I have been asked to produce a four tier wedding cake. It will be 12 in. fruit, a 10 in. chocolate, an 8 in. Madeira and a 6 in. Madeira. I know that the first three cakes will have to be doweled, but what about the top tier? Do I have to use a long dowel through all cakes? I would appreciate a response. Cheers!
A friend of mine makes cakes and suggested using (un-cooked) spaghetti for anchoring. Makes much smaller holes.
I am a baker and do all types of cakes. It really depends on how you're going to stack it. I would dowel it if at all possible I made my own wedding cake last year and doweled all layers except for the top layer. My cake was over 4ft in hgt. Each of my layers were 2 cakes, except for the top layer and it was 3.
I put it on one of the reusable hard plastic plates that connected to the columns. That is the only reason I didn't dowel this cake. If I had it to do over again, I would definitely dowel the top layer and use cardboard circles for more stability.
I would never ever trust spaghetti to hold any type cake in place. You put your heart and way too much time, work and money into a wedding cake not to use a few sturdy dowels.
I have made a few cakes, and I used inverted champagne glasses to hold up the tiers. I put a small orchid bloom under each one. Simple and easy. Use the longest stemmed ones you can find. Six would do the base of the size size cake you describe.
Good luck... it will be beautiful.
I agree on not using the spaghetti. The moisture from the cake will soften those quicker than you would want. You can get kabob skewers to use--both wood or metal, and I have used chopsticks too.
I make wedding cakes and always use dowels, but not for the top layer. After all, this is the layer the bride will want to freeze for the 1st anniversary. Also, a medeira cake is a bit heavier, so you will definitely need the strength of a few dowels. Dowels also make transporting a cake much safer and easier. The top layer usually doesn't weigh much, and can be resting happily on a cardboard round. Make sure to place it on a sprinkling of coconut or crushed cookie crumbs so when you remove it, you don't take frosting from the second layer with it!
I've also seen cakes that use wine glasses as separators, as was previously posted, and they look lovely.