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asked August 8th 2014

Adding depth to a tiered cake

Hi all,
I'm beginning to regret agreeing to make a 4 tiered cake for my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary, all help would be much appreciated! It needs to be complete by next weekend!
So far I've made 12" and 10" fruit cakes & 8" and 6" Madeira cakes. Nothing is iced/ decorated yet.
The tins I used were 3" deep and i like the appearance of very tall looking cakes. Can I use drum boards for each cake before icing to add height to all 4 cakes or would this be too heavy once stacked?
I'm stacking with gaps in between for fresh flowers and also need to confirm that once dowelled, are the 2" deep polystyrene cake separators sufficient or is it best to use dummies? And how do I decide the size of separator to use?
As you can see I'm struggling with this. I have 4 baked cakes and no idea how to best assemble!
Thanks in advance!!

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Hi Natalie

First of all stop stressing because every thing seems worse than it is when we're stressed/
I wouldn't use cake drums to give height to your tiers. It's much easier, lighter and cheaper to add dummy cakes to the real cake. If you select the height dummy cakes for each tier you'll have the look you want. Each of your real cakes should be on a cake card before stacking onto the dummy, you don't need dowels when sticking them together with some ganache or royal icing. Ganache and ice the dummy and real cake together for one tier and do the same with the others. You will need to dowel as normal when stacking all the tiers together. Use stacked cake drums for the base.
http://www.designer-cakes.com/online-cake-decorating-courses/rose-wedding-cake/lesson-5-stacking-the-cake
shows how to stack on a raised platform using cake drums.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/techniques/assemble_wedding_cake
Demonstrates how to create gaps using separators in between tiers.
I hope these help. If you need more information or help please post again. You'll be fine. x

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Thank you, all so helpful. Although the video is not working but instructions very helpful.
One other query, the cake separators are varying sizes, which sizes would I choose for my 12", 10", 8" and 6" tiered cake? And I assume these are just stuck with ganache between the cakes not dowelled.

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Hi Natalie

Which video is not working? I've just had a look at the rose wedding cake tutorial and it's working for me. The other link is also working.
This is one of your own previous questions http://www.designer-cakes.com/questions/stacking-with-fresh-flowers . I just thought some of the answers would help.
Separators have to sit on dowels so the cakes above do not collapse into the cakes below. Dummy cake separators are about 2" deep, this leaves sufficient gap to place the flowers underneath.
Separators are usually 2" smaller than the cake above, so a 12" cake sits on a 10" separator or 10" stacked cake drums if you prefer. All the cakes and separators should be on their own drums or cards to make it easier and safer for stacking. To start you'll need to ice a 14" cake drum and let it dry overnight. This will be the platform for first separator and the floor for your base flowers. The 12" cake ( it must be on a drum or card) will sit on the 10" x 2" separator which should be on a card and secured to the 14" base. This tier does not need to be dowelled but you must secure it with ganach/royal icing so it doesn't fall off. Next tier has to be dowelled. Mark an 8" circle on the 12" cake and dowel as per tutorials. Stick 8" separator on an 8" cake card and secure to the dowelled area. Place 10" prepared cake on the separator, secure with either ganache or royal icing. Next separator will be 6". Follow the dowelling steps as in the prevous tier. Place 8" cake on 6" separator. Final tier 4" separator for the 6" cake, follow dowelling steps and place as previous tier. Please ensure all separators are properly secure on the dowelled areas and also secure all the cakes too.
Now you should have a stacked cake with gaps in between each tier. Fresh flowers should be carefully dried as moisture from them can spoil the cake icing, place them on as close to the event time as possible. It's also important that flowers which may be considered poisonous must not come into contact with the cakes.
Finally, consideration should be given to how the cake will be transported and whether it is possible to stack and decorate with flowers at the venue.
Phew!! this has been a marathon, I hope it all makes sense and I haven't further confused you.

EDIT

I've just noticed that your bottom tiers are fruit cakes. You could probably get away with not dowelling those tiers and just dowel the other two. Personally I'd dowel them all for the sake of peace of mind.

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I've just noticed my response didn't post! It was to say thank you for all the above info, I did manage to get the cake made it wasn't perfect but learnt so much for the next cake! Thanks again

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It's all good experience. I'm in the middle of gettting 4 tiers ready for a wedding this Saturday, I can't say all is going smoothly!

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Hi Natalie, a four-tier wedding cake, you are so brave! I am doing a three-tier rich fruit cake for my daughter's wedding on 19th.......I wish I had just bought the ready-iced ones from that well known High Street brand.
I baked the bottom tier last night, but it seemed to be in the oven for an age.....good luck with it all and let us know how it all goes.

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Madeitwithlove, thank you for the into
Vijeta

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You're welcome Vijeta, glad you found the information of some use.

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I too am making a 3 tier stacked wedding cake 12 10 and 8inch. my cakes will be 3 inch tall and with 2 fillings. Could I not just have the top two tiers sitting on the half inch cake boards then by the time I have iced them they would come up to 4 inch tall ?? help

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or to add to the above comment. Could I make both the fillings half inch deep then that would bring them up to 4 inches???

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Hi elaine77

Is that 3" tall for the baked height, ready for filling or is the recipe for 3" tall cake? My 3" cake recipes usually finish at 2.5" once cooled down. With 2 fillings, crumbcoat and ice, they finish at 4".
If it is for a finshed height of 3", by the time you fill, crumbcoat and ice, the cakes will be slightly taller than 4". As long as they are all done in the same way, the look will be uniform. Hope this makes sense.

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but how deep do you do your fillings??

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My filling is approx 1/4" in each layer. I find that's plenty with two fillings otherwise it becomes too sweet.

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hi, sorry to be a pain, but if I fill with 1/4 inch fillings that only makes 3 1/2 inches and as the fondant will be 5mm deep it will still be short of 4 inches? could I not put the cakes on 1/2 inch cake boards and not cake cards? Then that would give me 4. many thanks

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Certainly 1/2" boards can be used to achieve the extra height. Use Paul's dowelling method for supporting the tiers. Hope your project turns out well 🙂

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Hi I,am making a four tier stacked cake 12" square and 10,8,6 round the bottom dummies the rest real do I need to Dowl bottom dummie cheers x

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Hi Tracey Sheppard

I have given an answer to this query in your dowelling dummies question. I hope you will find it helpful. 🙂

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