Cake boards are the mundane but crucial foundation of your cake building endeavours. They are the base upon which you sit your cake or place between tiers for a multi layer cake. You could of course use a serving plate but silver coated, square or round cake boards both look professional and, with a flat lip, make cutting and serving slices easy.
Stacking a cake with dowels and cake boards
Weddings and other important events are often good opportunities for a really dramatic tiered cake. This is when different sized cakes are placed on top of each other. They are often repeats of the foundation layer but are also a great way of catering to different tastes with, for example, a base layer of fruit cake covered in marzipan and icing, followed by a layer of chocolate cake and then a top layer in a basic sponge.
Each cake tier needs at least a two inch difference in size to create the right effect, whether you are stacking two or six layers and each tier needs to be supported by dowels and square or round cake boards for stability. A good firm fruit cake can do without dowels but sponge cakes are too light to support any weight and any superior tiers will simply sink into the layer below. You will need at least six dowels to a ten inch cake and at least eight to support a 16 or 18 inch cake.
For safety’s sake it’s usually a good idea to transport each layer to the end location separately and construct the cake on site – trying to move a multi-tier cake in one piece is a recipe for disaster.
Step by step construction using cake boards
- Stack the cakes when freshly iced or leave at least two days after icing to avoid cracking. Make sure the icing is securely ‘glued’ to the base board.
- Use the cake board of each succeeding layer to mark a template on the icing of the tier below to make a template for placing the dowels.
- Insert one dowel all the way to the bottom of the cake and remove to set the height for the other dowels, then cut them all to size.
- Insert the dowels at regular intervals into each layer except the top tier, making sure each rod touches the base board below.
- Stack the next layer very carefully in the centre of the tier below.
- Repeat for each layer.