Stacking Cakes Cake Decorating and Baking Tutorial

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1. Overview

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2. Stacking Cakes - Background info

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3. Stacking Cakes - Stacking a 3 tier Round Cake

You may also want to looks that the following lessons for background information


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4. Stacking Cakes - Stacking a 3 Tier Square Cake

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5. Stacking Cakes - Cleaning Ganache

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6. Stacking Cakes - Common problems

This is one of those subjects that can scare new cake decorators a little. Lifting up perfect cakes and balancing them on top of one another can seem a little daunting. Well, not after you’ve watched this free course! After taking this course you will have the confidence to stack 3 tiered cake and really move on to a “higher” level of cake decorating!

Click here for printable tools and ingredients list

  • 6” (15.2cm),8”(20.3cm) ,10” (25.4cm) Round and Square covered cakes
  • 14” (35.6cm) Round and Square cake drums
  • 8” (20.3cm), 6” (15.2cm) Round and Square cake cards
  • Royal icing
  • Food pen
  • Dowels (various types)
  • White alcohol spirit
  • Palette knife
  • Scriber tool
  • Wire cutters
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Paint brush
Paul Bradford

Paul Bradford

Paul Bradford´s mission is to ‘Empower people to achieve their cake decorating dreams’ by providing a range of cake decorating courses and online tutorials through their website, which currently teaches 195,000+ students.  


  1. vanille1979

    I loved this video , it is very helpfull for beginners like me, but i do have a question: don’t you put any thin cake boards under each tier?
    thanks for your help!!

  2. khurram

    Dear Paul: (if it is possible) then i really appreciate if you show us how to cut the cake and remove dowels, seriously for some (included me) its a great help. Thanks

  3. sugarcake1

    Hi, your videos are fab. Thanks very much for sharing. I also have a question. Do you have a thin board under each of your stacked cakes, and if so, are they the same size as each stacked cake or slightly smaller?

  4. Alexduncan

    When you stack the tiers, is there a cake board (card) underneath each tier, or are the dowels alone enough to support the different cakes. Many thanks.

  5. Sarahlee

    Hi, so the middle dowel doesn’t have to be bigger than the others and that’s enough to keep the cake steady right?

  6. njuktjhuitjhaij

    if I’m not mistaken, there isn’t any card board under each cakes. it’s only on the bottom cake. is it correct ? how can the dowels support the cake, if they are the same height as the cake?

  7. Khoo

    Hi, Lovely tutorials, thank you 😉 I would like to ask you regarding stacking the cakes, if you decorate each tier first and you want to stack later after the delivery- can you do that or you would advice to do it when it is fresh? thank you xx

  8. Jaja1110

    Dear Paul,

    Thank you for the invaluable information & tips. You have helped me a lot 🙂


  9. megan9429

    Is there a cake card under each cake when you take it off the cake drum when you stack the cake up on the straws?

  10. Claudia

    Hi there! yes there is. The cake cards gives more stability to the cake structure. Hope that helps 🙂

  11. Claudia

    Dear Paul, would you recommend to transferred the cake with the tiers already stacked or should I stacked the tiers after I transferred the cake to it’s destination? If you recommend to stack the cake on it’s destination how do I transferred the cake? Do I need to use cake boxes? Thanks for your help 🙂

  12. nannynoo

    I am making a two tier stacked Christening cake. The bottom will be a rich fruit cake and the top I intend doing your chocolate cake recipe. Do I still need to dowel the fruit cake or would it be strong enough to support the chocolate cake, or less dowels?

  13. RuthBlack

    Hi Paul, I’ve seen that some people dowel through the entire cake to prevent the tiers sliding. I’m making my first 4 tier wedding cake and wondered if this is essential or do I just rely on my buttercream to hold each tier together?

  14. swapnaghosh

    Hi Paul, thanks for the tutorial. Can I use plastic cakepop sticks as dowel or are they too thin? Secondly, I once made a 2 tier cake 8″ and 6″. I put only 5 dowels in the 8″ cake and placed the 6″ cake on top. After few hours, I noticed that the fondant on the 8″ cake had cracks. I am not sure why this happened. Is it because I didn’t provide enough dowel support? Please help. Thanks!

