Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

asked June 14th 2015

Should I stack the 3-tiered fruitcake beforehand or at the venue?

Hi there,

I'm making my first wedding cake and desperately need some advice, please...

I've made 3 tiers of fruitcake - 12", 9" and 6". All very heavy.

1. The venue is 2 hours drive away...should I transport the cakes "flat" and then assemble at the venue, or do you think they'll be sturdy enough to withstand bumps in the road during the car journey? (My preference would be to stack and decorate beforehand, just because it's my first big wedding cake.) I've put the dowels in already and have a "sturdy cake stacker" pipe to go all the way through the middle of the cakes for added support.
2. I have several sugarpaste roses to decorate the tiers. I've got them on toothpicks - can I insert those into the cake, or should I attach them with royal icing instead? If toothpick are ok, do you think they'll be strong enough to hold one at an angle on the edge of the top tier? If not, is there a fail-safe way you can suggest, please?
3. What royal icing recipe is best - gum paste with water, or egg white and icing sugar?
4. If I attach the flowers at the venue on the day of the wedding, I'm scared the royal icing won't set in time to hold the flowers before the wedding starts.

My stomach is in knots...please let me know what's the best way to go about this!

Many thanks!!!


Fruit cakes are extremely heavy so you do need to think about how you will carry a stacked cake into your vehicle and how you will get it out if you can't slide it. If you have help it should be straightforward. However, if you're lifting the stacked cake by yourself you could end up injuring yourself.

If your decorations are not complicated they might be easier to assemble at the venue. Royal icing made with egg white is stronger than that made with powder. You can keep your flowers on the toothpicks and use the royal icing as additional support. It will dry providing you use a fairly stiff consistency. A small lump of sugarpaste can also be used on the edge of the cake as a cushion to stick the flower into. A little additional royal icing will keep the flower secure.

If you decide to stack at the venue you'll need to find out how early you can gain access to the room. Most venues will not allow set up the night before because of their insurance but it's worth asking if you can. Since your venue is two hours drive away I would suggest stacking at the venue, it's a lot less stressful.

I know a first wedding cake is stressful. To get over that nervous feeling you have to view it in a firm way. Easier said than done but it does work. Transport the cake in the boot of the car on a completely flat surface. Use nonslip mats under the box/boxes to stop them from sliding. Take a repair kit consisting of a piping bag, spare flowers, royal icing, any other decorations, palette knives, brushes, edible glue, and anything else you think you might need. I also take things like antiseptic hand cleaning gel, wet wipes, and kitchen roll.
Hope this helps and good luck!


Hi patsygreen122

It depends why you want to layer a fruit cake. It’s not something that is done because they are normally eaten without a filling.

However, if a fruit cake is layered, secure the layers with dowels to prevent them sliding around.

Layering fruit cake can present other challenges such as tearing and breaking. The process should be done gently with a smooth bread knife. Some bread knives are quite spiky and will tear the fruit laden cake to pieces.

Please post back if you need more information. Hope this helps answer your query. πŸ™‚

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