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Straws for Dowels?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I was watching a cake show the other night and saw someone use Straws in place of dowels.

Has anyone done this before? Is it like a cheaper alternative or something?
post #2 of 33
I have used them many times until one time my cake fell. I no longer use them.
post #3 of 33
Yes, I use them all the time. They are called Bubble Tea Straws and are bigger and stronger then regular straws. You can get them from Amazon.
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Award winning cake designer and fine art sculptor.

"An artist discovers his genius the day he dares not to please." ~Andre Malraux
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post #4 of 33
They are called Bubble Straws. Bigger than regular ones. I ca't find them here only online and the shipping is more expensive than the straws unless you want 1,000 of them. Maybe you can find someone to split them with. Sugarshack uses them all the time.
post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 
do any of you ever get materials back or just leave it and charge the people for the cost
post #6 of 33
I get my bubble tea straws from my local Asian food market. They are super cheap there, like 100 for $1.29. Because bubble tea is becoming more popular, you might be able to find them locally now (or in the near future) as the trend spreads. I've never heard of anyone asking for their straws back. They are a use and toss sort of thing, disposable, like cakeboards.
post #7 of 33
Will it be strong enough? I asked my Wilton instructor last week...during the Tall Cakes Class and she said it won't work and only use wooden dowels. I hate cutting the dowels!!!
post #8 of 33
I use the bubble tea straws, got them on eBay - there's usually a buy 2 and get 1 free kind of thing. These straw are big! Since they are custom cut for each tier, no need to get them back (as are the wooden dowels). I only use a wooden dowel when I dowel the center, but the individual tiers have the straws. I guess like with everything else, it's a personal preference based on your own experience. If I ever go bigger than a 3-tier, I would probably go with the wooden dowels - just for my own personal peace of mind - since there is more weight. JMO. icon_biggrin.gif
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by zirconiag

Will it be strong enough? I asked my Wilton instructor last week...during the Tall Cakes Class and she said it won't work and only use wooden dowels. I hate cutting the dowels!!!



Maybe because Wilton doesn't make bubble tea straws...Lol.
Sorry...bad joke. icon_biggrin.gif
post #10 of 33
These are pretty tough straws. They aren't McDonalds straws. They have a larger diameter which gives them greater stability. PLUS, I can cut them with regular scissors. They've never failed me in my layer cakes. They're not super long, so you still have to use a wooden dowel if you want a single center support to pound through all of your layers. But if you're happy with just adding several points of support within each layer, then I highly recommend them. They are SO much easier, quicker and more pleasant (no splinters!) to use than dowels.
post #11 of 33
I disagree with your Wilton instructor. Bubble tea straws are actually stronger than wooden dowels.

Dowels displace cake, which pushes out against the rest of the cake. Bubble straws don't displace cake. Dowels can collapse to the side during transport. Bubble straws have a much wider footprint which makes them much less likely to lean or tip to the side. Architecturally speaking, if you applied weight straight down on the top of a dowel inserted in a cake and on the top of a bubble straw inserted in a cake, the straw would support much more weight before buckling or breaking than the dowel would.

I use only bubble straws and have never had a problem. When I used to use dowels, I had a few leaners.
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Housework makes you ugly.

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post #12 of 33
I used bubble tea straws once and had a sinking problem with my bottom tier. It looked like the straws could not handle the weight. I placed every two inches around perimeter, staggered and put another around inner perimeter. Used one hollow dowel in the center. The problem was the outer perimeter. I can't imagine placing any closer together so I am back to wooden or Wilton dowels.
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Cake = sweet indulgence
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post #13 of 33
I use the straws now. Work fine on my 4 and 5 tier cakes. Never had any problems.
angelcakes llc
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angelcakes llc
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post #14 of 33
People talk well about bubble tea straws because nothing has happened not them ... YET. The thing is ... straws are made of very flimsy plastic, they slid and slide and are simply not sturdy enough to hold 50 pounds of cake. The strongest materials are wood and thick plastic dowels - it's obvious. The way I see it is you will use them (because they are cheaper and all the reasons stated above), until a cake falls on you! Then you will talk a different tune. Me? I wouldn't dare! It's wood and SPS all the way, baby! Better safe than sorry!
post #15 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EllieA

People talk well about bubble tea straws because nothing has happened not them ... YET. The thing is ... straws are made of very flimsy plastic, they slid and slide and are simply not sturdy enough to hold 50 pounds of cake. The strongest materials are wood and thick plastic dowels - it's obvious. The way I see it is you will use them (because they are cheaper and all the reasons stated above), until a cake falls on you! Then you will talk a different tune. Me? I wouldn't dare! It's wood and SPS all the way, baby! Better safe than sorry!



Seems reasonable. I'm just learning stuff and was wondering. No customers or anything like that for me. I would probably side with you EllieA if I ever did make a large cake and had a lot of pressure on me to deliver the goods. LOL

It really is hard to imagine the straw could physically hold more weight than a solid piece of wood. I would love to the see the test that was actually run though.
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