    • Andy (Staff)

      Cake pop sticks might be a little to thin as dowels and as for the cracks it’s worth an ask on the Q&A here (it sounds like you may need a few more dowels in an 8″ cake)

  15. suemason62

    Hi Paul and Staff,

    Loving the free tutorials and comments…..will definitely be taking the annual membership out soon!

  16. Wandaful

    You are amazing! I so wish I’d seen this video before my 3 tier cake collapsed on a baby shower customer:( Not cool. Won’t happen again after this amazing vid:) Tks!

  17. wendx

    Hi, The courses are super. i went to Collage for Bakery and Confectionery about 35years ago. So know i have forgot a lot of thinks. with your courses i can learn new ways from my time at Collage.
    Thank you.

  18. SherylMc

    I’m currently a monthly paid member but I’d like to upgrade to pro but continue to pay on a monthly basis. Is this possible?

  19. Tracy Hopkins

    I just love this free course,learn a lot about cake decorating hope to learn more.

    Thank you

    • Danielle

      Hi Tracey,

      We are so glad you are enjoying the free course! If you would like advice about any cake decorating, head over to our Q&A section where you can get advise from lots of cake decorating superheroes!

      If you need any other help, please drop me a message at [email protected] 🙂

      Thanks D x

  20. raquel57

    Thank you for the tutorial. I am a beginner with fondant cake. I made a cake with 2 tiers for a birthday party but the top cake fell off a little when I was driving. How can I make sure it will not fell or move (the top cake 2nd tier)?

  21. meganabigail

    Hi Paui, I have only recently joined but I am really excited as I am self taught and hsve done msny cakes 3& 4 tiered with separatlely made iced collars plus L have
    drawn pictures straight onto the cakes loads of different things but there are so many things I wouid love to learn and this has certainly got me motivated as I have got a
    3 or 4 tiered wedding cske to do for next May so after xmas I will be joining your monthly scheme & I know it is going to be worthwhile,

    • Danielle

      Hi ! We are so glad to hear that you have a booking for May! Fantastic news – We look forward to you joining after Christmas and hopefully our tutorials will help you with to get your cake ready for May! D xx

  22. Marg

    hello do you use a foam cake board under the cake or a thin thin board under it. Also do you ever place a dowel thru all the cakes in the center to keep it straight.. I have seen some cake designers, pushing a dowel thru all the cakes from the top down. Thanks MJ

  23. jackie72

    this was really helpful, just did my first tiered cake using wooden dowls but have bought the straws for future cakes as they are easy to cut. Don’t feel so nervous now to try them out…..cheers

    • Danielle

      Fantastic news Jackie! I am glad that this tutorial has been able to help you! Enjoy the other tutorials:) D xxx

  24. Annette1

    Do you ever put icing under the cake boards/ cards to keep it in place or is that not necessary, I ask because I know it used to be done (long long ago) Also I am ready to stack and took your advice about the dowelling of cakes now I’m 50/50 about icing under the cards!

    • Danielle

      Hi Sugarkiss1999,
      Thanks for the feedback, I will pass this onto the team to see if this is something we can do:)
      Many thanks – enjoy the tutorials! D xx

  25. Jtresor

    Lol! Thanks for the tip on telling the customer about the dowels! I actually am amazed by some of the questions I do get…thanks for the warning…Enjoy the class layout too, thanks! JTRESOR Richmond Va

  26. Catahoula

    Paul, thanks for all the information you provide.

    I think, if traveling with a tiered cake, a long dowel through the center of all tiers top to bottom is a very smart thing. If using this, you wouldn’t put the center dowel in each tier but use the one, long one to go from the center of the top tier, through each lower tier, into the base cake drum, then you cut the excess dowel at the top—this keeps them from sliding. If you are not traveling with the cake, there may not be a need for this tall, center dowel.

  27. Bammy

    Awesome vid… Please I wanna ask. Did the second tier dowel get to the bottom of the first tier? And also, why didn’t you use the type of first tier dowel on the second tier cake, why use the plastic straws and not hard dowels on the second tier….?

  28. mariamroy

    Hello !

    I have a query. On the bottom of each of the individual cake tiers that you are layering on top, do you have a cake card underneath ? Is that what touches the royal icing or its just cake alone ?


    • Danielle

      Hi Mariam,

      Yes Paul is using cake cards in between each tier. 8” (20.3cm), 6” (15.2cm) Round and Square cake cards x

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