"Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality. "
- Alfred Painter
So when you receive an order what do you do first, start collecting material, running from pillar to post to make the ends meet, complete the order and ushhhh….done!
Have you ever thought about what should be the first step of after receiving an order? Well, it should be sketching and planning. Once you receive an order, make it a practice to sketch the design of your cake on a paper. If u can make use of some colors great, else a pencil sketch can serve the purpose. Sketching the cake will give you an idea of how the cake should look, the element on which you will have to work before time (Gumpaste Flowers/Toppers), any ingredients if missing in stock. That’s not all, at this stage itself you can decide the use of separator boards and dowels to take the stress out of traveling with a tiered cake. Whilst it will specifically help to prevent cakes from toppling over during transportation. So let’s see the thumb rules for stacking and doweling.
Cake Boards / Separator Boards
Cake boards play an important role in a stacked cake, they not only assist in stabilizing but also makes it much easier to place each tier onto the cake. There are pre-cut boards available in the market, but if you wish to keep low on budget you might as well cut the cake boards, make sure they are the same size as the cake layer (or else the board will show). It is also important to make sure the material of the board is sturdy and won’t bend easily.
For smaller layers — 6 inches or less — you can stack 2 cakes on 1 board. Do not try to stack more than 2 layers. Before putting the cake layer’s onto the board, lightly place the next cake board on top of the previous cake layer to make an outline; this way you will know where to place the dowels, making sure they are actually under the next layer.
Dowel it up
Making a stable foundation out of dowels for the cake is not difficult. You can use either wood or plastic dowels depending on what is available or your preference. The thumb rule is to use 1 dowel for every 2 inches of cake. For example, an 18-inch cake will require at least 8 dowels and a 10-inch cake will need at least 6 dowels.
Depending on the budget, availability, and preference you can opt for plastic or wooden dowels. But when it comes to huge tiered cakes wooden dowels are always preferable. You can also “sharpen” the wooden dowels making it easier to puncture the cake and the cake boards. You can sharpen the dowel with a pencil sharpener or even a sharp paring knife. Any cutting or shaping to be done away from the cake to avoid the risk of sawdust or debris marring the cake.
Whether you are using wood or plastic, you should wash and dry the dowels before inserting into the cake. It is also best to cut all of the dowels for each layer before placing any into the cake — this way, you can make sure each dowel is cut to the same length. Dowels should always be inserted straight up and not at an angle. Dowelling becomes easy in a chilled cake.
When inserting the dowels into the largest tier, you should start by putting one in the center of the cake; then place additional dowels a little inside the circumference where the next tier will sit (so the dowels are below the second tier).
Also, if you are giving or selling a tiered cake to someone, for safety reasons, let them know that there are support rods inside the cake, just in case they like to get silly and smash it. Most people do not know how tiered cakes are structured, so tell them ahead of time that they’ll need to remove the support rods before smashing or serving.
The above steps and tips are only guidelines. We advise to, use more dowels rather than less!! Happy Stacking!