An Expression of Art

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Stacking Cakes (with or without pillars)

How to Stack Cakes - without pillars

You'll need:


  1. Place your base cake (the largest) on the largest cake board or cake base. Remember to 'glue' it by adding a dollop of butter cream or frosting.

  2. Place the other tiers on cake boards of the same diameter size. The reason lies in that we don't want these boards to show.

  3. On top of the large cake (first tier) mark the diameter of the cake you are going to place on top (second tier). Within this diameter imagine the position of the dowel rods as a triangle or a square ( 3 dowel rods if the second tier is not too big, 4 dowel rods if it is a big one).

  4. Take a dowel rod (these are sold in cake supply stores and are FDA approved), and poke it into the base cake until it touches the base. Mark the height of the cake. remove rod and cut where you marked earlier. Repeat with the rest of the dowel rods you'll be using for the base cake.

  5. Place dowel rods in base cake with a gap of 2-3 inches apart (remember they should be within the diameter of next cake tier.

  6. Repeat the process for all tiers except the last one.

  7. Stack up the cakes on one another.

  8. Decorate your cake!

How to Stack Cakes - With Pillars

There are many pillar sets out there. Here is a quick link to Cake Pillars.

These sets come with their separator plates and pillars.


  1. Start by placing your base cake on its cake base.

  2. Identify next separator plate size and press gently on top of the center of base cake to mark the place for the pillars (don't press too hard so you don't spoil the icing on the cake).

  3. Place tier cakes on their separator plates (with their respective size).

  4. On the base cake that you have marked for pillars, poke each pillar until you can feel them touching the cake board. Tip: The pillars are normally hollow and I haven't had any problems with having stable cakes, however if you feel tha your cake is not stable enough, you can poke dowel rods at the center of the hollow pillars for extra stability.

  5. Place second tier cake on top of the pillars by securing its separator plate to the pillars from base cake.

  6. Repeat the process for all tiers, except the top most.


Michele said...

Quick question!! When you stack cakes directly on top of one another, do you need to use some buttercream or something to "glue" it to the bottom layer so it doesn't slide? Seems like it would slide to me. Can't find this answer ANYWHERE!!

Diana said...

HI Michele,
I always use separator plates between layers. I do use a bit of butter-cream frosting to 'glue' the cakes down. I also use finely ground vanilla wafers under the separator plates so the plates won't stick to the frosting, this makes serving the cake much easier. In addition to posts with in each layer for stacked cakes I also drill holes in the middle of the plates and insert a dowel down through the first layer and then place additional layers over the dowel. I have found this really helps keep the cake from sliding.


sleeplessnights04 said...

Me again; I just did the square gift cake in class; I must say not to seem snobby, but mine turned out better than others, which I'm please to say the least. I think they rolled the fondant too thin. For the final I am planning to avoid the roses; I just made one in class tuesday; so simple and turned out beautifully. It's Canada Day the day after my last class, so themed cake of course with red fondant maple leaves. I've been posting some of my cakes, although I am considering revamping and doing a cake, treat only page. Please come visit and let me know what you think. I am considering making items for profit out of my home; nothing too big; maybe a cake a week depending on the detail.

The Cake Stylist said...

Hi sleeplessnights04,

I just browsed through your cakes and I noticed your Canada themed cake with red maple leaves. It turned out great. Congratulations. I hope you find joy in cake decorating.

Generic Cialis said...

Great tips, I always make a mess when handling cakes, now I think thanks to you all will be different.

Anonymous said...

Hello,I want to use Wilton fillable pillars, but can not find square dowel rods to fit the bottom part of the pillars (I do not want to use a separator plate on the bottom cake). Any suggestions where I can find those? Thank you

Anonymous said...

I would not recommend trying to add on to the bottom of the pillars. I think it would be much to unstable. You could try clear plates, although if you use crumbs under the plates it would show. I have heard of people frosting over the plates, but I am not sure how that would look. just curious, what are you putting between the layers that you do not want the plate to show?


Anonymous said...

I am placing a fondant-made thallis (jewish scarf) falling off the cake on both sides, and with the plate showing it is not going to look good. Got to hide it!

Anonymous said...

are you using fondant for the rest of the cake? if so maybe you can cover the plate with it- I am envisioning fondant going over the plate, with cutouts for the pillar 'posts' and down the sides- then you would just have to cut around the plate before cutting the cake. If you are using butter-cream then maybe you can just cover the plate with fondant. What are you using inside the fill-able pillars? Is it anything that could be worked into covering the plate?

Anonymous said...

I am covering the whole cake with fondant (I don't really like it, but it looks good). I will goo to NYC cakes supplier to see if the got something i can use.Thank you for your suggestions.

Anonymous said...

I agree, fondant doesn't taste too good but looks great! I'd be interested in what you come up with for it. Let me know - good luck with it:)
Have you ever done regular pillars with round dowels for support rather than a plate?

Anonymous said...

I have made fondant covered cakes for most of the weddings in my small town because it looks beautiful but have never really cared for the flavour until I used Massa Grschuna from Albert Uster. I ordered it online and it arrived in two days. Although it seems more expensive than the others like Satin Ice, it has turned out to be the same or slightly less because it rolls thin and a 13 pound tub can generously cover 2 four tiered cakes with draping! Best of all it tastes white chocolate. It will change your mind about fondant. No one picked off the fondant and left it on the plate like is the usual at weddings.

Anonymous said...

sounds like it is worth trying!!
Thanks for the information.

Anonymous said...

hi, I have a quick couple questions. I'm just a little confused on the dowel rods. See I'm new to cake decorating, I'm just learning how to do tiered cakes. Why do you put so many dowel rods in the bottom tier instead of just one? Any help is much appreciated! Thank you

Anonymous said...

What should I do if I just have the pillars but not the separator plate that goes with the pillars?

Anonymous said...

I too want to know how to stack 3 tier fruit cake with pillars but not the separator plate