need a hole that is as wide as the pipe.
Hopefully between the pictures, Cammie's explanation, and this one, it is all a little clearer to you. When you have all the pieces in front of you you will see how they all fit together.
I finally made it through this whole post and feel like I have an idea how this should work. I do have a couple of questions, though. Pardon my ignorance. This is my first tiered cake, and I'm terrified! First, the coring of the cakes. It sounds like a messy process, and I fear it would end up getting crumbs all over the place. i do like CDJ's idea of coring the cakes using the cored cake boards as a guide. I like the idea of being able to dam around the hole to keep my filling somewhat intact. All in all, though, as you thread the cakes onto the pipe, have you found that you end up with crumbs all over the tier below? I can just see myself with a hot mess of a cake the day before the wedding! Also, I plan to use foam core for my cake boards, which should add 1/2" to the height of each tier. Without the use of a border, how would I "cover" the 1/2" gap that will be created between tiers? Lastly, if my tiers should be approx 4" tall, I'm assuming that I need to add in the 1/2" for foam core board when determining the length of pipe needed. Is that right? Geez. Can you tell I'm new at this?!
I use some cannoli metal formers to drill my holes in the cakes using the cored cake boards as my guide..and I leave the former in place while I am filling and crumb coating my layers..gives me something to hold on to.
There are minimal amount of crumbs that come loose when threading the cakes onto the pipe and if the butter cream is well crusted they can be brushed away..and if you are using fondant the same applies.
If you are using fondant you can just bring your fondant down to cover the foam core board so no border necessary..with butter cream you might need to add a simple border or perhaps use some ribbon to match the theme.
Right about measuring and adding in the height of the foam core boards.
Hope this helps..and believe me I felt the same way I used this technique for the first time..but you will love it..
I keep looking for Ginny's cannoli formers that will work with my 1/2" pipes. In the meantime, using a long knife is working. As Ginny says, crumbs during the threading process are pretty much a non-issue, but there is some mess involved in the coring. Do it over a cloth that you can then shake out and toss into the washer.
For the cake boards, just treat it as cake. Ice it to the bottom of the foam core. I do that before I thread it on the pipe. You'll need a big spatula to lift it. When it is on the pipe and down to maybe an inch or two above the lower cake, move your fingers and just let the cake slide the rest of the way.
I think this is brilliant and I can't wait to see if I can get what I need here in the uk and give it a try. I have only just joined the forum and it has been so helpful. I always use fondant so also going to have a go at a bc cake with smooth sides!!! I can't believe the amount of info just in this one thread. Thanks everyone.
Bought my pipe and flange but held back on the wood. Wanted to ask how much bigger to make the wood base from the bottom cake tier. Cami's pics show her's is larger than the cake. Gmoakes pics (also on page 1 here) look to be smaller. Which do you use, and by how much? For example, if your bottom cake tier is 12", what size wood board would you use?
Next question for cami - You mentioned in another post (around Aug, 2012) related to pipe/flange that you were going to post an update. Is that here somewhere? I think it had to do with some plates you were using.
I have the assembly in 4 sizes. I go 2" bigger than the cake. So a 16" cake would go on my 18" board. If I were to need a bigger base as part of a design, I would do that, but my minimum is 2".
I remember Cammie saying she was tired of cutting the foam core for the bottom tier and was going to do something else. I haven't seen any posts or pictures of anything new though. I haven't seen a post from her in a while, but now that wedding season is back I'm sure she will be too.