Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

asked September 26th 2018

Using Grecian column cake pillars on a 3-tier fondant-covered wedding cake


I'm about to do something I said I'd never do! Decorate someone else's fruit cakes for their wedding. I just loved the story about how the bride's family have a long line of bakers (business not just hobby) but she needs someone to cover and decorate the cakes.

She wanted it originally to be all Royal Icing, like an old-fashioned wedding cake but I'm not happy with the covering the cakes with this as I've had no experience. We've agreed I can cover them with white fondant and I'm happy to put in time to practice piping snail trails etc.

Can anyone advise whether there are any specific risks involved in using the pillars with separate dowels, like the M & S ones she is planning on giving me, on a fondant icing cake?


Leigh (Leigh Smith Cakes)


Hi Leigh

In the link which you have given there is a customer feed back on the M & S product which says the pillars and dowels are the same size which will pose a problem. If you scroll right down to the bottom on that page you will see the comment. M & S have a video showing this method of dowelling using fondant covered cakes as seen here:

I can't see why a fondant covered cake would be a problem. The dowels are still supporting the upper tier and the pillars, because of the flat tops, are spreading the weight of the cake. If you have concerns that the dowels may feel loose, cap around the dowels with a little royal icing to keep them in firm.

As the clients family are historically bakers, I am a little surprised that they have elected to out source decorating the cake. Not for me to comment really but it just makes me wonder.



This was what the original request from the bride said. Actually it doesn't specifically say the family were pros but see what you think anyway.

" Hi Leigh, I have a slightly different request to make for my wedding cake. My Mum's family were bakers and so have a traditional wedding cake recipe that I would like to use to bake my own wedding cake but I now live in Austria and am only in Perth for a couple of days before my wedding in December which makes covering and icing quite stressful! I was wondering if I made the cakes whether covering them and decorating would be something that could be done professionally and if this was something you would offer? I totally understand if not but just thought I'd try and see if I could find someone that would make this possible"


PS The customer is a mezzo soprano, sounds fascinating! https://www.katiecoventry.com/


Wow! A mezzo, I’ll look her up. We’re huge opera fans. Back to the Cake though ..... how do you feel about it? It really depends whether you feel confident enough to decorate it. If it’s a simple case of snail trails and a few silk flowers and stacking , shouldn’t be a problem. However something elaborate would be a task. Is she wanting flowers? Personally I wouldn’t commit to anything beyond my own skill set. You don’t want to get stressed. Can her family not help? It’s doable only if you feel confident. ?


Quite simple decoration. No flowers at all, but small swags around each cake (which I think I could make easily from fondant anyway) and snail trails. She has her own small silver family topper too that was on her parents and grandparents' cake.

There are a couple of ladies in our local Women's Rural who could coach me if necessary for the piping plus there are some videos on CakeFlix I need to check out too.


Well that doesn't sound too bad especially as you will be able to get some guidance. from your local Women's Rural. Here on Cakeflix there are loads of tutorials which cover basic piping techniques.
In particular see Penny Pangs:

Pretty Porcelain Wedding Cake

She covers the snail trail. I'm sure you'll finds many more. Good luck!

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