There are many different ways to stack a tiered cake. Incorporating unexpected details, like asymmetry or offset layers, adds a modern element to the cake's overall appearance. While some of the more radical arrangements rely on custom cake stands for stability and structure, most offset designs can be accomplished using a few basic supplies. Like any other tiered cake, one that is offset must be well-balanced with a strong center of gravity.
Balancing the Tiers
In order to stack multiple tiers in an offset manner, you’ll need to consider the cake’s overall stability. If the tiers are going to placed off-center, or with a portion of the top tier hanging over the bottom tier, you’ll need to make sure that other tiers are shifted in the opposite direction, creating enough weight in the center of the cake to balance it.
Preparing the Tiers
Before you can begin stacking the cake, you’ll need to prepare each individual tier. Cut a thick piece of corrugated cardboard to support each tier; the cardboard should be the same shape as the tier and just slightly smaller than the tier itself. Spread some frosting or royal icing onto the center of the cardboard and set the cake tier on top.
Stacking the Tiers
Each tier (with the exception of the top tier) will need wooden dowels inserted into it for stability. Cut the dowels to the exact height of the bottom tier before driving them into the cake in such a way that they will support the outer edge of the tier above. Carefully consider how you will offset your tiers; if the tier above is going to be rotated or placed off-center, the dowels below should be placed accordingly. For a square cake, dowels should be placed to support each corner of the tier above; for larger tiers, additional dowels should be placed to support the sides of the tier above. Once the dowels have been driven into each tier, stack the tiers according to your design, using a small amount of frosting or royal icing as glue between each.
Stabilizing the Tiers
After the cake has been stacked, it can be further stabilized using a central wooden dowel. Cut a dowel to the exact height of the stacked cake, sharpen one end into a point and drive it straight down through the center of the top tier being careful to avoid the other dowels. If it is difficult to drive the dowel through the layers of cake and cardboard, a mallet can be used to gently hammer it into place. Once the cake is stabilized, you can decorate it.
- The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef; Bo Friberg
- Wilton: Stacked Tiered Cake Construction
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images