While not the most glamorous part of cake decorating cake dowels are essential for tall or multi-tiered cakes. Find out everything you need to know about cake dowels below.
What Are Cake Dowels?
Cake dowels are a general term for a rod or tube usually made of plastic or wood. They’re food safe and designed to be inserted into your cake to distribute the weight of heavy decorations or other tiers.
They’re also handy for adding stability to tall cakes, and large models and are also used as decorations such as logs, beams and fishing rods.
Do I Need To Use Cake Dowels?
If you’re making a standard single-tier cake that isn’t overly tall then it’s unlikely that you’ll need to use cake dowels. If you’re making a multi-tied cake (stacked or pillared) then you definitely need to use dowels.
Cake isn’t a very good building material, put enough weight on top and it will compress. Give it a few hours or a couple of days and you’ll probably find that your multi-tiered masterpiece has succumbed to gravity.
Do I Need To Use A Cake Board With Dowels?
If you’re creating a stacked or pillared cake then the answer is undoubtedly yes. Cake dowels work by transferring the weight of your cake from one board to another without exerting any force on the cake in between.
Without a cake board between the layers, your dowels won’t have any effect and your top cake will sink into the bottom one.
If you don’t want the cake board to be visible you need to use a board the same size as your cake and then cover it when you cover your cake.
How Many Cake Dowels Do I Need?
The number of cake dowels you’ll need will depend on the weight they need to hold up. As a generalisation, you’ll need 3-4 for smaller cakes and 4-6 for medium cakes and 6-8 for large or heavy cakes.
Which Cake Dowels Should I Use?
Cake dowels come in 2 main types: rods and tubes. The rod type of dowels is ideal for small cakes, decorations and fruit cakes. The tube dowels are designed to be used for sponge cakes that need to support a decent weight, they’re also great for adding stability to very tall cakes.
How Do I Insert Cake Dowels?
Cake dowels should be equidistantly spaced under the tier they’re supporting. Arrange your dowels in a shape using the number of dowels for the corners. 3 in a triangle, 4 in a square, 5 in a pentagon etc. If you’re dealing with a very large or heavy cake you can use multiple layers so the weight is evenly distributed.
Once you’ve decided where you’re dowels are going push one dowel into your cake down to the board. Using a pencil, mark the dowel level with the top of you’re cake. If you’re using pillars place these over the dowel and mark them at the top of your pillar.
Remove the dowel from your cake and use this as a guide to cut all the required dowels to the correct size. Once you’ve got all of your dowels to the right size push each of the dowels into your cake.
If you’re stacking your cake then you can use a small amount of royal icing between the tiers for added stability.