Monday, 15 June 2009
How to stack a wedding cake
Never stacked a cake before? - Don't Panic!
It really is quite easy, as long as you follow a few basic steps.
What size cakes?If you are stacking 2 cakes, 3 cakes or even 8 cakes, the difference between the sizes of cake should be 2" or 3" but no less than 2".
So for a 2 tier cake, your cakes sizes might be 7" for the top and 9" for the bottom, or 6" for the top and 9" for the bottom.
A wedding cake is usually made up of three cakes 10", 8" and 6"
Depth of Cakes
For stacking a cake you need to bake all of your cakes to the same depth, you can cut them to size.
Usually fruit cakes are cut to 3" deep and sponge to approx 2½" deep before filling with jam and Buttercream.
Put your cakes on to a thin cake card the same size as each cake - BEFORE covering with marzipan and or icing.
Check that your cakes are level - use a small plastic spirit level - (get them in your local DIY shop)
Once you have iced all the cakes separately, ice a large thick board (13mm Drum Board) for the bottom cake, e.g. if the bottom cake is on a 10" thin card, you will need to ice a 13" drum board, for all the stacked cakes to sit on.
Trade Tip - If you are making a wedding cake, that will be displayed on a large silver or gold base display stand, they are usually 14" across, (unless they are an antique stand), At Cake-Links we always ice a 14" thick board, so that it fits perfectly on the base display stand. For a wedding, phone the hotel and ask them what size the top of their cake stand is.
Before Stacking the cakes one on top of the other - you need to add supports.
Use plastic doweling to do this. Measure in 1.5" in from the size of the above cake and mark around in a circle. i.e. If you have a 10" base cake and your next cake will be 8", you need to mark on the top of the 10" cake 3.5" from the edge of the 10" cake. Push a dowell into the cake on the line you have just scored. Mark the dowel level with the top of the cake, making sure that you have pushed the dowel into the cake straight and have reached the thin card under the cake - remove and cut to size with preferably a junior hacksaw, or sharp kitchen knife. Push the cut dowel back into the cake making sure that the dowells are straight.. Repeat this so that you have 4 (or more if your prefer) dowels around in a circle. Finish with one final dowell in the centre of the cake.
Stacking the cakes
It's a good idea to mix up a little Royal Icing, Put a very thin amount on top of the bottom cake, covering the dowels. The Royal Icing will dry and help to prevent the cakes slipping in transit.
People have different opinions as to when to stack a cake - i.e. either before your icing has set or after the icing has set. As a rule, either stack while the icing is fresh or leave for at least 2 days before attempting to stack or you will crack the icing. We far prefer to stack while the icing is fresh, then if you mark the cake, it can still be smoothed back to perfection.
Stack the next cake on top, and then if you need to add a third tier, repeat the dowelling, add some royal icing, and stack the next cake on top.
Finishing the cakes.
It's a good idea to put a 12 or 15mm ribbon around the bottom of each cake, even if the ribbon is just the same colour as the icing - this will hide the join between the cake and cover up any rough edges that may otherwise not easily be covered with simple piping. Only put ribbon on the cakes once they are stacked!
Transporting a stacked cake.
It's a good idea to invest in a heavy duty stack box, these boxes have inserts in the bottom - both round and square that will hold the cake in position. oh and one more thing - drive carefully!
frequently asked questions
Can I stack a sponge cake
yes - We often make 3 tier stacked sponge wedding cakes - Just make sure you have plenty of support dowels
Can I have mixed tiers of fruit cake and sponge cakes?
Yes - but remember you can only have fruit cake at the bottom of a cake with sponge layers!
Would it be better to drill holes through the boards and put one dowel all the way through?
No - Absolutely not, this won't work, the cakes will still sink!!!
Do I need to dowell a Fruit Cake
Absolutely Yes - think about it, if a an 8" fruit cake weighs 1600g and has 800g of marzipan and 800g of icing on it - that makes 3.2kg - if you stack that on top of another cake it will sink, even if the cake undeneath is fruit - it will sink!!!!
For More information visit our website www.cake-links.com