Well, I did it. I finally learned how to make a tiered cake. Last night I took the “Tall Cakes” class at Michael’s where they teach you how to construct a multi-level cake. Yet another thing I can mark off my 101 List (#57).
While my cake is far from perfect - especially considering I didn’t learn some of the important cake-prep tips until we were already in class with our pre-made cakes - I did the best I could with the cake I had brought. And overall, I was quite pleased with how it turned out. What do you think?
There’s much more to stacking tiers than I have space to share with you, but here are a few useful tips I learned that could help you through the process…
- Most importantly, make sure your cakes are perfectly level. Use a level to check. (I didn’t know to do this beforehand.)
- Build each tier on top of a cake board the same size (even the bottom layer). This will help support each tier and will keep the board from showing.
- Use a cake drum (thick foiled cake board) underneath your cake for extra support. The drum should be 4 inches bigger than your bottom layer.
- Mark the position for each tier on the tier below it using an empty cake board the size of your smaller tier. Once it looks center, gently press the empty board on the tier below to mark where your next tier will sit.
- For buttercream cakes, cut wax paper a little smaller than each tier and place under each cake board before stacking. This will help prevent icing from ripping off when cake is disassembled for serving.
- Each tier needs to be supported with dowels of some sort (measured and cut to the height of the tier below). We used bubble tea straws, which are sturdier than wooden dowels, allowing you to use less. They can be found at international markets or on Amazon. For directions on dowel or column placement, check out Wilton’s "Tiered Cakes" book.
- To secure layers for transport: Once all tiers are stacked, cut a long wooden dowel a little longer than the height of your entire cake. Sharpen end of dowel with a pencil sharpener and insert in the center of top tier. Use a mallet to hit dowel down through each tier, cake board and finally, into the cake drum.
My biggest suggestion would be to take the “Tall Cakes” class yourself. Both Michael’s and Jo-Ann’s offers this class, so check and see if it’s available in your area. It’s definitely the easiest way to learn the ins and outs of tiered cakes if you’re a beginner like me.