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  Home :: techniques & tips :: Stacking Cakes

Stacking Cakes

"When you are making and decorating cakes of 2 or more tiers it is vitally important that there is adequate support to prevent the cake from collapsing. As tempting as it may be, there is no cutting corners and you can’t simply stack one cake on top of another and hope for the best! Disaster will ensue!"



Lengths of dowelling (4 pieces per tier, either wooden or plastic)

Thin card cake boards

Royal icing

Pillars (if you are using them)


You can usually get thin cake boards and dowels online or in your local cake decorating supply shop. The dowels they sell are food safe and designed to be used as cake supports. If you are stacking very light cakes, for example sponge cakes, you can use drinking straws.

Firstly, you must fill and level your cakes carefully. Take time to make sure you have trimmed them adequately and checked the tops are nice and flat. It is sometimes easier to trim and level cakes after the have been rested for 24 hours and chilled or even frozen first. Place each tier onto a thin card cake board and cover with sugar paste. Leave the icing to harden for a couple of hours or overnight.

Prepare the bottom cake and make sure it has been firmly attached to a sturdy cake drum. Next you will need to mark where you are going to put the support dowels. You will need 4 (or 3 for very small cakes) to support each tier (obviously you won’t need any supports in the top cake). It is a good idea to cut a circle of greaseproof paper at least an inch smaller than the cake you are going to stack. Place this on the top of the cake and make sure it is centred, using a clean ruler to measure if necessary. Push the 4 dowels down into the cake until they reach the board, making sure you push them in straight. Mark where the dowel comes out of the cake and trim so that the dowels sit flush with the top of the cake. If the lengths are different, trim each dowel to the height of the longest one so the surface isn’t sloping.

Repeat this for each tier. If you are using pillars, you must remember that the dowel must go all the way through the pillar or the pillar will sink into the cake when you stack them. The centre of the pillar will be hollow for you to put the dowel through.

If you are stacking your cakes directly on top of one another, it is a good idea to put a little dab of royal icing between each layer to secure them. If you need to transport the cakes, think carefully whether it is best to stack the cakes before you transport them or when you get to the venue. Remember to take everything you’ll need to assemble to cake at the venue including any pillars, decorations and a tube of royal icing.