Properly stacking tiers

Hi, I have just joined as a member, however, I have enjoyed helpful posts here for a long time. I need help with stacking tiers properly. I have used straws, which doesnt seem to be too sturdy to me unless I use a large amount of them. I don’t like using so many straws, as it seems a mess to have that many holes in a cake. I recently started using plastic dowels. My problem is cutting them the right height and cutting them straight. Can someone please share the correct way to measure the height of the dowels? Should they be just below or even with the layer of icing OR even with the cake itself? Also, how do you get them even all the way around? What cutting tool do you use. I use a serrated knife…the results are ugly I tell ya.

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16 Replies

Jenniffer White ...

I use drinking straws and I have never had a problem, but I know a lot of people don’t trust them. Bubble tea straws work very well too. I try to make my cakes as level as possible before doweling. Once I insert a straw I cut it flush with the iced cake. Then I remove it and use it to cut the rest. If your supports are different lengths, your cake will always be “off”. If there is a little space between the straw and cake, just fill in with buttercream. Since I use straws I just use scissors to cut, but when I have used plastic columns in the past I used garden pruning shears (that I bought just for that purpose). Good luck!

3DSweets ...

I use drinking straws, too, with good success and stability. I use one straw for every 1" diameter on the pan (8" cake gets 8 straws) and locate them just inside the edge of the cake they’ll support. I’ve not stacked larger than 10", but I’m guessing I’ll get paranoid and add a couple of more nearer the middle when I do. Jenniffer’s measuring & cutting technique is the one I use.

lolobeauty ...

Thanks so much ladies. Jennifer, I’ll try the garden shears. 3DSweets, I ALWAYS get paranoid and add more straws.

lolobeauty ...

Thanks so much ladies. Jennifer, I’ll try the garden shears. 3DSweets, I ALWAYS get paranoid and add more straws.

Priscilla ...

EXTRA LARGE BOBA STRAWS!! You can order on Amazon.com I really like them I found them useful while watching a YOUTUBE video of Krazy Kool Cakes a girl named laura gices a tutorial and stacked her cakes I decided to try & love them.. Easy to cut… TRY THEM!!!

lolobeauty ...

Thanks MiVidaSweets

TheCakeBar ...

When I first started stacking I used wooden dowels .. but those are equally annoying to cut… when I learned of the bubble straws I stuck with them… never had an issue yet ( knock on wood)… I too insert my first straw and pinch it where it meets the top of the cake … take it out and use it for measuring the rest of my straws. I only use 4 under an 8’ and 2-3 under a 6’ .. HTH

kathy ...

I usually use woodne dowels but after reading this I think I will try the straws. One question though, do you put a center support in the middle going thru all the tiers and what do you use for that? You can’t use straws as they can’t be Tapped thru the cardboard on stacked cakes.

TheCakeBar ...

Ladybugcakes … yes you must use a wooden dowel for that

Tiffany Palmer ...

I use bubble tea straws and regular drinking straws. If I have a 4 tier cake, I will use plastic dowels for the very bottom tier and then bubble tea straws for the rest. I always skewer or dowel stacked cakes. If it’s a small 2 tier I just use two skewers, if larger I use a sharpened dowel. I have a saw I use to cut the plastic dowels but someone mentioned buying a pvc cutter before. The pruning shears sound like a great idea too! Check out Edna De La Cruz’s video ‘How to stack a cake my way’ on you tube, great tutorial.

Bakermama ...

Great idea on the pruning shears, yay!

Sarah F ...

I either use wooden dowels or the plastic dowels depending on the cake. I put one dowel in and mark it with an edible pen to just at the top layer of the frosting though I always cut it just a smidge shorter. I used to use scissors but it took forever. I now use a serrated knife, especially on the plastic dowels and it works perfectly. Once I have one cut, I use that one to measure out the others needed before sticking them back in the cake.

Nikki Belleperche ...

I use smoothie/bubble tea straws. I love them. They are easy to cut, brightly colored so a client wouldnt miss them while pulling apart their cake, and cheap! I havent had any problems with them strength wise. The thickness of them makes them quite strong. But for larger cakes (very heavy or very tall) I use the the wilton plastic dowels and plates that lock together since I don’t use center dowels in my cake. To cut the plastic dowels I use a pvc pipe cutter that my dad picked me up from the hardware store. Its small and SO easy to use. All you have to do is put the dowel in the blade where you want it cut and squeeze the handle until it cuts through! Simple clean cut every time right where you want it!

Since I always use them in fondant cakes I like to measure the dowels JUST taller then the cake. To do this I stick the dowel in the cake and mark it with an edible food marker. Then I pull it out and cut it and stand my cut piece with the next dowel, mark it even and then cut that. Continue until all dowels are cut and stick them in the cake. The entire process is really easy and never takes me long. If you cut your plastic dowels too short the plate from the next tier can crush your cake and crack your fondant. I learned that the hard way!

lolobeauty ...

Thank you all for the advice. CorpseQueen, I always have trouble cutting the dowels the exact height they need to be. They are always a tad too short or too long. So frustrating because I always have to end up adding a border to cover the area. Anyway, I’m still fairly new at this. Practice, practice, and more practice. I will get it. I have to…I love this sooooooo much.

Donna Tokazowski- Cake Hatteras, Hatteras N.C. ...

I love, Edna De la Cruz! This is her youtube video for Stacking. Hope this helps!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvaCSW78ybc