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How to Assemble a Wedding Cake

Let chef Michelle Doll show you how to assemble a wedding cake in this Howcast video about wedding cake decorating.


Now we are going to assemble a wedding cake.

This is one of the most difficult parts of putting together a wedding cake, and it's also one of the most important. If you do everything 100% right, but you don't get this part right, nothing else matters. Nothing is worse than being worried that a cake is going to fall at a wedding after you've delivered it. So I'm going to show you the best way to put it together.

We have our fondanted board here and the tools I need. This is a dowel I bought at a local hardware store. I've got a little standing block, and this is actually a miter box for dollhouses and a little miniature saw. These are both also X-ACTO products. The miter box will butt up on the edge of a table here so that we can saw our dowel rods to be the exact right size. Some people use straws. I don't find that they're nearly strong enough, especially for bigger cakes.

Alright, so the first thing I'm going to do is attach my bottom tier to the fondant board. And I'm going to use a hot glue gun for that, which can feel a little strange. But remember, it's just going to be touching foam core on the bottom, and we want to make sure that that base is super secure. So I'm using a nice, big dollop of hot glue. Be very careful with hot glue. It's just like working with hot sugar; it's not something you can just wipe off.

Alright, so I will tuck this in and just drop it right down. Since my cake is cold, I can manhandle it a little bit, push it around so it fits in nicely. There we go. And we'll come back and cover up those seams in a little bit. But first, we want to stack our cake.

So, step one is to determine the depth of our cake tier, and I'm going to use our dowel for that. The dowel's been washed. And this feels a little dramatic, but I'm going to do it by plunging the dowel right into the cake. And I will figure out the width of where to stick that dowel based on the tier that's going on top of it. So I know that because this tier's only this big, if I do a dowel outside of that area, not only will it not support the tier above it, it's going to stick out and be ugly. So I'm going to eyeball measure it so that's how far apart the tier is. I'm going to center it on the cake it's going on, and I'm going to go in about an inch to make sure that it's perfectly supported and not at all visible.

Alright, so plunge it all the way down. Press pretty hard. With a pencil, I'm just going to mark how tall that is and try not to poke my eye out. Alright, now I can move this away for a moment while I cut my dowels. Now, the tier that's going on top of it is not super big, so I don't need a ton of dowels. I can get away with five for this one. So this goes into the center. I'm lining up my little pencil notch with the mark. And I'm using pressure similar to nail filing; I'm not pressing too hard. If you press too hard, this gets really, really difficult, so just use light pressure. There is our first dowel. I'm going to mark it with a little X.

So, that's our master dowel. Line it up with your next guy, mark a little notch, and I will do this four more times. Okay, so, I have five dowels, all the same size. There we go, very nice. So if my cake tier is a little bit off-kilter, not terribly straight on top, having all of these the exact same size will ensure that whatever tier I put above it will be perfectly straight. So if I'm doing a seven-tier cake, by having them all be ensured to be perfectly straight, I'm going to avoid having a tippy cake.

Here we have a sanding block, and that's just going to help me take the edge off our little mini-dowels. And I'm just spinning it around so I get a nice, nice perfect edge.

Alright, our five dowels are ready to go. I'll move this guy towards me. Here is our original dowel. It should fit perfect, and that's exactly what we want, perfectly flush with the top of the cake. Now, to figure out where to put the other dowels, I'm going to take this dowel in, measure the depth which it's at, and before I plunge them all into the cake, I'm going to leave little marks for where I think they should go. And that way, before I put them in, if it looks like I've got a kind of crazy shape or a large area that's not covered, I can change it.

Alright, so we've got a nice little five. Everything is pretty equidistant. I'll just go ahead and plunge these guys in. It's a good indicator for how even the top of your cake was if any of these guys stick out.

Alright. so, nice and flush. I'm going to take a little bit of the butter cream, and when it chills, it's all going to stick together. You can use royal icing as well. If you'll be transporting it in, say, San Francisco, where it's going to be really hilly, you're going to make sure it's stuck. Here we go. So I'm just centering this. It's good to walk away, three or four feet, look at your cake, and make sure it's totally centered. But here we have it. I'll just chill this, and then we will all come back and decorate it.

And that is how you assemble a wedding cake.

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