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pastrygirl

cake construction question

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Cake construction question - I have a wedding cake order next month for about 175 people.  I think it's going to be 14" round, 12" round, double-height 9" round, and a separated 6" layer with her great-grandma's cake topper.

 

My question is about the double-height layer.  Should I layer cake and filling as usual  but just make it super tall, or will whomever has to cut the thing appreciate it if there's a goo-free zone of cake-cardboard-cake in the middle so they can separate it into 2 x 9" cakes or more easily cut it?  I mean, I could make two regular layers with 5 layers of cake and 4 layers of filling, not frost the top of one and just stack the other on top, or I could make one giant cake with 10 layers of cake, 9 filling, and no cardboard in the middle.  I almost never have to cut cakes so I don't know if it matters but I thought I'd ask.  The filling will either be salty caramel or raspberry, and the icing will be meringue buttercream, not as sturdy to handle as a crusting icing or fondant.

 

Or any other tips on giant wedding cakes?  Thanks!

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IMO, I'd put the cardboard in, it will make consistent cutting of slices much easier and prevent leaning. I mean, it kind of depends on the venue. Some wedding halls have staff that cuts big cakes 2-3 times a day every day and they could handle anything. A smaller place with a less experienced cutter might let extra tall slices get served. I tend to lean towards idiot-proofing it as much as possible.

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6 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

Or any other tips on giant wedding cakes?  Thanks!


Well, the best advice I ever gave myself was to quit doing them. :D But I don't think that's what you had in mind. I agree on the separating the tall layer just because it makes cutting and serving easier and keeps portions consistent without having to manually divide the extra tall slices. Otherwise you get a certain number of guests disgruntled because they person next to them got that huge tall piece that they didn't get.

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Thanks, both of you!  It’s a large venue so i’m sure they cut a lot of cakes, though who knows with the staffing shortage everyone seems to have. Plus, a firm middle layer might make more sense to support risers for the top tier.

 

I’ve only done a few tall stacked cakes, this is for my next door neighbors daughter so it’s kinda VIP - or at least people I’ll see again and want to make happy. 

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Double barrel cakes are easier to serve if they have a cardboard layer between two cakes. The slices are normal size, not really long.

I usually do two three layer cakes, use support straws in the bottom, place a cardboard round on top (cut it just a little smaller than the cake so it doesn't stick out) then add the next cake.  You can put a dowel through the whole thing to keep it in place.  Then, crumbcoat and chill to set. 

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6 minutes ago, RWood said:

Double barrel cakes are easier to serve if they have a cardboard layer between two cakes. The slices are normal size, not really long.

I usually do two three layer cakes, use support straws in the bottom, place a cardboard round on top (cut it just a little smaller than the cake so it doesn't stick out) then add the next cake.  You can put a dowel through the whole thing to keep it in place.  Then, crumbcoat and chill to set. 

 

Perfect!  That’ll be the plan, then - construct for easy and uniform serving. Thanks!

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So let's talk about that 6" top tier for a second - how are you putting that on the 9" tier?  I would build the 9" tier exactly as RWood suggests, and then I started to wonder what was going above that 9inch tier and how....

 

You also want to get a very sturdy cake drum (or thick  masonite covered with paper) or even an acrylic disk.  You don't want this cake to flex at all, and normally for 4+ tiered cakes, I double drum them and put ribbon around the side to hide the seam.  Other people hot glue multiple boards together then cover with paper (not my first choice), or foamcore (buy it from The Dummy Place in Chelmsford MA) and even with the foam core I might double it....

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@JeanneCake, I was looking at support systems just now, thinking better safe than sorry.  If I have the bottom layer on a sturdy board, then pillars and separator plates for the 12" and 9", can I get away with the pillars separating the top 6" tier resting on the cardboard in the middle of the double-tall 9" tier?  I don't really want separation between the lower layers but maybe I should have the structure.  I do want to separate the top tier, but don't think there is a column longer than 9".  Or is the wilton 2 plate system better for the top?  I went to the craft store today and got some 12" plastic dowels, they would go all the way through the taller layer.  However, I also kind of want clear columns, so that limits choices.

