In three years of making cakes I've never had any trouble stacking using cardboards between layers, dowels rods in each layer, and dowel through the center. Until last weekend. I made a four-tier wedding cake, each tier on double cardboard, dowels in each tier (larger ones on the bottom), and a 1/2" dowel through the center. We had to travel about 25 miles. We got 5 miles up the road, made a slow, steady turn through an intersection, but it was an intersection with a big dip in the road. The cake started to lean!
. We stopped. The top three tiers are leaning hard toward the back and the bottom layer is splitting on one side. I sat in the back beside it holding the center dowel back up the rest of the way. (It survived and I patched it as best I could). The best guess I have is that one of the dowels had a hole too large (due to several attempts inserting and removing to get the lenght correct), and with the movement, it gave way under the weight.
Now, I've finally recovered from wanting to give up completely, which my husband wasn't going to let me do anyway. He wants to build me plywood bases with pvc pipe center for all the larger cakes. I've totally cool with that, but my question is....what do you use as support in each tier on the sides? I'm not really keen on the idea of putting dowels in again. All these shows on tv make it look like you only use a center pvc pipe and nothing else, but logic alone tells me that won't work. Something has to support the weight all the way around.
Sorry to rant so long to ask a simple question. I was really distraught on Saturday and have to make the same size cake again in June, so I'm incredible nervous now!!