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Cake decorators? Advice needed

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I think I have the cake I want to decorate for my daughter's birthday this weekend.



The concern is, you arrange 3 on top of 4 square cakes. My experience with things like this is that the cake can get heavy in the middle and sink.


Do you think this will hold up or would some support between layers be necessary? If so, how much, what kind, and where would you suggest I place it?


P.S. Many comments on the site suggest a heavier cake recipe, like a pound cake. I'd like to avoid this if I can. It will be eaten by a lot of guests who will be a bit more picky on fluffiness over effect.



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DH is a professional baker. He says use shishkabob sticks (you can find them in hobby lobby, craft stores, baking stores, probably even wal-mart; they're wooden) and push them into the bottom layer of the cake where the corners of your top layer will be. Place a piece of cardboard on top of that, and cover it with wax paper before setting your top layer on that.


Make sense? Good luck!

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You already got great advice, I just wanted to add a bit more details.

You can also use other things as support: chopsticks leftover from a dinner out, heavier-duty drinking straws (mostly for the lighter cakes), or dowels that you can buy at the hardware store or a home center. The chopsticks are nice-heavy duty and usually free. The dowels are very nice because you can be very specific about what suze you want. Both of those supports can be cut with sharp pruning shears or a sharp serrated knife or a hacksaw. You take the length of dowel, push it in the cake at each corner where the upper cake will sit. Mark the dowel where the top sticks out level with your frosting on the bottom cake. Carefully pull the dowel out, and cut it to the mark. Make 4 more pieces that same exact length, and then push one into the same spot (but not the same exact hole) you used for measuring the depth of the first dowel. I usually put on in the center also, just in case the board your upper cake is on starts to sag. Once the dowels are in place, you drop the upper cake into place. Do this for each cake you're stacking.


One question I have though...I usually stack large cakes on-site so that I don't have to try and lift/transport a huge cake all at once. This requires finishing the borders around the edges of each cake on-site as you stack them. You can dowel each cake before you leave the house, but finish them when you arrive at the party location. It's also easier to serve the cake this way, but I'll tell you about stacking the cake before moving it, just in case you have to go that route.


You'd do everything already described, and then you'd take a long dowel, sharpen the end with a pencil sharpener (or whittle it to a sharp point). Then you stand on a chair and pound one long length of dowel through all of the cakes after they're stacked. This sounds really hard, and sometimes it is, but this way the stacked cakes cannot slide from side to side in the car. When you want to serve the cake, it's a bit harder, because you can't just lift each cake off, but you've got to do that center dowel if you stack the cakes before you go. If you have to do the center dowel, make sure you make the cake ahead enough that you can chill it thoroughly in the fridge before you have to move it. I find that having the cake and icing chill after you've stacked it helps the whole thing to be a bit more stable. Oh, btw, if your cakes are pretty big, you'd want to use a dowel that's a size or two up from the diameter of a pencil.


As for the cake boards, you've got a choice to make there too. If I'm stacking on-site I like to use foam-core board instead of cardboard. It's much sturdier than the cardboard. If you're stacking the cake ahead of time (at home) you need to use cardboard because that's the way you can pound the dowel through the whole cake. It is important to cover the cardboard with waxed paper or butcher paper (my fav) because uncovered cardboard can either 1.) impart an unusual taste to your cake; or 2.) soften up from the moisture and make your cake unstable.


I know this probably sounds like a lot to follow, but it's just a step-by-step thing. You'll be fine! I've done dozens of stacked cakes, and not ever had one fall. Okay, one was close, but still....a stacked 4 tier buttercream-frosted cake out in the sun in 104* weather? (picture me begging..."but you said the cake table would be in the shade!!"):001_huh:


Make sure you take lots of pictures when you're done, and maybe even as you make the cake (it's fun to look back). -and let us know how it went too!


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I can grab some wooden dowels today since I'm going by WalMart anyway and I know they have cheap ones. I'll look at cardboard options. The ACE in the area also has Wilton products but I didn't want to spend that much. Their stuff is costlier than a Walmart dowel but they may have some of the glitter or other nice touches. A Cinderella would be nice, if I can find one of those.


I need to bake these cakes in advance since I won't be home that morning. Would it work to bake, freeze, then transport, and assemble still semi-frozen? Wouldn't that make icing and stacking a bit easier? I will have time for it to thaw there. We'll be there a good couple hours at least before we eat it.

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The only cake I've ever had come close to falling was a cake that I baked, doweled, and then froze. Evidently, as the cake thawed, the dowels became a bit wiggly in their holes. Yikes! :eek:

As long as your icing recipe is non-perishable, you can bake a day ahead and just leave them in boxes in a cool room.

If you're not sure about your icing recipe, you can still do it a couple of days ahead and keep in the fridge.

Baking the cake ahead and freezing is also great, just don't do the dowels ahead of time and then put the cakes in the freezer. Do the dowels when you take the cakes out. You may have to use a small mallet to pound in the dowels if the cakes are frozen.


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