Cakes that have more than one tier (including sculpted 3-D cakes) or that are extra tall need to have a support system. Without this support system, the weight of the second and beyond tiers can smash the tiers below or the entire cake can shift out of place, causing certain death and epic destruction.
My multi-tier cakes typically have the following four forms of support:
- Cake Boards. Between each upper tier is a cardboard or plastic cake board. This levels and secures the upper tier(s). If a single tier is extra tall, it will also have a cake board in the center to support its weight.
- Internal Support. Each lower tier has several bubble tea straws and/or wooden or plastic dowels. These work with the cake board above it to support the weight of the upper tier(s).
- Central Support. A long, usually wooden dowel is placed down the entire center of the tiered cake from top to bottom. This prevents the tiers from shifting and adds an overall sturdiness to the cake. This dowel may have a pointed tip that also pierces into the cake base (if a cake drum is being used).
- Cake Base. This is the bottom plate that the entire cake rests upon. This might be a cake drum, which is an extra thick piece or several layers of cardboard or foam board; or it can be a cake stand or plate made of ceramic, wood, or other material.