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Alternative to cake dowels?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi I'm about to make my first two-tier stacked cake this week and asked my class tutor for a little advice last night. She told me that she never uses dowels as technically, once you insert dowels in to a cake, you introduce bacteria and therefore render it inedible.

Does anyone use any alternatives to dowels? I've searched the web but can't see anything. My tutor just stacks the cakes but I've seen what happens when the lower ones bulge under the weight!

Thanks guys icon_smile.gif
Restlessness is in our genes, time won't wear it off...
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Restlessness is in our genes, time won't wear it off...
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post #2 of 24
i use plastic straws when i dont have dowels available
post #3 of 24
I, too, use plastic straws. You should look up bubble tea straws, they're bigger and better, but normal straws work just as well. All the best!
Jackie's Creations


"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." - 1 Peter 4:10
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Jackie's Creations


"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." - 1 Peter 4:10
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post #4 of 24
Plastic dowels won't introduce bacteria so long as you disinfect them... Eg boiling water. I'd never use wooden dowels as you can sometimes get splinters and can taste the bleached wood and the bacteria issues your tutor mentioned.

I use straws, they don't displace the cake because they are hollow and they are obviously food safe. Also they are alot easier to cut. Bubble tea straws are the best to use because they are sturdier. You can find them online or at a local Asian store. They can sometimes have them in walmart.

HTH
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Straws it is then!

Thanks everyone thumbs_up.gif
Restlessness is in our genes, time won't wear it off...
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Restlessness is in our genes, time won't wear it off...
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post #6 of 24
Good Morning! Quick question - how does a wooden dowel introduce bacteria? Not arguing the potential fact or comment - just wondering. Bacteria can begin with simply not washing your hands after handling raw eggs, so I just wonder the logic. TIA
post #7 of 24
SPS or the like.
post #8 of 24
I use bubble tea straws to dowel the individual tiers and one wooden dowel down the center for overall stability. For those that elect to NOT use a wooden dowel (for whatever reasons), what do you use (other than SPS) as a center dowel on multi-tiered cakes??? Never heard of the bacteria thing...I can understand the concerns of possible splinters and altering the taste though. Just curious...Image
post #9 of 24
I hate to say it... but your "tutor" sounds like she doesn't really know what she is talking about.

All kinds of things are stuck into cake everyday. Dowels, toothpics, flower picks, pvc pipe, metal wires, etc. Sticking something into a cake doesn't make it inedible due to bacteria unless the thing is covered in bacteria. A good wash will render that unlikely.

And I'd love to see all the cakes she is "just stacking" without support. Either she hasn't done many or she is extremely lucky!
You don't HAVE a soul, you ARE a soul...you HAVE a body. C.S. Lewis
I'd rather see badly done cake than well done styrofoam.
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You don't HAVE a soul, you ARE a soul...you HAVE a body. C.S. Lewis
I'd rather see badly done cake than well done styrofoam.
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post #10 of 24
For those that elect to NOT use a wooden dowel (for whatever reasons), what do you use (other than SPS) as a center dowel on multi-tiered cakes???

----------------------------------

I use the stress free support system and I stack my wedding cakes on site. Never have used a center dowel in seven years.
Veronica....Auntie to Chris, James, Marcus and Ja'Nae

http://www.facebook.com/LadyDiCakes.Ohio
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Veronica....Auntie to Chris, James, Marcus and Ja'Nae

http://www.facebook.com/LadyDiCakes.Ohio
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post #11 of 24
I've always used wooden dowels. After I cut them, I use a fine grit sandpaper to smooth the ends. I've never noticed a 'bleached wood' taste in my cakes though. I'm ordering the Cake Stackers system next week! Can't wait!! No more having to stack and finish decorating after delivery!
Sometimes family makes the best friends, and sometimes friends make the best family.
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Sometimes family makes the best friends, and sometimes friends make the best family.
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post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3GCakes

I hate to say it... but your "tutor" sounds like she doesn't really know what she is talking about.

All kinds of things are stuck into cake everyday. Dowels, toothpics, flower picks, pvc pipe, metal wires, etc. Sticking something into a cake doesn't make it inedible due to bacteria unless the thing is covered in bacteria. A good wash will render that unlikely.

And I'd love to see all the cakes she is "just stacking" without support. Either she hasn't done many or she is extremely lucky!



Thanks for your post - I thought dowels have been used for years and I have never had anyone to complain about them.
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
No, she is highly experienced and her cakes are just beautiful, she's done thousands of wedding cakes. I'll have to ask her next week.

Anyway, I used straws and it worked like a charm so thanks everyone!!
Restlessness is in our genes, time won't wear it off...
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Restlessness is in our genes, time won't wear it off...
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post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyhugger

She told me that she never uses dowels as technically, once you insert dowels in to a cake, you introduce bacteria and therefore render it inedible.



I'm so glad that you had great success using the straws thumbs_up.gif

but... I do have to say that the explanation you were given for NOT using dowels is utterly ludicrous....and I thought I'd heard it all. It makes me wonder if she once had a disaster using dowels and had to come up with a more "scientific" reason for damning them icon_confused.gif

I mean, if that tidbit were taken to heart, then billions of bacteria contaminated cakes have been constructed and served over the years! And cake is generally considered to be an extremely "safe" food!

I use bubble tea straws or Wilton hollow plastic dowels and I often insert a long wooden dowel in cakes traveling long distances for delivery--never had any hint of "bleached wood" flavor, either. I wipe the wooden dowel down with Everclear and then rub it liberally with shortening, disinfecting and then sealing the wood.

Happy caking!
Rae
I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
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I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
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post #15 of 24
Blakescakes - Can I ask why you use everclear?

And thanks to all for the dowel comments. I have used them time and again and I have never had any issues at all. I must say the OP post had me concerned, but I am glad others are using them without issues.

TIA
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