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you want something like this - the pillars push directly into the cake below and usually the pillars are something like 7" high or 9" high.  So go with the 7 height, you'll push 3 or 4 inches of that into the 9" cake (which is all you really  have because you  have a cardboard in the middle of that tall 9" cake) and have another 3" for the gap between the 9 and the 6 rounds.  Put the 6 on a cake drum if you can, then all you  have to do is put a loop of tape on the plastic separator plate and put the cake on and you're done.

 

I personally do not care for these particular clear pillars but it shows what it looks like: http://cakedeco.com/cgi-bin/webc.cgi/st_prod.html?p_prodid=7498&p_catid=266&page=3

The craft store might have something similar, you just put the pillars into the plastic plate and push the whole thing into the 9" round.

 

 

I use the pre-cut coast tubes from P&F for my cake supports but use the wilton plastic tubes that you can cut to fit the height of  your cake.  I'm always shooting off the stubs of wooden dowels all over the kitchen so I don't use them anymore!

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Thanks for the link!  I kind of like those, I'll check out that site more.  Any other good cake supply websites I might not know about? 

I was looking at these clear pillars and plates:  https://www.countrykitchensa.com/shop/assembly-display/9-clear-reg-locking-columns/53/537/1176/626811/

https://www.countrykitchensa.com/shop/assembly-display/8-clear-locking-round-separator-plate/53/537/1176/1092/

 

All I could find in the local stores was the white Grecian columns from Wilton, just too old school.  The Roman ones are at least a cleaner look. 

 

The bride is white and her groom is Indian & Sikh, so they're doing a red, white, and gold color scheme but otherwise Western style reception.  So we had talked about some fresh berries on the cake, maybe raspberries covering the top of the 9" tier.  Any cake drums that show will be gold, I was also wondering if columns and plates could be spray-painted gold or if that would look even tackier than white plastic ...

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Usually I buy from Pfeil and Holing, I look on the website, get an order together then call it in; they have so much stuff their inventory may not show accurately and sometimes you get disappointed that something is out of stock when you really needed it. It doesn't happen often enough to be a problem for me but I know it can happen so I plan ahead!  Pfeil and Holing will be on skeleton crew the first two weeks in July so I always buy more than what I think I will need in June so I don't have to worry.  Mostly I buy cake drums ,masonite, food color, disposable pastry bags, cupcake liners, edible ink cartridges and paper, some of the CalJava flowers, and bakery incidentals; I only go through Global Sugar Art when I need something I can't find anywhere else and I buy from CalJava when I can't get specific flowers from P&H////

 

Other places to buy from:  Global Sugar Art (NY), Cal-Java Online (in CA so closer for you), I don't do a lot with Country Kitchens/Sweet Art so can't give any details there. 

 

You can spray the pillars and plates, once the spray paint dries it is "technically" non-toxic but not sure about food safe.  If you buy an 8" drum  (they don't come in 7" rounds, or you can cut a 7" circle from foam core and cover it) can cover it with gold paper.  The gold drums you can buy are bright so that will work for your color scheme....

 

ask anything else that occurs to you! Happy to help :)!

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On 5/24/2018 at 4:24 AM, Tri2Cook said:


Well, the best advice I ever gave myself was to quit doing them. :D 

 

AMEN!!  I used to love decorating cakes but definitely don’t miss the anxiety that goes along with the whole stacking part of it. :S

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4 hours ago, pastryani said:

 

AMEN!!  I used to love decorating cakes but definitely don’t miss the anxiety that goes along with the whole stacking part of it. :S


I don't miss indecisive brides-to-be, best friends of indecisive brides-to-be helping the indecisive brides-to-be become even more indecisive and mothers of indecisive brides-to-be disagreeing a week after the indecisive bride-to-be and her best friend finally became decisive thus making them indecisive once again so that the fairly sketchy amount of time you had to get it done is now an almost impossibly short amount of time to get it done but you'll be the bad guy if you send them away because they now don't have time to get someone else to do it.

Err... I mean... yeah! That stacking sucks! Don't know where the rest of that came from. :biggrin:

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