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Topic: Making a tall cake - how to stack and dowel?
AUMagic 06/24/2009 4:28 PM
I have a question - I'm making a tall cake for my neice's graduation celebration tomorrow, and I wasn't sure how to stack it and dowel it.

It's going to be shaped like an owl, but it's going to have around 4 or 5 - 2" layers on the inside. I remember reading in a book somewhere that any tier that is going to be more than 4" should be doweled on the inside. So, in essence, the cake will go something like this:

2" cake layer, frosting, 2" cake layer, frosting, DOWELS AND CAKE BOARD, 2" cake layer, frosting, 2" cake layer, frosting. Then fondant the whole thing and decorate. Is that right? Or can I stack 4 - 2" layers of cake with frosting in between each layer and fondant the whole thing without worrying about cake boards and dowelling?
Jeanne G 06/24/2009 4:38 PM
It would be real hard (I think) to slice and serve a cake 8" high without any cakeboard inside. When I've done a tall cake I built it as two separate cakes -- bottom half on its board and top half on its board (cut slightly smaller than the bottom of the top cake. Then I stacked them.

When you stack two cakes it is always best to to put supports in the lower cake. So your description -- 2" cake layer, frosting, 2" cake layer, frosting, DOWELS AND CAKE BOARD, 2" cake layer, frosting, 2" cake layer, frosting -- fits. I would probably use sturdy plastic drinking straws as dowels.

It is a good idea to mark the outside of the cake in some way so you can easily tell where the split between the top and bottom cakes is, for serving puposes. Maybe your owl could have an inconspicuous indent pointing to where the interior cakeboard is.

By the way, it is a good idea to cover interior cakeboards on both sides so that they don't absorb grease or moisture and become soggy.

You MUST post a picture of this cake, however you decide to do it!
AUMagic 06/24/2009 4:51 PM
Thank you for your quick and always helpful responses Jeanne. My sister actually made this cake 2 weeks ago for the last PTA meeting of the year, so I can post a picture of that one right now. It was much smaller though, she used the 6" heart pan, made three layers, but stacked them vertically, so we didn't have that same problem. Everybody loved it and requested we make it for the celebration. I told her since there are 90 children, plus teachers, that it needed to be bigger.

I have a question about what you posted though - what do I cover the interior cakeboards with? Waxed paper?

Here's a pic of the original cake (got the idea from a cake book of course, but it fit perfectly because the school mascot is an owl). Wow, messy plate, lol! That's because the one picture was taken with my sister's cell phone - the other one was the "aftermath". We sliced off his backside, so it didn't look so much like a massacre, lol! I will post pictures of the next one as well.
cakes06 06/24/2009 5:03 PM
I agree with what Jeanne said. That cake is adorable.
AUMagic 06/24/2009 5:05 PM
Thank you very much, cakes!
Jeanne G 06/24/2009 5:15 PM
Oh, that is a very cute owl! I can't wait to see the larger version! Post it in the Life Celebrations forum, where it will get widest exposure.

I use freezer paper, shiny-side out, to wrap my interior boards. I keep meaning to try hpjmom's method, which is Press-N-Seal plastic wrap, but so far I haven't remembered that little detail when it counts. I think waxed paper wouldn't be sturdy enough.
cheatize 06/24/2009 5:53 PM
At 8 inches tall, would she need one long dowel down the center that goes through all the cakes and into the bottom cake board?
AUMagic 06/24/2009 6:04 PM
cheatize, you read my mind - I was just thinking of that. I was hoping that since it's all going to be fondanted (is that a word?) together, that it wouldn't, but I'll probably do it anyway just to make sure. The top will be covered by the graduation mortarboard anyway, so it won't be seen.