I'm Abby from Nadia Cakes (we did the cake From Fabulous Cakes on TLC that almost fell over when the cake stand leg collapsed). I wanted to comment on the discussion because after the show, we made some big changes to the way we do large tiered cakes. Here is the link to the video of the almost disaster if you missed it:
We don't get the chance to actually cut and serve a lot of the cakes we do so it was really helpful seeing the pillow cake broken down so I could see where the structure failed. After the leg broke, the cake began to lean pretty badly and the internal supports pretty much failed me. When the cake pitched forward, the dowels slanted inside and the cake began to settle forward in the direction of the broken leg. I sat next to that cake FOR 3 HOURS making sure it didn't fall! The producers from the show still talk about it LOL! I had to restack it twice to redistribute the weight. Thankfully it was a pilow cake and not a wedding cake so it didn't look bad with the pillows all unevenly stacked. It just looked like tossed pillows so it worked.
Anyway, after that we realized that larger cakes need a centralized support system. I had doweled it together with skewers but they wern't strong enough to keep the cake from falling over. If the cake had pitched forward with a pole through the middle, there would have been no chance of it leaning. It also would have kept the dowels from slanting since the cake would have been held stationary regardless of what the dowels were doing.
We did another episode of Fabulous Cakes for season 2 and the cake is a huge cake. We used the pole system in it and we had NO problems with leaning. We go into the support system in depth on the show so if you watch you can see what we did this time around. Not sure when the show will air but if you follow us on Facebook, we'll post the date:
I learned my lesson BIG TIME from that pillow cake! I swear, my whole life flashed before my eyes when that cake stand broke. We seriously almost lost that cake. It was terrifying!
The pole system we use now is actually a cupcake tree from here: http://www.bossmanufacturing.com/
You just take off the plates and then use the center pole to dowel the cake. Its much easier then getting a PVC pipe and fashioning your own pole system like you see on a lot of the cake challange shows. Its a pretty cake stand and it doubles as a cupcake tree as well and its reusable. You can even order extra pole extensions to make it as tall as you need it. I made mine 4 feet tall for the last spisode we filmed. Very well made stuff. We get all our stands from here. Hope this is helpful! I'm a self taught cake decorator so I don't know what I don't know until it happens to me. Luckily we were able to save that cake and learn from it!