Often referred to as “American Style Cakes”, cakes without pillars have become more and more popular over the years. The bottom cake stands on a normal cake board and cake dowels are pushed through the cake to bear the weight of the tiers above. All the other tiers stand on their own THIN cake boards which should be the same size as the cake itself. The thin cake board is hidden by icing. If you have three tiers, dowels would be pushed through the middle tier before the top tier (again sitting on its own hidden cake board) is then placed on top. Confused ? Hopefully you won’t be after you’ve read through this tutorial.
TIP : If you have time, place all your cakes on their relevant boards and cover the day before stacking them. Although this is not essential, it allows the sugarpaste time to firm up and makes it a lot less prone to dents.
Your bottom cake should be covered with sugarpaste and in position on its cake board. All the other cakes should also be covered and standing on same size thin cake boards. (eg If your other cakes are 20cm/8in and 15cm/6in round cakes, they should be standing on 20cm/8in and 15cm/6in round thin cake boards.)
The top of all the cakes should be flat and level. Use a spirit guide to check if you’re at all worried.
Poke three plastic cake dowels* through the base cake in a triangular formation. They MUST reach right down to the board.
* Cake dowels are food grade plastic rods, available from all cake decoration outlets.
Using a food pen, mark each dowel level with the top of the cake.
Pull out one of the dowels and using a serrated knife, saw a little cut where you made the mark. Then bend the dowel. It should snap easily. You should now have a length of dowel the same height as the cake. Re-insert the dowel into the cake. The top of the dowel should be flush with the top of the cake. Repeat with the other two dowels.
Dab a splodge of royal icing in the middle of the bottom cake. This will help glue the two cakes together. Carefully place the second cake, on its hidden cake board onto the base cake. You may find a fish slice a useful tool for helping you do this.
If you have another tier, repeat the procedure.
If you want to cover the exposed cake board there are various ways to do this. One way is the bandage method. Dab a little water over the exposed cake board then roll and cut out a long strip of sugarpaste. Carefully roll up the sugarpaste a bit like a loose bandage then unroll it around the base of the cake. Smooth it into place and neaten the edges.
The final step is to pipe a royal icing snail trail, dots or shells around the base of each cake to hide the joins. It must be royal icing as buttercream will not set strongly enough to hold the cakes in place if the finished cake has to travel any distance.
Your cake is now ready for its decorations.