Tips on How to Stack Cake Tiers Without Breaking Them

Stacked cakes or tier cakes are really beautiful and can look dramatic. Tier cakes consist of many layers and can be quite heavy. Thus, it is important to ensure the cake has a firm foundation so that the cake would not “sink” when it is stacked up.

stacked cake

Stacked cakes are usually created with different size cakes placed on top of one another. No matter how many cakes you are stacking, it is good to vary the sizes of the cake anywhere from two to four inches difference. This creates more variation on the cake and breaks the monotony of a same sized tier cake. Stacked cakes, especially highly stacked cakes, need to have more stability that can be attained by cake boards and dowels on each cake tier. To have a stable, successful tier cake, use cakes that are firm and dense such as fruitcake or carrot cake for the base. Remember not to use “light cakes” such as sponge cakes or mousse cake as the top tiers would sink down. Stack the cakes after frosting the cake so that no cracks would form on the cake. Alternatively, allow the frosting on the cake to settle and firm up for at least 2 days before stacking the cake to prevent the icing from cracking.

If you intent to use dowels to get the stability for the tier cake, you can choose from a variety of different dowels such as plastic or wood dowels. Larger cakes require more dowels and plastic dowels tend to be wider than wooden dowels hence allowing you to use less dowels for the cake.  To figure out where to insert the dowels, you can gently press the cake board (the same size as the upper tier) on top of the lower tier to get the markings of where you should place the dowels.

Basic method to assemble a stacked cake:

  1. Ice each tier with icing onto a cake board that is exactly the same size as the frosted cake. Make sure that each tier is leveled.
  2. Insert the dowels into all the tiers except the top tier.
  3. Place the cake board (the same size as the tier above) onto the middle of the bottom tier. This gets an outline which guides you to where to place the dowel.
  4. After getting the markings from the cake board, place the dowels straight down into the cake and use a knife to make a marking of where you should remove the excess height of the dowel. Pull the dowel back out and cut the dowel to the correct length.
  5. After cutting the dowels to the correct height, insert the dowels into the cake tier spacing them about one inch smaller than the cake board outline.
  6. Push the dowel downward until the dowel touches the bottom cake board.
  7. Stack the second tier on top of the first one. Use a palette knife so as not to ruin the frosting.
  8. Repeat the process for all the tiers except for the top tier.
  9. After the cakes are stacked, use a long wooden dowel with a sharpened end to stabilize all the tiers. If the dowel is not long enough, combine the first two tiers with one dowel and repeat this for the other tiers.

Stacked butterfly cake

Remember to get a precise dimension of where to poke the dowel into the cake so as not to make unnecessary holes in the cake. Stacking cakes could take some practice and you will get better 😉 For more baking tips and healthy living lifestyle methods, check it out on our blog 🙂

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