Tier Cake - Tools You Need to Make a Stacked or Pillared Cake

A tier cake refers to 2 or more cakes stacked together either directly on top of one another or using pillars. Years ago, when I first started decorating cakes, I always wondered how to make a tier cake, especially the tall tiered ones. Now, after attending various baking courses and having made many of such cakes myself, I have come to learn the right techniques of assembling tiered cakes, including cake dummies.

2 broad categories of tier cakes

The first category is tiered cakes which are stacked directly on one another.

The second category are cakes which are stacked together using pillars.

Of course, there are also designs which use both methods, and once you know the techniques of how to assemble a wedding cake under both these categories, then assembling tiered cakes in a combination of designs becomes very easy.

Tiered Tiered Tiered

Tools needed for assembling tiered cakes:

You must have the following items to make stable tiered cakes:

Dowel rods or bubble tea straws

  • Dowel rods are long and thin wooden rods and are widely available in craft and baking specialty shops. Just make sure that the rods you buy are food safe. I always purchase mine from cake decorating shops and particularly prefer Wilton brand. You can purchase these from the links I provided on the right of this page. There are also plastic cake rods, and they function in the same way as the wooden rods. A great and cheaper alternative to these rods are bubble tea straws. These are the fat straws used for bubble tea and come in a variety of colors. These straws are much easier to cut and despite being straws, are very sturdy and provide good support for stacked cakes.

Cake boards
  • For stacked cakes, you will need a base cake board that is a few inches larger than the lowest tier cake. You will also need one cake board for each of the other cakes that are to be stacked on one another. For these cakes, the boards should be of same diameter as the cake it is meant to hold. While you should get a thick cake board as the base board, it is best to use cardboards to hold the rest of the cakes. This is for ease of poking a dowel rod through in the middle of the stacked cakes to hold them from sliding off during transportation.
  • For pillared cakes, you will also need a base cake board and this is similar to the stacked cakes. As for the other tiers, however, I would suggest that you use the separator plates. Separator plates are a must for tiered cakes which use pillars. These plates have special knobs at the bottom where you can secure the pillars into. Separator plates can be slightly larger in diameter than the cake it is holding or be of exactly same diameter as the cake, depending on your cake design.

Pillars and Separator Plates
  • There are many different types of cake pillars available in the market. They come in different shapes and colors and are used to make tall tiered cakes. Each tier would typically require 4 pillars, so if you are making a 3 tiered cake, then you will need 2 sets of such pillars.Separator plates, on the other hand, serve the same purpose as cake boards, but these plates come with special knobs underneath (normally 4 knobs to hold 4 pillars)which helps secure the cake pillars, resulting in a very stable cake support structure.

Now that you know the tools required for making tier cakes, learn how to use them to stack tiered cakes correctly. Click here for step by step instructions on how to assemble tiered cakes.

Want to learn how to make your own cake boards? Click here for step by step instructions on how to make your own cake board and decorate it.

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