Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

asked June 1st 2019

Cake leaning

I recently made a three tier cake. Bottom tier 10” and iced. Middle and top tiers were semi-naked cakes and were 8” and 6”, 4 x layers each. I dowelled them well and put cards under each tier. I make my cakes with vanilla sponge.
When I made cakes, they were level, but after leaving overnight and stacking, the middle and top tiers started to lean and collapse slightly. What did I do wrong? I couldn’t put them in fridge earlier, as they had a royal icing drip on.
This was my 1st wedding cake and was upset that this happened. Would love to know where I went wrong, so it never happens again ?


Hi Tomandhen123

I’m so sorry to hear this has happened to you. It happened to me with one of my carousel cakes. Fortunately, I had sufficient time to dismantle the cake to check the levels, redo the dowels and patch up any damage.

Cakes leaning can be caused by uneven layers which, when after filling, can lie on a slight tilt. Sometimes, it can be trapped air in pockets in between the layers. After filling, try squishing the cake by pressing gently on the edges of the top layer. Place a plate on the cake for a few hours or overnight to help to expel any air pockets.
Use a spirit level to check the cake is even.

Other reasons for this happening might be due to the dowels not quite positioned in the best place to support the tier above. Dowels slipping can also cause cakes to lean or tilt as can uneven dowels. Please take a peek at Paul’s lessons and practice his method for safer stacking so this doesn’t happen to you again.

Stacking Cakes

Some recipes are not structurally suitable for stacking. Mrs Jones’ for instance, advises increasing the flour for her vanilla cake recipe by an extra 10 % if it is to be used for tiered cakes.

Keep practising as this is the only way to get experience and don’t get disheartened. 🙂


Thank you for your advice, I will definitely give this a try and practice more x


Sending you hugs, I know how awful it feels. You worked so hard and didn’t deserve the disappointment. 🤗 🤗 x

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