This simple tutorial provides a quick and easy way to lend stability to tall, stacked cakes using cardboard and dowel rods.
I realized how necessary it is to provide structure and support for stacked cakes when I made my little girl’s first birthday cake. It was elaborate and tall, and as I stacked layer upon layer, the whole thing started to sink into itself! I had to take the entire cake apart, cut up some cardboard, cut some pens in half (necessity being the mother of invention and all that), and start stacking the layers with some added support. So that others don’t have to learn the hard way like I did, I decided to provide some basic tips for tiered cake construction.
Next you’ll need cardboard. You can recycle boxes that you have around the house, or you can use actual Cake Board for this. Set your cardboard aside for later.
Frost the first layer and allow the icing to form a crust.
Now ice the bottom layer of your cake and allow some time for the frosting to harden. If you don’t give it enough time, all of your frosting will stick to the cardboard support layer when the time comes to remove it.
You’ll want to choose pressure points when deciding where to place your dowel rods; I would suggest all four corners for a square or rectangular cake, or several outer points for circular cakes. Also place at least one or two dowel rods in the center area of your cake. To measure the dowel rods, simply place the dowel rod in the cake and mark the proper height with a pencil. Be sure to place the dowel rod in the same spot that it will go later in case your cake is an uneven height. Cut the dowel rod with a steak knife (perfect for plastic rods), or a small Hand-held saw. This can take some serious elbow grease, so be prepared. Then place your dowel rods in your cake.
Insert dowel rods in weight pressure points.
Place cardboard or cakeboard on top of the bottom layer.
Now cut your cardboard to size. You’ll want it smaller than the actual size of the cake (you don’t want cardboard peeking out from the side of your lovely creation!), but you’ll want to be sure to cover all of the dowel rods. If the next layer is going to be smaller than the bottom layer, shape your cardboard to the size of the smaller layer.
Stack your second layer, and repeat the process if necessary.
Place the next layer and repeat the process if necessary.