How to Make Tiered Cakes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my privacy policy and disclosure.

Are you ready to take your cake literally to the next level? Well, I'm talking about making tiered cakes. You know, those ones that are stacked on top of another, making the cake higher and with different levels.

Tiered cakes adds that wow factor to the cake, making it a bit more fun and special for the event. I know there are plenty of one layer cakes that are amazing, however, a multi-tiered cake seems to get more attention because of its 'heightened presence'. And of course, another reason for wanting a bigger cake is to have more servings. Making a one tier cake to feed 300 will take up a lot of table space as oppose to making a five tier cake.

The most important thing to remember when constructing a stacked cake is support. Adequate support is needed to make sure that the cake layer that was stacked will not sink into the layer underneath it.

This tutorial will show how to stack a cake using dowels as support. There are different kinds of dowels that can be used to support a cake. Shown below in the photo are the kinds of dowels that I use most of the time. I use wood, hollow plastic, plastic straws and even skewers. Other cake decorators have also used bubble tea straws, thicker wooden dowels and other kinds of support systems. All of these dowels has to be food-safe.

cake dowels

The dowels that I frequently use, especially for large cakes or cakes with at least 3 tiers, are wooden and plastic dowels. These two are very strong materials and will hold up very well. To cut the wooden dowels, use a pair of sharp shears or a small saw. To cut the hollow, plastic dowels, use a serrated knife or a heavy duty utility knife. Plastic dowels are a bigger than wooden dowels, therefore it would (very slightly) affect the serving portions. With that said, I do prefer using plastic dowels nowadays because I find it easier to cut than the wooden ones. Use a cutting board underneath to safely cut the dowels.

For smaller cakes (with 2 tiers at most), I have also used plastic drinking straws and wooden skewers. I like using these because they are easy to cut. What I do is I cut the straws and skewers the same height as the cake. I place the straws in the cake and for additional support, I insert the skewers inside the straws.

So let's start stacking a cake...

Stacked Tiered Cakes Construction

For this tutorial, we are going to build a three tier cake using hollow, plastic dowels. The cake sizes starting from the bottom are 12", 9" and 6". Of course, you can use different cakes sizes according to the cake requirements.

A multi-tiered cake is going to be heavy, so it needs a sturdy base to be set upon. I usually use a cake drum that is 1/2" thick for the base. Another option would be to use a masonite board cut into shape and covered with cake foil. Whatever you choose to use, be sure that it is food-safe and strong enough to support the weight of the cake.

Set the biggest cake on the cake drum and fill and frost as usual. Place in the fridge until it is chilled. It is easier to work with a chilled cake with the frosting that is hard than soft.

I usually just estimate where the cake on top will go. But to be more precise, take another cardboard cake round or pan the same size as the next tier to be added on top. Place it in the middle of the cake or wherever the cake is going to be placed. Lightly trace the outline with a toothpick or a knife.

Take a plastic dowel and insert into the cake, inside the markings. Mark the height of the cake with your thumb, take the dowel out, mark with a pen and cut. Use that dowel as a guide when cutting the other dowels. I used four plastic dowels. If using wooden dowels, I would insert about 6 of them.

Tiered cake 1st level

Place the 2nd tier (9" cake) on a cardboard cake circle that is the same size. Fill, frost and chill. Do the same for the smallest cake (6") that will go on top. Repeat the dowelling process for the 9" cake.

Tiered cakes 2nd level

To place the 2nd tier on top of the first, carefully take the cake with the hand and use a metal spatula to help guide the cake in the middle. Do the same with the smallest cake.

Stacked cakes top level

Decorate the cake as desired. Finally to secure all the cakes together and make sure they won't slide off, take a big wooden dowel, tad bit shorter than the cake. Sharpen one end of the dowel and with a help of a hammer, carefully drive it in all the layers until it reaches the cake drum. Cover the hole made on top with buttercream.

Stacked cakes

And there you have it - a tiered cake.

Tiered Cakes Top
› Tiered Cakes

The images, tutorials and content on are protected by copyright laws. DO NOT distribute or copy the content without written permission. DO NOT edit, crop, or remove watermarks from any image or video. For questions contact us HERE.

Disclosure: Please note some of the links in this post may be affiliate links, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. This doesn’t cost you anything additional and I truly appreciate this support, thank you!

comments powered by Disqus
NEVER MISS A POST! Enter Your E-mail Address
First Name

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Make Fabulous Cakes Newsletter.

Buttercream Holiday Flowers Class

Bean Paste Flowers Online Class

Buttercream Succulents Online Class

Buttercream Flowers Online Class

Glossy Buttercream

Pistachio Rose Love Cake

Russian Piping Tips Guide plus Video

Shopkins Cake

Designer Handbag Cake Tutorial

Glam Baptism Cake

My 40th Birthday Cake

Breakfast at Tiffany's First Birthday Cake


Recent Articles

  1. Harvest Buttercream Flowers Pumpkin Cake Online Class

    Oct 08, 19 02:41 AM

    Make a beautiful Pumpkin Cake with fall themed buttercream flowers and wafer paper leaves and more!

    Read More

  2. Lemon Curd

    Sep 20, 19 03:20 PM

    Make a pucker-up lemon curd with this fast and easy recipe. This recipe can also be used to make a lime or orange curd.

    Read More

  3. Lavender Lemon Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream

    Sep 18, 19 04:21 AM

    Luscious layers of lavender cake with lemon curd and white chocolate buttercream

    Read More